I’ve just seen a clip on You Tube about the working relationship between Charlie Chaplin and Marlon Brando in the making of the film A Countess from Hong Kong. Needless to say, the two cinematic legends didn’t get along like a house on fire. This could have been due to expectations on both sides about professionalism and artistic freedom, but the commentator who provided an overview in the clip about the way things went, also spoke about the fact that Chaplin’s film making techniques were regarded as hopelessly old fashioned at that point in time.
Those of us who remember the days of yuppies, the filofax and Rubik’s cubes will be familiar with the ongoing preoccupation that many of us had, with telling the difference between style and fashion. Maybe we eventually got it all worked out in the collective unconscious, as I don’t see or hear many debates about this issue nowadays.
It makes sense to be observant if one is in the business of making symbols. Part of what we ought to be aware of, is the essence of emerging trends. This doesn’t mean we have to absorb everything we see or hear. It just helps to know the way that information is disseminated and also how it is taken in by others.
On the other hand, a personal style is probably one of the most valuable attributes one can have, especially in these rapidly changing times. How does one negotiate the tightrope walk of maintaining one’s integrity, whilst also being flexible enough to move with the times?
If one is lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, it is possible to make an impact, creating new narratives through simply being one’s self.