Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dollars and Sense.

Couture is a tricky sell amidst a climate of financial strain and humanitarian disaster; and not just in terms of dollars, but more in terms of sense. How much sense does it make to revere or celebrate a dress that could clothe a large village if you traded it for equal value at Target? That's the obvious question looming over the start of this particular season of couture shows in Paris; but isn't that always the question? Couture has been happening come snow, sleet, natural disaster, economic breakdown, feast, war, or famine for centuries now. It is a practice and a spectacle that exists largely in a bubble of wealth and comfort that few of us will ever know directly. But, thanks to the ever-increasing media coverage of high fashion, many of us will know it as the fantasy that it is. I won't apologize for reveling (and disappearing) in the beauty of it.

If I didn't have the escapism offered by the pretty people and things of fashion, I would have been gone or gonzo long, long ago. That sounds dramatic doesn't it? But in times of stress or emotional unrest, the sight of a perfectly formed Dior couture gown fresh from the hands of the undeniably haughty and theatrical Mr. John Galliano is enough to make my soul sigh in relief. I can't help it. Ethics aside, I have a visceral reaction to the pretty things of fashion. They make me happy. When I'm happy I can make others happy. Therefore, I'm going to watch a parade of sparkle and satin in jewel tones as The Telegraph's Hilary Alexander sings its praises. Won't you join me?

Le sigh.

1 comment:

Rahul said...

Also, I feel like that question about the cost of production/sale is hardly ever asked about other kinds of art (millions of dollars for a terrible movie, large grants for art that relatively few people will actually appreciate). The problem is that most people don't see the cooky/gorgeous outfits as art.