On a trip to the art museum a little over a year ago, I stumbled onto an exhibit of famous Indiana fashion designers: “An American Legacy: Norell, Blass, Halston & Sprouse.  Having heard of at least two of the names, I decided to check it out.

The dramatically lit room full of swankily dressed mannequins left me feeling sorely underdressed. Even the predetermined postures of the headless women—backs slightly arched, arms outstretched—suggested an air of formality and propriety that I know little about.

I scanned the exhibit labels, discovering that these dresses were not just for mannequins or runway models; the evening gowns and dinner dresses had been worn by presidents’ wives, actresses, and rock stars from the 1940s into the early 21st Century. But these high fashion designers from Indiana didn’t just provide expensive attire for the rich and famous; they created styles that characterized decades and fashions that changed an industry. These designers had left real legacies.

Matt Appling talks about “legacy” in his book, Life after Art: What You Forgot about Life and Faith since You Left the Art Room. In fact, he says the human need for permanence is often what drives both our worship and our work.

“Humans have endlessly pursued the divine because we want our lives to mean something besides the few decades we spend on earth. We don’t want to just leave behind a corpse and a houseful of junk that our kids will throw away. We want permanence. We want a legacy,” he says.


I’m over at The High Calling today, writing about legacy and building things and finding beauty in excellence and hard work. Come on over by following the link above and join me!

Photo by sduck409, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.