Saturday, August 18, 2007

Who's riding who?

For my money, there is no fashion statement in the world (with the possible exception of pre-aged jeans) that says "I am an ignorant, attention-seeking social climber" better than the Ralph Lauren 'Big Pony' line of shirts with giant logos on them.

Here, Big Pony is being modeled by good breasted terrible actress Han Yeseul

I am not the type of person who cares a great deal about fashion. I have a simple aesthetic. I don't like clothes with logos or words on them and I don't like non-functional things (decorative belts, buttons with no buttoning function) and I hate false aging of clothes. These last two peeves fall under the basic category of decadence. What moves me about the Big Pony thing is that it cuts to the heart of what people want out of brands like Ralph Lauren. They want to tell the world that they are the type of person that likes/wears/can afford Ralph Lauren clothing. These huge logos allow them to broadcast this message in a more efficient, desperate way. I imagine that the wealthy people who wear clothing more expensive than Ralph Lauren snicker to themselves when they see one of these tacky logos bouncing towards them, thinking 'Who does this K-Mart shopper think she is?' but to me the real folly is in the tastelessness of the striving, the form it takes. The same goes for the Burberry tartan

And the abominable rainbow-colored Louis Vuitton bags
The thing is that the item itself is nothing, only the logo and the cache that goes with affixing that famous name to your totem pole. Here's an illustrative story. My mother knows that Korean ladies love brand name luxury items, so she went shopping in America for some gifts for my wife. She bought her a Coach handbag that was made of the same leather as the photo below
I read the advertising copy that came with it and was surprised to discover the history of Coach, that the leather was patterned after baseball glove leather etc. Anyway, my wife loved the bag but was surprised that it was Coach. Every Coach item she had ever seen sold in Korea had the Coach logo all over it thusly.
It's not even about the social climbing, because that's no sin. It's the tackiness that gets me. If you want to social climb, why not do it tastefully, at least that way you might actually social climb up, instead of climbing all over the bars of your cage like a monkey in a zoo.

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