Friday, February 10, 2017

The Politics of Fashion or Politics in Fashion

Last evening a friend from  Facebook posed a rather thought provoking (to me at least)  question about the future situation involving one Anna Wintour and our immigrant de facto first lady being featured in a coming issue of VOGUE magazine. When Billy asked me “how do you think Vreeland would have handled this situation; what would she have done?” …the wheels of my brains started spinning out of control.
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With that in mind, one has to ask themselves a simple question, given the pervasive nature of our not very well liked, more like loathed and detested, present president and the question is … WHY? How does a woman, in such a seat of power,   who so publicly supported our last president and vigorously supported a past candidate (who regretfully lost) suddenly decide to include one Melania Trump as a featured subject in the once omnipotent and once fashionable VOGUE magazine. Is this to curry personal favor  (like an ambassadorship) with the current administration? Do you find this to be a betrayal or hypocrisy of her and her ”brand’s” past endorsements? “Staying relevant” which is a phrase Wintour seems to hide behind might have stood in front of it this time and taken a stand!

So back to the beginning … I ask you ... How do you think Diana Vreeland would handle this situation? Or … WWVD which is shorthand for What Would Vreeland Do? No, this is not an earth shattering question for the ages but rather a somewhat diversionary yet relevant question concerning politics in fashion or the politics of fashion.

My personal take is that  my guess would have been that Vreeland would have sidestepped it and surely would not have so vigorously and publicly  supported Obama  meaning her political opinions had no place in VOGUE. It is true that Vreeland was very friendly with Jackie but remember it was Jackie who called and courted her and not the reverse. Vreeland was crazy like a fox.

When I asked a dear friend (who was a colleague of Vreeland) about this she replied with: Hmmm... First she would pour herself a finger of scotch…  Down it… then book a ticket to a faraway spa in Europe.... stay way away from the fray ...for a while.. Let Babs Simpson or Nicky de Gunsberg deal with it... It wouldn't have been a real issue. (Fashion magazines were not political in those days  ... they were more about society names...) But I do think she would have found Melania quite vulgar. If Liberman insisted, she might have had Newton do a racy photo or two... A kitsch take off in the golden tower... or Lord Snowden - a portrait taken in the hills of Slovenia for a “personalities" portrait. Definitely not fashion. DV was the fashion editor. She did not wield the power that AW Does. Patcevitch and Liberman ran the Magazine... There were no political or "star" Fashion pages... That started with Anna. .. It was society and fashion... WE did the odd “personality " story. Jackie was society and fashion … but never appeared on fashion pages neither modeling clothes nor Princess Grace either.

And so here we are.  .. this is an “READER participation”  post… this is NOT about the hubris of our current commander in chief and his demented behavior but whether or not one Diana Vreeland would have placed our absentee de facto first lady on the pages of VOGUE as if to say “isn’t she fabulous?”  Or is it in the words of Mrs. Vreeland … A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.”