All hail Captain Whoopi
Enough of waxing lyrical about men in uniforms.
It was certainly refreshing in the morning to switch on the TVBox to see Whoopi Goldberg hosting The View in a black admiralty jacket, resplendent while framed by austere-looking epulets, frog buttons, and all outlined and piped in white.
As Clothedom theories go, Ms. Goldberg is a study of fashion as weapon, used to claim/reclaim power.
See the gaggle of women crowding around the table trying to get a word in that is the idle-ladies-who-lunches-and-throw-punches format of ABC’s The View: Onwards of Ms. Goldberg on the far left, there is Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd and the unshakable Barbara Walters.
The View, as in any other multi-host/mutli-compere TV variety show, necessitates juggling various different personalities (or lack of) to find that balance that will round off the show properly (e.g. Queer Eye For The Straight Guy rely on distinct gay stereotypes).
Sadly for The View, after the departure of Star Jones and Rosie O’Donell, there is not much personality left in the gaggle … so those women with the least interesting personalities, have to be put right smack in the centre of the table (i.e Behar, Hasselback, Shepherd) so that these shrinking violets won’t wilter away in the combined might of Ms. Barbara Walters and Ms. Whoopi Goldberg.
The flip-side of this is that both Ms. Walters and Ms. Goldberg has to be removed from the visual gravity of the TV screen and put to the sides of the table, flanking their other three half-baked colleagues.
But both Ms. Goldberg and Ms. Walters are not about to let themselves think that their own clout and personality are enough to remind their audience that they are still “there”.
Look at what they are wearing. Ms. Walters, at far right, has the good mind to wear White, the brightest of all natural colours. Because White lightens all and neutralizes all, it commands a second, third, hey manymany consecutive, looks. And yes, we do look at her often times during the show. We cannot help it. White is might.
And then, may because they already own the centre space, Shephard and Hasselback wear forgettable flower nothings, cultivating and exploiting that “Yoohoo!-I’m-female-and-feminine-and-please-look-at-my -long-beautiful-hair-and-okay-sometimes-my-breasts-while-you-listen-to-me-get-an-intelligent-word-in” look.
Further down the flanks is Joy Behar (who is not seated centre) who tries to recapture some of that lost authority by wearing leather. Ah, that fabric of fashion warriors and urban commandos, out to fight-tooth-and-nail for some corporate prize like, er, recognition and ratings.
But the triumph rally belongs to Ms. Goldberg. The leather-clad Behar may battle all she likes but Ms Goldberg commands. Her severe black admiralty jacket does all the work for her. The military connotation of her costume immediately brings to mind – not a commando – but a commander.
Even when they change positions to interview “Bionic Woman” Michelle Ryan, Ms. Goldberg’s seating arrangement remains unchanged. Armed by all the intelligent fashion choices, Ms. Goldberg is secure in her left-flank position.
Like a general who has found the right bastion from where to plot his next attack, and to gather his strengths, and finds no need to change vantage point. Ms Goldberg’s admiralty jacket is authority.
Yet another shrewd practitioner of Clothedom. Captain Whoopi, je vous felicite.