I Love Fashion!


I love fashion a lot more than most heterosexual men my age.  It’s one of those things that happened early on in life (as a teenager, I was seduced by Coco Chanel’s “little black dress”) and it has continued ever since.  You see, to me, fashion is more than adornment.  It’s the vision and ability to turn a two dimensional material into a three-dimensional piece of art, using only colour and texture — while simultaneously being handcuffed to the standard contours of the human body.  Plus, it’s all about sex!

Anyway, yesterday was the end of Haute Couture Week in Paris.  This is when designers from all over the world gather in the City of Light to eat, drink, pontificate and play silly buggers with the female form.  (There is a Homme Week, but nobody cares.  After all, after Armani, what can you do with a suit?)  The thing is Haute Couture isn’t about clothes.  It’s walking avant-garde: the fringe of fashion that sets the tone for the middle.  It’s the stuff that women don’t actually wear, because it’s outrageously expensive, 90% of it is hideous and you can’t sit down.  Yet the catwalks are full, the streets are alive with fashionistas, the media is having multiple orgasms, and everybody from Marks and Spencer to Emmanuel Macron is taking notice.  This is because (despite what virtuous sophomore millennials will tell you) fashion is a serious component of human society – and always will be.  (Even the hillbilly Neanderthals wore baubles and beads.)

The truth is fashion is our most basic form of communication.  Check it out!  When you walk into a room and someone is standing there, you have no idea who or what they are – zoologist to axe murderer.  You can’t hear, smell, touch or taste them, so you rely on your eyes for social cues, and a suit and tie send a different message from dirty jeans and a torn t-shirt. (FYI We can yip all day about being non-judgemental, but the fact is we all do first impressions — it’s instinctual — and it’s one of the reasons our species dominates this planet.)

Fashion is the shorthand we use to tell the world where we fit.  Whether we shop at Dollarama or Dolce & Gabbana, we choose our clothes to reflect our personality, our status, our mood and, in some cases, our occupation, our sexuality and even our level of self-esteem.  Fashion is our opinion of ourselves and our world without ever saying a word.  That’s why puritanical societies that fear opinion restrict fashion.

There was nothing spectacular about this year’s Haute Couture: a lot of beads and sleeves and Karl Lagerfeld didn’t wave to the crowd (the guy’s 85.)  However, like every year, it set the stage for February, a month of pret a porter (ready to wear) in New York, London, Milan (Berlin and Tokyo are in there somewhere) and finally back to Paris.  This is where the big girls come to play– and I can hardly wait.

Fashion: What The Hell Happened?


Paris Fashion Week is two weeks over and the supermodels have scattered to the various All-You-Can-Eat breadstick bistros to fuel up for the next round — so it’s safe to ask a few rhetorical questions.

When did fashion models get so angry?
Back in the day, models were pouty, sulky, sullen and even vague (who wouldn’t be, on a diet of coffee and cigarettes?) and we liked them that way.  Oddly enough, disinterested crack addict used to be considered sexy.  These days, they all look like they’re grinding their teeth and just praying for an opportunity to jump down off the runway and kick the bejesus out of somebody.  They’re like a really skinny motorcycle gang.  The last time the world saw this much pent-up hostility, Hitler invaded Poland.

Who wears those clothes?
I’m not talking about size nothing VS real women of the world — unrealistic body image expectations have been done to death.  I’m talking about a woman’s inalienable right to sit down.  Harnessed into some of that industrial-strength crap, it’s a wonder they can even blink their eyes.

Is there something schizophrenically wrong with a society which is totally obsessed with breasts but demands its professional clotheshorses don’t have any?
No doubt, and there’s probably years of therapy involved in there somewhere.

Why is Haute Couture synonymous with hideous?
I’m from an age when Oscar, Yves and Coco actually liked women.  They made clothes for them that looked nice, that fit, and, for the most part, were wearable to weddings, funerals, birthdays and other social occasions.  I have no idea where or when women actually wear the rag bags they’re sewing up these days.  Exorcisms?  Barbie has a better wardrobe, for God’s sake!

Why are fashion commentators so damn bitchy? [Oops!]
It was Richard Blackwell and his Worst Dressed List that started this trend sometime in the last century, and Joan Rivers turned it into an art form.  They both made mountains of money and now everybody’s doing it.  But it’s been more than 50 years, folks.  Could we move on?

And finally, why does a heterosexual, grey haired old guy like me even care?
Gimme a break! Fashion Week is fun.