This video of a woman demonstrating what is arguably the world's most versatile garment is a mesmerizing sea of mystery to me. Originally posted on The Daily Motion, it offers no information about its origins or purpose, granting us only a title: “One Piece For All Uses.” A simple description or an unsolvable metaphysical conundrum? Watch as a saleswoman transforms what appears to be a simple knit tube into a seemingly endless variety of garments. With subtle flicks of her wrists, the garment becomes a shawl, a halter top, a head scarf, a scarf-scarf, a cowl, a halter dress, a strapless dress, a cardigan, and a head-and-shoulder scarf.
I have the feeling that if the video had kept going, the transformations would have continued, and that somehow she would turn the tube into a bathing suit, and then overalls, and then a trench coat. What is this magical garment made out of? It appears to be endlessly expandable and compressible, as if it were the scarf version of Mary Poppins’ bag. If I used it as a purse, could I fit a car in there? If I stretched it far enough, would it break? Or would the threads keep on stretching and stretching, infinitely flexible, to encompass the whole world? Is this a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?
Images: Kara Michele/Flickr