...or tries to...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Window Shopping

As any devotee of Project Runway knows well, the shopping mall, according to Michael Kors, is a wretched hive of spandex and acetate villainy, the standard measure of the low brow and the common. Anything that sinks below the good taste limbo pole is banished there immediately-an amusing touch of irony, considering that my local mall contains not just a golden-hued Michael Kors ready-to-wear boutique, but a glut of his low priced Macy's wear. If any designer owed a debt to the institution, at least as a bankroll for his higher pursuits, it's the CFDA award winner. I'm not a big department store shopper, having turned to resale and thrift shops years ago. And maybe it's because my nearest mall is particularly snooty-though it does have plenty of kiosks filled with glittery hair accessories a few rhinestones short of tiaras, it is, for the most part, stocked with things I plain can't afford, and never will. It's a shrine to the unattainable, not to pleather and all things flammable.  My Mom and I go there because it's like a bright shiny carousel-we don't ride the ride, but we love to look at the pretty whirling things. The colors! The lights! And it's been, lately, an amazing curiosity cabinet, the store windows like surreal full-size shadow boxes-

with backdrops made of hundreds of children's handmade butterflies,

Pink balls of yarn larger than poodles, 

Ostrich eggs hatching retail,

Marigold paper precipitation,

Ice cream at Tiffany's,

Mysterious encounters,

 Couples with eyes only for each other,

and time on their hands.

How much like the hands holding candelabras in Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast? Very much, even though their enchantment is basically a plea to buy. But if you don't buy, it can still enchant in its way. There's very little of this kind of stage craft in everyday life nowadays, so if the mall can manage to transport me on a rainy Saturday afternoon, well, take me away. 


Daydreamer said...

Amy, I Must confess that I avoid the malls... because I have not enough money to indulge.... but the Window shopping when I do pass them is ALWAYS eye candy in the Extreme! Artistry of a high caliber in temporary installations... inspiring, tweaking, teasing our desires.... whispering to our fantasies.... suggesting ones we didn't know we had... it is Dangerous to a Visually Susceptible Person!!
I must say that your images in this post struck me in that they ALL had an ovoid theme.... hidden or overt.... I Know that is one of the shapes you resonate to...! I Particularly like the Dali-esque clock.... Time on our hands... HA!

Amy said...

You know what, I didn't notice the circular theme, but now that you so astutely pointed it out, it makes sense! We are almost subsconciously attracted to things and themes-I keep trying to escape the circle, but it keeps dragging me back in.

I agree with you about the mall as a shopping place-it was much more fun finding a Marc Jacobs blouse at Goodwill than if I had the resources to buy it new in Neiman Marcus. Much much more fun.

Sans! said...

Me 3! I too prefer "pre-loved" shops or flea markets and dusty haunts. But one of my favourite running routes is the one past our busy Orchard Road that is lined on both sides with huge fancy shopping centres. I am drawn to the glitzy and the superficial despite and in spite of myself.

I have a dirty secret. Window dressing is my dream job . I did it once for my sister's home furnishing store. It was years ago when she first started. A time when family members double up as sales girls, "visual merchandisers", cleaning ladies. If I have another life, one where I am a millionaire, I will window dress for free.

Amy said...

Sans, I too would love to dress windows-I almost applied for a job at a shop as a display assistant but I had absolutely no qualifications other than "I really love shop windows". (I love to eat, but no one should hire me as a chef!) They're stage sets, shadow boxes, curio cabinets, book covers, giant dollhouses, you name it! How could we not be tempted?