Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Haute wackiness

I am probably identifying myself as a philistine by saying this, but I just have to ask:

Are modern haute couture clothing designers kidding?  Or what?

I was sitting at my computer this morning, reading the news, and I happened to notice a photograph (under "This Week in Photos") of a woman who appeared to be encased in a giant pot-scrubber.  I clicked on the link, and was brought here.  (Do click through the slides, although you might want to be aware that a few of them border on the Not Safe For Work, not only because some of them involve a lot of skin showing, but because you will probably laugh out loud and attract the attention of your boss.)

My overall impressions:

"Haute couture" must (contrary to my knowledge of French) mean "clothing that no one in his or her right mind would ever dream of wearing in public, for fear of being arrested for (1) indecent exposure, (2) striking an innocent bystander with a protruding garment part, (3) looking completely ridiculous, or (4) all of the above."  Several of the models in the photographs look like they went to the Princess Amidala School of Design -- encase yourself in folds of starched cloth to the point that it becomes almost impossible to walk, and layer on the makeup with a mortar trowel.  Others go for the minimalist approach; one of them is clothed in a tight fitting, brightly colored knit body-sock, but makes up for it by wearing an enormous, comical-looking sombrero.  The male models, on the other hand, look like escapees from an Alternative Lifestyles Parade in San Francisco, and favor extremely tight, Speedo-style thongs that would leave most guys singing soprano.  I also noticed that many of these models look extremely sullen.  Now that I come to think of it, if I were forced to wear clothes like that, and then appear in public and have my photograph taken, I'd look sullen, too.

Then, I wondered:  how much does this clothing cost?  So I did some research, and I found out that the average haute couture outfit costs $20,000.  That's right; it will set you back twenty grand, or more, for you to look either like an alien hooker or a Village People wannabee.  With apologies to Billy Joel; you can't dress wacky till you spend a lot of money.

I have to wonder, country-boy uncultured hillbilly that I am; is this all some kind of massive joke?  I wonder if Christian Dior and all of the other haute couture designers sit around with their design committees late at night, swigging Absolut straight from the bottle and saying, "Hey!  I know!  We could make a dress out of an old refrigerator carton!  Just cut a hole in the top for her head, and two holes in the sides for her arms!  She could wear an orange traffic cone on her head!  Let's charge $30,000 for that one!"  And then they all laugh like goons.

It may well be that I'm missing something here.  I'm as much of a connoisseur of the female form as the next red-blooded male, so it leaves me a little mystified when I look at a shapely woman strutting her stuff and my only reaction is, "Huh?"  It could be that you have to be at a certain level of sophistication, of savoir faire, to appreciate this sort of thing.

But no matter how hard I try, I can't imagine finding giant pot scrubbers and sombreros sexy.

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