The last time I encountered Michèle Lamy was in January, backstage at the menswear show of Rick Owens for FW19. There’s an utterly motherly aspect when you observe her, she is always with a smile making sure that everybody is OK. Her dressing codes underline her presence and she becomes an easy target to look at.
Last summer, while I was writing my second book Theorem[a] I asked Michèle to define – or better to justify her views on the “body”, the emotion, and the politics in fashion. Frankly speaking, when she started sharing her thoughts, I found myself looking at things from an entirely new perspective while she enabled me to go into my research even deeper. While she is in Los Angeles only a few days before the frenzy of the Fall2019 womenswear begins in Paris, I ask her to tell me about her recent collaboration with Frederic Heyman for his film Virtual Embalming, along with Isabelle Huppert, Kim Peers. A testimony for the glorification of the digital body… Frederic Heyman is the most incredible talent! How could he realize – and magnify my suggestions and descriptions? Although we never met, he created that piece from my words alone. Virtual Embalming grounded me on the passing of time. I am truly happy that when he asked me to share a text I am most fond of it was one by Etel Adnan that came to my mind: “We are moving towards something that does not exist.
The journey is infinite, the passenger is not.”I ask her about motivation and what makes us take risks in life, her relationship with time. Poetry, splurges of time and adventures, one thousand and one nights! This all resonates with me. But then my generation could soon disappear -one before last – but somehow I don’t feel it in me. So there are plenty of times to take risks (as you say). I would call that nothing less but curiosity; curiosity is a bond between people. If I speak of my “art”, I think it is really to be intrigued and bond with people for a certain path. She told me how she was just reading an interview of Bob Irwin that made her realize that. Lamy is known to be an unstoppable source of inspiration and creativity. It’s always captivating for one to observe her ways of expression, through art, the furniture, and music, and her music performances… It is the same for me as what I mentioned earlier, including my music performances. It’s all in me.
She is undeniably enthusiastic as she talks about her music band. I took poets with me on this journey, Langston Hughes as always and now Etel Adnan. Then I met the musicians and composers Nico Vascellari and Rocco Rampino. My daughter Scarlett got involved as well and by now we have two albums. She continues. I love that Rick remixed
one of the tracks from the first Lavascar album for his show a couple of years ago. She confesses that she is ready to listen to another remix from their second album, which will be played next Thursday at Rick’s show, her partner for 29 years. I saw the moonlight on you and did not want to wake you up. I’m proud to be part of his show and yes Fashion shows reflect our emotional state and I’m sure that is absolutely true for him as well. What a tour de force the fashion shows are! It takes 10 minutes to convey on some 40 models – carrying so many emotions and personal statements regarding our place in the world. And the hype and the excitement; all our Instagram pictures help us, I think, to be less categorized about genders, classes, and categories. There is so much of it! It is a great ‘mixer’!
We need to seduce each other with our bodies, gesture, voices, and clothes.
I ask her if it is easy to remain true to our fashion morals in a world that is hype directed and about Rick’s response to the way she likes to dress. Do I seduce Rick wearing mainly his clothes? Am I the
crazy witch of the family? These clothes feel like an extension of my body-as do the rings I have on and my black-painted fingers. When I wear Comme des Garçons is it a threat or a homage?
We end up speaking about consciousness and emotion. She shares a quote from Etel Adnan: “To chase the Pacific horizons I’ll need an infinity of life!” and adds: I like to discover places and bring something to them. It’s a way for me to feel that I am not from the outside. I think it’s the shortest way to belong when placing your personality into a setting; it’s very much an instinct for life.
Through my performances, I want to discover the world, but I want to be able to communicate at the same time, so this way of thinking could be a good passport. I like to use spaces that people would not expect me to. I like to surprise but also to create something unique within a setting that does not automatically lend itself to the project.
Originally published in Boycott Magazine Issue #07
Thank You Janet Fischgrund.
“Notes Toward a Conditional Art” by Robert Irwin
and Matthew Thomas Simms (J. Paul Getty
“Theorem[a], the Body, Emotion, and Politics in
Fashion” by Filep Motwary (Skira 2019)