Friday, August 21, 2009

Short Sighted

Regarded by many as the father of American literature, humorist Mark Twain once said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.

20th century streakers sprinting through the ‘70’s in nothing but their Nike jogging shoes undoubtedly had a different opinion, but it seems reasonable to expect that lifestyle and environmental demands would considerably influence what society deems fashionably suitable as we transition further into the 21st century.

When Michelle O emerged from Air Force One in Arizona the other day, and catty commentary set the newswires ablaze as if the entire country had been sucked into the Grand Canyon, our rear view mirror conjured up an outtake from “Project Runway” we couldn’t help but call “First Lady on a Tarmac Catwalk”.

France's first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, was perfection in a drab Dior ensemble and as the outtake’s featured commentator. We listened keenly as she melodiously described the fashion show’s unfolding drama in her hallmark voice a la smolder. (We figure it’s pretty safe to assume Madam Carla would also disagree, like a true streaker would, with Mark Twain’s assertion, especially since her naked photos have been a favorite Christie’s auction item).

The show's highlights included a fashion plate roundup of Michelle O predecessors as they lined the tarmac catwalk before the first lady deplaned. Carla diplomatically described the summer vacation attire worn by those former first ladies in attendance….Jackie O in Oleg Cassini capris, Gap T-Shirt, custom visored pill box hat, and peds with Keds. Nancy Reagan shimmering in a one-shouldered Bill Blass sun dress (red of course), sheer cover-up, and strappy sandals. Hillary in jeans (to cover the cankles), yellow cotton blouse with matching shirt jacket, and Hush Puppies. Laura Bush in a tailored ecru pantsuit, pink floral blouse, nude Spanx panty hose, and open toed Naturalizers.

The shot heard ‘round the world must've backfired when Michelle O finally stepped out onto the tarmac in hiking shorts, cream camisole with khaki overblouse, and workout tennies.

Given the media’s reaction, you’d think Mr. Blackwell had turned over in his grave.

Our contemporary schitzo-media will undeniably go to great lengths to shear away anything akin to dignified boundaries in order to maintain a highly profitable double standard. All’s fair as long as it sells, and it’s clearly a two for one when it also stirs up a diversion from the doldrums of a boring summer.

Let it never be said that any self-serving mass media outlet ever rejected the opportunity to fill time and space with highly lucrative semi-nude and soft porn advertisements in the name of free press and capitalism, while simultaneously feigning outrage when the first lady has the audacity to expose her legs in hiking shorts while on holiday in triple-digit desert temps.

The fashion barometer once calibered by society's affluent does seem to be rapidly divesting alongside their depreciating balance sheets. Could it be that prevailing styles will begin to trend toward a life-in-the-real-world affordability making egalitarian standards more en vogue?

Get coifed with our ‘Dream Sequence’ July 11, 2009 posting "The Salon Beyond".

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