A horrible new word entered the Dregulexicon during New York Fashion week: MASSTIGE.
(Mass appeal + prestige = Masstige, which, sounds like it should only be confronted once a year in a gynecologist’s office.)
This term refers to when fashion designers like Nicole Miller start the “Nicole” line for J.C. Penney. It’s a form of slumming that is regarded as egalitarian, but it usually comes off like a combination toaster/microwave that sucks at both functions in the end: in this case “designerness” (elite, expensive, limited availability, high concept, high quality) and “affordable mass availability” ( fat-friendly, market-glutting disposable crap made of petro-knit Spewlex by hapless Pervo-Slumvakian waifs in hostile basements.)
Anyway, after seeing the runway shows, it made me think that forcing each of our presidential candidates to create their own collection for Target would be a good idea.
This would reveal who the candidates are in a way that has been totally inscrutable so far. Follow the threads of a designer’s colors, prints and textures, and those become a rope, which become a ladder that allows the observer to climb to a vantage point from which they can see who the designer is in surprising ways.
What is the candidate’s texture for love? What do they think looks sexy? How much do they trust themselves — how wild can they get? Where are they lazy? When they feel defensive and vulnerable, how overboard do they go on armor? Given a choice between an airy, salmon chiffon and an electric blue latex, which way do they go?
First, the candidate should be forced to make four mix CD’s: one for dancing, one for sex, one for long-distance driving, and one for falling in love.
Then you assign them expert couturiers, seamstresses, etc., and give them enough skeins of thread to hang themselves.
Hillary hasn’t drastically revised her look since the eighties. Let’s call it: “Princess Diana Gets Ivy League Law Degree and Becomes Dowager Queen.” Her clothes are an extension of a scrutinized personality that has learned how to reveal no hints about her character.
It’s all very Presidential, but we want to see her shake it up. She needs more youth, fun, femininity.
I want to see Hillary’s designs for a collection of sorority Halloween costumes: Naughty Nurse, Sexy Witch, Elvira vampire-girl.
I’m seeing hair extensions, fun fur, striped knee socks, Frankenhooker platforms. But these costumes also need to reveal Hillary (which shouldn’t be difficult — she been accused of being some variation on all these monsters, at one time or another.)
Mr. Obama is a retro-tastemaker, with his slim, almost European, Miles Davis-Does-Ocean’s 11 –suits.
He brought back JFK’s Camelot, and recently, he’s been working another vintage nerve:
….ALL of a sudden…..? ALL of a SUDDEN, Uhmerica…….I…. I have embraced….not Just?…. Thuh vocal cadence……but also….thuh accent…..of another Afruhcan American Leader? …..I think you know who I’m talkin’ about….
The hypnotic LILT…..and the restrained……but present emotion….. of a certain…Southern Baptist minister.
Perhaps…..Perhaps I AM …..Channeling the spurit?…..of
Dr. Martin Luther King?
(Can I get uh Amen?)
Oprah and Gayle probably told Obama to bump this tendency up a notch. It was probably in the middle of the night after a round of Remy, exhausted on a hotel couch somewhere. “Don’t be half-steppin’ on the King accent, honey,” you can see the big O urging. “If you’re gonna go there, go there! Oh yes, Go there!”
“If Dr. King’s spirit isn’t working through you, Barry…. whose is it working through?” Gayle would add, pressing her manicured hand against his knee.
(Cue urban housewife whisper-campaign.)
Oprah and Gayle could probably convince someone to do all their public speaking in a falsetto Monty Python voice, or Chaucerian Middle English, or barnyard noises if they wanted to.
Obama already has the vote of younger people who don’t understand politics and don’t have real jobs. Obamicans work in hair salons and hot-tub parlors, and often have tattoos covering up to 75% their bodies. He already has the roller-derby vote.
Obama should design a look for the Office Girl of the New Enlightenment ( a ‘Ding, Dong, the Christian Right Stranglehold on Social Mores Is Dead,’ collection, as it were.)
I’m thinking of suits tailor-made for confrontations with male authority figures.
This happens to be a high fashion Obama suit, Mr. Cavendish. Yes, the skirt only comes to mid-thigh, and the jacket has marimba ruffles. But these ruffles, though purple, happen to be TWEED. This suit is body conscious enough for Sienna Miller, but Paula Poundstone could also wear it to a family court hearing.
Now, something like THAT would show us the real Barry. That’s a hot cup of Masstige, Fiends. Booyah.