We all know Oscar Wilde as a poet, a writer, a playwright, an aesthete, a critic, but do we, I mean how many of us know he also quoted profoundly on fashion and clothing? Not many, I am sure! Maybe the folks working in the realms of fashion know.
Well! Wilde’s writings on fashion have been collected in “Oscar Wilde on Dress”, released in a limited edition of 100 hand-sewn copies , the centre piece is a long-lost essay , ‘The Philosophy of Dress’, which is all about how fashion (at its most forward) is a feminist art .It appeared in the New York Tribune in 1885. The essay remained unknown to Scholarship until 2012, when it was rediscovered and published in the book form.
Wilde himself was a dandy in his day; and a vision of beauty could move him to poetry, eg:
For in that golden dress
Of beaten gold,
Which is more golden than then the
No woman Veronese looked upon,
Was half so fair as thou
Whom I behold.
But he was also a fashion activist and lived in an era when society demanded that women fit themselves, into repressive corsets, capable of forcing women’s waistlines down to 15 inches. He advocated women to be liberated out of the claustrophobic corsets.
“I care nothing at all for frills…but I care a great deal for the wonder and grace of the human form,” he wrote. “The beauty of a dress depends entirely and absolutely on the loveliness it shields and on the freedom and motion that it does not impede”.
In his lifetime, Wilde advocated the style of the Renaissance girl: the woman obliged to dress fashionably and yet who [is] of active habits, constantly walking, riding, bicycling, and dancing.
If you look at his quotes, they are so apt, even in this era, for egs:
Well! I think, if you look at it in a certain perspective, it is so true! Although he has put it across bluntly, without any euphemism, it stands true, as any fashion, if stuck to, beyond six months continuously ,tends to get boring; in his words…ugly. We Indians actually do not practise a six month fashion season strictly. We do not adhere to a clean fall/ winter or spring / summer calender for fashion. But actually, if you look at the scene in scrutiny, you would see that there is indeed a change of fashion every six months or at least people have a tendency to buy something which looks different every six months!
Take a look at another one.
It is so true! Think about it. If one person is over educated, we won’t give a damn if he/she is over dressed, because we look up at these scholars and would discount anything what they wear. We might even start following that as a trend!
Another brilliant quote of Wilde.
Rightly said. Don’t you think we all think and behave in this manner? When we wear something, how much ever it looks out of fashion, we don’t care. We wear it with mighty attitude, but if it is someone else, we react and snub, fuss over a million things and say, “How can they”?
Let’s remember Wilde as also a Fashion Analyst as much as he was a Great Poet or a brilliant Writer and celebrate this multi faceted celebrity.
Let’s go wild on Wilde! Yippiee! Here we go…
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