摩登時尚

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1992 / 10月

文‧王家鳳



西元一七五三年七月,瑞典皇后露薏莎在寫給母親的信中,形容國王送給她的生日禮物,令她多麼地目炫神迷、驚喜萬分。她寫道:國王陛下為我訂了一座中國宮殿,衛士們穿上中國宮庭的武官制服,我的長子則打扮成中國王子,站在前廊等我。屋媞′O品味絕佳的中國瓷器、寶塔、日本漆櫃、印度織錦,國王陛下還安排了中國「芭蕾」。

十八世紀中期,所謂「中國風格」席捲歐洲王公貴族的家園宅邸。從廊間小亭到花園高塔,大廳座椅到寢宮眠床,「每樣東西都必須是中國式樣」,有人在當年的時尚雜誌裡抱怨說,獵狐的公子哥兒們騎馬跨欄時摔斷了腿,如果發現那欄柵居然沒有帶點東方風味,「會非常地遺憾」。

「歐洲風情巨宅的再現」,一本知名裝璜雜誌形容新近完成的一個台北近郊案例,外觀是:以希臘羅馬柱和神殿式三角形山頭為主的巴洛克豪宅建築,宛如城堡。內部設計則採文藝復興時代為主的歐風樣式,客廳以青玉石廊柱拱門,搭配巨型水晶吊燈、黑檀木手工精雕壁爐,再加上黃色水晶石地面、彩繪玻璃天花板。一座五層透天厝,從希臘羅馬、中世紀、文藝復興到巴洛克,一路貫穿歐洲美術史精華,可不令人嘆為觀止。

如果這樣的「歐風」巨宅只是富商特例,那麼翻開星期天報紙的房屋廣告,讀到一片炫人眼目的「香舍里榭」、「巴塞隆納」、「歐鄉巴黎」,或是抬頭望向台北天際線上「有如夢幻城堡」的歐式小尖塔,景觀中庭的維納斯、拿破侖、尿尿小童,再加上大量走進家庭的西班牙原木嵌瓷櫥櫃、法式描金家具、英國鄉村樣式印花沙發、窗簾……,我們不能不承認風水輪流轉,「歐洲樣式」已然在廿世紀九○年代的台灣蔚為風尚。

無論是兩世紀前歐洲的中國風,或是今天中華民國台灣的歐洲風,我們當然不必追究前者到底中不中國,後者究竟歐不歐洲?因為時尚之為物,本就是與時推移,只要你喜歡,沒什麼不可以的。只是東風吹過去,西風吹過來,除了地理距離,時間也帶給時尚相當的迷思。

「台灣的婦女教育程度高,容易接受新觀念」,一位公共衛生官員表示,她有信心讓母乳很快再「流行」起來。包括人類在內,經驗千萬年的哺乳動物育兒行為,如何成了可以推為時尚的「新觀念」、「新流行」?

有人質疑,在六○年代也一度以奶粉為摩登時尚的西方國家,到了七○年代對奶粉銷售強力抵制,而台灣的奶粉市場為何卻在同時急速擴張?也有人認為,嬰兒奶粉在台灣不但未像在非洲落後地區成為「嬰兒殺手」,反而支持婦女走出家庭,對經濟發展做出重大貢獻,居功厥偉。無論如何,在世界衛生組織的提倡和媒體的大量報導下,母乳哺育又成最新時尚。

問題是,經成時尚就真的好辦事了?當電視上密集安打的奶粉廣告仍然不斷告訴我們「不要讓孩子輸在起跑點上」,要成為貝多芬、牛頓、愛因斯坦,又該喝哪種品牌的嬰兒奶粉;當女性雜誌告訴我們與孩子的相處重質不重量,可把餵奶、換尿布之類的瑣事交由管家來做;而勞動基準法中的產假標準和工作環境、設備,也都不容許職業婦女親自哺乳。

受過良好教育、容易接受新觀念的台灣婦女,於是陷入了前所未有的困境:學有專長、事業有成,是現代女性的指標,偏偏母乳哺育、家庭價值又不說分由地驟成九○年代時尚。摩登女性何去何從?

在七○年代西方遭到秋扇見捐命運的時尚不只奶粉。一九七二年七月,美國一組樓高十四層,曾經得到建築師協會設計獎的國民住宅,在轟然巨響中夷為平地。

今年九月中旬,英國泰晤士報出現了一張似曾相識的照片,同樣是十四層高樓組,引爆的地點在利物浦。文章寫道:為人痛恨的六○年代高層建築終將滅絕於英國境內,我們再也不願看到它。因為它不只是醜陋,連所謂有效節省空間的說法也受到質疑。

那麼這些受盡詬病羞辱的高樓,當年又是如何進佔這些先進國家天際線的呢?說來難以相信,摩登,時尚是也。

美國作家湯姆.沃夫在他出版於一九八一年的著作堛磳隉A在五○年代的美國,建築商可以面不改色地說這些盒子很「豪華」;而受過良好教育、容易接受新觀念的善男信女,居然眼睛也不眨一下就不惜巨金,遷入蜂窩。因為所有的時尚雜誌都說這就是現代生活,這就是好品味,這就叫「摩登」。

再回頭來看看今天充斥報章的房屋廣告,推崇時尚的摩登台北人又要猶疑了。這些頂著歐式屋頂、層層相疊,打著摘星攬月、品味超絕的高樓群組,難道會是歐美五、六○年代的重演?如果這是地窄人稠、不得不然之計,為什麼連烏魯木齊、台東也出現了方盒子蜂窩?

