Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm not meant to be here

I'm not meant to be here. I'm not meant to be writing about fashion, style, taste or identity. My best friend from primary school always made it clear to me that I simply had no idea about these matters. It was clear that she was far more stylish and sophisticated than I. She would construct projects based upon drawings of thin girls with long faces draped in short floral dresses. We put together a magazine one time, she was particularly enthusiastic about writing a fashion advice column. For a ten year old, she managed to speak with disturbingly high authority about woolen midriff tops, even more floral dresses and other garb predominately inspired by the clothing worn by the cast of Beverley Hills 90210 and Heartbreak High, respectively. When we sat together and edited the magazine, I felt an odd burn of embarrassment. She had made it clear that every line of her advice was directed towards me. That and her makeover pursuits made it perfectly clear that she always wanted to fix me.

Despite her attempts, she never managed to successfully make me over. A part of it was that I simply didn't have the resources to pull off her desired mid-90s aesthetic. I didn't have the opportunity to shop at Miss Shop or Sportsgirl, simply because my mother bought all our clothes at op shops. At that point in time, op shops did not carry the sort of indie cred as they do now. Op shops were not a haven for stylish bargain buys or unique vintage pieces. They stocked cheap and extremely nasty cast-offs from the late 1980s. You could never disguise the fact that you got your clothing from op shops. Take that pair of purple parachute pants with the odd streaky black lines and fluro-green flecks. Aside from the hideous colours slash material of said garment, there was a very large burn hole around the crotch area. My clothes loudly proclaimed to every kid in the school yard that I had no taste, class or money. There was no way to co-ordinate anything, to pull off a certain "look". There was an incident in August 1995 where I attempted to look decent in an oversized, cut-off denim jacket and pair of slightly tight 501 Levi's. I don't need to tell you that it was an unmitigated disaster.

In retrospect, I should have desperately campaigned for a makeover. I would have wanted her to take away my rag-like flannel shirts, my burnt up purple parachute pants and even my black Cons. I would have wanted her to fix me. Why? Because I am inextricably drawn to makeover sequences in popular media. I love how you don't see very much during the clip itself. I love the feverishly upbeat pop hit that would accompany oblique images of hairspray and lipstick application. Most of all, I love the unveiling where she would look stunning, in a gobsmacked sort of way. All semblance of her former identity would be forgotten, for she would no longer be weird, ugly or different. The success of the transformation no doubt have a cursory effect upon the quality of her life. With some hairspray, lipstick and a short floral dress and she would be set! Love, happiness and success, FTW!

I am starting The Fashion Plague, in spite of the fact that I'm not meant to be here. I never received a makeover, from her or anybody else for that matter. I never conformed to the traditional tenets of feminine beauty. However, that never prevented my growing fascination for fashion design and journalism. Whether it be admiring the cut of a Givenchy jacket in Charade, reading about notions of beauty in Pigeons & Peacocks or sketching designs in my design notebook, this is something that consumes me. It is something that I want to share with you, even though I'm not quite sure I ever got it right.

No comments:

Post a Comment