Tuesday, 22 March 2011

I grant I never saw a goddess go...

In the words of my good friend The Theatrical Holmes: "I seem to be one of the few people in our year who has retained the childlike wonder that comes with dressing up"

This was true for both of us on Friday when our school decided it was a good idea to ask students to dress up as superheroes and donate £1 to Help for Heroes. This was a good idea in theory, and would have worked if we all had the mental age of about 7. Unfortunately, it was just us select few who fell into that category and everyone else who came in their own clothes. Even then, several people had decided to come as 'their hero' rather than a 'superhero' - I saw a Holly Golightly, a James Bond and even a Gandhi! I, however, decided to go a step further and deliberately misinterpreted the theme and instead of a 'hero' came as 'Hera', Greek goddess of women and marriage.

It made me wonder, why do some of us still love to dress up, while others still see it as immature? Then I realised that these days, my interest in costume mainly manifests itself as an obsession with fashion. In my friend's case it has evolved into a love of all things to do with the theatre. In fact, a lot of the people who chose to raid the dressing-up box are people who have shown a disposition to the fashionable, theatrical or just plain attention-seeking.

This turned my thoughts to another question: Does everyone in fashion have a secret love of dressing up? I think the answer to this is usually yes - minus the 'secret'. Anna Della Russo et al are hardly retiring wall-flowers. But after all, isn't modelling just performing in a costume? Don't stylists just pluck things from their dressing-up box? Obviously it's a little more than that, but perhaps a love of fashion -or theatre, film, performance of any kind, really- does stem from that time when you first put on a Disney princess dress. The swathes of synthetic material and shiny matching accessories might just have sparked that desire to become someone else, look different, find a little bit of magic in life. Then again, perhaps it just sparked the desire to wear pretty dresses.

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