October 23, 2009

"Imagine that you had just cooked this unbelievable souffle and someone said, Would you prefer to present it on an earthenware plate or this gorgeous exquisite plate that’s been made by some crazy artisan?"

Isaac Mizrahi explains why a fashion designer wants to display his clothes on a tall, thin, beautiful model.

50 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

Asking gay male fashion desigers to pick out the gorgeous exquisite female form is like asking someone to pick out the best flavor of icecream without even tasting it.

Fred4Pres said...

Ironically my word verification for the above post was "palin". Coincident? There are no coincidents.

Quayle said...

I'd rather display it on a gorgeous exquisite salad plate that has been Photoshopped by Chip.

David said...

Actually I prefer meat loaf.

Maguro said...

I don't understand the question. The earthenware plate, I guess?

6p00e54eea0d618834 said...

I think it was Camille Pagila who said that most of the designers are gay men, and they basically think of the models as walking coat hangers.

I also with I could remember who said that the fashion industry was just one long running joke on rich people.

former law student said...

That quote doesn't appear in the article when I clicked on it. Mizrahi does give an example of women feeling threatened when he used curvaceous models -- stick figures promote sales.

traditionalguy said...

So the story is that a healthy and fecund female sexuality look is too threatening to people, and a great designer must mask it under a near death starvation victim's look. Unless of course, the designer is making looks for clothes for pre-teen girls and then the sluttiest whore costumes imaginable are all that they can be expected to do.

MadisonMan said...

Well, I would want people focusing on the souffle, not on the plate it's on. I'd want the plate to fade into the background.

I don't think that's true of clothes on a model. The model is part of the package.

Bissage said...

The thing I hate most about all these horrid, women-hating, homosexual fashion designers is the way they put a gun to my head and force me to purchase the merchandise they’re selling.

ricpic said...

Mizrahi says that actual breasts rile women.

How do you take such a creature seriously?

Greg Hlatky said...

"Better a steak on a earthenware plate than an onion on a golden platter!" - Giovanni Guardeschi, "Comrade Don Camillo"

Acutally, I've heard the theory that fashion designers want their women to look like the boys they want to screw.

Methadras said...

Hmmm. I think I've made my point many times with regards to the super duper.

Methadras said...

6p00e54eea0d618834 said...

I also with I could remember who said that the fashion industry was just one long running joke on rich people.


So is the cosmetics industry. One of the biggest scams running today.

John said...

"It's hard to say. I do think people are beautiful. Honestly, I've actually booked girls [for a fashion show] that weren't obese, they were real girls. Like gorgeous anatomy. And one was a stripper. And you could feel the energy in the room just go down. Closed the books. Pens went down. They were angry. I could feel the anger. And I never did it again, because I thought Why bother? It takes a lot to rile women. It takes like actual breasts. Someone with implants, they're fine. Yes, you're right. Fashion advertisements are hateful. Hateful. Yeah, but they wouldn't do it unless it worked, right? It works."

I think that is the more interesting quote. He is saying fashion models are skinny and have no bodies because women are threatened by gorgous women with real bodies. That is very interesting.

bearbee said...

And you could feel the energy in the room just go down. Closed the books. Pens went down. They were angry. I could feel the anger.

Who the heck was the audience? Ordinary people or critics, other designers, merchandise buyers?

wv hydre: multi-headed fashion monster of critics, designers, merchandise buyers

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The real important question is: "Can I put the plate in the dishwasher after the souffle is gone?"

kk said...

The fashion designers may not be putting a gun to our heads, but as the police, who ARE armed, tend to frown upon us going about in the nude, women of all shapes and sizes have to buy some sort of clothing. And unfortunately, once you get above a size 12 or 14 (which is the average size for an American woman), finding clothes that a) fit, b) are even moderately stylish, and c) are more-or-less well-made becomes an extremely challenging task.

Sure, the majority of people will never buy high-end designer clothes, but the attitude of "my creations must not shelter the jiggling behinds of the zaftig masses" certainly trickles down.

Hey said...

I think his quote on his experience using real women is interesting. I've long been in the group of "well it's fashion designers, so they're thinking of what they think is sexy".

But that quote makes sense, and from his behavior he is a big fan of real women with curvacious figures (a little too fond - Scarlett groping et al.) Watch the Valentino movie The Last Emperor and look at his muses and in house model.

