I went shopping in H&M once. I needed some new trousers, but had no idea whatsoever where one went to buy trousers. I knew that shops existed, of course, and I knew Meadowhall was a pretty good place to start, but when it came to knowing which shops were fairly priced, which shops were decent, which shops did what I liked etc… I knew nothing.
My friends Graham and Camilla took me to H&M. As we entered the store Camilla banked right into the ladies’ section and Graham headed left to the mens’ leaving me in the doorway wondering where the trousers were. So overcome was I by the difficulties facing me that I immediately did an about turn and went outside to get some fresh air. And so ended my shopping experience.
The point I’m trying to make with this story is that fashion, and indeed attire in general, has never really troubled me. I am well aware that to some people it’s a desperately important part of their life but I just can’t see it… Equally the same with the fashion industry in general; I know that it is an industry worth billions of dollars but to me it’s just a load of overpaid, self important onanists who believe that face value is the only value of any interest.
I was therefore equally baffled and confused when I saw the latest advert from the former instigators of my shopping palpitations; a series of wafer beautiful models and, by extension, celebrities and teeeeeerribly important people too, gather at some swanky European mansion to drink champagne and be teeeeeeeerribly important to each other. As the flurry of dresses, tuxedos and ribs swirl around we hear how it is the party to end all parties – how you can never be late for it, how people stay for so long they lose their jobs… An eccentric old lady arrives in a helicopter; “pick me up in three weeks” she brays in her aristocratic pomposity.
Finally the man of the moment appears. Roberto Cavalli descends the staircase flanked by sticks with heads and no tits; “you’re missing the party” cry the guests with all the conviction of a Kevin Smith crowd. “Missing it?” he autocues back “I am the party.”
No Roberto, you’re not the party – you’re a sad old man with two hookers on his arm and skin that has to be hung out and stretched each morning before you put it on. Your guests aren’t the most beautiful people on earth, they’re lonely, soulless, empty vessels staggering through the night drunk on their own ego and foolishly believing that because they wear clothes they are more than already forgotten footnotes in history. They may be cheering you, Roberto, but they’re cheering your free booze. You’ve made a load of cut price blouses and cheap skirts, they’re sure as fuck not cheering you for that.
I guess I’m just not that susceptible to advertising. I don’t see a life of glamour and envy, of fabulous people and celebrity worship. I see delusional fools, misguided souls and a bizarre sense of self importance that I can’t believe exists. I’m confused as to what they’re selling me. Are they saying that if I were to buy this £30 hat I would instantly become invited to the most glamorous parties? Were those £12 sandals to become mine I would immediately become as styled as a multi-million dollar advertising campaign? I’m pretty sure those people in your advert are all decked out in the newest £25 cardigan from H&M.
Since I’m not one of those people who the advert is aimed at I’m sure it doesn’t matter what I think. I’m sure there are millions of people out there who will believe this shit and think they are buying into class by going to the high street. That’s how fashion works.
I’m still amazed, though, that in this day and age of cocaine breakdowns and heiress vaginas and pathological media scavenging they are still holding these people up for admiration. I find it offensive that we’re shown these freakshows of image manipulation and are still meant to believe that’s the ultimate achievement of human endeavour.
The parties and lifestyles and the adulation of these people is only touched upon in the advert, the truth is infinitely worse. I don’t care about their existence – they can do what they want and believe they are gods most magnificent creations if they desire, but can we all stop pretending that they’re the best we can be? These people make cheap clothes off the back of cheaper labour, and they sell them to us. That’s all.