Censorship is huge now. Basically you can’t say anything interesting on the record. I did an interview with a very important journalist some time ago, but then I told him to cancel eighty percent of what I’d said. I know that makes me the censor but I don’t want to ruin my life over an interview. I have responsibilities. It’s hard because whatever I do, someone ends up being upset. A company our size has to think about everything. I made the choice not to be niche, only for the sophisticated few, so I have to accept the limitations of that choice.
In the new millennium, fashion can no longer be credibly characterised as a mere hobby for aristocratic women with little else to do; fashion is now a multi-billion-dollar industry with countless stakeholders. But even where the economic stakes in fashion-related cases are too great for a court to simply ‘opt out,’ as many of the above-mentioned judges did, federal judges presiding over such cases still make their distaste for the subject matter clear (even, and maybe especially, female judges).
Even while the current zeitgeist relentlessly schills artisanal, organic, authentic, handmade, crafted, made-with-love, ethical products to clothe ourselves and our lives, and even as we rejoice, repost and embrace these values, they are in the majority in contradistinction to our actual lived existence. There is a disconnect between what we post and what we are, between what we say and what we do. Adler’s positivist theories of reinvention were genuine in their quest for socialist cohesion; millennial social justice mediated from behind the isolating glow of a personal screen can never match up. We are counterfeit selves, but not always because of what we wear.
‘Molly, darling, I’m afraid I don’t understand what you’re after. I mean, do you or do you not want a fur coat? I mean, supposing you didn’t buy a fur coat, what else could you do?’
‘Just exactly what do you mean?’ – very coldly.
‘I mean, it isn’t apparently necessary that you should buy a fur coat. I mean, not if you don’t really want to. There must be some other way of dressing besides fur coats? If you have a scunner against fur coats, why not buy something else just as good? There’s hundreds of millions of other women in the world and they all haven’t fur coats.’
I like playing roles; it makes me feel safe. Authenticity for me perhaps means something different than for most people. I don’t have one interpretation of authenticity when it comes to style; I like moving between them. When I wear a sweatshirt with ‘Monoprix’ on it, what am I signalling? Am I saying it’s cool to work at a supermarket or am I making people ask themselves why I’m wearing a Monoprix logo, when I could be wearing one from Balenciaga? Well, you tell me. Obviously everybody knows that I don’t work at Monoprix, well everyone who knows me does anyway. If a stranger sees me in the street wearing my Monoprix jumper, they might think I really do work there and I quite like that.
If you search ‘Armani jacket,’ you get one million versions of the same thing, with slight adjustments: golden buttons or silver buttons, big sleeves or short sleeves – all these modifications. And there’s a little bit of creativity put into every version of it. There is something strangely appealing about it. I think about our place as designers within an ocean of images and garments, a kind of melting pot. Originality is about figuring out how to use those components and play with them.
A man of sense carefully avoids any particular character in his dress; he is accurately clean for his own sake; but all the rest is for other people’s. He dresses as well, and in the same manner, as the people of sense and fashion of the place where he is. If he dresses better, as he thinks, that is, more than they, he is a fop; if he dresses worse, he is unpardonably negligent. Dress yourself fine, where others are fine; and plain where others are plain; but take care always that your clothes are well made, and fit you, for otherwise they will give you a very awkward air.