Anyone can exercise and get thin, most people can look reasonably attractive. But the Cindy Crawford look is impossible to attain. I can see resentment and inaccessibility combining so that sales aren't as great. If you've exercised to get to be a 2 and look great for your age but still fall horribly short compared to the pneumatic 22 year old, anyone would be angry.

C Black said...

Nothing profound to say; but, I just remembered a great 'Kids in the Hall' sketch where a daytime talk-show type host was interviewing an obviously pretentious fashion designer (redundant) who says: "Well Darcy, it's just that I've always loved beautiful women. All my life I've loved them and I've loved the way that they, uh...look. And I've always wanted to be a part of the beautiful woman in some way, an appendage to the beautiful woman. An arm or a leg to the beautiful woman in some way. So I think I should design clothes for the beautiful woman and in that way I can celebrate them and become a part of them because I love beautiful women. (vehemently) But I hate ugly women, Darcy! Oh, I hate ugly women with a passion you cannot begin to imagine! They are an abomination of everything that the beautiful woman stands for!"

traditionalguy said...

So " a pneumatic 22 year old" is the actual threat? Oh, I get it,the child bearing look like The Professor's 1981 pic are the most hateful ones. Somebody needs to alert Andrew Sullivan that barbarians are procreating again right under his investigative nose.

Joe said...

I think the guy was talking about the response he got from the fashion trade press, not the public at large. In other words, when he used real women, it was the fashion reviewers, who I gather are mostly female, who resented it.

My only conclusion is that fashion reviewers are very insecure women who see fashion as a way to mask their insecurities and resented someone who could look good without the fashion.

Or they're just bitches.

Joe said...

The parallel is food. Your average person would probably prefer he earthenware plate, seeing the "exquisite plate" [with a dabbling of food in the middle] as pretentious. But food reviewers want that kindof bullshit--odds are they really can't tell the difference between several of this fancy foods, but they sure as hell can tell the difference in "presentation."

(Point being that most reviewers are talentless hacks who find excuses to sound like they know what they are talking about so they can appear important. Repeated experiments have found that self proclaimed experts routinely fail in double-blind experiments in just about every field.)

David said...

My step daughter was a moderately successful model in New York and London for several years. Moderately successful meaning that she was able to support herself with the income and go some interesting places. She actually looked great when she was too thin but she was too thin nevertheless. It impacted her health. It impacted her spirit. So she quit modeling--actually she quit dieting and the agency could not get her jobs. Now she is a waitress in New York. Step down in status. Huge steps up in health and happiness.

She's six feet tall and now weighs about 150 pounds. That's a size 8 with her build and the agency sent her on some auditions as a plus size model. Rejected again--too thin.

rhhardin said...

I'm having rice in a traditional rice steamer.

rhhardin said...

And I will add to that, the First Lady is an actual woman. She doesn't have a tiny thigh, she doesn't have a huge thigh, she has a real thigh. That's a great role model.

A Hillary hater.

careen said...

Except the human being is the nourishing and delicious food and the plate is the frame/outfit in this little analogy to anyone with a soul, you fashionista freak.

Robert Cook said...

I don't think we can take Mizrahi's comment about having used "real women" and alienated the audience too seriously. I also don't think the use of skinny models is a matter of the fashion designers selecting women they think are sexy. Paglia is on the money when she points out that the designers view the models merely as ambulatory coat hangers, and this is as they prefer it.

They see themselves as artists no less than if they were painters or sculptors, and they do not want the ungainly bulges and concavities of the human body to distort the lines and thus spoil the beauty of the artworks they have made: the clothing.

One can imagine that architects probably blanch when they see how some clients have furnished or otherwise compromised the beauty of the homes they have designed.

Robert Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Triangle Man said...

Well, I would want people focusing on the souffle, not on the plate it's on. I'd want the plate to fade into the background.

True enough. Outstanding restaurants generally serve meals on plain white rectangles or circles. Same is true on Top Chef, so it must be universal.

peter hoh said...

I'll take the earthenware plate.

Oligonicella said...

I grew up with my grandmother, a renown seamstress/designer in the '20s. Note the seamstress. She designed and crafted the wedding dress for the princess of Spain.

Anyway, she taught me not only how to sew, but how to lay out a garment on a body. Learn that and you're free from the need to fit into or accept what some 'artiste' decides you should.

