The last few weeks have been a blur. I’ve gone on maternity leave, waited for my due date, watched it go by, and then had a baby. As I was waiting for baby to come, I had a lot of time on my hands and tried to use it as best as possible for myself since “me time” is rare nowadays. One day, I wanted to get out of the house but wanted to do something other than go out to eat. So my mom came over and we took advantage of our Museum of Fine Arts (MFAH) memberships and less of a crowd on a weekday.
Currently, one of the popular exhibitions is The Glamour and the Romance of Oscar de la Renta.
From the MFAH write up,
The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta highlights recurring themes, including the impact of Spain, Russia, China, Japan, and the garden on his designs. Displayed along with paintings and decorative arts from the MFAH collections, the creations offer a window into de la Renta’s world through a range of looks, from elegant daywear to resplendent evening gowns.
The ensembles are presented in four thematic sections, beginning with one of the most significant influences on de la Renta’s life: Spain, where he launched his career. The exhibition culminates in a look at gowns once worn by fashion icons, dignitaries, and celebrities, including Beyoncé, Laura Bush, Amal Clooney, Penelope Cruz, Kirsten Dunst, Karlie Kloss, and Lynn Wyatt.
My knowledge of Oscar de la Renta prior to seeing this exhibit was really only that he was a fashion designer. Other than that, I’m not largely into fashion and designers, so I couldn’t tell you much more than that. Normally, this would probably be an exhibit I’d skip, thinking it’s not for me. But I figured my mom may be interested, it was free (because of membership), and I had nothing else better to do. There are worse things to do than using your time to walk around and explore at the museum, I thought.
I’m glad I went.
I don’t think I’ve ever been put in a position to view fashion design as art. I got to see many dresses and work up close to appreciate the detail, the thoughtfulness in patterns, the nod to different cultures, and the gracefulness of the designs and execution.
Something I initially thought wouldn’t have been for me ended up being something that made me appreciative of something new. Time. Well. Spent.
It got me thinking about something I read in Alan Jacob’s How to Think a few weeks ago. While I was mostly underwhelmed by it as a whole (sorry), I appreciated that he suggests finding the best viewpoints on the other side of what you think to try to understand viewpoints that are not your own.
“One of the classic ways to do this is to seek out the best – the smartest, most sensible, most fair-minded — representatives of the positions you disagree with.”
In this instance, Jacobs refers to those who have viewpoints you disagree with but it can be applied in a less harsh way. Exploring the best or what’s considered the “best” viewpoints on different subjects you normally wouldn’t has its benefit.
This got me thinking — when presented with books, articles, movies, suggestions, opportunities, we have a tendency to filter. I could have said I’m not interested in fashion and skipped this exhibit, but I approached it with an attitude of “why not?”
This year, I’d like to have more “why not?” moments where I explore something new or different just because and to see what happens.