Valentino & Mr. Wright

Two men with vanity. And because of their absolute confidence, immortal.

The documentaries
Valentino: The Last Emperor
Frank Lloyd Wright (PBS 1998)

One can argue that neither fashion nor architecture is a necessity for humankind. If we lived in a world without anything beyond what is absolute necessary, what kind of feelings would the evening gown or Falling Water stir in us?

Over thousands of years, we are conditioned to appreciate such things. Gradually we distribute larger and larger part of our happiness to them.

In Valentino’s film, his 45 years’ career celebration was held in a museum hall. Gowns that he designed over the years were hung in rows on the wall. The gowns, heavily decorated and without a real body inside, looked almost scary. In another scene, Valentino and his partner argued about the backdrop of his fashion show. The sand dunes, made out of hard plastic, looked almost cheap when there was no light on. With lighting, they still looked out of place in contrast to his elaborate evening gowns. Yet, the audience were moved. Why? What is in addition to the design which get us emotionally charged?

Only recently I learned each year’s fashion “hot” color was decided by a group of designers. Did I really think that the trend was consolidated from data by watching how people wear on the streets? In reality, we were marketed to.

Architecture, is different The feeling we get inside a building comes directly from us. We do not need to be told how to feel. Quoting from a architecture critic, “Great architecture, like any kind of great art, ultimately takes you somewhere words cannot take you at all…Some experiences gets you in your gut. And you just feel it. And you can’t quite even say it.”

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