MadisonMan said...

Dust Bunny Queen: Exactly.

(laugh)

Kirk Parker said...

Hey 'Hey',

Sure, maybe "anyone would be angry"--but let's hope that it's anger that they fell for the stupid competition in the first place, not that they couldn't get to the anorexia chic look themselves.

rocketeer67 said...

Straight form Soup' to Souffle today, perfesser, with nothing in between for us to really sink our teeth into. Don't you know we Althouse Hillbillies need our red meat?

WV: coorso. Only a two coorso meal today.

Marcia said...

Who presents a souffle on a plate?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Paglia is on the money when she points out that the designers view the models merely as ambulatory coat hangers, and this is as they prefer it.


True. I like to watch Project Runway and you can just see the horror and dismay on the faces of the designers when they are given the task of making something for a pregnant woman!!

One episode they had to take old prom dresses and make them into outfits for the current, middle aged, bodies of the former owners. They had no clue on how to make something for an ordinary person.

Oh .....the horror.

Henry said...

Straight form Soup' to Souffle today, perfesser...

And right on to naked-man coffee.

Titus said...

Male fashion designers are gay?

Love Marc Jacobs though but who doesn't?

Salamandyr said...

I flipped over there to find them waxing rhapsodic over Michelle Obama. While the First Lady is nice enough I guess, she's not a knock-out stunner, and her attire has as often been a fashion disaster. In her day, Hillary Clinton was a nice looking lady, and Laura Bush was always very nice looking (and much better dressed than either Michelle or Hillary).

To claim her as some kind of role model for what "real women should look like" seems a triumph of partisanship over aesthetics.

Alex said...

Camile Paglia is just a washed-up old hag jealous of pneumatic 22 year olds!

BJM said...

@rocketeer67

Good catch! I was thinking "soup to nuts" is the reoccuring theme.

Salamandyr said...

Camile Paglia is just a washed-up old hag jealous of pneumatic 22 year olds!

I doubt Camile Paglia is jealous of pneumatic 22 year olds.

Intensely desirous of them, on the other hand, I can believe.

Pogo said...

My world never intersects with the beautiful people or their clothing designers, except when they are older and no longer fabulous, and maybe dying.

I remember watching The Devil Wears Prada and thinking their world is a marvelous fiction, where a runway walk is critiqued as if it mattered, or the Spring Show in Milan or wherever was to die for.

But like World of Warcraft or stock car racing or stamp collecting, just another of man's countless endeavors that signify nothing, despite the sound and fury.

One can contrast Berlin in 1925 and 1945 to see how quickly these things that seem to matter so much just disappear.

former law student said...

Good point Pogo.

I couldn't watch The Devil Wears Prada -- the demanding boss was so much like the one in Swimming with Sharks I thought Meryl Streep would get a beatdown.

Penny said...

Remember stewardesses back in the day? That was considered a very prestigious job for beautiful women, many of whom wanted to be models but failed to make that cut.

rhhardin said...

Not without feathers fashion in nature.

All-day rain produces a leaf shadow.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"the Cindy Crawford look is impossible to attain."

Cindy is actually big-boned by runway standards.

It's important to distinguish between runway models (super-thin, tall) swimsuit models (curvier, more muscular) catalogue models (all shapes and sizes) and pin-up models (curviest, various heights).

The runway girls look best in dramatic clothes under dramatic lights, the swimsuit models look best with nothing on, and the others are the girls average guys are most attracted to.

Bissage said...

I dated, briefly, a girl who was a sports model.

She had the type of build you’d expect to see modeling a bathing suit for Target in the Sunday paper.

She was Nordic-looking and she had a pale blonde, downy little moustache.

Just thought I’d mention that.

wv = dexes, as in Midnight Runners. Kids, just say no to drugs.

William said...

In the restaurants that these models frequent, the food comes on large, oversized plates. There is an absurdly tiny portion of maki-maki in a delicate swirl of sauce and some dainty greens fluffing it out. The plate gives one the zen impression of a Japanese rock garden. It's an act of desecration to despoil such beauty by forking it. Some prefer to consume beauty in museums and calories in restaurants, but it's a big world.....It's nice such restaurants exist. The models can go out for an expensive meal and still retain their anorexic status.