Thursday, February 23, 2012
Meditations on Design
Beauty enough to make you weep sometimes. Beauty you want to surround yourself with. Create a cocoon of it around you. An Hermes scarf about my neck. A Barcelona chair in the corner. A Scavolini kitchen to prepare my food in. A Maserati to transport me to work. A Chanel bag to hold my lipstick. Do I need any of it? No, of course not. Is it even possible? Some of it - maybe. (I do have the Hermes Scarf) Does it mean anything in the end? Not at all.
Then why, oh why, do we enjoy it so much? What drives the world to covet these things? Have you ever studied the fine details of such things? The perfect and precise stitching on a designer handbag, the luxurious silk lining, the soft and supple leather, the well thought out interior details for function and the quality of the clasps and handles or straps? There is no comparison to a mass-produced fake leather bag. None whatsoever. So, is it really the logo we want? Maybe for some, but not for me. I am not fussy about which designer logo is attached to it. I am more concerned about the quality of the item - no matter what it may be.
I am definitely not interested in the latest and greatest. I would just as soon find a fabulous bag at a consignment shop despite the year it came out, as long as it was well maintained and in good condition and the real deal, not a knock-off.
I did the knock-off thing once in NYC. Ventured down to Canal Street and slithered into a low-ceilinged basement with some Asian woman in flip flops and baggy pants. It was an adventure to be sure. Seedy. Illegal. Creepy. I bought a knock-off Chanel bag, a Gucci bag and wallet and my bff bought 3 bags as well. We made off with our green garbage bag full of loot and within a year, all of our bags had either broken straps or clasps and were toast. I have a lovely Fendi bag I bought nearly 10 years ago that still looks and functions great. Living proof that quality trumps every time.
Anyone with a sense of style does not have to have the latest of any collection every season. That is easily executed with accessories. Add those to your quality basics and you are good to go. Good design does not have to be out of reach. You just have to be savvy and know where to shop and snap it up when it presents itself. That of course is doable with fashion, but what about the bigger ticket things? The kitchen and the car? That may take a little more work. But when I figure it out, I'll let you know...or not.
But back to my quandary. How does one relinquish the attachment to these things and still work in the design field? I read a quote the other day - it went something like this - "Freedom belongs to the rich and powerful, or the artist or monk who relinquishes all attachment to things." If that is true, then most of the world is living in that middle ground. Does that mean that the majority are not free? And does not being free mean they are unhappy? Is it so black and white? Can freedom only be attained at either end of that spectrum?
Does that mean the entire group in the middle are either trying to become rich and powerful or shedding their possessions and moving to an ashram in India? What to do? What to do? The answer I think lies in living in the moment as much as possible. Practice being grateful for the things you do have and don't kill yourself trying to attain that bag or that car or that kitchen. Stay open to the possibility that anything can happen in your life and that whatever does happen, happens for a reason that you may or may not ever figure out.
You don't have to own a Picasso to enjoy one - just google it! Or frame a poster. Go to a museum and sit and stare. There are choices. There are ways.
One thing for sure - I won't lose a minute of sleep worrying about it.