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>The Sun (and No Fun) King

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>It was during the reign of the fat-as-fuck Louis XIV in which fashion was solidified as an institution of state power. Louis XIV is one of the most powerful leaders in the history of Europe, who’s court at Versailles could be called the most exclusive and focused center of power in the history of the European world. Access to that court and to any position of power within his government was regulated by strict sartorial guidelines that changed every season. This model of rapid trend-molting and change was a way in which Louis could determine a courtier’s allegiance to his systems, and a necessary indication of a man or woman’s wealth was their ability to quickly change their feathers. This is much more literal than Anna Wintour’s hold on American fashion; until the death of Marie Antionette and the French Revolution, the French Court’s word on dress was actual law. Nonetheless, our model of cyclical trends and the use of trend to determine someone’s relationship to power seems to have been solidified in the French court of the seventeenth century.

Funny and outrageous results of Louis’s extravagance which have stuck with us to this day: “Louis’s outrageous vanity, sumptuous court and devotion to his own well-being led to growth in the manufacturing of fine clothing and shoes, and the invention of shops in which to buy them, and to celebrity cuisine, cafes and Champagne (a particularly amusing—and explosive—chapter). Louis was enthralled by glitter, which fostered a huge increase in the diamond trade; and the first night streetlights (hence the “City of Lights”). Louis also abhorred mud (so streets were paved with cobblestones) and disliked getting wet (thus umbrellas were invented).”

Written by alexgfrank

December 16, 2009 at 5:36 pm

>the anna interview

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>Like every other fruit on the Eastern seaboard, I watched Anna Wintour’s interview with Morley Safer on 60 minutes like 3 times. Here’s my off-the-cuff, from memory transcription:

he goes:
“do u think ur a bitch”
she goes:
“a bitch? no i try not to be a bitch but i expect the bestfrom people, and i won’t change that”
“but you are cold, right?”
“look, mor, this isn’t a tea party, its hard work”
“but c’mon anna, ur not nice to people”
“look i need to be tough morley”

andre leon talley:
“she’s a bitch, mor”

“u basically run shit like mussolini, right bitch?”
“i try to do the best I can to influence people, i’m more like chavez”
“bitch how much do you spend on this shit, for real, like what the fuck?”
“mor, i love fashion”

grace coddington:
“have you seen the bitch? just look at that shit!”

Written by alexgfrank

May 18, 2009 at 5:38 pm

>C’mon, Vogue.

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Dude, say what you want about Vogue and Anna and Alexandra Kotur and all that shit, but let me say that even still, as Vogue languishes in the obscurity of irrelevance, I pick up each thick issue with its impeccable binding and am reminded of being 16. And, hello, I love Marx! You know? I have never, in my life, been interested in capitalism in an obvious way. I loathe, loathe the way that fashion turns subversion into “style” and “media”. I believe in subversion and punk and queer rights and anti-heteronormativity and that whole thing. I mean, I’ve read the books, I search for truth, I’m aware of the way of the way stylization makes a mockery of important things.

But the power of Vogue is exactly that it floats above my politics and forces my eye towards beauty. In some way, some how, Vogue has nothing to do with the vomit-inducing trend of punk-influenced clothes or any of that appropriative bullshit. It remains, quite possibly due to a century of precedent, a magazine that serves more as a vacation, a feeling, in a Wildeian sense that beauty can reign. I understand the complaints: fashion is, by nature, a classist enterprise. But I believe strongly in the pursuit of beauty. And while beauty should never have the pricetag of a $5,000 dress, Vogue costs merely four dollars, and it has, at moments (admittedly not as much recently) enveloped me so fully that the dresses and blouses and shoes are merely afterthoughts; the value is in the moments I spend in my room, away from the deglamorizing internet, in the light, but sturdy, pages of a magazine that honors shape and color and form more than any other publication.

Written by alexgfrank

April 30, 2009 at 3:47 am

>queen bitches

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Written by alexgfrank

February 14, 2008 at 12:56 am