Thursday, 17 September 2015

Wuthering Heights: a violent, unmissable love story

The Fashion Talk

Today I thought I would post something not necessarily related to fashion, but something that I still wouldn't dare say not related at all. When I was in London for my fashion journalism course indeed my teacher told me these sacred words: fashion is not only clothes, it is culture and travel and creativity. I wrote it down on my notebook, fairly I'm still wondering if it was my inner conscience or his actual voice because that's in a nutshell my chief belief and life motto.
When I say culture, the first thing that comes to my mind is reading, which I consider the main remedy to every mood swing or to any uncomfortable emotion. Reading is always how we learn, more than in school and more than at work, because books teach us how to value our ideas and how to think critically. What is that to be called, if not the most important quality to be a virtuous and reasoning human being?
I am a big fan of the English Literature of the 19th century and there's honestly not a precise reason for that: I think it's just pristine and magnificent, still so natural and effortless, pure and uncontaminated by the greedy and fast-forward, commercialized society of nowadays. I love it, I just love it and can't help reading anything that I bump into from the English Romanticism to the Decadentism (Wild is such a remarkable artist for instance).
What kind of sucker for English Lit hasn't read Wuthering Heights before she turned eighteen? (raises a hand shyly and really embarrassed).
Well, that's it: I had never read what I now confidently want to refer to as "THE masterpiece. I don't really know how I never came across it and I don't want to blame myself too much because I had obviously heard of it, but never dived into it. That was mostly because I was expecting one of those romantic Austen kind of novels that I know so well and that I consequently don't HAVE to read, since I've done so much of that kind of reading (I think I read all Jane Austen's books, I'm pretty addicted).
I couldn't have been more wrong: Wuthering heights is different.
It's powerful, dangerous, cruel and crude, unbelievably harsh and unexpected. It's not just a love story; the general plot you hear is "Catherine loves Heathcliff and Heathcliff loves Catherine", but there's way more than that. Love is seen as an overly strong passion, as a mind blowing and destructive explosion of negative and bleak feelings.
Their love is not pure, it's not pristine, it's just not dim or sweet... it's out of the ordinary, trenchant and scorching, it's a story of hate and revenge. And, trust me, the continuous description of the sublime but still suggestive moorish scenery does not help. I kept shivering for simply how strong this book it. I read this book in a gulp, and then I was so pleasantly yet shockingly striked by it that I read it again, because I think to get the depth of such a masterpiece you can't just read it once.

"My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.—My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being. So don’t talk of our separation again: it is impracticable".

This scornful and frantic words are confessed to the housekeeper Nelly by Catherine in confidence and in the name of a dated affection, but Heathcliff's words on his love are even more full of rage and desperation:

“Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living. You said I killed you--haunt me then. The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe--I know that ghosts have wandered the earth. Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad. Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” 

And this terribly painful and ravishing, pitiable love is so strong that ends up leading to madness. Pathos and Thanatos are just unbelievably close in this passional book:

Her presence was with me: it remained while I re-filled the grave, and led me home. You may laugh, if you will; but I was sure I should see her there. I was sure she was with me, and I could not help talking to her. Having reached the Heights, I rushed eagerly to the door. It was fastened; and, I remember, that accursed Earnshaw and my wife opposed my entrance. I remember stopping to kick the breath out of him, and then hurrying upstairs, to my room and hers. I looked round impatiently—I felt her by me—I could almost see her, and yet I could not! I ought to have sweat blood then, from the anguish of my yearning—from the fervour of my supplications to have but one glimpse! I had not one. She showed herself, as she often was in life, a devil to me! And, since then, sometimes more and sometimes less, I’ve been the sport of that intolerable torture! Infernal! keeping my nerves at such a stretch that, if they had not resembled catgut, they would long ago have relaxed to the feebleness of Linton’s. When I sat in the house with Hareton, it seemed that on going out I should meet her; when I walked on the moors I should meet her coming in. When I went from home I hastened to return; she must be somewhere at the Heights, I was certain! And when I slept in her chamber—I was beaten out of that. I couldn’t lie there; for the moment I closed my eyes, she was either outside the window, or sliding back the panels, or entering the room, or even resting her darling head on the same pillow as she did when a child; and I must open my lids to see. And so I opened and closed them a hundred times a night—to be always disappointed! It racked me! I’ve often groaned aloud, till that old rascal Joseph no doubt believed that my conscience was playing the fiend inside of me. Now, since I’ve seen her, I’m pacified—a little. It was a strange way of killing: not by inches, but by fractions of hairbreadths, to beguile me with the spectre of a hope through eighteen years!

