Series

Fashion Supplement

Introduced by Mark Greif

Why is it offensive to see people in the street dressed up in fashion? Because they act like an obstacle course is the grand hall of a mansion.

The subway and the sidewalk don’t really accommodate silk and tulle; under real-world conditions, the delicate blouse should plaster to its wearer’s back; the coiffured hair should wilt; the moiré tunic should wrinkle; if their wearers lived anything like us, the filth of the street would darken those low white elegant cuffs, and the grating would wait to devour the high heel.

For fashion-wearers, it is different. They move in bubbles, in inviolate air; many-colored, elegant and cool, they are habitués of another world. The rare woman who can wear this skirt of iridescent green, fitted below the knee, and deep-colored top of creamy silk, and corseted bolero jacket, and Land of Oz heels, all on the street, without anxiety of scuffs, or stains, or consciousness of wearing something delicate and unfamiliar, like the rare man who sports his lightweight charcoal suit, threaded with cinnamon and pink, and crisp collar opening at his throat, and shoes of thinnest leather, each of them traveling without protection from the elements, and yet unwrinkled and unruffled, cool as cucumbers and fresh as daisies—this man and this woman are not you.

Neither of them lives in your world of dirt and wear-and-tear. Each suggests the existence of an alternative world, to which you are not invited.

(Continued in Introduction)

8 May 2013

The fedora is not Monica Lewinsky’s sex-guerrilla beret made sweet with a bow, taking no prisoners with an infantile feminine twist. Nor is it Mary Tyler Moore throwing her beret to the sky—You’re gonna make it after all. We are not sure whether we’re going to make it, in a fedora. More…

20 September 2004

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.” More…

20 September 2004

In between the naïve freak (the man who only wears purple, the man buying lumber in women’s clothing) and the sophisticated street success sits the childhood prototype of all great fashion: the girl who dares to come to school bizarre, wearing yellow plaid and leather and braids, eyes made up darker than an Ancient Egyptian’s, and a cut-and-resewn home modified t-shirt. More…

20 September 2004

Gentle reader, do you, if you are a woman, have an inked motif on your lower back, at a point where it will be revealed between the top of your low-rise jean (fashion of the 1990s) and the bottom of your cropped contemporary shirt? Is it, instead, in a similar position up front, a revelation of the pelvic midriff? Do you show off a little mandala, or rising-sun, or arabesque? More…

Image: Photo by Peter Duhon. Toni Maticevski's catwalk show during New York Fall Fashion Week 2007 at the tents in Bryant Park New York. http://www.flickr.com/photos/artcomments/