Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Highly Persihable Nature of Fashion in a Democracy

Acid Wash Jeans. (*buries head in hands*) Uggs. Mullets. Legwarmers. Shoulder pads. What do all of these personal adornments have in common? Well, at one time or another they were considered hotter than Heather Graham's career -- lo ultimo. And to some people these are still the standard of chic, several years after the fact -- that which one cannot do without. Such are the mysteries of the fashion pyramid, and Heather help us if we are on the bottom end.

Anyhoo: There is a democratic urge to dress up precisely like, say, Jennifer Beals, or whomever (puts on Church Lady voice) when they are constructed as the media "hot property" du jour (shakes fist at computer screen). Alexis de Tocqueville would marvel at what bleating sheep we have become. Remember the character in Can't Buy Me Love -- incidentally, also named Ron, but I am of no relation to Patrick Dempsey -- who had all the jocks dancing an African Anteater Dance? Fuck ... you know you do.

So why, O self righteous blogger, are you getting all preachy and right winger on our innocent asses? We are just reading this blog for shit and giggles, not a Jonathan Edwards speech. Why you gotta be that way today?

Well, I was watching I Love the 80s (hides head in unbearable shame) for the 87th time (And for that, I know, I have forever lost 1/5000th of the high regard with which you once held my snarky self, and for which I accept your condemnation), and the catalogue of fashion faux pas contained therein had my head spinning. I mean, I had a name belt ("Ron-Ski" in finger turned green "silver" -- at $2 a letter, thank you very much), I wore Addidas with the fat black laces, I had a friendship bracelet. I, too, have been in the upper bounds of the bell-shaped fashion curve, and, as time snaked on, I've gotten off that fast-moving merry go round, briskly, with nary backwards glance. Until the next bad fashion came my way.

But there it was, stopping me in my tracks, forcing me to reflect -- on VH1 -- an entire catalogue of Americana horror. A decade of bad fashion decisions staring me right in the face. (collapses into tears). God help me, my little pomegranates, I couldn't muster the necessary irony to laugh at myself!

And so, my dear reader, I am looking at the man in the mirror -- that rat-tailed, Alexander-the-Grape munching, Riunite on ice sipping, Bugle boy wearing breakdancer -- and asking him to change his ways.

So how happy was I today -- mirabile dictu -- when Lookonline's Marilyn Kirschner puts us in my place in our "wrap up" of Fashion Week:

"I thought it was highly interesting that in place of Cathy Horyn's traditional apres - Fashion Week roundup in the Tuesday 'Fashion' section of The New York Times, she instead focused on the retail arena. Of course, retailers do seem to be the news these days, what with the recent overly hyped opening of the 'behemoth Louis Vuitton flagship' on 5th Avenue.

"The article, (A Store Made for Right Now: You Shop Until It's Dropped) which perhaps even more interestingly, was given star status by being placed on page 1 of the first section (rather than being buried in the 'Style' pages). In it, Ms. Horyn talks about the new Comme des Garcons Guerilla Store that opened on Saturday in Berlin, which she observes, 'flouts conventional wisdom in almost every way.' Why, well, because it will be closing within a year, regardless of whether it makes money or not.

"Horyn spoke about the 'highly perishable nature of fashion,' the idea that 'Fashion changes radically every season, so why shouldn't the boutiques that sell the clothes?' And as she noted- on the heels of the New York Collections - 'Last week, 130 designers presented their fall 2004 collections, with more to follow over the next month in Milan and Paris. Yet by the time their clothes are manufactured, a factory in Malaysia or China will have produced cheaper versions. Stores like H&M and Zara will have them on their racks - and the consumer will be on to the next thing.'

"So true; which is why I firmly believe in finding clothes that combine style and substance, clothes that are relevant and appropriate for one's lifestyle, age, occupation, and personality. And more importantly, clothes whose designs will stand the test of time and transcend 'ins' and 'outs' and trends."

So true: God bless you Marilyn Kirschner. I will never wear a Members Only Jacket ever again -- even if Ricky Shroeder, AKA Rikki Stratton, says it's copacetic.

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