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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Sunday February 18 2007

Last night I watched the movie The Devil Wears Prada.  In it, the monster Meryl Streep character - Cruella DeVille running a fashion mag - made a little speech to the Anne Hathaway character that I have heard and read many times, and which I am sick to death of and will here denounce.

Anne Hathaway, a frump (these things are relative you understand), has got a job in the fashion mag, and is wearing a frumpy jumper.  Aspersions are caste on this, but she doesn’t care.  She doesn’t know much about this stuff.

“This stuff.” That sets off Cruella DeVille, and she does this big speech about the particular shade of blue the frumpy jumper is that frumpy Anne Hathaway is wearing.  That particular shade of blue was decided five years ago, at the summit of the fashion machine, by us fashist despots, says Cruella.  You think you chose that blue.  No.  Us fashists chose it.  We decide what you wear!!!!

Yes, here (you have to scroll down a bit) it is:

This ... ‘stuff’? Oh ... ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blindly unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.

Great speech and all that.  Kudos to the script writer, who nailed one of those generic statements, like greed is good and hurrah for the smell of napalm in the morning. But: bollocks.

Us frumps buy and wear frumpy clothes, and there’s bugger all that the fashists can do about it.  They choose the colours we wear.  Big deal.  We don’t care what colours we wear. That we let fashists choose the colours for us that fashists chose five years ago doesn’t prove that they are powerful.  It merely illustrates the insignificance of their colour decisions.  What the fashists can’t do is decide that our frumpy jumpers should have big holes for our navels to show through, or have frilly ribbons on the bottom of them, or that our frumpy jumpers should cost five hundred quid each.  These are the decisions that matter to us frumps.  We make them, and not like that.  Five years ago, the fashists decided that jumpers would have holes in their navels, or whatever crap they thought they had decided.  And five years later, we frumps say: bollocks.  The fashists only have power over each other.

Good little movie though, albeit far too slush-centred and undiabolical for my taste.  Plus Anne Hathaway wasn’t the only alleged frump who just looked like a dressing-down fashist.  Contrast this, for instance, with the real thing.

Some women - not many - are beautiful and hot enough to get away with looking frumpy. I think Anne Hathaway is one of them. Who’s really looking at her clothes and not that face and that hair?

Posted by Jackie Danicki on 18 February 2007

Well, my answer to trend fashists was to become a tread fashist myself.
I choose my colors, I play Lagerfeld for myself and I don’t care for frumpy imitators. There!

[and, Brian, you’re so color-coordinated @that old-haircut picture - look at the burgundy on your scarf and then at claret of your sweater. Analogous scheme.  Breeding can’t be overcome.]

Posted by Tat on 19 February 2007

Thank you Brian.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 19 February 2007

PS Plus, the reason why frumps buy jumpers the colour ordained by the fashists is that these jumpers have been produced in vastly unnecessary numbers in those particular colours, and have been remaindered.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 19 February 2007

To your PS: this can not be FF (fashion fashists)’s fault, their business is to set up a trend and advice the manufacturing industry, but - as in Wall Street predictions - “past history does not guarantee future performance”, and the manufacturer must make his own decision as to what quantity of new models/colors the market will sustain.

OT: congratulations with you NormProfile. I made some add’l comments her.

Posted by Tat on 19 February 2007

This is actually the first blog I have come across that places that comment into something than less to be congratulated for.

Thank you for pointing out the fashistness of the fashion industry.

Despite loving the film, I failed to be won over by an industry that represents superficiality.

Posted by Reader on 19 March 2007

I can see that the two hobbits photo with Brian is going to be the definitive photograph of me for the rest of my life. I don’t think this is necessarily bad though.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 19 March 2007
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