On fashion and ethics – transparency

Pucci Spring 2013

In Paris, Elie Saab and Giambatista Valli. In London, Christopher Kane. In Milan, of course, Dolce & Gabanna, but also Pucci and Alberta Ferretti. In New York, we had Marchesa, Jason Wu and perhaps Tadashi Shoji? I´m talking about transparency taking a major role in shaping what Spring 2013 will look like: sheer joy indeed.

Christopher Kane Spring 2013

Of course there is nothing new about transparency, as there is in fact something quite old about shoulder pads or fringes, but there is a fascinating phenomenon to fashion that is in fact what fashion is all about — something about the spirit of our times being captured in a specific way of self-presentation that translate into tendencies, that is, suddenly, all at the same time, everyone thinks transparent skirts and pants and crop tops are very now.

Alberta Ferretti Spring 2013

I think sheer bottom wears and mid-riff baring outfits have everything to do with our post online-social-networking times. In the 2000s, we started creating our public profiles, publishing online photo albums, even writing our own blogs. Some adhered to twitter at rather early stages, and our lives were out there for the world to see: we would sit at home or at work (if possible) and update some or all of those windows we decided to open for others to glance into a bit more of ourselves, and it was like we were lighting up a room at a time in a house that represented our lives: Blogger, then Flickr, then Facebook. MSN Messenger was on while we were at it (does anyone remember ICQ? It was all the rage in the 1990s).

Probably it was smartphones that changed all that into something more, just as cellphones helped destroy punctuality. The routine of having to *get somewhere* to check your emails or updating your status has disappeared. Twitter has become massive because you still cannot update a blog over your cell — but you can post a funny sentence and a link to something you just found really interesting. Instagram provided filters for the masses to produce some immediate beauty out of their ordinary lives (and plenty of pictures of one or many pairs of feet photographed from above, dressed in a variety of shoes and placed over a variety of sidewalk patterns, rugs, all shades of grass, and floors in general) even if they are eventually ill-equiped for actually taking a good shot. And Facebook now brings everything together — including the other things, such as random online services for which you sign up with your social network account. It also guesses the people you know that are members too and you really wish they didn´t find you. So now, you don´t get to light up a room at a time. In fact, there are no more windows: life is, or at least it can be if you don´t compulsively check privacy options, a glass-walled loft.

Transparency is a common philosophical trick for bringing about moral behavior — think Kant and the famous (ok, not so much, maybe?) categorical imperative: act as if your actions and motives were absolutely public. Our society has taken this idea one step further by making it possible for everything you do be ACTUALLY subject to universal scrutiny — no need for idealizing publicity anymore. And some are still very suspicious of those who resist being fully connected, even though YouTube has proven transparency in excess might bring only pain and trouble — how many people have been ridiculed by millions (MILLIONS) because a private moment of play (singing a stupid song, dancing a stupid dance, falling on their asses) has gone viral? I always wonder when confronted with a new fashionable video of such kind if their protagonists will actually someday be able to get new jobs. Maybe in the long term.

So if you are no longer private about the inner workings of your soul, your honneymoon or your dinner, it only makes sense for the next step to be no longer being private about any of your body parts, hence sheer pants, thigh-high splits and crop tops. Cellulite? Shouldn´t have them, just like you shouldn´t sing around if your voice is mediocre or have sexual intercourse with people that posess cameras on their cellphones (they might take pictures of you naked while you are sleeping and then publish them on their twitter). Let alone body fat or an abdomen without evidence of hard muscles sitting tightly beneath your (flawless) skin. Definitely shouldn´t have THOSE, you weak minded, lazy bum!

Having said that, I guess the best way to enjoy the beautiful and ever unrealistic proposals emanating from Spring 2013 Fashion Week shows is, as always, to select and adapt — just like you already probably do with your social networker life. I, for instance, have this blog, no Facebook or Twitter accounts, and have been in love for quite a while with a pair of Valentino sheer gauze top that´s sitting on the Outnet´s virtual shelves for months (and for a relatively matching pair of lace pants that have been long sold out):

Valentino Appliquéd jersey and gauze top @ the Outnet

Sheers!

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2 Comments to “On fashion and ethics – transparency”

  1. Well, aside from the fact that the Valentino top is drop-dead drool-worthy, this post is sort of painful to read. It makes me feel so guilty for posting photos of myself in sheer tops. It’s true, though. I never would have done it months ago before I started getting comfortable with blogging. At first, I wouldn’t even post photos of myself – now I’ve become almost numb to the fact it’s me on display. I sort of pretend they’re photos of someone else – it’s the only way I can keep the blog up.

    You’re so perfectly on point. Once one part of your life is transparent, the rest let down their walls with such ease. I do wish, though, that anyone who wanted to, regardless of body type, could embrace this phenomenon without ridicule. That’s probably what makes me feel so guilty about this – Not the fact that I’ve abandoned inhibition, but the fact that not everyone feels they can.

    Your blog is so killer. Nobody puts this much thought into anything – ever. So intriguing.

    -Gabrielle

    • Gabrielle,

      Your comments are ever so thoughtful and kind. Anyway, the way I see it, the game of hide and seek is rarely a matter of absolutes, if ever; it’s mostly about how you perceive yourself in relation to others and to your personal ideals, even more than to supposedly collective ones. Christina Hendricks is not thin at all, and I don’t think anyone would dare finding her anything other than beautiful… JLo is a common victim of body fat close-ups but who seriously thinks she’s anything short of amazing?

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