If you had to choose one object that represented you over your lifetime, what would it be? Tough one. But this is the question that designers including Karl Lagarfeld, Sarah Burton and Tabitha Simmons have been faced with. Over the past two decades, so basically my entire life, which item sums you up without the need to utter a single word?
The idea behind this fashion item selection is all in the name of charity. 34 pieces of swish designer memorabilia were last week gathered to create a ‘time capsule’ in which they were eventually auctioned, with all money going to Oxfam. The event brought in £4825.72, which is not as much money as I would have expected, but could this be due to the nature of some of the items on sale? When one looks at how the selected designers have gone about choosing their ‘sum up’ object, I wonder if they have got it on the mark.
For starters most of the big fashion names involved have not gone for any clothing related. There is a lighter from Versace and a David Bowie record from Frida Giannini amongst the bunch. But what about the clothes? This is a fashion based auction after all with a fashion hungry audience wanting to get a piece fashionable pie.
Chanel’s genius, Karl Largarfeld put forward a small grouping of items, which make up his signature look. Lagerfeld’s tie, featuring two delicate gold pins (a camera and paint palette), and a white collar, both of which the designer has presented on a velvet Chanel hanger are most yummy. The iconic designer has also used tipp-ex to write “that’s all I did” on the tie, explained in his quote: “You see that’s all I did in the last 20 years…Chanel and myself. A camera for all the photos I took. A palette for all the sketchbooks I made.” Not only is the item wearable, but many, including myself, would treat it as a form of art installation to be worshiped rather than worn. But, either way Largarfeld has made a perfect selection given the brief.
Compare this to the bizarre item presented by that of London based set designer and illustrator, Gard Card, who has worked with a long list of talents including Stella McCartney, Hermes and Comme des Garcons.
Card included in the collection the not so pretty sculpture of a man who is suffocating. Although he has recently made the transition into the world of art, I cannot help but think an illustration or a more conventionally attractive piece might have raised a higher bid. He said, “…masking tape and me go back a long way. In fact, the first thing I ever made for Dazed (Dazed and Confused magazine) was with the stuff so it seemed appropriate to return to the material for the (Magazine’s) anniversary. What could be more fitting for a time capsule than a suffocating man gasping for air for eternity?” It is all very arty and conceptual, but who wants to bid for Card’s grizzly offerings when you could buy a Swarovski crystal encrusted lighter courtesy of Donatella Versace?
The original question is not easily answered. Items that sum my life up over 20 years consist of a diet coke can, Reebok Classics and hair rollers. So who am I to question the likes of Gary Card. But it is an interesting money making stunt, that although did not raise a huge amount, still makes the fashion brain itch.