Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I think I'm going to have to work backwards here. Which is sometimes necessary, no? There's nothing wrong with planning out an outfit around a killer pair of shoes. Or an undergarment, for that matter.

So what I have here is an article - a practically ancient one at that - written in response to the uprising against the culture of thin which exists, which has existed for at least two decades now, and which will - especially according to the author - continue to exist in fashion. This is Robin Givhan for the Washington Post:

"There's plenty to be said about whether the models on the runway are healthy. Most definitely, some of them are not. But most folks aren't demanding to see a doctor's note. The focus of the concern is aesthetics. And some horribly airbrushed photos notwithstanding, the main focus of the complaints isn't that the look is unpleasant but that it's unattainable for most people.

With that in mind, maybe all of the protesting about deluded designers has been wrongheaded. Maybe all of the demands that editors and photographers just use heavier models have been misguided. Because before fashion models will get any bigger, people in general will just have to get smaller.

Fashion tells us something about ourselves and our culture. It does that by reflecting a heightened or twisted reality. It may be that the only way to change the fashion industry's portrayal of women is not by trying to make sense of the funhouse reflection but reconsidering the original sunject matter."

I'm going to save my editorializing, but I will say that I think Givhan has a point. It may a harsh one, but it certainly has validity. You have to read the article in its entirety to get more than a shocking sound byte, but what she's saying, essentially, is that the super-thin is the ideal because we tend to idealize something as a culture that we are not.

I don't agree with the practice of digitally witling down models - even so far as to say I do wish these practices would be banned - and I certainly think there should be concern with the fact that the ideal thin is no longer a healthy thin, but, well, there's not much health to be had at the opposite end either. And this is an interesting point of view regardless.

Now, Givhan had another point I entirely agree with. Even as a recessionista, budget-conscious-ista, etc., etc., I think it's incredibly frustrating when some folks Just. Don't. Get. It. But then, I don't understand the point of spending money on, say, stamps, so, you know. To each their own. Read on:

"It's alwas a bit discombobulating when people raise their voices in anger because they've gotten wind that designers are making and selling $25,000 dresses. After all, it's not as if the existence of a dress that costs as much as a car negates the availability of cute $25 frocks at Target. And it isn't as though edicts have been issued that all women must now dress like one of the superheroes on Balenciaga's runway.

For personal and sometimes tortured reasons -- I can't have it so no one else can! -- observers declare that they just don't understand the attraction of these strange and expensive clothes. That would be a fair argument if those same complainers lashed out at people who spend thousands of dollars on Redskins season tickets, vintage wines, first-edition books or midlife-crisis cars. But those industries don't stir nearly as much ire from people who are uninterested in them.

Everyone has a passion that is lost on others. And to be fair to the fashion industry: It may be strugging, but so far, no government has had to bail it out."

Some thoughts: yes, thank you. Rodarte for Target starts in just over a week!! Oooh I die. And remember Carrie Bradshaw? "I like my money where I can see it: hanging in my closet." Read Givhan's full article at

And I came to all this via Style Rookie, the 15-year-old fashion toast of the town, Tavi. She's kind of a doll. A vintage-clad, runway-obsessed, got her own, brave style in high school doll. Check her out:

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