Friday, November 30, 2007

In Fashion, Veritas

Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, has been mocked and reviled for many reasons: her supposed impossible standards and bitchiness, as sent up so well in The Devil Wears Prada; her thinness, her lovelife, her liking for socialites, her crush on Roger Federer -- with which I have a sneaking sympathy.

I also have sympathy with something else she's said, which drew if not outright mockery at least an air of faint bemusement and is-she-serious. She said that if you looked through the pages of fashion, they would tell you what was going on in the world just as surely as if you looked through the back issues of, say, the NY Times.

It might not always be completely clear. But you can see the military influence in past seasons of fashion, new materials that mean new technologies or new imports or new concerns with organics, patterns of price and consumption revealing market fluctuation. Nostalgic/ironic Soviet kitsch is big now in Russia. And didn't I just post about greenness? Today I bought a little Christmas present for a friend, a purse/wallet made out of the Times and covered with clear plastic. So with eco-chic, we've reached a point at which looking through fashion also means looking through the Times. Prescient, isn't she?

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