February 14, 2004

Why all the prim clothes? Ruth La Ferla marvels in the NYT about all the fashion designers rejecting sexy, revealing clothing.
Have some brightest minds of American fashion, including Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Peter Som and Patrick Robinson of Perry Ellis, failed to recognize that they dress a country addled by sex? It is a land where nudity enters the living room via cable television, where Super Bowl viewers are treated to glimpses of celebrities flashing bosoms and grabbing crotches … Janet Jackson [blah, blah] … Paris Hilton ….
La Ferla thinks it’s just the new way of being avant garde, of “thumbing one’s nose at the status quo.” Or possibly, the designers are just catching up to consumers who are already tired of the excessively sexy clothes of the last few years. One mother, whose daughter has taken up wearing vintage clothes, says:
"It used to be you stopped them at the door, screaming, 'You're not going to wear that to school, are you?' Now my daughters talk down about the girls who show too much."
But I'll bet they are just laying the groundwork for saying "All that prim swaddling looks so old now" next year. The trick in fashion is to get you not to notice how bad something is now so that in the future they can sell something else that looks pretty bad by contrasting it to that thing from the previous year. Ah, but that's all too negative! Have fun! It's just material, and you've got to wear something.

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