27 January 2006

Fashion: Style of The Day

What does Fashion have in common with Scottish weather? The answer of course being that if you find yourself wearing the wrong clothes, just wait five minutes.

Fashion, eh? What possible use is it? The only thing that springs to mind is that it makes us look stylish while we're being dragged into the lathe by our couture. But that doesn't happen, because, like concept cars, catwalk fashion never makes it to the street. We never see women in see-thru tops in the street. But, unlike sleek motorshow mockups, it is probably just as well see-thru tops aren't more common, as the promise of a wonderbra-enhanced cleavage is usually a far cry from the pancaky or pendulous reality of the average unfettered bosom.

If one was of a mind, one could report catwalk fashion to OFCOM for unrepresentative advertising under "The Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988 (2000)".
The impression is that one can walk down the street on stupid shoes beneath a stupid hat wearing a see-thru plastic onesy and no knickers and the only impact would be appreciative mumurs from discerning shoppers. When in reality, one would be plagued by laughing kids, drooling teens, coarse workmen and tutting grannies, and would leave a trail of men nursing slapped faces and thunderous girlfriends while you were bundled into the police van, wearing fetching policemen's helmet accoutrement, for Public Indecency.

It appears that most quotes about fashion are derisory. Fashion, it seems, is merely this weeks interpretation of style. Style is eternal; fashion is transient, ugly and vulgar. So Fashion, then, is like taking up smoking aged twelve, or getting your ear pierced, or dying your hair black. They're fashionable at the time, but as you move on, these traits are abandoned in favour of fresher lunacy in the endless pursuit of style; your own interpretation of "cool".

Having watched Sacha Baron Cohen's fictional fashion reporter Bruno interviewing fashion types, my opinion of Fashion as a home for those arty types who didn't make it in the cut-and-thrust world of digital homeshopping channels is only enforced.
Cohen masterfully manages to ask questions that makes them visibly have to make something up, only for his next question to make them refute and debunk their previous statement in its hastily-constructed entirety. Sort of like the government establishing a task force to tackle the public bon mot du jour, only for it to implode messily a few years on when, ironically, everyone is looking.

Indeed, catwalk fashion and the stick thin women from the Ministry of Silly Walks probably play a large part in the modern "thin equals beautiful" image that forces women into ever more desparate eating disorders and financially-draining gym memberships. It appears that I have been brainwashed by Fashion into being attracted to thin women, rather than the "earth mothers" who would historically be the better choice when it came to the bearing of children. These days, it looks like someone opening a side door at the wrong moment would be all it took for an ubermodel to take flight, lifted from the 'walk by a particularly floaty hat. They have to be careful how deeply they breathe as well; one ill-advised breath and they could suddenly displace more than their weight and float off. I submit that this is the real reason Naomi Cambell fell off those shoes a while back: she breathed too deeply, someone opened a side door and down she went. A series of unfortunate events even Lemony Snicket could not have forseen.

And the hats. Take the above for example. Who could possibly buy this with the thought of wearing it where another person may see it? Presumably you would have to wear the see-thru number next to it to take the focus from the frozen explosion on your head. Maybe that's the point of fashion. Each piece is carefully crafted to take the focus of every other piece. A devious fashionista could arrange an ensemble that would induce violent headaches in anyone unlucky enough to look straight at it. Like a Medusa in training, or a WW2 battleship, or an M.C.Esher woodprint.

I think the idea is that catwalk fashion is what drives high street fashion a few months down the line. But are we likely to see anything like the "AIDS-virus-in-ice" hat on the high street? The closest we'll get is a white fleecy hat with bobbles on it to be worn by toddlers, whose attempts to remove the offending item will be foiled by matching mittens joined together with elastic.

Either way, fashion only really matters to the people in fashion. It is self-sustaining, its value only driven by the insistence that it has value. If someone were to point this out, the whole thing would unravel and we'd all have to wear leather and carry sawn-off shotguns. That's how it was in Mad Max. There was no nuclear war. The cast of Priscilla, Queen of The Desert happened to walk past a mirror, saw what they really looked like and the whole thing went South from there.

In short, it's a padded cell where people can make dresses out of cardboard and shoes out of buckets and be applauded by the rest of the loonies. Just don't give them any scissors. I dread to think what an escaped fashion designer would do with a pair of scissors when pushed to come up with a Fall line at short notice.

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