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Dressing for a pandemic, Picasso-style

31 July 2020

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories

Rakewell has been somewhat depressed by recent trend pieces declaring structured clothing dead. While of course welcoming the demise of the corset, your not-so-roving correspondent can’t help feeling that a world of elasticated waists is not a world worth leaving the house for – when this is now possible.

Imagine then Rakewell’s delight at learning of a second-hand fashion retailer called Dora Maar. Whether photographed by Man Ray in elaborate headgear, sporting a jaunty print on holiday or standing in front of her own work in a studio, there is plenty of evidence for the artist being well turned out – hardly surprising since Maar had an illustrious career as a fashion photographer with a Surrealist bent. Unfortunately, on further investigation, Dora Maar the purveyor of ‘preowned luxury’ items doesn’t seem to be inspired by its namesake much beyond the retrograde concept of the ‘muse’.

Things could of course be worse on the sartorial front – but perhaps they are already are. One of the most upsetting terms your correspondent has come across in a long time crops up in a recent ‘Shouts and Murmurs’ column in the New Yorker, a ‘lexicon for a pandemic’ that coins the phrase ‘body mullet’ for ‘What most people wear on Zoom calls: a nice top and, below the waist, underwear or less. (“Business up top, party down below.”)’.

Your correspondent would do anything to get the image of Picasso in checked shirt and super-short shorts out of her head.

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.