I’m already hearing people referring to this fall as “post-pandemic.” Really? What did I miss? I’m still flummoxed over some people saying they are “back and happening.” Back to what, exactly? We lost more than two whole years, and my clothes — let alone my life — don’t fit anymore. Life has already CHANGED … a lot!
I can’t buy “back and happening.” I’m just trying to get “out and about.” And I’m not talking about dining, shopping, and traveling. Last week my big outing was to Walgreens to get my second treacherous Shingles shot. There were quite a few people there (the pharmacy is now the place to go) getting Shingrix because you have to get it into your complicated year-end inoculation schedule of booster, flu, pneumonia, and why not a tetanus shot while you are at it.
Within 12 hours, I was walloped from the shingles jab, and it went on for two days. It made my 2nd Covid shot reaction seem like a day at the beach. But while I was recovering, soaking my arm in wrap-around heating pads and eating Advil and Tylenol, I got a lot of reports of “back and happening” in New York with Fashion Week (when did that even happen) and the Met Gala.
Fashion week’s highlight seemed to have been Tom Ford’s disco glamour show. I didn’t know discos were back and happening. Lots of loose gold and high colored satin pants (better than sweats I guess), bra tops, and gold encrusted motorcycle jackets. Obviously, it was a “performance” — not a real fashion statement (is anything a fashion statement anymore?). He displayed clashing colors, parachute pants and as he says, “A little bad taste is always good taste in my book.” After two years of Covid, I have no taste left. Let alone interest in disco. But Tom Ford would know, and I guess a good time was had by all. And that’s enough.
It was the same at the Met Gala, which made headlines (and a record $16.75 million dollars) for the Costume Institute. They needed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for putting the Gala “above the fold” on newspaper front pages and in broadcasts with her “Tax the Rich” dress. She was more important for 24 hours than the Covid death rate, and General Milley’s future. So, though the Gala has clearly lost its high brand appeal, it is now devoted to the “freaky deakey” side show of life. So why not replace Anna Wintour with RuPaul and let him do it all better. Especially since the participants and audience are now TikTok influencers, rap musicians, and assorted social media cross-gender stars.
It’s a new day. And maybe a new low. Especially when Kim Kardashian arrived in a Givenchy form-fitting black body suit with a complete ski mask concealing her face. I admired her for forfeiting her usual transparent “tits and ass” G-string formal attire. This had a real message: “Body Bag.” It must be tough competition for her now. Imagine the Kardashians are now considered cultural “has-beens.” I guess politics rules over porn — or maybe now politics IS porn.
As for all this clothing messaging, it seems ages ago (2018) that Melania Trump wore her $39 jacket emblazoned with “I really don’t care, do you?” during a trip to a migrant child detention center. Apparently, it was her statement about being the most bullied person by the “fake media.” Too bad AOC — you were not the first nor will you be the last to wear your feelings. I guess messaging is taking over branding.
But look how confusing messaging has been from places and people like the CDC and Anthony Fauci. Much less the government in general. Nobody knows what their bottom lines are anymore and it all changes hourly depending on your “base.”
So now we have the controversy of Instagram (the mecca of public messaging) increasing the rate of anxiety and depression in 32% of teenage girls. Those who already felt bad about their bodies — Instagram made them feel worse. I think Instagram makes everyone feel horrible about everything. Just look at the fake-posting calamity in the death of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, an Instagram star who was documenting her romantic van cross country life with her boyfriend which ended up with her disappearing and her BF being the suspect. Gee, their lives didn’t read like there was an issue! Social Media promotes the high life at all costs — including an actual life. Let’s get real people!! But we won’t. Devices rule and so does delusion.
I remember reading Vogue in 1965 with the popular models Twiggy and Veruschka and others — all emaciated posers in every magazine. At that time, that skinny look affected many women who then fell into a little-known disorder called Anorexia. But fashion editors didn’t take note. The feeling then was “you can never be too thin or too rich.” I don’t think that has changed as now it’s “you can never have too big boobs, ass, or lips — or be too rich.” We are kind of back where we started, but now there is a bigger audience with real problems, and more toxic platforms with more bizarre messaging. In fact, we are now drowning in too much mixed messaging.
Look at Tiffany’s “About Love” campaign featuring their new ambassadors Jay Z and Beyoncé posing with a rare Basquiat painting in a high formal setting. Tiffany wants the world to know that “It’s not your mother’s Tiffany anymore.” They want a new generation of luxury consumer. But they may have mis-fired.
Beyoncé is wearing an elaborate Tiffany yellow diamond necklace from the diamond mines in South Africa which still gives rise to serious human rights violations. So, Beyoncé seems to be wearing a “blood diamond.” Though Tiffany has somewhat denied that. Beyoncé was reportedly to have said, “she was disappointed and angry that she wasn’t made aware of the questions about history.” So, she really didn’t say anything, and now it is a big messaging whoops. After all, Jay Z and Beyoncé address race and African issues (“Black is Key”) and both artists “occupy a privileged place on the world stage from which they have spoken out about the exploitation of Africa” (their press release).
But in the end … what are Tiffany and the Carters pushing? As journalist Susanne Ramirez de Arellano ponders; “Are they implying that everyone, no matter our color or background — aspires to look like Audrey Hepburn from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and wear white colonial diamonds — no matter where they are from or what they represent?”
Maybe Beyoncé should just have been photographed at the pre-dawn Tiffany window in a long black dress and pearls holding a coffee cup and a Danish singing “Moon River.”
Let’s stop the “messaging” mess and concentrate on just getting out and about already!