My mind often wonders during a fashion show. Sometimes, I make mundane lists. Other times, I analyze the state of my cuticles. More often than not, I contemplate my next meal. Lately, the news has been so heavy between the conflicts in Gaza and the Ukraine, the missing Air Malaysian flight, ISIS, Boko Haram and basically anything Monsanto. It's made me question my love of luxury amidst a very depressing time. I've needed to balance the material with the spiritual.
After a month of European couch surfing, last week I decided to attend Marianne Williamson's Monday night "A Course in Miracles" lecture at the Saban Theatre. I have been familiar with Ms. Williamson since around 1987, when I worked at the metaphysical book store, The Bodhi Tree. I famously could sell a thousand dollar crystal ball better than anyone in this New Age emporium. I have always walked the line between material and spiritual.
Watching the very attractive and gifted Ms. Williamson dressed sharply in a white blazer, black Capri pants with an ankle split and spectator pumps, my mind wandered as I thought about the relationship between my spiritual and material sides. The lecture dealt with ideas of personal responsibility, freedom from victimization and many other poignant topics. My mind wandered to Capri and the Alta Moda collection made by truly skilled artisans. I thought about the terrible labor conditions of fast fashion designs that make trendy clothing more democratically affordable, yet are responsible for so much pollution and abuse of workers paid reprehensibly low wages in unsafe working conditions. I thought about the respect and interest my friends who bought each one-of-a-kind Dolce e Gabbana dress had for the integrity of each design; considering a look no different from a piece of art to be an investment treasured as an heirloom. In contrast, so much fast fashion is merely disposable with no consideration to the human toll to make a dress for $30 versus $30,000. Which made me think: perhaps the more spiritual consumption of the material is that which we often condemn -- extreme luxury.
If haute luxury maintains a rarified work force paid for their quality of talent over quantity of production, might we consider the clients of Haute Couture more like art patrons? I am curious what readers think of my argument that the material world can be a spiritual world, too. We just need to find the balance.