September 6, 2013

"Optimism: trend alert?"

NY Daily News caption from its Fashion Week coverage under a photograph of a Kate Spade bag that — I am not kidding — looks like this:



That may represent a trend, but it is not optimism. It's painful sarcasm and hopelessness about a lost past that wasn't even any good anyway.

That bag, with the burlap fabric and "homemade" childish embroidery, references the early 1960s. (I remember those idiotically cheerful bags ladies carried on the boardwalk.) Perhaps the Kate Spade operation is alluding to the 50-year retrospective on the ultimate crushing of hope that is descending upon us this fall, the Kennedy assassination.

If you're medicated, you might look at that bag and see optimism. Do you complete the sentence to make lemonade? Those words don't appear on the bag (not on that side anyway). Face it: This burlap monstrosity is intended to make you feel bad. Life sucks. Suck a lemon.

27 comments:

MadisonMan said...

When life gives you lemons, you put them in a pricey Kate Spade bag. Then you flounce down the street in your espadrilles, ignoring any homeless people you might pass. Why don't they have jobs!

raf said...

when life gives you lemons...

...you'll need a bag like this to carry them.

Bob Ellison said...

Wow. I have long wondered about the strange obsession with handbags. I thought I understood it a little bit, but with this post, Professor, you have sent me down the rabbit hole.

prairie wind said...

Anyone who thinks they will make a style statement by spending hundreds of dollars on a bag that looks as if it came from a garage sale...what else could they be but a optimist?

Are you sure this is Kate Spade? I couldn't find it on the KS site when I went looking for a price. If this is an old KS bag and it really did come from a garage sale, then hey! More power to that optimist!

Strelnikov said...

...make an overpriced bag.

C R Krieger said...

Professor

My meds are better than your meds.  I liked it.

Cheers  —  Cliff

DanTheMan said...

You get all of that from... a bag???

Richard Dolan said...

"Face it: This burlap monstrosity is intended to make you feel bad. Life sucks. Suck a lemon."

Monstrosity, you say? Rubbish. It doesn't make me feel bad at all. I like the cheery yellow, and lemon is one of my favorite flavors. Forget lemonade -- how about a lovely lemon tart. Life could hardly be better than a lovely lemon tart.

The bag harkens back to that happy, gauzy time of childhood, when (if you are of a certain age, as Ann and I both are) everyone's mom had a beach bag like that. Even some of the Official Beautiful People, hanging out for that last beach weekend over Labor Day in the Hamptons, could be found sporting an equivalent bag (but perhaps for all the wrong, alienation-driven and angst-loving reasons).

dbp said...

I am not medicated and find the bag quite cheery, especially if the owner is the person with matching shoes.

It might be better with just the phrase missing. Would you find it optimistic looking if the bag was exactly the same design but without the wording?

Smilin' Jack said...

That may represent a trend, but it is not optimism. It's painful sarcasm and hopelessness about a lost past that wasn't even any good anyway...Face it: This burlap monstrosity is intended to make you feel bad. Life sucks. Suck a lemon.

Jeez--maybe you need more coffee or something before you post in the morning.

Inga said...

I've been enthused about Vera Bradley bags lately. I just a bought few items, love the bright colors and quilting.

R. Chatt said...

When life gives you lemons, go shopping!

Rusty said...

MadisonMan said...
When life gives you lemons, you put them in a pricey Kate Spade bag. Then you flounce down the street in your espadrilles, ignoring any homeless people you might pass. Why don't they have jobs!

Almost.
You put those lemons in your Kate Spade bag and march down the street bashing the hell out of those over optimistic sunshiney people. The lemons don't leave a mark.

Lance said...

Yes, actually, I did mentally complete the sentence.

And I don't see the Kennedy assassination (either of them) as hope-crushing. But then I wasn't born yet.

And I don't *think* I'm medicated. But I'm not as careful of my fluid intake as some others.

John said...

O Gawd,

I'd forgotten all about that. It is the 50th of the JFK murder. I expect that we will hear the demmies milk him for all he is worth.

