Monday, January 17, 2011
Why I don't blog about Red Carpets
A few people asked me why don't I ever say anything about Red Carpet fashion, or celebrity fashion in general; and the reasoning is probably deserving of its own post, since Golden Globes just happened, and we had a thorough media coverage of all the pretty dresses worn by nice enough ladies. And I just don't consider that fashion -- or rather, this is such an explicit shill that I just can't bring myself to care. Basically, there are two issues at play: first, the designers who give away their dresses for free (to some of the very few people who could afford them), in order to make them into walking, occasionally talking, super-expensive billboards (it's not a secret to anyone that actresses do often get paid to wear certain designers, right? Right.) Billboards selling shit to us, people who cannot afford the dresses, in hopes that we'll remember the designer's name shopping for nail polishes, scarves, perfume and other revenue generators for luxury manufacturers. It's the tiny aspirational purchases that drive their profits, and it's the actors who help ignite the aspiring flame in us. So yeah, not interested.
The second aspect is what some call the Joan Rivers effect - the tendency to dress blandly and prettily and in the strictest conformity to heteronormative paradigm in order to avoid ridicule and being placed on worst dressed list and having Guiliana Rancic, as Tina Fey so eloquently put it last year, take a steaming dump on them. (Guiliana Rancic aside: I don't watch her show, so I have no idea of what that was in reference to, but in one of the show's promos, crying Guiliana says something to the effect, "But we're good people! Why are we being punished?!" Disclaimer: I neither wish harm on Guiliana Rancic nor do I believe that anyone is ever 'punished' in some vast cosmic justice sense, or deserves to be. However, a person who made a career out of ridiculing other women's bodies and dedicated herself to most fervent enforcing of patriarchal paradigm is NOT good people. Just saying. Anyway, long aside!)
So. Celebrities are so terrified that any hint of originality, personality or daring self-expression will lead to extensive media mockery (a justified fear, I may add, as Jessica Simpson and so many others well know), that their fashion choices tend toward safe. They hire stylists for fear that some uncontrollable bit of idiosyncratic taste will break through and spoil their otherwise unoffensive look. I mean, stylists only exists because there are so many grown wealthy women who cannot dress themselves, even with all the free designer swag thrown at them because they're worried that Fashion Police will take issue with the size of their earrings or unorthodox shoe choices.
So we're pretty much left with Tilda Swinton (pictured above), who is seemingly the only person left in Hollywood who knows she is awesome enough not to care, and Helena Bonham Carter who has the whole crazy avant-garde look down (her dress choices are routinely described as 'wacky' by people who seem to think it's a bad thing. She also wears Vivienne Westwood a lot, and can I just say how jealous I am?) Both of these actors routinely end up on various fashion faux-pas watchdog lists; I just hope that they will continue not to care. Wake me up when the rest of celebrities stop caring and fire all their stylists; meanwhile, I'll be perusing fashion editorials and street style blogs, because red carpet to fashion is like a burger joint to a petting zoo. Fashion is about self-expression, something that simply doesn't exist here.