Monday, February 2, 2009

The beginning of a weekly fashion post? Perhaps.

It was pointed out to me that fashion commentators don't like the way Johnny Depp dresses. I not only like Depp's taste in fashion; I enjoy it. He's playful. Besides, who can possibly trust experts when they call anyone wearing the the following montrosity the "best dressed of the week":

Click on the above link and you'll find page after page of bad fashion and bad judgment. I'm not writing this to be catty - I have no motive for that.

I was under the impression that high fashion had lost its taste years ago. I discovered yesterday, after spending hours perusing the web, that this is not true. There are plenty of extremely talented and creative designers out there. But that's not what the public sees. We are generally bombarded (just by standing in line at the market) with photos of celebrities on the red carpet and the comments about them. Did you know that Angelina Jolie wore a dress backwards last week? Of course, now her stylist is saying that it was intentional. That's fine with me. When I saw the photo, I thought it likely it was thought out (though I like it better with the front in the front), but in my book, anyone who has the balls to play with the designer's clothes deserves some positive credit.

But I'm missing the point of the sport of celebrity style watching entirely! It's to see who looks bad, not good. The sport involves finding the big fashion faux pax, whether it's wearing something backwards or wearing something that shows off a dreaded tummy, wearing an inappropriately revealing outfit when one should be covering up a less-than-perfect body, or covering up a body when one should be revealing it. In spite of all the hours of exercise, stylists, and surgery, finding the flaws in these god-like celebrities is sport for the jealous. And judging from the website that I linked to in the first paragraph, one needs absolutely no taste at all to participate in this sport.

If we take the celebrities out of the style equation, we are left with an abundance of great fashion design. Unfortunately, if we took the celebrities out of the equation, the designers would go out of business. But it's too bad, in my opinion, that these highly talented designers clothes, the cream of the crop, are seen only on the catwalk. Then they get pared down until they are almost devoid of their originality. And in order to satisfy the needs of how celebrities have to dress, the emphasis morphs from artistry to "does it make her look hot?" Celebrities who dare to dress too far out of the norm are setting themselves up for at least an afternoon of sniping.

The latest Dior Haute Couture line is extraordinary. One would expect to find dresses like this on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I doubt we'll see any on the red carpet, but I'm glad I saw them on the runway (online, of course). Here's my favorite, which has no practical use whatsoever:

You should see a side view of this dress! I saw one a few days ago, but even after hours of searching the web, I couldn't find it again. To see the entire collection, go to Vogue's website.

I adore high fashion. When I was in college, I bought Vogue, W, and many European fashion magazines whose names I have no memory of. I've always loved historical costume; why not enjoy haute couture? Yet, this hobby was one that had its pitfalls. I felt lousy about being so short (I'm only five feet tall) and being so poor. But that didn't stop me entirely. I could sew, and I wore many of my own creations. I wondered why I didn't go to Fashion Institute of Technology, instead of regular art school, but I never persued that thought any further, which, in retrospect, was a shame. I much prefer fabric and fiber to paint. But the fashion world nearly repulses me. Any endeavor that depends on the whims of the rich to stay alive is one that I don't want to be a part of.

And that is a thought that deserves a whole post of its own.

Meanwhile, I did find an outfit that I would wear:

It would be a muddy mess by the time I walked from my house to the general store, but if I get an invitation to some major event, I think I'll give John Paul Gaultier a call.

On second thought, that John Galliano for Dior red dress would be great for me. It would hide all my tattoos. It's a good thing I won't have any reason to have to make up my mind.


Websafe said...

The red Dior dress is indeed gorgeous. Very mannered. And it looks like it cames from several centuries ago, which in my book is enough to recommend it immediately.

Have always found the Vogue Web site to be fantastic; one can see the designers' entire collections in a handy slide show. In recent years, have especially liked Proenza Schouler, Galliano, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera.

Please, let's all get past "But where would I wear it?" etc. It's not the point. The point is making space for the worship of beauty, which is part of my "religion" as an artist.

BitterGrace said...

That red dress is really beautiful. I am fashion-impaired, myself. The only thing in that collection I'd even think of wearing is the simple red sheath on the first page. I'm wearing a pair of embroidered boots today, and that's the fashion equivalent of bungee jumping for me.

The whole "GoFugYourself" phenomenon drives me slightly crazy. I listened to a pair of male DJ's talking about Jessica Simpson's body a couple of days ago, and it actually made me queasy. I think it's fine to express admiration for someone's looks, but negative judgments should not be uttered. I'm not sure that makes sense from a feminist point of view, but there you have it.

(BTW, jmcleod76, if you see this--I tried to leave a comment at your blog, but the word verification thing wouldn't show me the letters to type. Maybe it doesn't like Firefox? Anyway, nice Azzaro review!)

Julie H. Rose said...

Websafe - point well taken. I don't look at a painting and say "but where would I hang it?"

But there's no possibility of my purchasing a Vermeer.

Then again, there's no possibility of my purchasing a John Galliano dress. So, I should just sit back and enjoy. Which I do, actually.
I've looked at this particular Dior collection over and over.

The Vogue site is fantastic. I'll check out those collections you mention.

And, BitterGrace, as you can imagine, I'm no fan of Go Fug Yourself either.

In my wordy way, I'm simply suggesting we judge fashion as we do art, and dispense with the celebrity aspect of it. But that would take all the fun out of it for a good majority of people, I'm afraid.

jmcleod76 said...

Fun post, Julie!

And thanks for the compliment, Maria. Sorry Blogger has PMS ... I've switched around the comment format, but if it keeps happening let me know, and I'll disable verification.