April 24, 2014
Most people associate me with stripes. The funny thing is the fact that they never look past the visual image to see who I really am. Or is there even a ‘real’ me beyond the stripes. I just try to live my life within the boundaries of stripes, because in a sense it is a world within borders. There is an outside and then there is an inside. I stay inside as much as possible. But I don’t mind sticking my head out between the strips to find out how the world is reacting to whatever that concerns the dear old planet. In Japan, everyone tells me in English that they think of me wearing only ‘border’ t-shirts. That is their way of describing stripes, which is totally different how I see the stripe.
I see the strip as a direction or a road. Not necessary to separate me from another place. But what I do like about stripes is that they are usually the same width throughout its length, and this offers me a sense of peace. I once drew a line, as straight as possible, throughout my house. For instance, right by my bed, the stripe starts, and it leads to the toilet, and then once I get out of the bathroom, I have various stripes to lead me to other parts of the house. I do reach the “fork on the road, ” where I have to make a decision on which line to follow. The thing is to obtain restrictions like that actually gives me guidance and of course direction.
Not surprisingly, I do have a thing for Jean Paul Gaultier, and it mostly deals with his obsession with breton stripes. In 1858, was the first time that the French navy wore striped knitted shirts. The original design featured 21 stripes, one for each of Napolean’s military victories. The Saint James clothing company made the Binic ll sweater, first introduced in 1889 in Normandy. Ever since then it has become the symbol of French design and style. But it also has its rebellious image, just think of Lee Marvin’s character wearing a breton stripped t-shirt in “The Wild One.” In my bathroom I had a collection of Gaultier perfume bottles with the torso with the strip shirt. I liked the weight of the bottles. It felt serious in my hands.
It has been noted that I don’t leave the house unless I’m wearing some stripes somewhere on my body. Without them, I feel not fully me. Again, it is the line that goes in a certain direction that leads me to and from home.