What Is Clothedom (IV)?
Clothedom is Control.
Like architecture is in the taming of nature and in controlling the environment, clothedom is the controlling of the bodyi fyou view it as if it is like, say, a kind of dance … Like dance, clothedom controls the body and coxes it into positions and movements, and seduces the mind via visual registrations of the eye to create a certain transcendence for the wearer, and the beholder.
Clothedom is the Control over the Body Shape. In the use of dress silhouettes to tame the body to fit the vessel – from the S-silhouette since the days of Christian Dior subjugates the woman into the supposed liberating freedom-willing New Look … to the razor-sharp cutting of Hedi Slimane’s Dior Homme suits seduces a once-portly Karl Lagerfeld to shave off pounds (severe dieting or liposuction, no lips are moving) to fit into one confection.
And of course, this follows that Clothedom is the Control over weight. Why do you think fat women and men are never thought seriously as the ideal fashion consumer?
–Sure, Alexander McQueen has used one with a tea-stained dress, gas mask and hundreds of moths in a past runway presentation but that, surely is more for spectacle than perpetuating a certain body ideal. The same goes for the sporadic catwalk antics of Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano.
–And yes, Mo’Nique has churned out reality TV shows (Fat Chance) and films (Phat Girlz) that try to change the world-view of the big and heavy. But she more often slips -unwittingly- into slapstick humor or kitsch that does more harm than good to veer the discourse of weighted body types towards credibility. As Ac.Stet recalls, her protagonist in “Phat Girlz” triump over all odds at the end of the movie to launch her own fashion label called “Thick Madam”. How seriously can one take such a in-your-face jibe?
— And yes, Queen Latifah can blab all she wants in People Magazine that she loves her body and would not for once switch bods with another nubile fox but Ac.Stet suspects one can resist and defy the influence of pop media and the onslaught of a Hollywoodized society only to a certain extent. Once upon a time, Oprah Winfrey probably says something like what Queen Latifah is saying now …. until she discovered The Diet. And now, witness in Out Magazine, Marc Jacobs is eating back all the words as quickly as he is purging out the years of bodily imperfection as he pursues the Chelsea Gym Queen look … It is not that Ac.Stet condemns fat people (aside: one of Ac.Stet’s dearest and most respected friends, HXY, could once be a Botero model in a previous life), but the axiom of Clothedom simply does not permit the loss of control over one’s body (whether by losing a battle with eating impulses or weakening at the thought of a regular workout, or otherwise). Loss of control is in tandem with loss of respect for the cloth, which is the materialization of The Idea, The Ideal, The Vision, if fashion -ahem, Clothedom – is considered a Holy Art.
Clothedom is a branch of divinity and it has its own Laws. If you do not obey the Laws, you have done nothing wrong. It just mean you have chosen to worship at the wrong temple. You (yes, Mo’Nique, you) should then go somewhere else to regain equilibrium.
Look, Ac.Stet has nothing against fat people, nor does he think fat people have no place in Clothedom. In fact, one of Ac.Stet’s fashion heroes is the late Leigh Bowery, where there is nothing bamboo-like about him. But the irony of Clothedom is that it does not accommodate fatness just because they are fat, in the same way that Ac.Stet does not think everything Jean Paul Gaultier does is great couture, even though he is a couturier. Like the art of Leigh Bowery, Clothedom is alittle bit of a performance art. Bowery has his body shape but he contorts it in spandex and jersey, rubber and lace in odd-ball shapes and shocking silhouettes to tame his fatness and to subvert his flabness to transcend its fatness into something that does not immediately cause people to see and think about his fatness. Instead, it makes people see a alternative reality, it provokes people to think and question. Bowery’s absurdity allows people to challenge their own norms and to open their own doors of perception. Yes, Bowery is fat. But his taming of his own body has transformed his butterballs of flesh into a vessel brimming with Ideas. Bowery used to look at conventionally beautiful clothes and throw up his hands in exasperation saying: “Yes, that is beautiful and all. But where’s the poison?”
That. Is. Clothedom.
The ultimate place where anal neurosis takes place within Clothedom is in fashion photography. The inherent controlling DNA of fashion dictates it, the ego of the photographer perpetuates it, the ego of the fashion designer (do they call ’em creative/artistic directors now at the Big Brands?) mandates it, the showy genes of great clothes facilitates it, the neurotic and constantly pressured fashion editors accelerates it, the millions of girls hopeful to become their ambassadors i.e. dress models, purchase into it, and increasingly important now, the advent of digital camera technology supports it … and finally, the highly-informed and widely-consumed reader expects it.
There is no other way to go on the fashion path except have Clothedom presented from start to finish in one controlled coif, day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month, season-after-season.
That even as Clothedom exert so much control and so heavy a demand on its devotees, throngs of enthusiasts and hordes more converts are still willing to “suffer” for fashion. This is quite unexplainable on an immediate level. Perhaps then, Clothedom can find an affinity from the teachings of the ancient Indian text of the Rg-Veda.
The punishing regimes that fashion devotees put themselves through are likely akin to the sacrifices and shamanic ordeals of the holy brahmans of the Vedic traditions. They all stem from the arcane beliefs of ascetism that by self-mortification — fasting (er, fad-slimming), celibacy (er, selective copulation with the prettiest of the posse, harder to come by as days pass),maintaining difficult and painful positions for long periods of time (hmm, needs no elaboration from Ac.Stet now, does it?) — allows Man to accumulate tapas, i.e. supernormal powers.
A read of Jerry Oppenheimer’s unofficial biography of Anna Wintour in “Front Row” and a sideways glance at Emma Blunt’s diet-mad carbo-phobic character as a fashion editrix’s 1st assistance in “The Devil Wears Prada” would convince you that perhaps all these Clothedom devotees wear such suffrage in order to attain a certain fashion nirvana, a certain immunity from the capriousness of the industry and certain rag-trade superpowers.
What is it you want to know about Clothedom again?