Gerard Krasnopolski: the dragon’s dialectic

Photo: Ben Thorne

This article first appeared in The Oxford Student on 26 February 2016. Gerard is a good friend of mine, and an incredibly stylish man. I suggested this article essentially as a joke. A joke which I then went ahead and wrote, and got published. I’m still waiting for him to top this one, personally.

Without doubt one of Oxford’s best-dressed undergraduates, Gerard Krasnopolski is a bit of a force of nature, whom you may recognise from last term’s acclaimed production of Titus Andronicus. He was kind enough to meet with me to discuss his love for leather coats, Miltonic fashion, and How to Train Your Dragon.

How would you describe your personal style?
I saw on a poster once a description of a genre of music which I think fits with what I’m going for. The genre was ‘Industrial Deathpunk’ since then I’ve slightly adapted that to ‘Dragon Rider’. And the Breakfast Club character the Outcast has provided a source of inspiration. Also leather.

How do you balance an outfit like that?
A lot of it is done by eye. It’s not usually good to combine more than two colours over the whole body. Black and white makes a good, sharp contrast, especially with different layers of clothes. Beyond that, I like to try and mix styles as much as I can. So I like mixing materials like fur and leather, velvet, denim – I like to see how those materials come together. Basically I just play around with those sorts of combinations, within a reasonably uniform colour scheme.

Why did you choose Toothless as an accessory?
I acknowledge that he completely disrupts a lot of the style I try to go for. But I think he’s worth that. I could talk for hours about why I like to have him as part of my ensemble, but it boils down to having some sort of reminder of a part of yourself that you would otherwise forget about, that can be easily oppressed when you’re in a social situation. You remember there’s a strange, highly indivualistic part of yourself that’s given, by the dragon, an actual material manifestation. Also, I just love the film. The storyline of separate worlds combining, in a sort of Hegelian dialectic, and yielding a wonderful synthesis, really appeals to me. And overriding all of that is the sense of wonder and joy in the possibilities that life can have if you’re willing to transgress certain boundaries.

Are there any other films that have influenced you?
The coat action in The Matrix has been very influential on how I act, generally. The way they move their shoulders and use their arms, rolling back their sleeves, letting air currents flap at their coat-tails. To the extent that I sort of do these things instinctively, on a day-to day basis, even when I’m looking for keys and things like that.

Any style tips for our readers?
I always appreciate someone who is willing to put in the effort to present themselves in a thoughtful way. Don’t be afraid to channel yourself into how you dress. People are often quite uniform in how they appear, and I think the more people front-load themselves into how they dress, the more interesting things will be. My only advice would be: don’t be actually afraid to express yourself.

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