Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Summer in the City

It's what, on this side of the Atlantic, could be called the washed out Boden look. Probably borrowed wholesale in some of the smarter London postcodes ( we Brits are nothing if not impressionable) from the east coast of the USA.

Deck shoes and no socks. Distressed chinos. And a faded short sleeved shirt.

There is a message. And it goes something like this: the family has a house in Cornwall ( the Hamptons). We summer there. I am only temporarily in the city. I can't be bothered to change. And that's because really, if you take away the Porsche Cayenne, I'm just a surf dude.

Which, I reckon, is the same as the flip flop tendency. Which, unwittingly, is possibly trying to say: if you take away the Oyster card, I'm actually an Australian.

The world's greatest fashion museum

is in Santiago, Chile:

Yarur's grandfather founded the country's biggest bank, which his father went on to run as president. As an only child, Yarur inherited a fortune large enough to build his museum. But it is his parents' taste in fashion, not evidence of their wealth, that he wanted to preserve. As a prominent socialite and wife of a banker, his mother amassed a covetable collection of designer outfits, all of which she had kept in perfect condition. 'My mother was not a fashion victim, but she liked to dress in a special way,' Yarur, 46, says. In photographs his mother, who died in 1996, bears a resemblance to Rita Hayworth. With wavy, dark hair and voluptuous curves squeezed into silk blouses and pencil skirts, she was extremely glamorous - and she obviously loved to shop. Of the 8,000 pieces in the museum, 500 belonged to her, many of which were bought on her eight-month honeymoon in Europe.

Inside the museum are hundreds of photographs of Yarur's parents, along with home videos taken before Yarur was born: his mother on the beach in a scarlet swimming costume and matching lipstick; his handsome father swaggering towards the camera across the sand; his parents laughing together on holiday. Yarur, who now lives alone in his own house in Santiago, says the films and photographs still affect him. 'Every time I see them I feel sad. I was an only child so I don't have any other family.'

While he was devoted to his mother, as the only son of one of the country's most successful businessmen, and as a quiet, sensitive young man, Yarur found the weight of his father's expectation hard to bear. 'I didn't know what I wanted to do. My father wanted me to work for the bank. It was a very heavy burden.'

It was only after his father died in 1991 that Yarur began to think about creating a museum. 'After my father died, my mother told me that he had once talked about wanting to turn their house into an art museum. After they both died I didn't want to stay in the house, but I didn't want to sell it because of all the memories, and the house itself is quite important architecturally. So I decided to keep it, but to do something with it.'