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The Art of Glamour Comfort
This piece was written a year ago for my literature course, I find it apt to share it all with you now considering we appear to be in the midst of an apocalypse. It better explains my notion of glamour comfort and my developing understanding of beauty, choice, and death. It has been slightly edited and updated for your present-day consumption.
Having been obsessed with fashion for what seems like all of my existence, I have run into the repetitive motif of “Beauty is pain” in almost the entirety of my relationship with the fashion industry.
It is a statement I find not only intensely offensive but also barren of imagination, ingenuity & care for the human body. I also suspect this relationship with discomfort has quite a lot to do with the fact that most of the famed artists of fashion catering to the female form are male & thereby polluted with the nonsensical nature of the patriarchy & its inherent ridiculousness.
In the creation of my work for myself & others, I have always been keen on the idea that one need not be uncomfortable to be beautiful, one can only be the most beautiful version of oneself when one is the ultimate definition of comfortable.
How can discomfort ever be qualified as beauty outside of the world of sadism?
I came to this faith in fashion via an autoimmune disease that threatened my life as well as my fabulousness, during my trails with this disease I was gifted with a young & hopeful doctor who gave me advice that has since been seared into my heart, she said;
“You can only feel your best when you look your best.”
This statement became a life jacket in the raging waters of my disease; it enabled me to put on lipstick in the midst of my pain & encouraged me to seek out clothing that wouldn’t diminish my sense of style at the cost of comfort. This eventually led me to the creation of my own fashion label & to the creation of a specific piece that has guided me through many a lupus flare up & crippling emotional distress; the Frank Selasie kimono.
The velvet edition of the Frank Selasie kimono is as rich as it simple. It can be worn a myriad of ways, as a simple kimono with a detachable or attached sash or as a new-age rendition of the Grecian toga cinched at the waist & draped over the lower half of the body. It is a piece meant for languishing in bed, at home, or anywhere one could retain a real sense of relaxation. When it was first created I wore it to every Doctor’s appointment I had, it paired lovingly with a simple red lip & never failed to dazzle what specialist was blessed to have an appointment with me at that time.
Doing something as simple as making myself marginally presentable truly made a difference in my understanding of pain, death & choice.
It always increased the value of fashion in my mind & my heart. Fashion as a means of salvation became a respected avenue of life itself, fashion as a means of comfort, fashion as a means of utility, as well as fashion as a means of the ascension of the soul above the betrayal of the flesh. I found comfort in the rich luster & feel of black velvet against skin that didn’t know if it wanted to stay on my body or fall off with the dramatic assistance of my autoimmune disease.
The other kimonos in the Frank Selasie collections all possess a variety of style & fabric choice that each serves a purpose according to their wearer, aside from the velvet kimono, another personal favorite remains the velvet print lace kimono. The velvet print lace kimono is just that, a kimono crafted with lace decorated with velvet print. It carries a far more elegant feel on your skin than the particular substantial nature of velvet itself & can contribute to a feeling of delicacy if that is what you want to foster. As opposed to the heavy protection velvet might provide, the velvet print lace adds to an air of sexuality in its translation of elegance. It can be worn to seduce your partner or yourself; it can be worn to remind yourself & the world that you are a powerful & beautiful being who deserves to be loved, spoiled & cherished while feeling as good & as comfortable as one can at the same time.
When facing difficulties in life, it is evident that the challenge of being or even feeling a conception of ugly compounds the stress exponentially & so I found reprieve in these little ways of keeping up appearances not only for the world but yourself & your sense of self. It doesn’t take all the money or discomfort in the world to be or feel beautiful, all it takes is a Frank Selasie kimono & lipstick in your preferred shade & you too can be likened to a goddess in the midst of whatever pain or difficulty you might feel.
Life is & can be a harsh & terrible thing to live through; we might as well look & feel our best living through it.
I spent the majority of the last ten years of my life considering death, how I want to die, how I want to look when I die, and what I want to wear when I die. As macabre as it might seem these thoughts and the decisions they enabled were a great comfort to me in the midst of solitude filled with pain.
Some might refer to this mode of living as pure vanity, but when your body betrays you when it is apt to, such strength can be found in the tiniest of decisions such as this.
One of the greatest pillars of my life passed away last year, she was a force of grace, beauty, and magic. She was my grandmother and I adored her for everything she was and everything she wasn't. One of the first things she was in life was beautiful and she took great pride in how she lit up a room when she walked into it. Every Sunday she would sew a brand new piece for whatever major social event would have the pleasure of her presence that week, her social calendar was generally full to the brim as a wife of a prominent chief. Between the years 2018 up to her death in 2019, she had a total of 4 strokes. The third and fourth debilitated her entirely, she could no longer speak, she could no longer sew, and she could barely smile.
After the 4th stroke, she started refusing food. She, in essence, began to starve herself, it seemed as though she was protesting life, as she was being forced to live it, itself. She had also stopped smiling, entirely. That is until she would see my face and then all of her teeth would shine and her eyes would twinkle and I knew that it was my beauty that was so much like hers that delighted her so. In her last few weeks of life, I felt such a responsibility to continue on in her place. To shine, to glow, to exude the supernatural grace her blood had bestowed upon me. It felt as though my beauty was no longer my own, it was instead a direct reflection of all who had come before me.
Sometimes I wonder if it would have made a difference if her caretakers had made small attempts to please her by taking care to dress her up, to put lipstick on her, to be more mindful of the fabrics they chose to drape her in while she still lived.
Would she have had more interest to stay with us if those needs we so often decry as vanity were sated?
When she died my family took great care with her body, at her funeral alone she had 5 outfit changes, she was dripping in jewels and imported lace and her youngest grandchildren proudly looked upon her as if she was an angel.
It remains bittersweet that such care was taken with the presentation of her corpse but not within her last moments when she would've truly enjoyed it most.
We adorn our bodies in death in ways that are condemned as vain and conceited while we are alive.
As for me? That mild-mannered hypocrisy is not my portion.
My reflection was and remains my dearest comfort.