After a Fashion

This season, it's all about fashion.

FASHIONSPEAK I know why people think fashion designers are vapid and superficial -- so many of them, like their supermodel colleagues, should not be allowed to speak publicly. A few years ago, W ran a story about the word "about," and how the use of it had become a signature for many designers -- especially Donna Karan, who was given over to airy pronouncements of "It's about ... " this or "It's not about ..." that. Suddenly the theories became much more abstract than "I like tight dresses that show a lot of bosom." Fashion Wire Daily recently ran a few gems of "Fashionspeak." They quote Donatella Versace as saying, "I want people to wear my clothes ... " and Tom Ford saying, "It's all about dressing ... " and Marc Jacobs saying, "It's about clothes ... " and Alexander McQueen saying, "It was all about the clothes ... " and James Mischka as saying, "This collection's about clothes ... ".

Excuse me, but it should be fairly obvious when you're seeing a clothing designer's collection that it's about the clothes. If it's not obvious, there is a problem. On the other hand, Donna Karan was quoted in the San Francisco Examiner as saying, "There's no day or night, it's trans-seasonal, ageless. It's about love and passion. There are no rules ... I am constantly overwhelmed by the natural creativity around me. It just blows me away. Sunsets, sky, earth, rocks. I'm a beach girl ... " Yeah, me, too, Donna. And I like puppies and Christmas, too, but let's keep it to ourselves.

Then there's the intelligentsia. The wacky Rei Kawakuba of Comme des Garçons, for instance. Now, I know I'm supposed to genuflect at the altar of Rei Kawakuba, because of her deep concepts fraught with meaning, but please. I remember her showing this dreadful collection in the mid-Nineties of Frankensteinian patchwork with sleeves coming out of the hips and zippers dragged on the floor and ragged edges, and she told us, "I am expressing fear in this collection. It is about fear of beautiful women." Yeah, Rei, I'm scared (sorry, Gail). I believe it was her next collection that featured the "tumor" dresses, of which the less said, the better. FWD can be downright evil when it comes to poking fun at the pomposity of designers. Of one of the greats, they say, "Gianfranco Ferre, at his last spring collection shown in Milan, said that his clothes 'are about the bucolic spirit of Balenciaga.' One of the pieces in this 'bucolic' collection was a black body suit with the stomach cut out, paired with gold-zippered black leather knickers." They chide Tom Ford for using the phrase "'post-retro eclecticism' -- a three-word collision that to this day remains mangled." Continuing their wickedness -- "Victor Alfaro wins the 'too much information' award, terming his collection 'vintage nostalgia -- schoolgirl preppy meets millennium rebel.' And, in the 'Pink is the New Black is the New Blue is the New ... ' category, Donna Karan gets the Silver Medal with: 'Red, red, red. Red is the new black. Pink was last year.' But Betsey Johnson wins Gold declaring that 'the groin is the new erogenous zone.' Uh, Betsey," says FWD, "what we'd like to know is: Where was your old one?" Leave it to FWD to keep things in perspective.

FASHION HELL Listlessly browsing through "services" offered on AOL, I looked at my horoscope. Not unexpectedly, it was positive. But then I found the link that would give me my astrological fashion profile. It was odd to think that someone might dress the way they do because of what month they were born in, so, being a Scorpio, I was anxious to find out what my fashion profile would be. Predictably, Scorpios are branded as sex sirens, traversing between sleek and chic, or "romantic and flowy." Also, predictably, it says that whatever a Scorpio wears, it is with an ulterior motive, suggesting that if I were out on the town in something short and skimpy, it would mean I was looking for sex. How very wrong they are. If I went out on the town in something short and skimpy, sex is the last thing I'd wind up with. It also says I'm at ease wearing a powersuit in the boardroom. Wrong again. If I were conducting a board meeting, I'd probably be just as comfortable in a straitjacket. Erroneously stating that my favorite designer is Ann Demeulemeester (hardly) and that the clothes I like to wear would also look good on Winona Ryder, AOL sets new standards in presumptuousness. Rounding out the profile, they also say that Scorpios like wigs, makeup, lots of jewelry, and silky undergarments. With the Ann Demeulemeester suit? I think not.

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