Monday, December 27, 2010

In Defense of Fashion

In “The Devil Wears Prada,” Andy (played by Anne Hathaway) gets a job working for "Runway" magazine (a thinly veiled parody of American "Vogue").  She starts her adventure as a recent college grad without any prior interest in fashion & later, develops a sense of style.

Along the way though, Andy's co-worker Nigel (played by Stanley Tucci) has to give her a pep talk, in which he says:
“Don't you know that you are working at the place that published some of the greatest artists of the century?  Halston, Lagerfeld, de la Renta.  And what they did, what they created was greater than art because you live your life in it.”
That line succinctly & accurately explains how I feel about fashion.  Fashion is not merely frivolous--it is commercial, expressive & cultural.  It's functional as well.  Fashion is often trivialized as being superficial & frivolous, but there is an aesthetic & cultural value to it.

It's always been a peeve of mine that at the end of the movie, Andy's boyfriend Nate (played by Adrian Grenier) accuses her of neglecting her relationships "for shoes & shirts & jackets & belts."  If someone is working hard in their job in fashion, is it not as valuable as someone working hard in any other industry?  Yes, it's not rocket science & curing disease, but it has intrinsic value as art & commercially.  Would it be as acceptable for someone working hard at say, 3M, to be chided by their boy/girlfriend in the same way?  It's probably just not as fun to watch.

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