STYLE WARS: Three conversations on the power of style
“The Dissident Dandy”
May 12, 2015
Doors: 6 pm
Talk: 7–8 pm
Film screening: 7:30pm
Michelle Tea, Derek Conrad Murray, Soraya Murray, Tania Hammidi, with moderator Nicole Archer and films by Malic Amalya.
“The Dissident Dandy”: In 1962, the critical theorist Roland Barthes noted how the detail, “(the ‘next-to-nothing, the ‘je ne sais quoi,’ the ‘manner,’ etc.),” was what played “the distinguishing role in clothing: the knot on a cravat, the material of a shirt, the buttons on a waistcoat, the buckle on a shoe;” or how fashion’s smallest details possessed the rather sizable power “to highlight the narrowest of social differences.” This conversation considers the extent to which certain masculinities have been not only regulated — but actually relegated by popular fashions, and how different dandies have strategically bumped-up a variety of stylistic details in resistance to this.
Yves Saint-Laurent once famously quipped that “fashion fades, style is eternal.” This enigmatic statement does much to elucidate the powerful place style holds in many contemporary cultures. In particular, it alerts us to the relationship that exists between notions of style and notions of history. Or, to the idea that “to have style” is to have the means of inserting oneself into history, while “to lack style” is to risk oblivion. Bearing Saint-Laurent’s words in mind, this series of critical conversations suggests that tracing style’s fluctuating features and movements across varied social, political, aesthetic, and philosophical terrains is serious work — and that this is particularly true within the realms of fine art, design, art history, and visual studies, as many important figures within these fields have come to both claim and contest the ownership of this term in dynamic ways.
A host of local writers, performers, theorists, and historians will come together on these three nights at the SFAQ Project space to present their thoughts on three very different styles, before entering into a critical, roundtable conversation amongst themselves and the audience.
With films by Malic Amalya
449 O’Farrell St.
San Francisco, CA 94102