3. The war of icons
Catwalk The models glide along the catwalk, high, above the heads of mere mortals, faces lit by the lightening of cameras flashing, faces frozen in gravity. Smiling very rarely and as long as the ritual lasts, the smile falls towards the audience like a sign of grace. Not until the music dies and there appears a great priest, Versace or Kenzo – veritable gods – do the models now turned giggling girls, nestle up to him, waving at the craned necks of lenses zooming in. This though, no longer belongs to the very rub of ritual. That is the picture. Fashion parade – a passion play in reverence of a secret deity. How else to explain the surprising force of the world of fashion? What would this heaven-bound elevation mean – a model, a woman in whom fashion is revelation? Why is her face anchored in infinity and why is she a picture of icy calm, a distance cold to all that is below, at her gliding feet – in a different world? Distance, to the publishers of ‘Vanity Fair’ or ‘Vogue’ bidding for her bodily charms, photographers-in-grotesque, veritable mascarons, contortionists capturing the beauty passing high above, and politicians calculating the gains that beauty can bring. Thus the Greek gods unveiled themselves to man. Thus grey-eyed Athena unveiled herself when she stood behind Ajax. A simple sleight of giving. Woman after woman, always young, emerges from the dark, steps towards the podium edge, there where the hungry bright lights of cameras wait. Walking the catwalk...
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