Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lily Cole Dances The Red Shoes at 2013 London Fashion Week

"She danced, and she was forced to dance through the gloomy night. The shoes the the carried her over stack and stone; she was torn till she bled; she danced over the heath till she came to a little house. Here, she knew, dwelt the executioner, and she tapped with her fingers at the window, and said "Come out! Come out! I can not come in, for I am forced to dance! "

I know!

How unexpected but oh-so-appropriate too.

From London Fashion Week via XPOSEentertainment:
(Super model) Lily Cole opened Vivienne Westwood's latest show with an interpretive dance yesterday.
The fashion designer showed off her Spring/Summer 14 Red Label line at London Fashion Week and as has become the norm for her, it had a strong environmental message.
Lily's movements were inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Red Shoes and she wore a dramatic Grecian gown as she moved her body in a pool of red light.

From the Daily Mail:
Dame Westwood has always used her runway to promote her social and political ideals, and having worked with the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Sunday was another opportunity to provoke change through fashion.And with Lily Cole, the designer has a good ally, who this year directed her first short film with Sky Rainforest rescue to inspire people to protect the environment and tackle climate change.Together at London Fashion Week, the two brought their message to light, with Lily proving again that she is more than just a model.

Although the connection of supporting "climate refugees" and the message of stopping the amount of waste of resources might be a little difficult for some people to see, there's no doubt it got people thinking.

Lily Cole was a natural ally for Ms. Westwood's "Climate Change" agenda, having been outspokenly eco-conscious for some time.

From Ecouterre back in 2011:
British model-actress Lily Cole thinks that the term “sustainable fashion” is oxymoronic, but only in the sense of “fashion” meaning trends. And it’s not a problem that’s unique to the clothing industry, either, she explains to The Guardian on Monday. “I mean, the fact that there’s already a second iPad out now is ‘fashion’, in a similar way,” she says. “I don’t think this is fashion’s fault. It’s a broader issue to do with the capitalism, and an economy which needs us to keep buying, and creating this superfluous kind of waste.”

I would have to say I had never connected Andersen's Red shoes directly with wasting eco-resources but it makes sense. Having had this brought to my attention, I now feel as if my brain was missing the obvious "next step" of HCA's warnings against materialism. The greed - and consequences - of wanting a thing at the cost of everything (and everyone) else, is pretty clear in his story. Your actions, while immediately hurting some and eventually hurting others, do, ultimately come back to you as well. The proverb, "you reap what you sow" (a concept Andersen would have known well, being Christian-minded) holds true.

Lily takes a bow in red shoes
It's interesting to see one of the world's leading designers have such "eco-consciousness". Fashion is said to be frivolous but really clothing (and how we choose to wear what we do) is much more than that. It's image, armor and expression and, being aware of what we consume (which applies directly to clothes and fashion) says a lot about how we consider our place in the world.

Nicely done Ms. Westwood and Ms. Cole. I have a feeling that although Andersen would have been surprised at the interpretation/use of his story, he would have been humbled as well - and possibly have applauded quite loudly too. :)

Note: I have seen small excerpts of Ms. Cole's interpretive dance on YouTube but nothing very substantial. There are video links (supposedly) embedded in the Daily Mail article (excerpt above) but I couldn't get them to play.

On a related note (with regard to working against the destructive tendencies of materialism, as illustrated in HCA's Red Shoes and helping each other be better) Lily Cole is one of those unique celebrities who's very interested and active in promoting the best of the world and of humanity, both in looking after the planet and in looking after each other. Her new altruistic social network IMPOSSIBLE (a play on I'm Possible) is an intriguing new program and attempt at encouraging a "gift culture", leaving money out of it altogether (even her developers and company people are working on this as their "gift" to the world, without monetary compensation). If you're interested in finding out more about her initiative you can see a video explaining it HERE (it's long but very interesting) and the newly launched app is HERE.

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