Monday, September 10, 2007

the end of summer

As summer comes to a close and my Louise Brooks bob finds itself more in the company of Uma Thurman's look in Pulp Fiction, I regret not spending more of my summer in heavy black eyeliner and dark lipstick. I oscillate between hacking it all back off (and to committing to an autumn of cloches) and wishing I had never cut it off in the first place. Thus, saving myself the awkwardness of growing it out and the period of length from my chin to my shoulders. The abyss between ends up with my hair in what my mother refers to as the Alabama flip. A look, which in everywhere but Alabama, went out of fashion with the cancellation of the Dick van Dyke show.

Images for reference:

Louise Brooks

Uma Thurman

Mary Tyler Moore (and Dick Van Dyke- but I don't really care about his hair)

but then I remember the world doesn't see me in a black and white film still.

It may seem strange but I am in fact having a crisis of style (and harboring a new lasting disgust with the fashion industry in general?) these days. I guess my
dissatisfaction with my coif and outward appearance may just be a superficial manifestation of it... but since I was a child I have been fascinated by clothes-- everyones clothes, not just my own. I was always interested in the history of clothing and fashion and the way clothing was used as a tool of communication, expression, protest, and has functioned as a tool of reform. The fashion industry today is somehow different. I guess its easy to idolize the past, its not like i am not completely ignoring the history of injustice, exclusion, and general classism that has always been present in the fashion industry. I feel, however, that somehow today's fashion industry--by way of chain fast fashion stores and a variety of other developments of the past 30 years-- has managed to nullify the social and political power that clothing used to have. Although plenty social codes still exist in our garments-- since the demise of grunge at the end of the 90s it seems that clothing has lost its ability to magnify injustice and ills within our society. Even more quickly than earlier anti-fashion movements, grunge was commercialized and packaged in mall chains across the nation and world. It is the natural cycle of things that anti-fashion be absorbed by mainstream fashion and eventually robbed of its original meaning but serious inspiration in dress seems less and less common.

Fashion seems to have destroyed style.