Why I like fashion

It’s a new delight for me. I used to think fashion was frivolous, not anything (God help me!) serious people should care about.

Then I started watching Project Runway. And got hooked. Of all reality shows (at least in my experience), it’s the fairest. To viewers, I mean. You can see the fashions the contestants design, just as well as the judges on the show can. You can see who does well, and who does badly. You can develop your eye, as I did. You can learn to see how fashion can be art. You can hear the judges — expereinced fashion people, some of them top designers — talk about the work they’re seeing. You can see that their standards are high, and their judgment artistic.

And finally it came to me. Fashion can be exciting because it’s a place where art, commerce, craftsmanship, and sexuality all come together. Which, if you ask me, is hot. And (as I hardly need to say) that’s not a place where classical music very comfortably lives. Though why shouldn’t it? It certainly did in past centuries. Handel’s opera companies in London — artistic (just listen to the music), commercial to the hilt, and with a lot of sexual excitement about some of the singers (the prima donnas, and, inevitably, the castratos, who were infertile, but as sexually potent as any other man).

Why can’t classical music do that now?

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  1. says

    You would very much like Virginia Postrel’s book “The Substance of Style” if you haven’t read it, and would probably also look forward to her upcoming book on Glamour.

  2. says

    That makes me so happy! The two things I love: fashion and classical music (I’m a classical pianist).

    People take fashion for granted and don’t realize that it’s another form of visual art that you just happen to wear on your body. There is a lot of thought and inspiration behind fashion. Most classical musicians do not follow fashion, for a number of reasons. That sounds sort of presumptuous but just look at the number of responses to this post! Our inability to keep up with fashion reflects how we are unable to keep up with the times.

  3. Janet Shapiro says

    Yes but…

    Fashion also leads to maxed-out credit cards, poor body image, and life-threatening eating disorders.

    Hi, Janet. I think you’re implying that these things are more prevalent than any good things about fashion. Do we really know that? How about the downsides of classical music? Leads many people to waste their lives in careers that will never take off, makes people helpless socially because they spend all their time practicing when they’re young. Fills peoples’ minds with nonsense about popular culture. Now you’ll probably object, which leads to my point: Good and bad sides of things often get weighted subjectively, depending on one’s preconceptions. Certainly I thought everything you thought about fashion, until I learned more about it. Have you seen the Project Runway shows where they do makeovers for normal people? The boost in their self-esteem is something to see. And it’s not shallow. The clothes designed for them aren’t gaudy or ridiculous. The people actually look better.