‘A little bit uncomfortable’

This fall’s Style Issue of The New Yorker wowed me in a few ways, one of which was a profile of Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele. Not only is Michele’s work in colors astounding, but he’s more humble, thoughtful and human than you might expect a global fashion leader to be.

At one point, Michele calls the cupola and oculus of the Pantheon “like a big mother.” He says: “It hugs you, with the light inside. It is a very animistic idea of God. Sometimes when you get inside there you want to cry.” But my favorite quote from Michele is a little more strange, and explains well why the Style Issue each year is always so fascinating to me:

If you think about art, art is about being made a little bit uncomfortable. When you are a kid, you always want to be in touch with something that makes you feel not comfortable. I have a machine from the seventeen-hundreds to make curly hair. You put the tip of it in the fire, and you can travel with it. It is very like a torture object. But when my nephews arrive at my apartment, they say, ‘Please, can we see the machine to make curly hair?’ There is something about discovering different things—things that make you feel curious and uncomfortable—that is very human.

The same issue offers a Ian Frazier meditation on the color of the Statue of Liberty. It’s a beautiful piece and goes to show how much detail and meaning sit under all we see. “That elusive, flickering, familiar, sea-polished shade of copper-green got into my head last year when I was standing on the roof of an apartment building in the Bronx….”

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