Saturday, January 23, 2010
When So-Called Art Imitates Parody
Compare the homeless to yourself and your life. What do they have--apart from their freedom, sleeping under the stars, not doing much of anything, a life-long enforced reduced calorie diet plan--that you don't?
A sense of style that's what. Think of the wonderful accessories you'll never have...well not unless you decide to rid yourself of all the things that bog you down, of course--your home, family, car, money, heating in winter, clothes that coordinate. Think instead of the amazing sense of style of a trash bag as a garment, the bohemian deliciousness of living in a cardboard box, the casual chic of a shopping cart to hold all your aluminum cans and the occasional feral cat or raccoon. Aaaah....I smell...fashion. Ummm no....that's just the really bad body odor and the feral animal...or both. Never mind!
If you thought Derelicte was only a dreamed up bit of funny in the movie Zoolander, think again. Never let it be said that high-end designers are out of touch with reality. Perhaps they're making size 00 and size 0 dresses because that's the only size the homeless tend to be underneath the bulk of the oh-so practical yet chic layers of newspaper, shredded sweaters, and large, shapeless jackets. They're hiding their fierce bodies. Work it ladies n'gents!
For there is a designer who is paying true homage to homelessness...by creating a collection based on...you guessed it homeless people. I find myself humbled and inspired by Dame Vivienne Westwood's new autumn-winter collection at Milan. This is the press release from Milan Fashion Week: "Perhaps the oddest of heroes to emerge this season, Vivienne Westwood found inspiration in the roving vagrant whose daily get-up is a battle gear for the harsh weather conditions...Quilted bombers and snug hoodies also well well in keeping the vagrant warm."
That is, of course, if the vagrant can afford thousands of Euros for one of her jackets.
What is scarier still is if you compare this statement to the one issued by the evil Mugatu (who recruits male models for political assassinations) in Zoolander: "Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique."
If there is one thing the homeless love more than hot coffee, an occasional meal, shelter, and some warm clothes in winter it's being an inspiration to pampered, rich folk. It's humbling for them I'm sure. Aaah...the homeless!
Of homelessness itself, Westwood had this to say: "The nearest I have come to it is
going home and finding I don't have my door key...I mean, what a disaster that is, dying to get in your house and you can't."
What a disaster indeed. What if you had to pee or need a lie-down on your 10,000 thread-count sheets? I can't bear to think of it. The horror, the tragedy. And they say charity and empathy are dead. Vivienne Westwood you bring a tear...yes at least one tear to my eye.
Here is a quote from the Times Online story on the show: "Some carried bedrolls. Another emerged from his cardboard box with a sleeping bag, slung it around his neck and quickly walked away.
Several hundred fashion experts burst into rapturous applause as the cameras flashed. Dame Vivienne Westwood was presenting a menswear show at Museo della Permanente, Milan, last night in which the models were supposed to look like rough-sleepers. Read the whole story here.
And when you do, ponder how unlucky you are...to be sitting in a warm room, in front of a computer, perhaps with a lovely cup of fragrant tea or a steaming mug of coffee, with your family around you. Life sucks if you aren't sleeping in a cold alley...mainly because your jammies aren't stylish unlike the vagrant's mis-matched, layered fashions. It's just not fair, is it? Thank you Muga....ummm...Vivienne Westwood.
Now I must go practice my blue steel look...and perhaps even the magnum! Keep your fingers crossed for me. Maybe I'll go out and observe a few homeless people tonight. It's cold though...they're probably huddled under newspapers in an alley somewhere. Damn!
I tried to find the actual Derelicte fashion show clip but here's another one from Zoolander. Note Mugatu's trash bag cravat...and the Derelicte sign on the runway. Enjoy!