Apollo Belvedere

Apollo Belvedere

A Hymn to Intellectual Beauty:  Creative Minds and Fashion

 One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.  Oscar Wilde

 Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.  Henry David Thoreau

 Two great thinkers positing two very different attidudes to dress. The choice is clear—we’re with Oscar Wilde. Taking its title from Shelley’s poem, this blog celebrates “intellectual beauty”— the style and dress of artists, composer, writers, and other creative people. The exuberant self-styling of figures such as Oscar Wilde and Salvador Dalí is well known, but the mode of dress favored by other artists has received little attention.

 Why artist and writers?  I want to debunk once and for all the notion that an interest in dress is frivolous, that one can’t be an intellectual and serious about clothes at the same time. To invoke Wilde again: “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.  The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.”

I seek to address this clichéd notion in two ways—through words and images. The words come from varied sources: the resplendent subjects themselves, biographers, and contemporay witnesses, many famous in their own right. When pronounced by the artists themselves, the remarks read like manifestoes. This is certainly the case with Mishima’s statements about body building and Louise Nevelson’s confession of how her lifelong interest in clothes affected the way she was seen by others.

The eloquence of the citations equals the power of the images. Refinement in dress inspires rapture.  We look at the images of Byron and Poe more searchingly after reading Coleridge’s and Baudelaire’s comments about them. Taken together, these creative individuals form a peacock’s gallery who enhnced the world in which they lived embodying the idea of “intellectual beauty” at its finest.


12 Responses to About this blog

  1. Bruce Behnke says:

    Your blog is developing nicely; it’s not only interesting and provocative but visually appealing as well. Keep up the great work!

  2. Rob Chapman says:

    Well. In one hour spent browsing this blog, I have gone from a lifetime conviction that all attention to dress is frivolous to an absolute conviction that I was wrong about that.

  3. Catherine says:

    I think a great new addition/direction for you to go in would be current fashion bloggers. There are countless blogs out there dedicated to fashion written by a wide range of ages, and it would be interesting to have more youth looked at in your blog. I think that was something I was missing; if I did not know who the person was and they were older I just wrote them off as being from a different time period. If you make sure to include links to their blogs and get in contact with other bloggers to write about them you will generate a lot more interest in your blog. Someone who I think has quite the following in the fashion blogging world, is young, and has had controversy is Jane Aldridge who writes A Sea of Shoes.
    Jane is a native of Texas, is around the age of twenty, and has been blogging for a few years now. She makes a living off of her blog and did not go to college because her blog got so popular that she has constantly been in demand just to appear at fashion events. Her blog consists of fashion posts and home décor posts that are all quite unique. As you can tell from her blog name she loves shoes, the focus of most of her outfits are her bizarre shoes, usually expensive and high-end. The controversial part about Jane is her attitude, while she clearly loves fashion she has said some things that no self-proclaimed fashionista would ever say. In an article in Texas Monthly (this article caused a lot of controversy for her because of the way she was portrayed) they reported her saying that ‘“Shoes are the only accessible thing in fashion,” she sagely pronounces, with a slight lisp’ and that is why she focuses on them. Jane will not go to any fashion show, no matter how much money you try to pay her because “Every blogger wants to go to Fashion Week now. So boring”. Despite this portrayal in Texas Monthly, Jane truly does love the artistic side of fashion and wears whatever she wants whenever she wants. Jane would be an interesting person for you to look into and I think the idea of writing about more current, younger people will help your blog popularity and foot traffic.

  4. Catherine says:

    Sorry correction: her blog is called “Sea of Shoes”

  5. Tom Pilnik says:

    Being a studio art student, I absolutely love your posts that focus on visual artists. I am fascinated by the way that you use their art intertwined with their personalities and fashion tastes to develop ideas of beauty. But more importantly, you link everything back to intellectualism.
    I would be excited to see a post on Ai Weiwei. Being a more recent figure in the world of art, and having exceptionally loud statements in terms of political activism in China, I think he would be a very interesting and diverse man to cover. Considering a lot of his art is a play on Chinese words and he uses performance elements and clothing within his pieces, his expressions that fashion is not frivolous are very clear.
    He also uses nakedness (in his piece 草泥马挡中央) as a projection of his thoughts and feelings – and thinking about it, a lack of clothes is a fashion statement that could be stronger than the boldest of items. Weiwei is also someone who is intellectually brilliant, a wanted man in China and exceptionally relevant in current affairs. Understandably your blog deals with people who are either not with us anymore, or much more obscure. Someone like Ai Weiwei could bring more attention to this amazing site, as I feel your blog sends out a message that people need to hear!

  6. Gia Marie Baker says:

    I love your blog and have read every entry over the past few months over my lunch breaks. I can tell that my style has improved thanks to your musings! Thank you and I hope in the future you pick it back up again.

  7. There is a post on Ai Wei Wei. Thank you for the suggestion!

  8. Delighted to hear you’ve found the blog helpful in developing your own sense of style!

  9. Thanks for posting it.Much informative and useful blog.

  10. Violet says:

    Just found out about your blog and I am stunned! Great stuff, keep it up <3

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