20 September 2004

A Dialogue

Fashion Supplement

The Angel of Convention sat down with the Demon of Suspicion to debate the meaning of fashion.

“At bottom, fashion is the art of personal adornment.”

“At bottom, fashion is a dark forest of half-starved wolves, tarted up with stiff collars and eye-tints, mangy fur and sultry looks. Competition is the only constant in their existence. They are done up so nicely to entice prey. Starved of their quarry, they start to eye each other.”

“No—what individual dressers do may be selfish, or competitive, but I see now that that’s not the essence of fashion. The essence is the industry. The industry provides the clothes and directs the styles that express how women and men are feeling, as art; and lets them understand themselves, and dress how they feel en masse, each season and each year. This is where the real genius of fashion exists; the industry is creative, but also useful. Without it, we’d have nothing to wear.”

“Fashion then is a swamp full of frogs, leaping over one another from lilypad to lilypad, never seeking genuinely to advance but only to make it first to the pad around which a good swarm of flies has formed, as long as another frog seemed poised to leap to that lilypad first. With greed in their globular eyes, they look out both sides of their heads to make sure a further lilypad is waiting, and also that some other frog is following behind; this is the amphibian game. But at bottom it is a lot of amusement while catching the maximum number of flies.”

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