Cold Couture: In future I choose freeze.

Packing for Norway was difficult, it hurt like Maths.

If an artists has an infinite number of shoes, and they are traveling x distance, across 3 seasons and 5 terrains, + (they wont be able to purchase more Fluvogs till the 3rd destination) PART A: how many pairs of shoes can they take at the start of the trip PART B: how many will they end up with at the end. Calculate to the nearest power of ten and include currency conversion.

On a normal day I start with a question ‘Which of the 9 pairs of Fluvog’s will be most delightful to dance in today?” From my shoes up, I choose which floral/lacy/patterned frock I feeeeeeel like wearing that day. Then I consider which tights will clash up the whole outfit and provide a avant-nouveau-post-punk ‘this doesn’t go with that’ moment. Then I consult the weather for my accessories. But in Norway 9 pairs of Fluvog’s +1 pair of ugly puffy grey waterproof snow boots, + 1 old pair of studio sneakers + 1 pair embodied Chinese slippers for the flights would mean no clothes. Which, at the time I perceived to be a potential problem but now realise I could’ve easily over come it with one trip to the supermarket, and some resourceful re-purposing of common household items.

Instead, I packed a dismal 4 pairs of shoes and a collection of stretchy, thick, soft, woolen, shapeless, garments which looked wonderfully cozy when tucked into the suitcase but which I have come to despise as ‘The Shades of Grey’. You will appreciate I hope, that this collection bears no resemblance to the raunchy novel and instead goes to the heart of the darkest literature where ‘shades’ are the spirits of dead people. These limp formless, colourless, lifeless things are hanging in my cupboard as the traces and shadows of my former glorious wardrobe.

Further more, the distinction between an ensemble for going into town, an outfit for the studio, a lounge suit for the evening, and a garment for sleeping in, was rinsed out of the clothes upon arrival. Everything came out of the wash in a confusion of purposeless grey. Given that I wear 2/3rds of my clothes at any one time, the decision about what to wear at what time of day has come down to ‘Was this on the outside yesterday”. Some days I get out of bed in my cement colored t-shirt and granite toned thermal bottoms and continue the process of layering without a fresh start. Other days I come home from the studio and as the evening wears on, I shed skins of woven drabness until I’m down to the last layer, and then I go to bed. Some days, both of these days overlap. There have been times when I couldn’t remember the day that I put the light grey t-shirt on so I think “hey lets make this a special occasion and change into the slightly darker grey t-shirt.”

Notwithstanding the sedimentary layers of grey wool, my ashen robes were insufficient against the many minus degrees, so I conceded to purchase a zip-up skivvy thermal top… with Scandinavia snowflake design. As if the zip-up-ness wasn’t enough to shame me, the skivvy part openly mocked me, and my final fall from style was the pattern. There is no irony here – they honestly wear jumpers with Nordik designs and Viking logos and no one laughs. They are not being hipsters they are being themselves – who does that any more.

In addition to being themselves, the townsfolk of Dale are oblivious to my situation for two reasons; firstly the shoe factory here closed down, so nobody likes to mention shoes, and secondly they are too busy trying to be ‘seen’. In New York if you want to grab everyone’s attention you might do something waky-crazy-zany like this…

Humans of New York  

Humans of New York

Or if your in Paris you might do something like this..


But in Dale they express their style as something more akin to “I am women hear me glow”.


I kid you not, everyone has one of these fluro vests. I can respect the utilitarian-post-construction-worker-glow-in-the-dark-new-technology sheik. But why oh why is it only in one colour. Just a fraction more diversity in the colour scale, fluro green, pink or orange and this style could go viral.

Up on the mountain however, my need to be 'seen' has diminished and I’m all about design versatility now. Take the blanket for example, the comedian Demetri Martin once said if someone asks me “Do you have a poncho” I’m going to reply “No but I have a blanket and a pair of scissors.” Funny as this is, I think that this is a limited view of the blankets potential. Here are some of the ways in which I have expanded the notion of blanket as clothing:

  •  Basic blanket as wrap around skirt or if you prefer blanket as sarong, great for wearing whilst sitting down.
  • Blanket as hajab – keeps the head, ears, neck and chest warm – good when you haven’t washed your hair in a while
  • For more formal occasions or even just an evenings at home there is the blanket as knee length strapless gown. I prefer to use the cream blanket for this rather than the grey.
  • And finally on one sad day, at a particularly low creative ebb, we the NKD artists took a nativity photo of ourselves, and the blanket became ‘blanket-as-teatowl-as-shepard-costume’

So many of you were worried that the darkness would get me down, but in the end it’s the absence of shoes and presence of unstructured greywear. My final demise into Dale Couture is this… I draped and wrap and wriggle into greying forms, added the blanket as shroud and then and only then I stepped into the shoes of misery – snow boats that don’t keep out the snow, accompanied with plastic bags to keep the water out.

Colour of boots … charcoal grey.