September 10, 2013

I was going to send you to this piece about a fashion designer "pushing" women "into a trap" or "a prehistoric exoskeleton."

It's Robin Givhan expatiating about Thom Browne. She seems to be going overboard.  But then I clicked through to the first picture in the slide show and I'm frozen in horror. Please look at that picture first.

Okay, now, I've settled down, and I think that picture is funny. I'm amused. I can go on with the slideshow. It's quite amazing!

I like this one too. Not as something that could be worn in a real person's life, but as theater. And this.

And — isn't it just perfect? — when the artist emerges, he's a man in shorts!

Back to Givhan. Would you like the job of describing this stuff in a world that has photography? Givhan develops a theme about the literary tradition of portraying women as crazy. It's an old feminist theme. "The Madwoman in the Attic." Were you ever trapped into reading that? Anyway, what does that have to do with Thom Browne?
Browne is not a feminist scholar nor an academic of any sort, but his fashion told a lucid and thoughtful story about constraints, social expectations, and cultural prejudices....

... Browne’s intricate, high-minded gestures served as an invigorating reminder that fashion has the potential to tell stories and raise fundamental questions about how we live our lives. 
After all that, Givhan comes to rest on the same idea anyone flipping through the slide show:
One only wished that Browne had allowed his audience to see more clearly, if only for a moment, something fundamental to a fashion show: What he proposes women wear.
I thought the fashion cognoscenti were aloof from the proletarian question: Who can wear that? When the artist goes this far, it's gauche to ask.

17 comments:

cubanbob said...

A bullshit exposition on a bullshit artist. Whats not to like? I suppose the both of them would be better of in Hollywood-one a costume designer and the other a screenwriter.

Sam L. said...

Is Givhan nuts, or is this just what fashionistas do?

All those look silly to me, but, hey, I'm just a guy from the midwest.

YoungHegelian said...

Because you told me to, I looked at the photos, and what immediately sprang to mind was:

"Back to back,
Belly to belly,
I don't give a damn if
I'm stone-dead already.
Back to back,
Belly to belly,
At the zombie jamboree!

Scott M said...

Where the hell did they find that many unretired repicants to put on a show like that?

EDH said...

They look like Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, the reanimated Nazi in "Hellboy".

Inga said...

Oy. Dear God. The page is bogging down my iPad, bad sign.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

OK. Enough! Yes, there IS a "War on Women."

Andy Freeman said...

Doesn't this pretty much demonstrate that fashion is not comparable to sports?

Yes, Project Runway is as legitimate as reality show competition can be, but PR is about as representative of fashion as a sewing machine or clothing factory.

Fashion is roughly comparable to sports collateral, such as the foam finger.

Paddy O said...

Fashion is often the ultimate expression of misogyny. Often even self-misogyny. A misogyny embraced as a good, dutiful gals making themselves anonymous and distorted to please some fickle god.

Julie C said...

Love this! I do enjoy fashion, and especially when the designer shows a sense of macabre humor and theatricality. Last year Mark Jacobs did a fantastic Louis Vuitton show complete with a train pulling into a station and the models getting off the train. They were styled with big hats and carried giant handbags that evoked the 1920s. Karl Lagerfeld also gets very creative with his shows.

Some of the jackets and skirts were quite wearable. The long dress near the end with the giant ribbons coming down the front was cool. I could see that on the red carpet somewhere.

Givhans sometimes sounds like a feminist studies major straining to write a term paper.

Christy said...

Don't you think #18 brings to mind Artemis Ephesia, the many breasted (or some suggest strands of balls from her castrati priests) fertility goddess? We always see ivory or marble depictions of her which are reflected in the black and white palate.

Sorun said...

I think the inspiration for image 1 came via Woody Allen's Sleeper

John Lynch said...

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!

lgv said...

The new Mrs. Frankenstein greatly enjoyed the show and selected several of the outfits for the post wedding parties in the Hamptons.

Is this art or fashion? I'm too much of a boob to make a distinction. Trying to decipher the Van Gogh paintings was hard enough. Clearly, my taste resides only in my mouth.

I am amused that he was wearing shorts.

Maggie said...

Oh, the horror that is shoulder pads.

Edward Lunny said...

One should ask why it is that these people who ,obviously, hate women and/or the female form, thus choose to work in what is described as fashion.

Mitch H. said...

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!

Here I was thinking Heath Ledger's last role... This is a fashion designer who just wants to watch women burn.