LOST OBJECTS (47)

By: Paola Antonelli
December 5, 2019

One in an ongoing series of nonfiction stories about lost objects. In 2017, Project:Object’s Josh Glenn and Rob Walker asked 25 writers to tell us about a significant object they’d lost (or thrown away, or destroyed), then assigned these stories to 25 illustrators. The first Lost Objects series was such a hit with readers, and so fun for us to publish, that we’ve decided it deserves a sequel.

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Illustration for PROJECT:OBJECT by Guillermo Meraz

Between 15 and 18 years of age, growing up in Milano, Italy, I had a very cool boyfriend. To be fair, I should say he was the first in a short line of very cool boyfriends. Amongst other attributes of fabulousness, he had an uncle who ran a vintage clothing booth inside the Fiorucci store in via Torino. I sometimes lent a hand in the afternoons after school.

Fiorucci had two stores in Milan, and the one in via Torino was arguably among the most awesome stores in the world, together with Charivari and sister Fiorucci in New York, and maybe Worlds End in London. It had several floors and a waterfall in the middle, Sister Sledge on the speakers, spaces to hang out, and plenty of opportunities to see and be seen. And, oh, fabulous clothes, from the signature hyperglossy black vinyl jeans to rainbows of spandex leotards and leggings. Over it all, the two little mischievous cherubs in Fiorucci’s logo kept watch from a cloud.

That is where I bought my skirt. Tight at the waist, blooming large and ending in wide spikes that made it similar to a Batman mask, it was also made of black vinyl, only as matte as rubber. It was not for the faint of heart and I would keep it hidden in the closet, far from my parents’ gaze. It was a clubbing skirt. We lived — my parents actually still live — on the 12th floor of a building in the center of Milan that featured — and still features — the slowest elevator in the northern hemisphere. By the time it took to go from floor 12 to ground, I would transform from nice middle-class Milanese teenager restraint to Nina Hagen / Boy George / Kate Bush wattage, clothes, hair, and make up. I have always thought that my parents pretended not to know what was going on after midnight, when they’d detect an ever-so-faint swish of vinyl grazing against the door as I snuck out.

1980 did not only mark a new decade, it was a brand-new universe. After many years of doom, oil crises, violent protests and terrorism (Italians called them “years of lead”) boys and girls just wanted to have fun. The fashion, I don’t have to tell you, was out of this world. My skirt fit perfectly with ridiculously padded shoulders, asymmetric haircuts, and pointed toes.

However, it also surfed all the stylistic ebbs and flows of the next twenty years. It stood on its own when paired with Japanese or Belgian designers’ tops. It would conveniently change character depending on whether I was wearing high heels, platforms, or combat boots. It moved with me to New York, where it thrived and had its good share of hip vernissages and benefits.

It finally died of natural cause about six years ago. The vinyl started decaying, sticking, almost melting. Funny how plastics never seems to go away, except when you want it to stay….

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: See sidebar.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Guillermo Meraz is a fashion illustrator based in Mexico City. He teaches at Universidad Jannette Klein, and he keeps creating and innovating new illustrated collections. Follow him on Instagram here.

LOST OBJECTS 2: INTRODUCTION | Geoff Manaugh on MOROCCAN TRINKET (ill. Mariana Pita) | Joe Yonan on MACRAMÉ ART (ill. Theo Ellsworth) | Laura Lippman on LABYRINTH GAME (ill. Laura Didyk) | Ben Katchor on LUCITE CARRYING CASE | Neil LaBute on PICKLED OCTOPUS (ill. Disa Wallander) | Miranda Mellis on SEQUINED SCARF (ill. Adam Goldberg) | Chris Piascik on GENERAL HUSTLER BMX | Jenny Kroik on MISSING TOY PIECES | Anita Kunz on FLOWER NECKLACE | Debbie Millman on GLASS POODLE | Heather Kapplow on CERAMIC ARTWORK (ill. Matt Wuerker) | Lydia Millet on ROCKY HORROR NOVEL (ill. Berta Valló) | Ben Greenman on WARHOL CAN (ill. Clara Selina Bach) | Leah Hennessey on BATMAN RING (ill. Dean Haspiel) | Kathryn Davis on PRAYER CARD (ill. Dina Noto) | Mikita Brottman on PINK ELEPHANTS (ill. Sarah Williamson) | Nathaniel Rich on AUTOGRAPHED BASEBALL (ill. Ellen Rose) | Charles Glaubitz on TRACK SHOES | Seth on ENTERPRISE MODEL | Becky Stern on SKELETON SWEATER (ill. Monica Garwood) | Mark Dery on GRANDFATHER PHOTO (ill. Kelli Anderson) | Paola Antonelli on VINYL SKIRT (ill. Guillermo Meraz) | Sara Ryan on FINGER PUPPET (ill. Steve Lieber) | Alex Gerasev on KARMA PARKA | Margaret Wertheim on ECCENTRIC BOOK (ill. Armando Veve).

