Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Cat's Pyjamas

I have two joint obsessions at the moment: yoga and fashion design. And I rather think the two go hand in hand very well indeed! It's all about the body, and the amazing things we can do with it- I find the possibilities incredibly empowering and sensual, and that's without even thinking about the S word.

My new favourite person has to be the inimitable Gill Cockwell (a.k.a. Gilly Woo). Not that I normally hold with being hung up on celebrities in the slightest, but she's so, well, normal, and she fits right in with my joint fads of the moment. You see, she's not just a stupendous designer, she has real brains behind that there talent. She acknowledges the fashion industry is both "a bitch" and "a fairytale" but ultimitately it's up to us as individuals to recognise that and make our own minds up about how we want to look, feel and act: 
"I want people to accept, and make the very best of, the life they have instead of mourning for one they don’t. I want people, individuals, (not the fashion industry) to stop placing so much emphasis on how they look or what brand of handbag they carry or what generation their iphone is."
How can you not agree with such solid common sense? So whilst I was already in awe of Ms Woo for her sexy, sensuous and glamorous designs which mould to and hold every curve and feminine wile you may possess, I now find she holds a special place in my heart for being such a solid, down-to-earth thinker as well. I wish in reality we could all be so self-aware and self-confident though. For me that's where yoga comes into the equation. Bonkers it may seem, but through yoga you get to know and explore the possibilities of your own body intimately, and you learn to push yourself (gently of course), because through pushing yourself you see rapid achievements, both in body strength and tone, and in bodily confidence and poise. 

I've recently started to teach myself (with the aid of some excellent books) how to draw for fashion design. It's like a concentrated, fast-track, life-drawing class. Through exploration of the body's structure and make-up you quickly learn about proportion and how to create a realistic representation of the body from the inside out. It reminds me of a life-drawing course I did years ago at Edinburgh College of Art. I couldn't believe that at the end of the week I could actually draw something that looked like a real person and not a bad caricature!

I'm not getting as much time to spend on it as I'd like (have you tried sketching whilst looking after a 3 month old?) but I am enjoying the bits of time I can snatch at it, and otherwise thinking about what I might try next. And of course, for my models I have been using some yoga videos which enable me to explore all those muscle groups from a variety of angles and poses, whilst allowing me the freedom to draw from both stills and moving pictures. What better way to indulge my joint fads and to thoroughly appreciate the human form and its wonders all the more?

I thoroughly recommend a good old back-to-basics look at the human body in this way. It really makes you appreciate your own assets anew, in a different light. So whether you're wearing a baggy old jumper or a fabulous ensemble designed exclusively for you and your personality, you should always feel like the cat's pyjamas...

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