Hands down this is an unmissable masterpiece of literature, so powerful yet so passionate, so violent but deep... the book that should be in everyone's heart.
Have a good evening everyone,

Books addicted (Camilla) 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015


The Fashion Talk

This summer I spent most of my time on an airplane or in my car, which sounds pretty exciting if you are a travelling lover like me or if you think that spare time is actually only aimed to go and see for yourself what's out there. Or you may be one of those less curious couch potatoes that love a good lie down session on their sofas... either way, I hope you can agree with me when I say that reading is the best companion for boredom and excitement. Reading indeed is not meant for a particular mood. It's for everyone and for everything and that's why I love it so much.
This summer I read a lot of books, from some good old English literature with Dickens and Austen (I'm such a sucker for those) to some complicated essay on Islam religion to fashion biographies and magazines of all kinds. Quite diverse, uh? But again, that's what I love so much about reading, that you can just find books in all shapes and colors and pretty much about any topic you want.
One of the books that I enjoyed the most, as far as fashion's concerned, was Christian Dior's biography, the VogueOn Edition, which I strognly suggest to anyone with an interest in getting a culture in the fashion world or simply curious to know more about a designer that changed the world with its creations. At the end of the day we all know that Christian Dior is a massive icon in the society of the fifties but also still today in fashion runways and high couture.

They say designers are born to be so and effectively Christian is worth the compliment, since he never studied anything regarding fashion... to be fair, he never cared at all about fashion either. Christian was a french overly shy and puffed teen who didn't love to make friends and spent a lot of time with his family, filled with entrepreneurial spirit and business-minded people. Christian was different and, as he himself said, his awkward looks never helped.
Since his first step into the adult world, when he was still a teenager, he showed a great passion for art and paintings. His dad severely insisted he would study Politics, but Christian's artistic spirit made him quit. When he was in in his twenties, Dior started to make acquaintance with a group of musicians, writers and composers of the time. By the time Dior was in his mid-twenties, being a painter seemed his chosen and assured career.  His dad helped him open a modern art gallery in Paris, after his son had promised the name of the family would never appear on the gallery's door.
All seemed to be going well, until in 1930 superstitious Christian accidentally drops a mirror; this action was perceived by Christian as a most unfortunate event. Indeed a bleaker period starts for the young artist: his mum and brother died, his sister was momentarily in jail, a big economical crisis and general depression spread through Paris, the luxurious capital of France. All fashion and well living ideals are overturned. France drops in probably one of the darkest periods in its history.
Dior had to close his gallery, his dream seemed to slowly fade away.
And that's when fate made him a designer: one day a friend of his told him that an old maison in Paris, the couture house of Philippe and Gaston, was looking for a stylist to help modernize and revitalize their house. Dior declined. Later in the day he happened to meet his friend again and they randomly encountered again a few days later. Dior was too superstitious to decline again, he thought it was his calling. And that's how he started his shimmering career with the now so famous "New Look". Superstition pushed him to start, and maybe hope to earn some money as well... but certainly at first passion did not encourage him at all.

