Delight in disorder…

19 Feb

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness;—
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;—
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher;—
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbons to flow confusedly;—
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;—
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility;—
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.

This poem of Robert Herrick, which is here courtesy of Manolo, strikes me as a perfect expression of the quintessential Galliano. An aesthetics of the wild civility.

Herrick is giving examples of what may add the touch of négligé that higher chic depends on. I do not think he advocates using all the tips at once. Galliano does. To the tenth. But there is a fundamental intuition underlying both sensibilities: that what is really human, the finest product of culture, that which above all may touch the sensibility of the artist and the educated, is not the rule and the regularity. On the contrary, the essence of civilization is reached when control is loosening and refinement becomes a spontaneous and exuberant manifestation.

Obviously, nothing in art requires a harder work, a stricter discipline, than spontaneity. It is a supremely ordered disorder we see in these pictures. Yet, all that hard work you went through eventually settles into your bones, and this wild civility appears in the way you move when you’re really drunk, or the way you look when you had 45 seconds to improvise something because the doorbell just rung and you were still sleeping, or the way you run with those heels trying to catch a bus…

For endless delights, I recommend FuckYeahJohnGalliano


3 Responses to “Delight in disorder…”

  1. winnsome February 21, 2011 at 1:36 am #

    This whole concept is so important to me I am always thinking about it. I am always trying to create beauty that isn’t too overworked or “ordered” and it’s SUCH a challenge. May I use this poem on my blog? It really sums up my goal in design.
    luv ur writing

  2. winnsome February 21, 2011 at 2:47 am #

    oh almost forgot “performance”, “wild is the wind” “Fashion Bailout” “couture magic” by Steven Meisel mmmmmmmmmmmmmm he is the master of disorder

  3. Miss Eliza Wharton February 21, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Feel free to use the poem as you want, it was written by Robert Herrick in the 17th century. I used it here because Manolo alluded to it, so all the merit of a very fine literary reference goes to him.

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