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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Homeless chic?

Welcome to the latest edition of "All The World's Gone Mad." This chapter is from our Fashionista Department in The Style Section and is entitled, "You can't make this stuff up."

The other night at Museo della Permanente, Milan, fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood presented a menswear show in which the models were supposed to look like "rough-sleepers" - AKA "the homeless".

According to the TimesOnLine article,
"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."
And, this, my friends, is called "Homeless chic".

It was further reported that:
The catwalk was carpeted with old cardboard boxes. The models’ hair was dishevelled and discoloured by something silvery. This, said Westwood, was to make the young men look “like they were sleeping rough and they’d got frost in their hair”.
God forbid, any one of these beautiful young men should ever know what it might actually be like to "sleep rough" much less get actual frost in their hair.

Dame Westwood was not entirely without empathy. She conceded that she herself had no experience of being homeless.
“The nearest I have come to it is going home and finding I don’t have my door key,” she said. “I mean, what a disaster that is, dying to get in your house and you can’t. And what if it wasn’t there any more?”
Oh, poor darling. To have the trauma of actually imagining that you lost the key to your house. I mean, where ARE the servants to let you in? Tsk, tsk, tsk! It is sooOOOooo hard to get good help this days. The "little people" have no idea!

Or, imagine - actually imagine - that your home might not be there anymore. You'd have to spend a few nights in a five-star hotel and that would be such a waste of money!

See how she suffers for her art?

But, you know, there really is nothing new under the sun. There are no "original thoughts". As the article points out:
"It’s a radical theme, but one prefigured in the film Zoolander, Ben Stiller’s 2001 parody of fashion. In it, a character called Mugatu markets a new fragrance: “Let me show you Derelicte,” says Mugatu. “It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.”
One might feel better about this exploitation if one were to know that Madame Vivienne might have contributed the profits earned from this line to the effort to end homelessness, or, perhaps, improving the plight of those who are homeless.

Perhaps she and her fashionista friends and male models might volunteer in a soup kitchen or, say, work with those who are addicted or volunteer in a clinic for those who suffer from debilitating psychiatric disorders, or raise money for research so that a cure or new medicine might be found for diseases like schizophrenia and autism.

Unfortunately, darlings, the world is a harsh, cold place. There are impressions to be made, drama and entertainment and fashion to be created. This is "cutting age" stuff, you see, broaching a "delicate subject" for the sake of haute couture.

Oh, yes, and profit margins.

Meanwhile, back in Milan, the show must go on, as they say.
At the end of the show — part of Milan’s menswear fashion week — Westwood was wheeled out on a paramedic’s stretcher from which she received the audience’s applause.
Maybe she was being taken to the hospital for a heart transplant.

I could go on and on about the obscenity and insanity of greed, but you already know that sermon.

I'll just say this, as statement of my own about this . . . this . . ."fashion" . . . and as prayer:

Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.

Just call me a "Prayer Fashionista". I hope it becomes all the rage.


Ann said...

Speechless -

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Having worked with the homeless of Malmö (Southern Sweden) I'm less than impressed by this cash in. I think Mme Westwood and her models should hang their heads in shame.

Padre Mickey said...

The first thing I thought of was Derelict!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Did you happen to notice the steam coming out of my ears? Perhaps you were distracted by the sarcasm dripping off my lips.

Perhaps 'speechless' is the only appropriate comment but I just couldn't let this go without saying something

Shame, dear brother Goran? These people, I fear, are shameless.

Derelict, indeed, Padre.

Bex said...

If she got a heart transplant it must've felt pretty good, seeing as she didn't have one before.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You are so right, Bex.

I'm just amazed this hasn't gotten more press. I was expecting to have found this on the pages of Religious Dispatch or something - not to have stumbled onto it myself.

It's more disheartening that the religious communities haven't registered outrage.

Suzer said...

Oh - what an opportunity! Perhaps we can offer to have the 300-400 folks outside our church every Sunday waiting for the noon meal to exchange their clothes for nice, new clean ones (Old Navy, Gap, or Target would suffice) and Mme Westwood can take the actual clothes of the homeless and market them?

What has our society become? Of course, society has always been this way (thinking back to time of kings while the peasants toiled below), but one would hope we'd moved farther along than this.

I do hope she will take a sizeable chunk of whatever profit she makes and donate it to help those who are homeless and hungry. I won't hold my breath on her doing it on her own, but perhaps the bad press will nudge her toward doing the right thing.

Grandmère Mimi said...

We all knew that the fashion industry was sick, sick, sick, but this show may be evidence of a sickness unto death.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You got that right, Mimi

Cathy said...

I remember when the US declared war on Afghanistan, though, someone prominent brought out a collection of clothes inspired by army gear (camouflage patterns, etc) that was supposed to be "military chic". It's brainless. Fashion types think that it's reflecting the "zeitgeist" but it's got no political or social awareness behind it at all. Ditto this.

Mary Sue said...

Mmm, I liked this better when it was Mugatu's Derelict campaign in Zoolander.