Wednesday, August 1, 2012

EDITOR'S LETTER: August 2012

After doing a lot of thinking about Acceptance last month, it was funny that towards the end of the month I received this email from Will and Guy’s Joke of the Day . It was a series of quotes from the popular 19th century author, wit, and quite the dandy, Oscar Wilde. Please take these in, for in my fashion they speak a lot for the ironic truths of our world.

Statue of Oscar Wilde by Danny Osborne in Dublin's Merrion Square

After reading these funny observations about life, parlaying from the subject of Acceptance, I knew that this month would just have to be about how being “Smart is Beautiful”! As I said in my last Style Maven post, ignorance is debilitating, and keeps us from learning the truths of life we need to know in order to be the people we need to be so we can help others.There is a promotional page that runs in Vogue that always proclaims the phrase “Smart is beautiful” and I have to agree, full-heartedly. Why do you think Vogue is such a revered magazine for the fashion onlooker? Because since 1892, they have documented the smart people who have been able to leave a significant mark in the history of their culture, and how they were able to rise above the masses and manifest an individual persona that left a certain impression on the people of their time. As I have found, no one knows everything there is to know about life, so it would make most sense to say that smart people are those that tend to put in the thought power and energy into making the most sense of a particular subject (i.e. fashion/style, sports, geography, cooking, and biology). In my fashion, strength in our modern society is using your wits and intelligence to do as much work for us as is needed to complete a certain task or goal. It’s interesting because while watching the Olympics I realized that there is a lot of hand-eye coordination that athletes must be in tune with in order to be successful. One has to be astutely aware of their own motions, and the motions of others, in the interest of beating one’s opponent, an opponent who has worked just as hard as you and wants that medal just as much as you. As late psychologist, Howard Gardner postulated, that of the nine types of intelligence we humans are to possess, this high type of intelligence would fall under bodily-kinesthetic intelligence [source]. People can be intelligent at many things including: fashion, sports, television, electronics, nature, animals, poetry, rocks, etc. There are so many things to think about! We weren't given this mental capacity of all the species on the planet to sit around not using our brains to explore all that is here in life to explore, physically through our environment, as well as interpersonally, for the mind is the single most unexplored continent on this planet! We are all capable of understanding life; it just depends on how much you make your brain work to pay attention to all the details of life. By learning from our experiences, which according to Wilde’s philosphy, is simply “the name we give our mistakes”, we are able to find our strengths and talents to use them to fuel our thinking, so we can know how to conquer forces of life that oppose us.

Mine and Dwight’s sartorial choices come from the energy of imagination, deliberation, and invention, which fall into a natural rhythm all our own, maintained by innate discipline and a keen sense of pleasure.
Considering the back-to-school season is right around the corner, I figured this would be an appropriate time to emphasize making the right choices (sartorially, and in our every day decision making), being more conscious of the things that happen in one’s environment, continually searching out knowledge, and being able to know how to use your gut when choosing your next steps in life. Just the same as when you have that overwhelming feeling of, “This was made for me,” when selecting that perfect garment in the store, is the same feeling one should have when shopping for the right decisions to make one’s life fulfilling, in all instances of one’s life. As is said in this past July’s Vogue cover profile of Emma Stone who has become an arbiter of a bit of wisdom she took from co-star, Ryan Gosling, who says, "Picking roles is like listening to songs on the radio: "There can be a lot of really great songs in a row, but then one comes on that just makes you want to dance." If you are not doing something in your life that's not making you want to dance, then maybe it’s time for you to reconsider your steps.
“The best thing about dressing her is that she never disappears in the clothes. It’s always Emma wearing the dress—the dress never wears her.” ~ Alber Elbaz, creative director for Lanvin
Having read Nathan Heller’s interview with Emma Stone, I understood why she was a feature for Vogue. I gained many insights from her interview on the process of finding oneself, and the importance of being able to recognize the signs and implications of our talents that will answer the questions in our lives that will lead us down the path of life that will make us feel most fulfilled. She is an excellent example of the message from "Now, Discover Your Strengths" for by discovering her true strengths through trial and error and paying attention to her instinctive qualities in the business of comedy, she found how she would be able to "roll with the punches" of life for "failure is the exact same as success when it comes to comedy because it just keeps coming. It never stops." Substitute the word “life” from the word “comedy” in the latter quote, and one shall find a seamless comparison. The fact that Stone is able to, “glean creative strength from her anxieties,” is as admirable a quality of anyone, for in my fashion, that is the purpose of defining our style.

