Home Fashion The Fashion Idol: Trying to Understand what happened to it?

The Fashion Idol: Trying to Understand what happened to it?





By the time we got to the 80’s it was about our collective desire to express our collective empowerment and affinity with pop and mass culture, think big frizzy hair (yes we know you used to sport the hairstyle…), shoulder pads,  Studio 54, white linen suits aka ‘Miami Vice,’ preppy vacillations to be a yuppie by day and a raging hard party boy or girl by night. By then music video ruled your life and whether you knew it or not you were slowly falling in love with George Michaels and the androgynous Boy George and let us not forget the king of pop and un definable – Michael Jackson who by night ‘rocked us and by day shocked us…’ It was no coincidence that what you wore back then was a migration from what once used to happen in the streets to what was now starting to happen in your living rooms.


Come the 90’s it was all about money, looks and getting to be as beautiful as possible. Boob jobs, nose jobs and dark sunglasses were now the collective vacillation- that plus all of you were all wearing your collective underwear over your pants because somehow that was perceived to be ‘your ability to be down with it’  (think Kate Moss for Calvin Klein) – never mind if you thought about it now you would cringe, the same way you will cringe in 5 years time when you look at that big tattoo on your ankle…


With the 2000’s, and its economic boom and bust cycles one hardly knows which way is up, and for now it’s all about lament and consolidation never mind 2 years ago you were happily spending $18 for cocktails and thousands of dollars for shoes with squiggly leather straps. What once you used to be easily identified and understood has suddenly now become unidentifiable and open for interpretation and approximation. With the ever pervasive- tattoos (once reserved for the vermin of society and gangs) the $3000 knock off watches and $400 hair cuts and the wild adventures of a media addicted society what once represented cache and a verifiable identity has so often become its own perverse caricature (think Lindsay Lohan being appointed as Ungaros ‘artistic director’). 


Given the recent 2010 NY SPRING COLLECTIONS, we witnessed a plethora of looks, designs- from the sleek super charged sexual velocity of Jill Stuart, to the sanguine élan of THUY to the super accessible BCBG Max Azria designs that harbored at feminine dispositions but other designers like Isaac Mizrahi that hinted at bygone eras and masculine tendencies. It’s not by accident that these designers arrived there. If anything it’s their musing and particular sensibilities, reactions to our collective times, their particular influences and societal  aspirations that installed them with their particular vision and take on the ‘fashion idol.’


In the end a pair of jeans, a black leather jacket, a hoody, a beret, a tweed coat or Oxford shirt will always evoke a particular emotional resonance but if fashion is to go forward it must do what the quintessential leather jacket or Christian Dior handbag has always done- not just define who you are but really who you want to be. If fashion can do that it will for once instead of becoming a wide held idol/persona for people to assume and adopt, it will become the context of how we define and understand ourselves…




  1. I think the question isn’t whether I painted myself into a corner but whether fashion itself has painted itself in a corner- as you correctly allude fashion has for a great part lost its soul and become wayward in many respects just like the wayward culture it serves to reiterate…

  2. great writing style but a horribly dissapointing ending! did you paint yourself into a corner?
    fashion for the sake of itself is shallow and that’s where we are existing right now.
    the best of times are and come out when fashion is a tool of genuine self expression. That’s what made the 70’s & 80’s so beautiful and visceral – authenticity! That’s what makes the remakes and redos from american apparel, F21 or wherever so hard to take. but maybe in remembering my youth i’m giving it a pollyanna gloss.
    either way my question to us is how do we become a more authentic and genuinely self-expressed society? in that utopia i’m certain we’d all be chic.

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