Most people know Oscar Wilde’s famous quote “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, and most of these people have no idea the quote doesn’t end there. It actually ends with “…that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
Yes, you guessed it right: this is about Marilyn Monroe’s dress being worn by a celebrity (Kim K.) at the Met Gala.
Let me digress a little bit: I’m so grateful for working in an industry that lets me get inspired daily and express myself and my art through my body in such free ways. I’ll never forget my first time at the Crazy Horse in Paris. First, let me say it: it’s the most erotic show ever! I spent the whole time holding my chin back up and drolling at the amazing acts. I had a blast!
I especially remember my first inspiration for my first act. We had this full black wall on stage with only a 1mx1m square cut out. Through this tiny square is where the whole action took place. The square was cut at around the dancer’s hip height so all you could see were her incredible legs. What came next for the best 3 minutes of my night was simply the most amazing legs moving around, dancing around, crossing and uncrossing – in the sexiest heels ever, of course.
About a year later, I debuted my first act. It’s called “Bunny Leg Circus” and I start on a chair doing a lot of… leg tricks, what else? Right now I’m working on my third act and guess what… it’s all about snakey legs. That one act, that one moment in time got me inspired for life. It brought me to hit the gym harder to get the best legs I can. It got me to invest in costumes that show off my legs. Even in daily life, from the tights to the skirts and leggings I choose… they’re all to emphasize my favorite body part. Inspiration can be life-changing. Inspiration can take you to new levels and help shape your art. Inspiration is powerful.
Now back to the Met Gala, Kim K. and Marilyn’s dress. Long story short: I don’t think the dress should ever have left the museum. I know it comes from a private collection but pieces like that, just like any other museum piece, belong to humanity as a whole and not a single person among us. The dress has a story and a legacy we should fiercely protect for the next generations to come, so as they can serve as a lesson, and, in the case of the arts, as inspiration.
On top of that, what really bothers me is the missed opportunity. We have so many talents out there. So many amazing tailors and designers could have taken Marilyn’s attire as inspiration and made something completely new and special inspired by this iconic dress. Copying hinders innovation. Inspiration pushes us forward and supports creativity. Copying bores and bothers. Copying is mediocre, inspiration is divine. What could have been a feat of greatness ended up being a mediocre and potentially harmful attempt at praise.
How about you? What are your biggest inspirations? What do you think about copying? Let me know in the comments!