Beauty as an Art Form

Friedrich Nietzsche, a 19th century German philosopher, once said “only as an aesthetic phenomenon is the world justified.” This has led me to believe that aesthetics, the appreciation of beauty, configure the world in which we as human beings live. Fashion in itself is an aesthetic insofar as it can portray the beauty of oneself. This has nothing to do with being materialistic — frankly, it means the opposite. We have the ability, to a certain extent, to construct the way in which we are perceived, to create our own sense of what being beautiful is. The power to do this is what makes us so different from all other animals — we can show others who we are through our aesthetics.

This is what Peter Boudreau, a senior at the College, has done. I saw Peter as I was walking to meet a friend. I immediately knew I had to go out of my way (already late) to feature him in this piece; if I passed up this opportunity, it just wouldn’t be fair to you all.

As we can see, Peter is dressed to impress! And that begs the question: “Well, why?” We can start with his “deep-V.” I’ve always been under the impression that the deeper the V-neck, the more character someone has. The combination of this plunge and the colorful tribal print depicts his tasteful sense in current fashion trends, but in a more bold and exciting way. He took tribal, a kind of mainstream print, and turned it into an individualized statement. Peter’s rolled-up jeans also showed his ability to care about not tripping when he walks. Really though, his rolled-up jeans bolstered his success in putting together an aesthetically-pleasing outfit. His slip-ons embodied his casual, yet trendy taste in men’s footwear. Lastly, Peter’s tattoos and nose piercing emulated his sense of individuality. They showed that perhaps he’s a risk-taker who transcends fashion “norms” and doesn’t really care what other people think of him. I proceeded to ask Peter what his tattoo meant, and he informed me about the time he studied abroad in Rome. He would walk by the Piantina for Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane and felt a connection he had to make permanent. Peter used his experience to shape the way in which he presented himself. That in itself is a beautiful thing, and that calls upon the importance of aesthetics.

Peter is a great example of someone who permeates different kinds of fashion ideas to create an individualized outfit. Peter has created his own work of art, both internally and externally. This beauty is an art form, and his fashion has the ability to show it. Nietzsche was right: aesthetics do shape the world around us.

— By Priyanka Krishnamurthy