FETISHES: INTRODUCTION | Josh Foer on DEATH MASK | Beth Lisick on MURDERED-OUT KFC BUCKET | Christina Couch on LEECH ACTION FIGURE | Kenneth Goldsmith on THEWLIS SOCK | Abby Rapoport on MAGNATILES | & 20 MORE.

FOSSILS: INTRODUCTION | Allegra Huston on SKATAWAY JACKET | Kevin Obsatz on HOMEMADE NUNCHUKS | Ian Bogost on DESKTOP TELEPHONE | Jeff Lewonczyk on CHA-CHA JACKET SCRAP | Kelly Horan on VOLVO KEY | & 20 MORE.

FLAIR: INTRODUCTION | Cliff Kuang on ROLEX DATEJUST | Ethan Zuckerman on LAPTOP STICKERS | Ann Shoket on LEATHER JACKET | Kembrew McLeod on KEMBREW MERCH | Paola Antonelli on MERMAID TEARS | & 20 MORE.

LOST OBJECTS (vol. 1): INTRODUCTION | Kate Bernheimer on MULLET WIG (ill. Amy Evans) | Dan Piepenbring on COLOGNE (ill. Josh Neufeld) | Doug Dorst on STRATOCASTER (ill. John Holbo) | Paul Lukas on VANILLA BEAN (ill. Alison Bamcat) | Mimi Lipson on DODGE DART (ill. Mister Reusch) | & 20 MORE.

ILLICIT OBJECTS: INTRODUCTION | Kio Stark on PEEPSHOW TOKEN | Sari Wilson on TOMBSTONE PARTS | Annalee Newitz on CAR-BOMB REMNANT | Tito Bottitta on MOONINITE DEVICE | Eric Bennett on DIRTY MAGAZINE | & 20 MORE.

TALISMANIC OBJECTS: INTRODUCTION | Veda Hille on CROCHET SHEEP | Gary Panter on DINOSAUR BONES | Jami Attenberg on SELENITE CRYSTAL | Annie Nocenti on MINIATURE DICE | Wayne Curtis on CLOCK WINDING KEY | & 20 MORE.

POLITICAL OBJECTS: INTRODUCTION | Luc Sante on CAMPAIGN PAMPHLETS | Lydia Millet on PVC POLAR BEAR | Ben Greenman on MATCHBOX CAR | Rob Baedeker on PRESIDENTS PLACEMAT | L.A. Kauffman on WHEATPASTE POSTER | & 20 MORE.

SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS at HILOBROW: PROJECT:OBJECT homepage | PROJECT:OBJECT newsletter | PROJECT:OBJECT objects (Threadless shop — all profits donated to the ACLU) | POLITICAL OBJECTS series (1Q2017) | TALISMANIC OBJECTS series (2Q2017) | ILLICIT OBJECTS series (3Q2017) | LOST OBJECTS vol. 1 series (4Q2017) | FLAIR series (2Q2018) | FOSSIL series (4Q2018) | FETISHES series (2Q2019) | LOST OBJECTS vol. 2 series (4Q2019) | MOVIE OBJECTS series (2Q2020). ALSO SEE: SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS website | SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS collection, ed. Rob Walker and Josh Glenn (Fantagraphics, 2012) | TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY, ed. Josh Glenn (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007) | TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY excerpts.

Categories

Codebreaking, Read-outs

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