“Inspired by [Diane] Keaton’s seventies style, she leans toward an unaffected, menswear-infused
wardrobe in everyday life. In more refined company, she favors the work of designers known for their simplifying eye and for their embrace of risk.”
Emma was home-schooled in philosophy, psychology, journalism, and sign-language after dropping out of her freshman year of high school to relocate herself from her hometown in Arizona to Los Angeles because of an overwhelming epiphany that she was to be a movie actress, and to do so, she used a PowerPoint presentation to convince her parents that she must be able to move to the most appropriate environment to further develop her talents. Heller stated that, "many of Stone's most important decisions have an improvised air," a description of her that caught my eye and made me think of one my favorite books, Blink., by Malcolm Gladwell. Blink. is a book about the power of thinking, without thinking. It reveals how, “great decision makers aren’t those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of ‘thin-slicing.’” Gladwell postulates that thin-slicing is a method of thinking that filters the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables. Thin-slicing is an interesting subject because I don’t think it is a process that we as people are very conscious of, but according to my studies, seems to be a process that we exercise unknowingly on a daily basis to make our most important life altering decisions. How strong a “thin-slicer” one is can bring many successes or many failures if you are not aware of the certain signs that show up in your life. Oprah quoted on the cover of O Magazine last August that, “For all the major moves in my life, I’ve trusted my instincts,” and being an avid viewer of her series entitled, “Master Class”, on the OWN Network, judging from the other wise and successful figures she features (i.e. Jay-Z, Simon Cowell, Grant Hill, Diane Sawyer, Maya Angelou, Jane Fonda), I found the ability to thin-slice accurately to be a reoccurring aspect in all of their lives. This month I will share pieces of this book that brought me to a greater understanding of how and when to use thin-slicing more to my advantage in my own decision making processes to get to the next level of my human experience. 

When I thought more to myself on the “Smart is Beautiful” concept, thinking of people whom I considered very smart and wise, I found most of the people that I thought about were actually very funny people! It’s funny when you think about comics and funny people throughout history, because the image of a comedienne’s work has gone from idiotic personalities performing self-busting acts (i.e., court jesters, clowns, and people like Three Stooges and Charlie Chapman) to highly intelligent businessmen, and women, who wield an acute sense of self! People like Monique, Tina Fey, Steven Carell, Chris Rock and Steve Harvey. In lieu of my last Style Maven, Russell Brand, who I also deemed as being a comedic style figure, I figured this month that we would take a better look at these people who, to the untrained eye and closed minded, do nothing more than say stupid things that get a rise, but in all actuality, they represent people who have mastered their perception of themselves to be able to uncover what is ironic about how we live our lives. In most cases, what can be gained from comedians is enlightenment. We learn much from their brutal honesty and quirky observations about life, for comedians stop to consider the aspects of life that people who follow the tide often overlook; aspects that could actually make life better.

Teen Vogue: What do you think
drew you to the stage?
Emma Stone: For me, it was childhood
anxiety and panic attacks. Being able to
 do improv, to just make thinks up
on the spot and be funny or sad or
whatever I was feeling, and to have
it be OK, was super helpful. To this
day, that’s why I love it so much.
Perhaps why I appreciate comedians so much is because they realize that people are going to do what they want, and think what they want. People hide their true feelings for public show all the time, and to get someone to think a different way is through comedy, a most positive form of expression. How comedic one is can have a lot to do with your style, and comedy really speaks a lot for how society is influenced when you really think about. As Oscar Wilde said, "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." If we didn't have comedy we would most certainly be cyborgs walking around Earth with no sense of style, always doing what was necessary, not taking risks! Is it not through disobedience and rebellion that progress has been made? If you take a gander at this Augusts’ “Steal of the Month” subject in Vogue, Los Angeles producer, Brit Marling, made an interesting observation about acting and theater that I feel can be applied to comedy, fashion, and art as a whole. She proclaimed that, “What’s so attractive about acting is that you are working on your imagination, vulnerability, and innocence—all these qualities we lose as adults." Maybe it’s not so much that we lose these qualities of ourselves, but they are very hard to hold on to them as one gets older and gains more life experience. I find these are the only qualities of life that make life interesting and make life enjoyable. In my fashion, to hold on to your imagination and be able to find a healthy outlet to express it, either through comedy, clothes, cooking, sports, etcetera, it takes a strong person to balance your imagination with reality. It’s as Emma Stone says, "Comedy is really vulnerable, but the second something falls flat, you"—she snaps her fingers—" you pick up and continue. You're flashing skin for little seconds. Whereas you're totally naked in something that isn't' funny." Once again, switch the word "comedy" for the word "fashion" from the latter, and one finds another seamless comparison.

No comments:

Post a Comment