好在時尚與時推移,會來也會走,何況現代技術只消十幾分鐘,即可解決這些被泰晤士報指為「傷眼」的龐然巨物。問題是,轟然一聲之後呢?

多麼好,新的摩登時尚可不是又找到了嶄新地盤,可以再與消費者的荷包與意志力好生較勁了。

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EN

Modernity

Wang Jia-fong /tr. by Christopher Hughes


In July 1753 Queen Louisa Ulrika of Sweden wrote a letter to her mother in which she described her birthday surprise from be built. The body-guard was dressed in Chinese clothes, my eldest son was waiting at the entrance of the pavilion dressed as a Chinese prince . . . ." The interior of the queen's pavilion was also astonishing with its exquisite Chinese porcelain, pagodas, Japanese lacquer cabinets and Indian fabrics. The king had even arranged a Chinese "ballet."

It is hard for us to imagine how the fashion for chinoiserie once swept Europe. It is not so difficult for us to look at today's fashions in Taipei, where an interior design magazine can describe a newly completed house as being like a castle in mainly baroque-style with greco-roman columns and a triangular temple roof; the interior design is renaissance, the reception room having green-jade columns and arches, matched with crystal chandeliers. A five-storeyed house adorned with the splendid complexity of the entire history of European art might indeed be a sight ha rd to forget.

Such a "European style" might be exclusively for the wealthy businessman, but you can still open the Sunday papers and see advertisements promoting Taiwan's "Barcelona" or "Paris Eurovillage." You can raise your eyes to the Taipei skyline with its "Dreamlike Castles" of Eurotowers, among which can be found courtyards boasting Venetianesque statues of peeing infants, while interiors explode with an array of furniture and household equipment in every conceivable European style. Still, so long as people like it, then why not?

Sometimes the East wind prevails and sometimes the West. Distance and time can both add a certain mystique to fashion.

"Women in Taiwan have a high level of education and easily accept new ideas," says a public health worker, confident that the "fashion" of breast feeding is about to take off. Yet how is it that what mammals have been doing for millions of years is now being promoted as a "new idea?"

Some people wonder with suspicion why using baby formula took off in Taiwan during the 1970s just as it was on the wane in western countries; but there are also those who think it contributes to economic development by helping women to get out of the home. No matter who is right, advocated by the World Health Organization and large-scale media reporting, breast-feeding has obviously become a new fashion.

The problem is, however, whether becoming fashionable is the best way of getting things done? On television a barrage of advertisements still continues to tell us that baby formula can turn your child into a Beethoven, Newton or Einstein; women's magazines inform us that the quality of closeness between mother and child is more important than the quantity, so chores such as feeding and nappy changing should be delegated to a child minder; and legal provisions are still not really sufficient to allow working mothers to breast-feed their babies. Taiwan's women are faced with an unprecedented difficulty: the marks of the modern woman are academic and professional achievements, but if breastfeeding and family values are on the rise, then what is to become of her?

Baby formula was not the only fad deserted in western countries in the 1970s. In July 1972 a prize-winning fourteen-storey public housing estate in America was razed to the ground. This September a photograph in the London Times showed a similar scene of another fourteen-storey estate being blown up in Liverpool, England, with the reporter remarking, "Hated 1960s tower blocks are being snuffed out all over Britain. We shall not see them built again." Not only are such towers ugly, but even the idea that they are an efficient use of space has come into question.

So how is it that these eyesores ever became part of the skylines of the advanced countries in the first place? Perhaps it is hard to believe, but it was really a question of modernity and fashion.

In his book From Bauhaus to Our House, American author Tom Wolfe tells of how, in 1950s America, builders could unashamedly present the boxes they were creating as luxury, while well-educated men and women could accept them without a blink as luxury. Fashionable magazines told them this was living, the good taste of today; this was modern.

Perhaps people should reserve a degree of scepticism when looking at the promotion of fashion and modernity in advertisements today. Are Taiwan's multi-storeyed castles with European-style roofs just a replay of what happened in American and Europe in the 1960s. If they are erected due to overcrowding, then why are these boxes appearing in place s like Sinkiang's Urumuqi and Taiwan's Taitung?

Fashions come and go with the times. It is a good thing that modern technology can remove eyesores in a few minutes. But what follows the explosion? Will not another modern fashion find its place, reinvigorated with willpower and the purse of the consumer.

 

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