This book taught me something: in art, intuition and talent are the key, you can't really learn how to do it, but you can improve or learn how to stand out, how to use your inborn abilities.
Christian Dior was a painter and he probably never thought he would become such an icon in fashion, but he did.
I'd suggest anyone with a vague interest in fashion or art to read his inspiring biography and be as amazed as I was by the elegance and originality of such innovative creations by someone who never even had an introduction in the fashion industry.
To draw my conclusion, don't give up: if you are a student, a lawyer, a housewife, a whatsoever... wait for it, in a couple years you could be the next Dior.

As cheesy as it sounds,
Never say never,

Tuesday, 1 September 2015


The Fashion Talk

Yesterday I was reading Italian Vogue and I bumped into this new Christopher Kane's collection that shocked me at first and then made me realize that it actually looked dazzling. 
I've always loved Christopher Kane for his utterly original voice. His looks are aways bold and most of the times described as sexy, but this time they were definitely more than that: sexual is the right word. The totally original work of Christopher Kane aimed to highlighten the human carnal desire through explicit images and lacy lady-like ruffles.

According to the show notes, the dynamic zigzag that bifurcated a sheer lace dress represented the current of an electric orgasm. The last pieces were made of whole panels of Swiss Lace depicting tangles of nudes, of men and women caressing and embracing each other. The same writhing figures were traced in glitter on a sheer tulle dress that, in silhouette at least, was otherwise as high-necked-and-below-the-knee proper as any church dress.

When I first saw the last out-of-the-ordinary dresses, they reminded me of fascinating canvas that you could see in an art exhibition, because that is the kind of runway masterpiece that you wouldn't want to see on the streets. At first, I thought it was utterly beautiful and my eyes beamed with joy, because sometimes sexuality is just fascinating. Those soft curves on the sensual lace, the clever contrast between the length of the dress and the explicit images depicted on it, the warm colors on the back ground and the colder colors of men and women... there was a lot to admire. But then, after my first idealization of Christopher Kane, I faced up to reality and realised that I was not looking at a painting. I was looking at a dress, at something that's made to be seen on people, of something that is theoretically an utilitarian work. I can't always be positive or objective about fashion, so I'll be honest: I thought that was too much. But then I couldn't stop to admire how interesting it was to look at such innovative pieces of art. 
What I started to feel towards the collection became a bit controversial.
I always say that fashion is art, but to be more precise I'd have to say that part of it is. In fact fashion can be seen in different ways: if I was asked what I'd choose for a night out with my friends between a sweeping grand Dior multicolor dress or a Top Shop outfit, chances are I would choose the latter. Now, I know this is quite a confession, but I'm not ashamed to say it and to be honest I think most of you could easily relate. When I say I love fashion, the majority of my friends imagine me being a frivolous and silly mean girls kind of shopping freak with no brains... actually, to be fair I am all but a trend addicted. To me fashion is beautiful and it's a thunderstorm of feelings and a bursting explosion of colors and materials and curves and cuts and culture. Fashion is art, like the one you see in an art gallery and nothing less than that.
When I say I want to be a journalist, I don't mean showing my outfit of the day or telling people what to wear according to the last trends in LA, I mean writing about new collection, about culture, about lifestyle... I mean Vogue, I mean Porter, I mean all of those wonderful magazines opening up about the real passion and clever minds hidden behind every single garment. 
Going shopping and dressing well or constantly trying to catch up with new trends don't do for me, but that deserves to be called "fashion" too, only it's a different kind. Catwalks are to be looked at, ready-to-wear is to be literally worn.
And I honestly reckon that we must keep that in mind when we judge a dress or an outfit we see on a runway... most of the times it's something that we wouldn't wear, but so what? It looks gorgeous anyway, it's art walking down the runway, it's a walking painting, it is an explosion of feelings and personal touch and beauty. I love it, I really love it. 
And that's how controversial fashion can be: it's something on the streets, but the whole opposite on the runways, and just like that we humans are simple and comfort-seeking on a daily routine, but hoping to feel amazed and astonished while we watch a catwalk. 
New, shocking, different: again, that's what a greedy societies really wants.