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Yoko Ono and Prada
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
  10:41 am 4/20/2004

I was in Soho (the artsy neighborhood in downtown Manhattan) with two friends. We were going to see the Yoko Ono exhibit at a gallery. I love Yoko Ono's art because she is singularly crazy in a way a deeply appreciate. I think her art is funny more than provocative. I want to see "Cut piece" live. It is a performance art piece where the performer sits on a stage with a pair of scissors and the audience gets on stage and cuts off pieces of the performers clothing.

So my need to experience Yoko's "cutting piece" leads me to the most status oriented area in the whole world. In Soho both women and men are unnaturally thin, and covetously wear designer fashions like Helmut Lang. I am wearing ten year old sneakers, khakis from the clearance rack at a clearance store and a non descript green sweater.

I'm not stylish, but I don't care. Not caring is my way of evoking style. My attitude and the gait of my walk speak volumes about who I am. I stand tall, walk purposefully and observe the world in all of it's peculiarities. The only thing brand new about me is a few gray hairs at the crown of my head. I'm not sure where they came from, but they're mine and I happily wear them as if they were gift wrapped from Armani.

My look is antithetical to trendy, I could be invisible, and often use this magic power to watch the people go by. I really enjoy people watching. In Soho people watching is a little piece of heaven, it's like a parade. So much to see, so many styles to observe. I love fashion, I think it's wonderful. A beautifully constructed dress is a thing of art to me. I sit in the warm sun and watch in amusement as Lacoste and Izod logo shirts are newly in style. 80's preppy is trendy again. I spot leg warmers, a skinny tie. It's a feast for my eyes.

Then I see something down the block. Is it a gallery? What is it? I drag my friends over. An army of mannequins are in the window in gorgeous dresses, I think perhaps it's an exhibit on fashion. I walk in to an ultra-post modern building. It's the Prada store, but there are no signs outside to tell me this. I can't even see merchandise, it's tucked neatly away from the common folks since watching people by expensive things needs to be a discreet and private experience. That makes the experience special, sacred.

I meander to the back of the store and feast my eyes on a giant display with about a dozen things luxuriously arranged on it. And I find the height of opulent extravagance. Prada bloomers - so cute, in a gorgeous pinkish maroon organza material, $395. I also find some other fabulous things, and decide that it's time to play dress up. I pick up a sumptuous dress and look for a fitting room. There are no sales people here, just a bunch of security guards. One young man points me in the right direction.

A woman dressed in all black opens the fitting room door for me and hands me the dress. She barely speaks to me, because as we all know chit-chat and smiling are low brow. Brooding silence is high class. No one speaks in the store, if they communicate at all it's in whispers and with furtive looks at one another.

I close the door. It is wonderful to be out of the sun, and out of my hot sweater for the moment. I try on the dress, it is pixie-like and evokes a sense of whimsy. I give a perfunctory snip around. Pleased, I put it back on the hanger, get dressed and hand the dress back to the sales woman outside the door. Barely audibly she asks if everything is well, and I say "of course, that dress is simply perfect."

I smilingly hand her the dress and I greet my friends and we prepare to get in the bizarre round elevator and leave Prada. Her eyes convey a bit of disappointment, she may have thought she had a sale with a hefty commission. But then I smiled, conveying my appreciation for courtesy, dashing all of her hopes. The dress was over 4,000 dollars. I never had any intention of buying anything, I just wanted few moments submersed in fashion. I was merely having an tryst.

We leave, and walk a short ways to the exhibit. There is a nervous, but smiling gray haired woman sitting cross-legged on a platform. A pair of scissors is a few feet away from her on the floor. There is a small cluster of a dozen or more people. Everyone in the room is quiet. No one is sure if the piece has stared or not. A newcomer walks into the gallery and cautiously approaches the woman and cuts a small piece off the hem of her dress. A few minutes later someone else takes a timid little snip. And another. A few little swatches of fabric are on the floor. It's getting tense. No one seems to want to cut this woman's clothing. She's starting to look anxious, and this makes me nervous so I stop watching for a minute.

I think how cool it would be for someone to do the "cut piece" wearing that lovely Prada dress. I wonder if I would cut it. Then I wonder if the sales woman would dare cut it, and what the expression on her face would be if she actually did so. I stand up, imagining the woman seated on the floor is wearing it, and I cut off a large piece of her skirt.

Someone claps.

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this is the rough draft, I plan on editing soon. comments? susanawhite123@yahoo.com 
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