Manolo asks, who says there are no good roles for aging actresses? Certainly not Isabella Rossellini!


Is the Fashion Press to Blame?

Manolo says, the Manolo’s indispensable internet friend Lesley of the Fashion Tribes has posted her thoughts on the most intriguing panel discussion at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Here is the excerpt.

In his opinion, since no one in the audience – comprised mostly of students – was dressed in a way that remotely resembled a fashion editorial, magazines were obviously out-of-touch and irrelevant. Galanos heartily concurred, and according to his extremely narrow-minded and dated definition of what can be considered “fashion,” anything fantastic but unwearable that walks down a runway is to be considered an exercise in self-discovery rather than fashion. Michael Fink noted that from his perspective as a retailer, he needs to focus on what sells. Sadly, there were neither actual women nor members of the press invited to participate, despite being the market in question and the apparent cause of the demise of modern fashion.

The fact is, in this age of too many trends, designers, and choices, the fashion press is the very reason why fashion remains vibrant and interesting to women.

Editors and fashion writers address this overload of information by sifting, editing, and curating what’s worth putting in your closet. […]

In addition, “unwearable” clothing and editorial spreads feed into the fantasy element of fashion: yes, it’s a business, but it’s one founded upon creativity, both of the designer, and of the wearer as a means of their self expression. “Crazy” clothes fuel people’s imagination, spark ideas, and, ultimately, help keep fashion interesting, aspirational, and in demand.

This point is exactly correct, that yes, much of that which is sent down the runway is unwearable by anyone other than the 14-year-old Belorussian anorexics, but the process of presenting such fantasy clothes does much to shape and reshape our perceptions of what is beautiful.

Query: Are the designers out of touch because they present clothing that cannot be worn by ordinary women?

Answer: In truth this question cannot be answered without specific context; without making reference to both the specific designer and the specific runway show. And even then out-of-touchness is not absolute; there are degrees, and thus the most obtuse show usually contains elements which are worthy of our attention, just as the most mundane may miss that quality which makes it relevant to the current cultural moment.

Query: Are the fashion magazines out of touch because they feature clothing that cannot be worn by ordinary women?

Answer: No. The fashion magazines have the dual mandate, to please readers and to please advertisers. And while there is some tension between these two goals, the Manolo suspects that this tension is less than many peoples imagine.

Query: Why do fashion magazine show us gangly, Ukrainian middle-schoolers in Dior couture?

Query: Why do car magazines spend enormous amounts of time reporting on test drives and specifications of exceedingly expensive and exotic super cars?

Answer: For the same reason, because we are entertained and motivated by such images. And because we aspire to have beautiful things (clothes, cars, homes, art) that reflect what we perceive as our inner persons. The magazines do not create this desire–as it is inherent in all of us–instead they merely seek to shape and direct our desires towards that which its editors value and advertisers wish us to acquire.

Query: Is the Manolo out of touch because he asks his readers to admire beautiful but perhaps unwearable shoes?

Answer: No. The goal of the Manolo at his humble shoe blog is to entertain and to educate, to share with his readers that which the Manolo loves the most, beautiful shoes.