JFK was a pretty useless president. Sort of an Obama writ small. Had he lived, he might not have been re-elected. Had he lived, he most likely would have turned out like his brother Ted.

Will we never be shut of these Kennedys?

For those supporters and dreamers, let me remind you of his two major accomplishments:

Vietnam
President Johnson

John Henry

Christy said...

I like the bag, but may have picked out the lettering when I got it home. The lemons do not, do not look like childish embroidery to me. Future art major Althouse must have been an embroidery prodigy.

My pal who loves bags tells our crowd she spends hundreds instead of the thousands she actually spends and still gets grief from a designer wearing friend who claims she buys at thrift shops. We are all a little weird about how we spend money.

Crunchy Frog said...

Ann must have fallen off the wrong side of the bed this morning.

It's a cute bag. I like it.

Conserve Liberty said...

Men have it too easy:

Grey or Blue? Check.
Striped or Plain? Check.
Blue or White? Check.
Red, Yellow or Blue? Check.
Cordovan or Calf? Check.

Ten minutes, tops.

Women have so many . . . . . . Choices
to make every day.

I'd need a lemon bag, too.

But not Kate Spade.

Ann Althouse said...

I disagree with those who say not all clothes are fashion.

This is like the people who restrict the term "art" to meaning serious art.

I'm not doing that, and since I'm the one making the assertions in the post that you are responding to, I get to define my own terms.

"Fashion" should not be understood to mean only high fashion or good fashion.

All clothing is designed, even if the design was done decades ago and the design is very basic, like a t-shirt.

You are making fashion choices when you decide to wear a t-shirt and jeans, just as you're making an art choice when you decide to frame and post old album covers to decorate the wall over your fireplace.

Colin said...

Apologies in advance, but have to take the opportunity when it presents itself...

"When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons, what the hell am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I’m the man who’s gonna burn your house down! With the lemons! I’m gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!"

Bob Ellison said...

Ann Althouse said I disagree with those who say not all clothes are fashion.

This is like the people who restrict the term "art" to meaning serious art.

I'm not doing that, and since I'm the one making the assertions in the post that you are responding to, I get to define my own terms.


I know of another narcissist who talks that way.

Crunchy Frog said...

What's the matter with the clothes I'm wearing?
Can't you tell that your tie's too wide?
Maybe I should buy some old tab collars?
Welcome back to the age of jive.
Where have you been hidin' out lately, honey?
You can't dress trashy till you spend a lot of money.
Everybody's talkin' 'bout the new sound
Funny, but it's still rock and roll to me

Jim S. said...

When life gives you lemons...

...you're probably standing under a lemon tree. Consider standing somewhere else.

Christy said...


If you wish to converse with Me, define your terms Voltaire

I thought that meant mutually agreed upon terms.??

Ann Althouse said...

@Christy It's often the case that some people in a conversation are thinking of a term in a restrictive way that changes what the speaker is saying. Once they reveal that's what they think, the speaker is justified saying: I intended the less restrictive meaning of that term, so what you are saying I said is not what I said.

There's a time sequence to this. You can't "mutually agree" from a point preceding the beginning of the conversation.

"Fashion" (like "art") is a broad term and "sports" is a broad term, and those who wanted to avoid what I was saying tried to impose restrictions on me, saying that what I said shouldn't have to cover spectator sports or very casual clothing. I say, let them make their points, but I'm still saying what I'm saying.

Ann Althouse said...

"Fashion" is the style of one's clothing. One could say: I don't do fashion at all, and we'd understand what you meant, but we might say back to you: Your fashion sense is very basic.

Anyway, t-shirt and jeans is a style choice, and even with that choice, there are a lot of options, some of which are much more fashionable than others. You can't say because I opt for t-shirt and jeans, I am outside of the realm of fashion.

I can easily picture great or horrible looks within the t-shirt and jeans genre.

Michael Deloatch said...

When life gives you lemons, you say "thank you, life -- now I won't succumb to scurvy." I love the scent of lemons. Even automotive lemons have that new car smell.