It’s bad enough that women are hard-pressed to find a blouse without puffy sleeves these days. Then there is the ghastly resurgence of bell bottoms. God help us. While the Nike swoosh has knelt before the Altar of Kaepernick, big-name designers who fill the runways with anorexics in outrageously expensive clothing have been taking heat from the PC police. Now it appears that a few of vogues finest have had enough of the fashion tyranny.
Getting Haute Under that Couture
The political left has been turning the screw on the elite designers to ply their craft in “woke” terms. There has always been a connection between couture and culture, but the toxic politics of late have been pressing in on the famed fashion houses to conform or else. If you know anything about designers, it is that these are people who march to their own beat. Still, some of the industry giants have responded by creating inclusive and woke clothing. There’s one runway snapshot that looks like a row of burqas on steroids. Others are producing androgynous clothing that isn’t, well, very feminine. Then there is the fashion faux pas – the perception of racism – that has landed many a designer in political fashion purgatory.
A firestorm erupted over a piece from Gucci’s Prêt-à-porter collection this year. What provoked the ire of the PC Gestapo was a balaclava-style sweater that they say “resembles blackface.” Gucci collaborator Dapper Dan was not amused. “There is no excuse nor apology,” he vented, “that can erase this kind of insult.” Gucci could not back-pedal fast enough as effusive apologies bubbled over en masse from its twitter account. “This was not intentional,” they contended, “but this is not an excuse.”
Then there is the Burberry saga. Hoisted for all to see upon the Burberry fall runway was a sweater that “appears” to have a noose around the neck. Once it was spotted and called out, Burberry gushed forth with a flurry of unreserved regrets. This is but the tip of a Titanic-sized iceberg spotted from the crow’s nest with the naked eye. Politically incorrect fashion scandals have cascaded down on others, including the famed Houses of Dior, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Celine, and Saint Laurent. PC critics are having a field day with the supposed fashion felonies: too many Caucasians and not enough blacks on the runways. The models are too thin. Sexy ads objectivize women and are called out as “porno chic.”
Sniffing Out the Offenses
One of the most bizarre transgressions of the year involved not clothing but perfume. Dior came under fire for its “Sauvage” perfume because an advertisement showcased Indians doing a traditional Native American dance. The left went bonkers until someone pointed out that Dior wasn’t calling the natives savages; sauvage in French means “wild.”
Hedi Slimane of Celine said enough already in a recent interview. “Demagogic political correctness has become a kind of tragic tyranny of the literal,” she opined. In response to the leftist outrage, she said, “It feels [like] tolerance has switched sides.” Anthony Vaccarello of Saint Laurent made headlines during the Paris week of fashion by complaining that the couture industry has taken on a “witch-hunt atmosphere” where it’s “impossible” to have an opinion that even goes against the culture of political correctness.
The world of high fashion is, by its very nature, outrageous. Millions of women the world over have wondered aloud, “Who would ever wear this stuff?” after viewing the creations of the elite designers. This shocking and extreme couture becomes the sartorial bones of the mega-million-dollar ready-to-wear industry. The designers know that, bottom line, women want to look and feel beautiful in their clothes, and, for the most part, don’t give a hoot about Indian dances, cultural appropriation, or people who are offended by anything and everything. It will be fascinating to see whether the left has met its match in the business world or if the world of fashion will grovel and kowtow to the leftists wearing last year’s jackboots.
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