Archive for ‘reading glasses on’

November 29, 2012

Fashion values: the unbearable balance between being unique and on trend

My very own bowler-deemed-cloche hat from Marc by Marc Jacobs, courtesy of the Outnet

Is it just me, or everyone instantly thinks of Milan Kundera when confronted with the word “unbearable”? Nevermind that; let us enjoy however the fact that we (I) were (was) reminded of one of his great novels, a particular one which pays homage to the bowler hat at a certain crucial point — The Unbearable Lightness of Being is what we are talking about, friends — and linger on the headpiece for a few minutes.

(…)

Hats are, I believe, a great transition point in terms of personal style. When one decides to wear such headpiece on a regular basis, an important point has been made: “I truly don´t care if you think I look ridiculous”. The fact is that unless you are Queen Elizabeth II, your hat may be passionately criticized by the public in general, not in the constructive way; let us remember that most of the regular people — those who think Anna Dello who? is a weird, crazy woman, A.K.A the majority of the population living on Earth — find Philip Treacy fascinators absolutely ridiculous.

However, when moving back to the fashion grounds — meaning those places in which the letters A,D,R have a meaning as obvious as F,D,R do — your choice of hat will speak even more loudly of the commitments your soul has made to sartorialism: will you go with tradition, emulating gangsters with a fedora, early twentieth-century starlets with a cloche, Fred Astaire with a top hat…? Or will you prefer to instead pay homage to a Cézanne painting — or Carmen Miranda, it all depends on your own personal references — and go for a piece rather similar to a basket of fruit?

What is unique, and what is trendy, when it comes to wearing hats? Everything or nothing? Is there a hat equivalent to what Isabel Marant wedge sneakers meant to fashion this year (this is extreme rhetorics, as the obvious answer is NO)? In fact, what kind of opportunities are created and destroyed for a fashionista when such a massive takeover occurs — should one stay true to the sneakers because even though they do not display one´s unique eye for style anymore, they are still rather cool; perhaps more importantly, they are so now? On the other hand, how far from whatever is so now can one go for the sake of outlining strong personality and still be fashionable? To me, there is clearly a dialogue between trend and not that for its subtlety, makes it all the more magical when a look really works — try to notice how originality actually emerges from very private dialogues between the old and the new.

Hats are, to me, the epitome of such discussion between uniqueness and trendiness — because there is very little else that strongly evocates timelessness and at the same time, as strong and potentially insane as this particular accessory; the attitude, here, comes from deciding to tell your own story in the form of a thing you will wear on your head.

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October 19, 2012

Fifty shades of very bad literature

What´s the buzz, tell me what´s happening — that´s what the apostles sing to the Lord in one of the first numbers on the semi-blasphemous rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, and that´s also the thought that started popping in my head as I read more and more distinct, even opposing reviews of the new supposedly erotic literary blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James.

The reviews that got me particularly curious were those of some feminists who basically destroyed the book for (1) disguising the old quest for Prince Charming in some BDSM, (2) fantasizing about control freaks and confounding sociopathy with BDSM and (3) contributing to worsen self-esteem issues regarding the difficulties some women have to reach orgasm during sex. I found it odd that a book so theoretically forward in terms of its thematic could also be so backwards, and I decided to judge for myself. I now regret that decision, but alas: what is done, is done. Let´s make something of it.

Let´s go first for the literary aspects of the book : it´s horrendously written and it has given me the impression the author has had no meaningful emotional experience in her whole life, as if she was herself actually a teenager with the depth of a Beverly Hills 90210 character. The self-esteem issues the main character and narrator Anastasia has lack credibility; her inner dialogues and conflicts are unnervingly pathetic, as she spends the entire book in a bizarro struggle between her “inner goddess” (what the fucking fuck?) and her “subconscious” (WTFF 2), two aspects of her personality who in a television cartoon would correspond to a little sex driven devil on one side of  her shoulder and Larry David on the other.

The author has a very disturbing obsession with some awful narrative images she repeats over and over again throughout the seemingly endless pages of the book: the way Christian Grey´s pants hang from his hips, the sound of the condom foil packet being ripped open (she mentions it ALMOST. EVERY. TIME.), the way Anastasia bites her lip. All characters are very superficial stereotypes, all dialogues are poorly constructed, it´s all just so… sad! Yes, it makes me sad that a book as bad as this one has made the cut and attracted such a massive crowd.

Having reviewed the absent literary aspects of E.L. James´ work, I must say I also agree with the criticism regarding the backwards-pretensely-forward approach to love and sex the author develops in her book. The BDSM in the book is basically null, except for a lot of talking about it, objects in a red room that remain for the most part unused throughout the course of the events, and some spanking that scare the shit out of the girl. The rest of it consists of blindfolding, tying and conventional sex toys — sorry, that´s not BDSM, that´s almost not even particularly kinky sex anymore. Also, Anastasia, a 20 years old virgin, has countless orgasms in her first day of sex, including one during her first time — and she has never ever masturbated. What? All due to her being masterfully manipulated by sex genius Christian Grey. Virgin girls, please, believe me when I tell you, take responsibility for your own orgasms. Your partner´s ability certainly count for a lot, but there is much we must learn about ourselves first, and work to be done by us every time we have sex if we want to get there.

Grey is a spoiled, filthy rich control freak, and everyone encourages Anastasia to love it because it´s just so great to be the object of those wild displays of affection translated in new cars, phones, computers, clothes, airplane ticket upgrades and showing up without invitation or early notice… right? Isn´t that what every woman wants in the bottom of their hearts? Fuck, no. I like ridiculously extravagant gifts, but I also enjoy being consulted about their convenience from time to time, and most of all, I do not want to exchange my freedom for your expensive presents, thank you.

There´s popcorn literature, I accept that. It´s like Indiana Jones, but written. Popcorn literature, as popcorn movies, can also be brilliant works — think Mario Puzo, Ken Follet, Tom Clancy at their finest (I´d mention Harry Potter but I have not read a single line of it — did love every one of the movies, though, and do find the world J.K. Rowling has imagined a work of welcome creativity). Fifty Shades of Grey is not popcorn literature. It´s just bad, really bad.

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