Invoking Drala. Alexander McQueen

15Mar09

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Drala.  A Tibetan concept that translates to Beyond and Above Aggression. Blameless. Connected to the essential and transcendent powers of Nature.  The Purity of Body. Red and black glossy swollen and passionate lips. Clothing as cocoons of protection. Hats made of found unlikely objects.  Alexander McQueen’s Fall 09 collection was in full expression of invoking the concept of Drala.  Much as the image of a Shaman can shock…

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McQueen invoked the essential realness of Nature and timelessness and our place within that sacred web in a very modern and abstract way.  No small feat.

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To swim in the sea of this cacophonic modern life within the power of perfected forms invokes drala so that we may be strengthened as we move in the world.  To be fierce yet soft within a world of old disconnected ideas, beyond the Barbie-doll and childlike expressions of clothing and our bodies, is a point of power that this collection inspires.

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These clothes blow-up artistic, sartorial and historical references to invoke A MUSE versus a mouse.

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The references are timeless…from Power-Framing and drala-welcoming details like the Renaissance ruffs or Masai muffs,

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to the Dior New Deal skirts and Chanel houndstooth, re-worked here as a black and white tango danced in an epiphany of duality.

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I recalled the famous image of Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn…very invoking the balance of exteror and interior dralas, the combination of which rises Secret Drala or “Windhorse”, as described by in Chogyam Trunpa his book SHAMBALA: The Sacred Path of the Warrior as “…raising a wind of delight and power and riding on, or conquering that energy.”  As a Buddhist monk who himself was seen with an “ever-present glass of saké, a man who took many lovers, was chauffeured in a black Mercedes, and, though paralyzed, rode a white Lipizzaner stallion,” according to Waylon H. Lewis, founder of Elephant magazine, who grew up with the monk, this was someone who knew how to live with drala.

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The contained shapes of McQueen’s models recalled the concept of external drala, that is that one’s environment be indicative of cleanliness and offering to someone visiting.  Like an offering bowl, the dark simplicity and the volume.

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Adding red to the darkness of black is an indication of the life force within the offering, spilling outward towards others.  The idea that we save the world as we cultivate, protect, shore-up and make ourselves an offered expression of beauty.  The dress above recalls the soft and simple richness of a Buddhist monk’s robe draping and moving with the body.

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and this power of red…

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Like a shaman, we can dress ourselves and carry ourselves like statues of honor so that we feel heroic in our lives.  Even heroic with a sense of bold humor, the most transforming element.  To have so much fun with clothing, environment, the conversation of Self and Nature and Society is the edge that brings one to power of life beyond aggression…drala.

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Photo by Phyllis Galembo In our modern world the idea of “offering” may not be directly ceremonial, however the concept suggests that both interiorly and exteriorly, we operate this way.

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Trungpa says, “You can see people’s internal connection to drala in the way they behave: the way they pick up their teacups, the way they smoke their cigarettes or the way they run their fingers through their hair.” This connection and expression of the “Cosmic Mirror” is a minute to minute meditation. Mirroring the essential balance, peaceful order of life…AND being swathed in Alexander McQueen…I am there.

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written by Jade Dressler

update February 2010: All Love To AQ.



7 Responses to “Invoking Drala. Alexander McQueen”

  1. Love your site! Beautiful exposition of this concept. Something new for me, the drala idea.

    And I want one of those ruffs for myself…I was wondering when they would come back…

  2. 2 jadedressler

    There were ruffs at Chanel as well and another dramatic face-frame, the “bride/nun” veils at Galliano, which were extraordinarily beautiful too. I am seeing Grace Jones, La Lopez and maybe even Ben Stiller in these.

  3. Wonderful images and beautifully written, lovely and inspiring Jade!


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