Sunday, 31 July 2011
the intersection of fashion and culture
I look like a Barcelona housewife in this outfit, but that's neither here nor there. I'm not sure what's up with this dress; when I put it on and look in the mirror I see something swingy and casual and sort of chic, but when I look at photos I see, well, a housewife in a shapeless blue sack.. Whatever, some summer days it's so hot in Barcelona that you can't even think, let alone worry about what you're wearing.
Anyway, that aside, what I want to talk about are the shoes. I've recently acquired a couple (well three, but the more special ones have to wait for tomorrow's posts) pairs of shoes that aren't exactly fashionable, or even stylish, but appeal to the nostalgic and cultural explorer in me. Specifically, the two pairs above, are what a few years ago I would have dismissed as old lady shoes without a second thought... but now they represent life in Barcelona for me and I love them. Both types are worn by your average Catalan, young or old, male or female, interested in style or no, as a culturally specific form of summer survival gear. The red shoes, espardenyes, are probably typical not only to here but to much of Southern Europe, but for me they'll always be synonymous with Barcelona. As you can see, they're a fairly close but stripped down relative of the espadrille (über popular this year). The brown shoes are "menorquines," from the island of Menorca, and also seen basically everywhere.
I find it kind of delightful to reference a culture I grow increasingly fond of in my footwear, even if the reference is lost upon a number of my readers around the world. It feels like in an increasingly globalized world we can be inspired by fashions and traditions from all over, but the decade to decade definition of what the "good" silhouettes or styles are is ever narrowing as people around the world emulate the same designers or shop in the same stores. And sometimes it's just great to step back, to take a moment to connect with where you are, rather than what you are or who you are or what image you're trying to project, and dress like everyone else for a while... even if that leaves you looking paradoxically out of place in the virtual community.
Do you have anything in your wardrobe that is culturally dear to you? Is it from your own culture or another that you identify with?
P.S. The lizard design is a cute addition to my menorquines. In general they're just plain, and often a paler beige, although you can get them in most colours,
dress: second hand from Beacon's Closet, shoes: menoquines, earrings: Spank (Vancouver boutique)