I just watched this video on the basic task of costume designers in movies
and am smiling kind of wryly. Those are all things I did not
get when I was a teenager, making costumes for high school drama.
It's funny, to see the limits of my own perspective. Back then, I saw the goal of art as faithfully portraying an alternate reality. Someone didn't wear a red shirt because the movie needed a way to set them apart visually--they wore it because it's what they would have worn.
When it came to costume, I felt it was the audience's job to adjust to the odd silhouettes and fashion quirks of the past, and learn to read them; altering historical fashions to be more easily read by a modern audience was heresy.
I remember how much my mind was blown when I took Psychology of Aesthetics in undergrad, when I learned to interpret abstract art and understand the concept of art purely as the means to evoke a certain reaction in its audience. It was like my entire world turned upside down. A whole lot of art I'd previously derided as being trashy or inaccurate or bad just made sense
I remember this was around the time sartorias
was writing about the "silver fork" novel, things looking back
on the English Regency as a time of extreme social refinement and politeness when that was not the way the era saw itself. Learning how to read novels as a product of their era, and not just an inaccurate lens onto a different one, felt like my third eye was being opened.
I'm 32 now, and my sense of how to perceive visual art, of what it's for
, keeps developing in entirely new ways. I remember when I was in elementary school, I always wanted to draw, but art books made no sense
to me. I remember the feeling of my brain bouncing off the diagrams, off the idea of creating an impression of a thing that bore no resemblance to the actual structure of the thing itself.
It's like... now
I'd be ready to begin studying costume design. I just wasn't ready for it before. I've spent all these years focusing on the inner mechanisms of garment construction because that's what I understood, but after decades of a rusty machine stubbornly refusing to work, the gears have started to budge.