Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dress Code

Compressed charcoal on brown paper

In yesterday's header I wrote 'Toront' instead of Toronto but I like that typo and have no intention of correcting it. I have learned to treat myself tenderly like a child. This is not self indulgence, it's New age grooming. My typos are precious to me. By and large I am such a good speller. One of the few benefits of growing up in Saskatchewan was an immersion in spelling bees. When our teacher didn't know what to do with us which was often, he would divide our class into teams and we’d get drilled in spelling. Hence my proficiency in that, but not in much else.

(Microsoft has just told me to check my grammar but I’ll ignore them).

Now, skip a ftew years. When I went to the Neighbourhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in NY, E 55th St., women were strictly forbidded to wear jeans, forbidden. That was the year Meisner took over. No one argued with Meisner. His scream could send you into months of therapy. The following year, jeans were in. He decided to relax the dress code.

In Toronto my husband used to go to work in his pyjamas once a month. That was dress down day. That’s how they encouraged solidarity amongst the staff.

To cut to the chase, my sole motive for becoming an artist was to have the freedom to wear what I please. I could put on a burlap bag and no one could tell me not to. In fact, I choose not to wear burlap bags because I need them to reinforce my plaster moulds. I am just illustrating a principle. Principia artistica, principia aesthetica.

To extend this thought further, it comes to mind that style is highly personal. I think in particular of Lucille Villeneuve Evans, a breathtakingly beautiful woman, who, well into her eighties still continued to teach voice at McGill University. At any time of morning, day or night, she would be impeccably dressed, made up, and wearing on her feet exquisite high heels. It was implicit that the young women she taught were to follow her example. In her case, no to flip flops and no hiking shoes. But she always moved with infinite grace.


  1. Here I am looking at a drawing that would have made Mike angelo proud, and the discussion runs to runners and high heels. Stilettos, which I called staccatos wrongly last week, because I cannot wear those things, but of course wish I could. Man you can sure write. Or should I say
    right as you are extolling the virtues of the error. Or is it just the virtues of telling the whole world to go to Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire?

    Love xoxoxoxoxoxBarbara

  2. I love high heels, they do great things for the gastrocnemius – calf muscles. You’ll have to take my meandering with a grain of salt. I had a relapse yesterday of a very sore throat from the previous week when I received two flu shots one in each arm and today I am on an antibiotic which I hope, will intercept my post nasal drip. I am telling the world to drop the ‘h’ if they feel like it, as I myself am my own worst pedant.