The Other Bookclub - Walking with the Muses
I've had a realisation in recent years - that i adore exploring style. I mean, i should have seen the signs, like from 1986 onwards when i became obsessed with "designing" outfits of my own and sometimes with the help of Fashion Wheel (i could only find a Dutch version of the ad which lacks the catchy theme song but anyway).
I was also captivated by the outfits of the music posters that parents adorned my bedroom walls and ceilings with, like Maze, Heatwave, Earth Wind and Fire, the Mary Jane Girls and so on. Arguably Rick James' He-Man getup was a bit risque for a two year old but still, i appreciated staring at these iconic dazzling garms.
And just as these inspirational style icons seeped into my conscious and subconscious musical tastes, as it did with the things i'm drawn to in culture. Think 1970s and 80s style eras. Films i love are from this special time. Paris is Burning. Purple Rain. Mahogany. Mannequin. And so on.
I guess that i denied the pleasure of these muses for a long time. Felt embarrassed to admit i was so captivated and inspired by their fashion. Thought that it might be deemed superficial or unimportant. And the older i get, the more i confirm that their style wasn't only about the way they dressed. It was in how they carried themselves. What they shared with the world. How they used their voice. And lived a life authentically true to who they were. This, to me, is style.
The joy i receive from connecting with these icons is a sense of being held. Supported by and raised up by observing them living their best lives (and doing the most). Last week in my Instagram Stories, i spoke about how grateful i felt to have so many role models and muses. Although these aren't people i know or have met, they have still so much been a part of teaching me how to express myself. To nurture my uniqueness. To embrace vitality. To use my voice, even if i felt strange or that people wouldn't receive me. To be me. Which i think is the sign of a great teacher and leader and muse. To encourage others to embrace who they are, rather than to copy-paste an aesthetic from someone or something else.
So. Over to Pat. Who i didn't know much about until picking up this book. Granted, she features in my "Queens and Kings" and "Style icons" pinterest board of greats. But i was interested in hearing about her story. Especially as one of the first black runway models (and as ever iconic André Leon Talley named, "the first black supermodel").
I won't give too much away here, in case you're planning to pick up a copy of Walking with the Muses. But i will say, it's fun, fast paced, and certainly lives up to its name. At times i ached for more of a memoir-style deep dive into some of her experiences, but as an autobiography, it's thrilling to get a picture on what a life she has led (also with literal pictures too, serving looks galore) So i recommend it.
And i'd love to know if you've read this book! Or if you're planning to! And any links to memes or video clips of your fave muses are very welcome!
Here's a moment for our Pat: