Thursday, November 18, 2010

Decoding : Fashion previews, appetizers or appetite suppressant ?

 The indigestion came as fast as expected. Few days after the launch of the limited collection of French label Lanvin for H&M, Internet is completely phagocytosed by the pictures : every blog is talking about it to such an overwhelming extent that the website Independant Fashion Blogger made an article about the problem of the repeating topics. The effect is similar to these songs which invade the radios and seem to capture our minds for many days. The goal, of course, is to lead us to the closest store to buy the more we could. The principle has to do with the dogs of Pavlov, the post-hypnotic suggestions and the appetizers. The funny thing about Lanvin is that, in France, it is also a brand of chocolates, so the food metaphor is quite appropriate. When we are hungry, just a little bit of food make us want to have more, especially if it is chocolate. It is inevitable : according to writer Stendhal, it's the desire that creates the object of the desire. So, designers offer us collections because we are starving for them. H&M is perfectly aware that most of us have the dream to buy designers clothes, and they have known that their concept will be a gold mine. And we acted just as they expected : every time they launch a designer's collection, we are rushing to their stores to grab little pieces of luxury. But the good question is : are we really starving for Lanvin ? Perhaps we desire it just because it means luxury ( and it is French; it is well-known that all the countries think that France is the ultimate : spend some time in France and you will wonder why ). Philosopher Descartes remarked that "often, passion make us believe some things are better and more desirable than they are". Nothing to add.
The Swedish company is incredibly clever. Not only she drives us to buy clothes we are not genuinely wanting, playing on our desire of possession, but they manage to turn us into free publicists. All that bloggers who have spread the photos have not been paid, whereas they convert the event into the main subject of conversation in the whole world !
But let's come back to our meal. Now, everyone have had chocolate, but too much chocolate as they saw the pictures ten thousand times ... And the appetizers may have turned into appetite suppressants. I don't want to rush to my H&M store to buy Lanvin : indeed, the more I have seen the clothes the more I have thought that they were not that exciting. Plus, the idea to fight with a crowd of lobotomised and overexcited gals over a t-shirt is not my vision of glamour. "If desire blooms, possession fade everything" said writer Proust. I have all the photos ( which are not very good by the way, those models are scary ), why would I buy the clothes, especially if I can buy better ones without stress and agitation ? But maybe am I the worst nightmare of the marketing researchers : of course, I follow my own tastes ...

Now, Lanvin is ( nearly ) over but Tom Ford is using the same process : great, the photos are better and the clothes look gorgeous ... But it is just the beggining : wait to see them in every blog, every mag, and you may change your mind. And who will be next ? Would our years become a stream of previews, spoilers, foretastes ? Hey, we are not going to keep our chin up ! After indigestion, it will be nausea ... That's not chic ! Where's pleasure in that ? We are neither robots nor living Mastercards ... It is time to comeback to a more peaceful fashion before it collapses.
I found the designers who keep their collections secret untill the release much more clever. The effect of surprise bring more pleasure, and fuel our need to possess. Then, we are free to desire. After all, I think that philosopher Pascal will have the last word, he who thought that we were not genuinely searching for the things, but in fact searching for the "research of those things" ... Loving fashion rather than loving buying, isn't it the real definition of a real fashionista ?

Photos Steven Meisel ( Tom Ford ).


  1. lol, so witty and beautifully worded.

    love your blog!

    im a new follower :D
    i hope my blog inspires you to follow back ;]

    <3 dennica pearl
    - through the eyes of a pearl
    - vintage shop

  2. "Loving fashion rather than loving buying, isn't it the real definition of a real fashionista?"

    What a lovely closing statement on such a thoughtful and provocative post!

  3. So well well said! And so true. To me it's the lemmings' effect of "just follow the crowd" which makes the brand so unattractive. I want to be unique (try). I'm kind of distracted by the way the girls behave in the H&M-shops. I don't want glamour, but still I don't understand this mass thing. Perhaps this is something like a hunter gene.

    Thanks for that great, exciting writing.

  4. I really love love love your blog & great writing skills. Would you be interested in possibly doing a guest post on my fashion blog? Email me at if you would. I would backlink to your blog :)


  5. Well Put!
    I am a blogger, over 40, and HATE it when a "logo" tries to "label" me !
    I am a thrift store junkie and abhor anything with a "trendy" label, unless i snag it for a couple bucks, then I do have "bragging" rights ;)
    Retro Reva (IFB)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.