I love clothes. Have you noticed? When Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival tickets were pre-released via Ticketek, I pounced. I think that fashion shows are like opera, a spectacle. Light, music, and costumes create drama and the audience watches and enjoys being watched. I found this to be the case at Fashion Week as well.
Of course, watching and being watched required preparation.
I timed a salon visit for the same day as the Festival for a hair colour refresh. I had “Gretchen” ready from Leona Edmiston. But how to get to Town Hall? The previous night I had cycled to Marrickville for a seminar on crowdfunding campaigns. It rained, hard. It was driving, horizontal, cold rain that pelts you in the face and hurts like a thousand imagined Botox injections. I was grateful for the space heater in the room where the presentation was held. I sat very close to it. The radiant heat was reflected on the projection screen. I had parked my bicycle inside the building and draped my raincoat over the top to give it time to dry. My gloves would be soaked for the rest of the evening which would suck. The ride home would be identical to the ride there. Pelting, horizontal rain. The forecast was for the same the next night. As predicted, when I was ready to leave the house, it was raining.
I am a hardy cyclist. You will find me on my bicycle every day rain or shine dropping kids at childcare, riding to work and even out to dinner. I had imagined tucking my hair into my rain hat, hood up on my cycling rain jacket, plastic bag to keep the seat of my e-bike dry but I had to draw the line here. I would take Uber for what is usually a seven minute cycle to Town Hall.
My husband Justin has noticed how he is treated at airport check-in, at restaurants and work functions by the way that he dresses. My influence has spread. Clothing is like lubricant. The right kind can open doors and pave the way while the wrong kind can bring everything to a standstill. I like to err on the side of “open door”. With my hair in the style of Blake Lively from the “Age of Adeline” and my elegant low-cut frock, I walked the soaked, red-carpeted stairs to Town Hall and was offered champagne and shown to my seat.
Town Hall was at near capacity and there was an expectant buzz in the air. Music started and I was dismayed to hear engine sounds (presumably a Mercedes-Benz?) mixed into the soundtrack. And then the show started. It was a spectacle indeed.
After noting the “opposites attract” theme at the Festival, similar to New York Fashion Week, as Spanish/super romantic and provocative clothing influenced by street and performance clothes, I started thinking.
Why was it necessary for the models to be so thin? I understand that these young women are clothes hangers and that the clothes are the focus. Fashion industry people look at clothes in a different way to most of us. And then these types of photos flood into the mainstream. I still believe that these women set a dangerous precedent for girls, for society. There is more to life as a woman than just being pretty, slender or well-groomed. There is being well-read. Mastering the ability to descend a staircase on your mountain bike. Formulating a marketing strategy for your new venture. Getting the top mathematics score on your HSC. Finishing your Ph.D in molecular biology. Traveling the world with a sense of adventure and applying the same to your marriage, your children, your family, your career. Being the best that you can be. There are men who like slender women “modelizers” I think they are called. But for most men, I know that they much prefer to see and feel hips and breasts. And to have a conversation about topics that matter. By the way, the curve is one of the great pleasures of life. And not fake ones either.
The camera adds a few kilos in photos and I understand the need for angularity but there has to be a counterpoint, a healthy one. I don’t agree with the growth and popularity of plus sized models. Why? Because this is also extreme. I had gestational diabetes during both of my pregnancies. Before the first pregnancy, I was obese. Afterwards, I lost fifteen kilos through a combination of healthy eating and exercise. During the second pregnancy, I injected insulin once before bedtime which was an improvement from the first when I was injecting four times a day.
I have a healthy BMI now. Oddly, cycling more has resulted in a few more kilos but also a more slim figure. Muscle. And after breast-feeding two children, an increase of two cup sizes post the arrival of two children. I remember reading a pamphlet provided by the Australian Breastfeeding Association when my daughter was two months old. “Breasts are not just adornment” is all that I can remember.
I have a different shape to the one that I had in my twenties post-NYC Marathon and when I lived in London, the land of the high-fat diet with chips. Why? Because of the bicycle!