Auntie Fashion

I’m the fashion world’s most-enduring muse.

Posts Tagged ‘antifashion

What the hell is taupe?

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Mole

Talpa europaea

I’ve had the strangest aversion to the color brown for so long now that it has become second nature for me to just ignore everything brown in every store I visit.  I look terrific in dark, earthy neutrals — especially black, charcoal gray and olive drab — but wearing brown just didn’t seem like me.

A few weeks ago I was discussing the color brown with a young man who wears black almost exclusively — a “Goth” type.  He made a point of telling me how much he loathes brown shoes.  Having lived through the early 80s once already, I didn’t give much credence to his argument.  Why would I trust a guy who was dressed like I used to dress more than twenty-five years ago when the style was fresh?

The conversation stuck in my mind.  A few days later I was walking through a boutique where I noticed some shoes that I thought were black.  I picked them up and realized that they were very dark brown — almost black.  I immediately took them to the counter and paid for them.

Last week I was shopping for some pants.  I found a pair that I thought was gray at first and I took them to the fitting room.  The lighting there was quite different than the lighting on the sales floor, and I noticed that the pants were more brown than gray.  I immediately thought of how smart they would look with my new shoes, so I bought them, too.

I wore the combo out yesterday, where I saw my Goth friend.  I told him that brown was my new signature color, and that he had singlehandedly inspired me to get over my irrational fear of the color.  He told me that my pants don’t count, since they are “more taupe than brown.”  I told him to kiss my ass.

Anyhow, that incident made me ask myself if I really knew what taupe was.  So I looked it up on Wikipedia.  Taupe, it seems, is the color of the European Mole, which can be many different colors.  I’ve always considered taupe to be the color of mud puddles, which may be correct according to the article since it cites several examples of the color.

Taupe is a lot like personal style, it seems: It’s whatever you want it to be.  Now that I’ve realized that, I’d like to make taupe the signature color of antifashion.  What better represents the movement than the color that can’t be defined?  How could it possibly be affected by the trends when no one really knows what it is in the first place?

So rise up, you rebels!  I want to see legions of you on the streets in head-to-toe taupe.  Power to the people!  Stick it to the man!

On second thought, just wear whatever you want.  And if you want to wear pink and call it “taupe,” go ahead.  Who am I to stop you from being yourself?

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May 7, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Courtney Love

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Courtney Love

If I had to pick the one dress that has influenced fashion the most in the past ten years, it would be this one.  John Galliano designed this gown for Christian Dior Haute Couture.  The collection was inspired by hobos, and the dress originally was presented on the runway with dangling fake mice and tiny beer cans.  Courtney Love cut those off before walking the red carpet at the 2000 Golden Globes in the name of “good taste.”

Love had recently been reinvented for the red carpet.  Cleaned-up and looking undeniably gorgeous, she literally made the jaws of the fashion press drop to the ground when she stole the show at a couple of events leading up to this particular red carpet.  Jeanne Beker has even cited Love’s appearance at another event in a glorious Versace number as a career-making move.   Up to that point, Love wasn’t even on the fashion radar.

And then she showed up wearing this dress.  I couldn’t have been more delighted, but the world reacted rather unfavorably.  Even W magazine couldn’t decide what to say about the ensemble, calling Love “trashy” on one page, then simultaneously praising Galliano’s collection on another.

But, as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.  Looking back, this dress basically encapsulated the decade that would follow it.  The deconstruction/reconstruction trend, the red carpet craze, the return of Hollywood glamour, the embellishment fad, makeover madness — all of the movements that have defined the ’00s are evident in this one snapshot.

Of course, I wish I could find a better photo of this dress.  But it seems to be forgotten by most people, including the people who write about fashion.  That’s sort of tragic, because this dress needs to put in a museum for the sake of posterity (maybe it has been, for all I know).  It’s an icon.

Many people who write about fashion don’t attempt to understand the garments in the context that they were created and presented.  This gorgeous gown was ripped to shreds and put back together again only to be met with mixed reviews by an audience who was mostly unqualified to offer its opinion on the subject.  If that statement doesn’t describe this past decade in both fashion and fashion criticism (and Courtney Love’s life, for that matter), I don’t know what does.

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April 28, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Cats Are the New Dogs

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Buttercup

Antifashion is a rebellion against the crass commercialism that turns art into business.  It is not hostile towards beauty or style.  You can renounce the foolishness of the trends while still being chic.  You can observe what the brainwashed masses are doing, and do exactly the opposite — the stylish opposite.

For instance, dogs have been a trendy fashion accessory for the past few years.  As a result, the cost of both purebred dogs and their mutt cousins has increased substantially.  Muddled-up crossbreeds are being given trendy new names so that they can be sold at a price that exceeds their pedigree.

However, Puggles and Shorkies are not Birkins and Kellys — if you know what I mean.  Breeding a purebred dog of exceptional value is an art form, just as crafting a fine leather handbag is an art form.  Breeding mutts, on the other hand, is as simple as getting two dogs to hump.

For that reason, dogs in general have been tainted.  Their current fashionable status has made them less-desirable to someone like me who thrives on bucking the trends.  I’m a cat person now.  They’re less vulgar than dogs, anyhow.  I’m the kind of woman who wears designer labels on the inside of her clothes, and I’m also the kind of woman who leaves her pets at home.  Moreover, I don’t believe my cute little kitty-cats appreciate a photo-op as much as I do.  The paparazzi would hate them.  Look at all the retouching I had to do to little Buttercup’s snapshot!

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March 26, 2008 at 4:05 pm