Down with the drab in fashion and life

by Cathy Rae Smith
Founder of Culture Magazine

The 1957 film Funny Face features Fred Astaire as a fashion photographer who discovers a bookshop clerk, played by Audrey Hepburn, as the new face for his high fashion shots. This results from editor in chief of a Vogue-like magazine, played by Kay Thompson, lamenting that the issue layouts are boring. She exuberantly proclaims that they need to find something exciting and new – down with the drab, out with the ordinary, think pink!

This seems a metaphor for spring in so many facets. Now is a time of renewal, a time to shed the old cloaks that shielded us from the dark and cold and emerge into a new, lighter manner of being. The weight of fabrics gets lighter as do the color palette.

Switching gears to what may seem a completely different track; I had an epiphany this week in a filmmaking class I have been taking. My intention with a short documentary I was working on was not only to honor my subject and do him justice for kindly lending me his time and talent, but also to make the piece visually tight, (shot and produced well). In so doing, I spent countless hours in the dark cave, (called the editing room at the school). Then the time came for class review of everyone’s reels and the chance for group critique. There were a few whose work I truly loved. They were visually poetic, sparse, sophisticated. Mine, by contrast, was very controlled, heavy handed, and I hate to say it, but, yes, boring!

My epiphany was that this was telling of my place in time right now, charging toward the finish line of a new degree this June and embarking in new areas of exploration, such as sculpture and filmmaking. I have had to be much focused. However, there is a fine line between balancing multiple tasks effectively and just holding on to tightly. It is also important to be loose and light. As a good friend often says, “Just go with the flow.” From wardrobe choices to living an interesting life overall, sometimes less is more!

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