AESTHETICALLY AFFECTED

I have a disease. I’m not quite sure how I caught it or even if it’s hereditary, but my issue is this: my mood, thoughts and impressions are highly affected by the look and feel of things. In other words, my surrounding affect my human state of mind. There are stores I’m more eager to buy clothes in, due to the lighting and layout and others I can’t stand being at if things are in disarray. There are cafes I’m more inclined to linger at if the music is right. And there are cities that I’d be content walking around all day where the people are colorful and eclectic. Put down in words, I sound more high-maintenance than affected. I realize this. But I dare say that I’m not the only one so aesthetically affected. While many spend an hour every morning just to walk out of the house looking like “I just rolled out of bed & don’t care what you think” (been there, still am there somedays,) and when the Style and Food section is more quicker to access in the New York Times than wanted ads job, it’s safe to say I’m not the only one. 

With the 2012 Fall New York Fashion Week coming to a close (though I might be one of the few who even cares,) I thought (don’t worry men, this isn’t a style blog and I have no intention of it becoming one. It’s safe to continue on…) I thought it would be appropriate to address now. Fashion week is like a big girls dress up celebration, only with an ungodly amount of money invested in it. Of the blogs I frequent, French photographer and artist Garance Dore is possibly my favorite. Her site, Garancedore.fr based in NYC, is basically a daily feed of the unique street style of New Yorkers. No matter who they are, she manages to capture each individual’s personal style in a way that mesmerizes me. So whenever Fashion Week is in town, her site is a decadent feast for the eyes, particularly those keen on style. 

For Fashion Week she put up a short video, called “Pardon My French!” (Garance is very much French, adorable & hilarious.) It opens with shots of Lincoln Center covered in snow, which make me want to melt.  Just watch it. The pace of the while flurries over the city, against the classical motif is a dead-on example of how easily I’m affected (and the fact that I just love this massive-monster-of-a-city might have something to do with it, even though I know with it’s mad traffic scene and with fire engines squealing by on the hour, it’s not always as dreamy as Dore’s ethereal portrayal.) As much as this celebratory big-girls-dress-up week can be vain, excessive and overtly materialistic, it is a prime place where people from all over the world gather to be inspired, drawn in and awaken. This is just one major, global idea of how affecting aesthetics can be to our human psyche. 

In an even smaller, more individual and local sense, the way in which things are presented to us affects our self-image, our opinion of what is being presented, and our level of comfort. In a way it’s like a sixth sense that each of us have, which you can’t completely define or understand. Imagine if you didn’t have this sense. Imagine you lacked any sense of being awakened by a new song, any sense of enthrallment first watching a Christopher Nolan film, or missed out on an occasional “wow” moment when you walk into a store. (If you are neither awed or enthralled by Nolan’s films, I’m not sure you have a pulse and in fact, pretty sure you’ve stopped reading at this point.)

However in no way do I wish to encourage finding solace in things or credit the source of these senses to define us, which we naturally tend to do. But I marvel at the fact that we all, in our own unique way, have the ability to be aesthetically affected. When God could’ve made it so much more simpler and boring, when we could be eating the same thing out of a trough 2 times a day, be born in uniforms or live in a world that only takes time to create or develop that which is necessary for us. Thank God, He imparted a stroke of His genius creativity in man and a receptiveness in us to enjoy such pleasures in life. Life would be quite dull without such affects. I think it a gift that our personalities could be developed and stimulated in such a way. I think Garance’s photos a gift that I could look on everyday. And yes, I even think the Derek Lams, Diane von Furstenburgs and Stella McCartneys of Fashion Week to be a gift to us. Without such aesthetic affects the world would be a pretty straight-laced place. I guess then, I am grateful for this disease.