Thursday, May 22, 2014

From the Antwerp Six to American Casual. Or, You Wear What You Read, or something along those lines.

When I first befriended Johan back in 2009, I usually found him clad in a blue Patagonia jacket, army-colored Fjällräven pants and a red, unicolored shirt, which, in hindsight, makes me think that my man was unknowingly normcore long before folks started throwing that term around like it was no big deal.
Patagonia leashless jacket via here.

6 months passed before we started going out together, and after that, he gradually started transitioning into a somewhat preppier, American casual phase, replacing those Fjällräven pants with chinos and cotton shirts - which is pretty much the way he has dressed ever since.

This is Johan in Miami in 2009. Nowadays he's more likely
to wear his hair shorter and his shirt tucked into his pants,
but otherwise this is pretty much the look he stays true to.

So imagine my surprise one day, when we were sorting through all the stuff in our closet and I found stacks of Johan's clothes b.m. (i.e. Before Me). Because here's what: Turns out Johan had a phase where he solely wore the clothes of avant-garde Japanese designers and The Antwerp Six! A pair of baggy Yohji Yamamoto's were his everyday, go-to pants along with big knitted Dries van Noten sweaters.

"Who are you?" I wondered as I watched him sitting in a pile of his old clothes on the floor. "Who are you, you stylistic chameleon, whom I share a bed with?" 

I was reminded of all this late last night, when I started sorting through our bookcase (oh, the things you do, when you're really supposed to be doing other things!).

Now, I'm not saying I've been a stylistically consistent reader throughout my life (cause honestly what would be the fun in that), but MAN, the clash between Johan's literary past and present selves is just plain fun!

In high school, one of Johan's best friends introduced him to Dostoyevsky, whom he subsequently had a long love affair with. And counting by their representation on our bookshelf, I'd say he grew infatuated with Thomas Mann and Shakespeare too, along with a bunch of Danish mid-century intellectuals, whom I shall not name because I'm too lazy to get up and look.

And the books he's collected during that time aren't just any books. They're carefully selected vintage editions, chosen, it seems, either because they've aged into a delicious antique white and are at the cusp of falling apart or because their covers are just too beautiful to let them sit all alone in an antiquarian bookshop. And all of these books, of course, elegantly match his Dutch-Japanese designer phase and his $300 sweaters.

When I met Johan, his literary interests lay elsewhere. While I don't think he ever fell out of love with Dostoyevsky, he was now having a full-blown affair with all things WAR! And drones! And fragile states! And I mean, look at these books. No-frills covers that go well with Patagonia jackets engineered for ice climbers and Fjällräven pants with knee patches.

After a while he transitioned into his American Contemporaries phase. This was when he fell in love with Jonathan Franzen, David Foster Wallace and I introduced him to some of my favorite authors, literary heavyweights such as David Sedaris and Nora Ephron ;) You know, well-bred and and well-read folks, with a strong sense of heritage and tradition but still with loads of discontent and playful critique poking out at the edges. Just like my boo.

(See?! See?! See how I wrapped that up real romantic and nice? Before you barf I should tell you that I never really call Johan boo ;)

Anyway, in conclusion: Here's our book shelf - all cleaned up and nice and somewhat color-coordinated here and there.

1 comment:

Johan said...

Så vil du med garanti glæde dig over, at jeg netop har lagt Franzen på hylden og kastet mig over Mindy Kaling chic-lit-bogen. Farvel American casual, hej-hej zebra-stribede gamacher.