the flash of gold teeth

    On the opening night of Frieze London, I was floating around aimlessly when suddenly I got struck by the tension in the air. In half turn, in the corner of my eye, I saw a tiny woman, straight and still, while people and energy were forming a little vortex around her. And - oh my! - there was a metallic glare in her mouth. I looked mesmerised at this figure carrying herself with such utmost ubiquity. Her dark olive skin was glowing. Her calves were extremely shapely and the strapped high heel shoes were looking as if they were a natural extension of the legs. Her hair was dark. Her dress was black and sculptural, its volume easily competing with her entire body. She wasn't young, and she had gold teeth. I was smitten. 
    Probably I should not have admitted so easily not knowing - at the time - who she was. Nevertheless, sometime later I have seen the photo of this very woman in "Réattu Museum", the book of works by Katerina Jebb. There she was. I found Michèle Lamy. 

 photograph Danielle Levitt for the Observer

photograph Danielle Levitt for the Observer


    From that moment it was a glide to follow her story. Cosmopolitan fashion matriarch with underground performing roots. Michele is of French descent, born in 1944. She keeps vague about her past, particularly 60's and 70's, there are the stories though of ditching law background and touring with the cabaret. In 1979 she moved to America, first to New York then to LA, where she set up a fashion line and animated underground life. Now she lives in Paris. She is married to Rick Owens, many years her junior, and they work together on their fashion brand. She also owns the archive of Comme Des Garçons sculptural pieces, including entire Kawakubo’s SS12 collection in white. She talks incredibly about developing a personal response to the clothes and the designer, and about necessary lifestyle adjustments while wearing sculptural garments. 

 photograph Pierre Debusschere for Dazed

photograph Pierre Debusschere for Dazed

 


    Michèle Lamy is a woman that lives by her own rules and made the success out of it. How incredibly inspiring she is. Her sense of aesthetics, her energy, her creativity, her entrepreneurial drive. And I can guarantee that you will sense her presence before you can see her. 

 

the pursuit of happiness

Some time ago, during “off” phase in my long-term “on and off” relationship, I gave an online dating a go. There I was, on our second date, sitting in the fancy cocktail bar with the man from outside of my usual circles, sipping the sophisticated cocktail,  when suddenly and entirely out the blue, the question “What is your five years plan?” has hit me. Only mildly alarmed at this point, I brushed it off cheerfully: “Oh, I want to be free and happy”.  Then I made the mistake of returning the question. It was when he said with utter confidence and decisiveness: "I plan to move from the flat to a house and have two children ", that I had to fight the urge to run.  As might be expected, we haven’t dated much longer.


Here I am now, five years - or more - have passed. Am I happy?  Am I free? 

At times I am happy. At times like this glorious morning, that arrived subsequently to a couple of grand spring days in London. I woke up early in the morning before the alarm went off, the neighbours still asleep and the house is quiet, I made myself a cup of coffee and relaxed into reading a wonderful book, the book that praises quiet happiness and freedom. 

Most of the time though I am not happy. Or, in fact, free. Is it because I have not made a plan how to become happy and free? A clear, concise plan that I systematically follow? Is it because I relate happiness to making art, yet most of the time I find myself distracted from making art by being preoccupied with trivial time-consuming activities that intend to keep an overpriced roof over my head in this overpriced city of depressing weather? Is it because I get lost in the yearning desire to be in a different city,  with a different person or a better version of the person I am with? Is it because I didn’t have the plan how to make it happen? The trouble is I always considered an artistic practice to be an organic one that cannot be structured or planned. Is this the source of my lack of happiness?  A misconception?  The idea of running away and starting from scratch, starting clean somewhere else is forever appealing; more appealing than going through laborious groundwork in London that doesn’t seem to end.  Perhaps it is not possible for me to be happy in overconsuming London. Perhaps I indeed should go and live where the sun continuously gives everyone energy and stimulates pineal gland for that primal happiness. 

Today though, on Sunday 22nd of April at 10.06 a.m., today I am happy in London. I wish that all of you, wherever you are, at least are happy at times.