Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Dismal State of Fashion, Part II

In an earlier post, I wrote about how much fashion sucks lately in large part because designers have lost their lust for breaking any new ground. Part II of my beef with the fashion industry is the critics themselves, who I think are also contributing to desingers' conservative outlook.

There's a popular site out there called GoFugYourSelf that a lot of people find hysterical. Its theme is fashion criticism and the site proprietors have a very special hatred for actress Chloe Sevigny, and in fact point to her as an inspiration for the site. They write:

Sevigny is one of the reasons this site exists; she is my nemesis in the fugly world, the person whose taste and appearance are constantly praised and rewarded, and whose "expertise" was on loan to the Imitation of Christ label, despite the fact that she dresses like she found some stuff on the floor... any floor... and decided to don it. Her fashionista snob attitude has always confounded me and seemed hugely unwarranted.

Now granted Sevigny goes out there a LOT with her choices, but I do give her props for taking chances and a willingness to go to events without consulting seven different stylists. GoFugYourself isn't alone certainly. Just about everyone with a blog considers themselves qualified to be a fashion critic. I view most of them as graduates of the Joan Rivers School of Fashion. They've concluded that, hey, since they not only wear, but buy clothes, they are entitled to an opinion.

And of course they ARE entitled to an opinion, but that doesn't mean I value their opinion anymore than I would expect someone to take my layman's view of a Picasso with any amount of seriousness. The problem is, there aren't thousands of blogs sniping at how ridiculous the latest installation at the MOMA is, and the result is that actresses who used to be willing to push fashion envelopes are now scared to death that if they appear looking anything less than styled within an inch of their lives, they're going to be repeatedly stoned by the media.

Given the heavy-handed attacks, it is really a minor miracle that Bjork dared to show up at the Oscars wearing a swan dress and I think it's a pretty sure bet that we won't be seeing a modern-day Cher wearing a Bob Mackie dress complete with a feather head piece any time soon, and that, folks, is a fucking shame.

And make no mistake, I wouldn't be stupid enough to call for an end to amateur fashion critiques. Clearly people enjoy them and I think, in part away, they're a part of Internet-wide trend, in which everyday people have taken on the role of pajama-clothed-experts, a movement that is not without merit. Still, it'd be nice if designers could develop a spine and instead of acting like everyone's favorite doormatt, at least provide some pushback whether on their own blogs (of course first they have to launch one, but we know how hard that is!) or even better yet, in their collections.

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