March 10, 2010

Paris is Melting

"Is that a polar bear on your ass or are you just glad to see me?"

Chanel does climate change, with real icebergs
PARIS — Models in head-to-toe yeti suits picked their way around towering but quickly melting icebergs, sloshing through a deep puddle of Arctic melt in their shaggy fake fur. Call it climate change chic, Chanel style.

Nah. How about we call it demented, drooling, clapped-out, idealess, posturing pile of piffle? With a soupcon of really revolting designs carefully crafted to induce popping flashbulbs and projectile vomiting at fifty meters.

First day of deer season and she's a hood ornament.
"I am Merkin Twink hear me roar!"

Wags often remark that gays control fashion and use it to express their hatred of women. Not completely true on either score, although envy for the feminine while yearning for the mud can play a role. Overall, you've got to remember that although fashion goes to great lengths to convince weak souls it's an "art," it's actually a craft elevated to the level of an industry. As such it draws in a lot of creatives but also a lot of businessmen as well. Sexuality varies and nobody who actually knew or knows some of the cigar chomping guys in the schmata trade would mistake them as light in their Italian leather loafers. Make that mistake you you might find yourself cutting your teeth on the curb.

I once worked as a fashion editor for about four years in New York City and while, yes, gay men seemed to dominate that field there were also a lot of straight men, straight women, lesbians, stealth lesbians, and other sorts of homo sapiens en route to whatever arrangement of their personal plumbing would seem to them most likely to result "in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." If there's a sexual saint of fashion it would be Saint Onan because most of the time these people are just indulging in masturbatory fantasies and calling it "art." (Much like most of the other "artistes" of the world today; the difference being that painters don't expect you to wear their droppings.) In short, it's gay-themed but not gay-made. We'll leave that sort of thing to Hollywood and David Geffen.

What is actually happening in fashion year in and year out is a kind of shrieking creative desperation. After all, to really make your "industry" pay off you've got to essentially find a new way to wrap cloth and skins around women. The human race has been busy with this problem for well over 100,000 years and, if this furry line is any example, we're pretty much back where we started in the Neolithic.

Work in the industry is a grind that never stops. The schedule is relentless and the drive to jerk out just a smidgen of attention for the "new line" is merciless. Especially since, for most of the line, there's little that's new possible and only a bit of shock available. Hence, you get the doddering Karll Lagerfeld (76 and looking held together with bailing wire and sprayed fiberglass) trying to whip out his shrunken sensibility for the umpteenth time at Chanel and looking dumber than usual.

Hence the hackneyed concept, "Hey, let's dump a few tons of ice on the runway, let it melt, wade and wallow in it and call it 'Climate Change.'" You might think Karl missed the memo on Climategate but you'd be giving him too much credit. He's a creature of.... well.... fashion. But he's even more a creature of his own relentless self-promotion and he's smart enough to know how to get some attention. I just dread the year when he gets behind sustainable farming and local produce. Then we'll have models pulling yams out of their butts much like Lagerfeld pulled an iceberg out his own commodious ass this year.

Posted by Vanderleun at March 10, 2010 7:01 PM
Bookmark and Share



"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I imagine the models backstage getting in and out of the costumes that these "designers" have at the ready...

"Ah shit. Fuckin antlers...Where's my heroin?"

Posted by: Patvann at March 10, 2010 7:45 PM

Leave them alone. If you make them leave the fashion business, they will think up other ways to annoy us.

Posted by: Fat Man at March 10, 2010 8:34 PM

been in and around the fashion indisutry for 40 years.

your analysis is spot on.

Posted by: reliapundit at March 10, 2010 8:44 PM

I would think they'll be getting a letter from Disney's lawyers fairly soon.

Posted by: David C McKinnis at March 10, 2010 9:54 PM

I served time at a fashion magazine too. A couple of points I'd like to add: Magazines have a long lead-time--October gets put to bed in April. By October you're putting April to bed and already looking at trends for the next fall. So by the time everybody wears the boots you told them were the latest thing, you already know they're past tense and there's a new latest. You can't wear the boots yourself even if you like them, because you'll be perceived as uncool, and in such things promotion lies. Our editor for trends was as far ahead of the rest of us as we (supposedly) were of our readers. I often wondered if to the untrained eye she looked dowdy.

Second point: when I look at mastheads today, I see a lot of the same last names--sons and daughters are now high up in the hierarchy. Politics isn't the only field with dynasties.

Posted by: Wenda Morrone at March 11, 2010 8:45 AM

Shocking the middle class is so... middle class.

Posted by: LS at March 11, 2010 11:38 AM

I think they should re-enact a seal clubbing. They can bring in some serious Newfies with clubs to do the honors.

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at March 11, 2010 2:28 PM

Good job. Funny and deadly accurate. I'm a fashionista's nightmare (stingy, dowdy New England matron) but my roommates in my youth were in advertising and publishing in the city, and you capture it perfectly.
The book about the Stones was cool, but I wish you would write a book about American pop culture now. An updated Fear and Loathing, perhaps?

Posted by: retriever at March 11, 2010 5:49 PM

Often Vanderleun seems quite compelled to vent hostile stuff against gays. I generally enjoy his wit, but would like to see far less of the gratuitous bashing. Of course the "fashions" depicted above are over the top and absurd, but they also strike me as glaringly and pleasingly ANTI PC. Not only do I see tons and tons of fur, but the theme of freezing runs completely counter to the PC monotony of Global Warming(TM)... You all seem too determined to spout non-sequitur blather to notice... Rather than bashing the brilliant Lagerfeld I would have thought he might be hailed, at least for his irreverent takedown of insane PC Shibboleths on the runway...? Instead we see gratuitous swipes and a dimwitted misreading of the imagery followed by more piling on in the comments... too bad.

Posted by: Morton Doodslag at March 11, 2010 6:39 PM

What you said about fashion designers - I was re-reading 'Populuxe', and the author was writing about car designs, and how the designs changed so much year-to-year from the mid 1950's to the mid 1960's. The designers hated that - they had been used to incremental design changes. They would alter the size and shape of a back window over the years of a design's life (for example), but they suddenly had to change much of everything each year, and each year come up with something new. As soon as they were done they had to drop it and work on something else, with months - not a base and then a few years to come up with the next design - but months.

No wonder fashion designers come up with a do-not-wear-in-Michigan hat, or dirigible skirts. Or Lothar-of-the-Hill-People wear. Long skirt or short skirt; long sleeved blouse or short sleeved blouse; neckline low or high.

I am just surprised that the Roman Legion hasn't shown up as an inspiration (though I doubt these waifs could wear, let alone heft, a gladius).

Posted by: Mikey NTH at March 11, 2010 7:01 PM

Fashion: Proof that malnutrition, buggery, and drugs do weird things to a person's brain.

Posted by: monkeyfan at March 14, 2010 10:26 AM