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It was one thing when Marc riffed on the Canal Street plastic bags, but it is quite another to do an entire collection on this fantastical idea of 1920’s Shanghai. (Some people have been conflating these shows as similarly “Asian themed”, which is disturbing. Chinatown is not China) The approach to the “(re)imagining” this era is glazed with the same European presumption when they imposed their idea back in the 20’s in the city in the self-awarded parcels, when they took with much liberty to the exploitation in their unfettered territories in China. Who are you to reimagine someone else’s culture? Who are you to say who can and cannot walk on someone’s land?
Listen, I get it, this image of women in cheongsam with their make up done up like lacquered furniture with that signature Shanghainese woman sex appeal that is at once demure and punishing, it’s easy to love. I loved it when Wong Kar Wai toned it down and made it art in In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong and Shanghai connect is something you need to learn.). But there are some issues to consider here:
In a way, I almost feel like Marc is sending a rather pompous message that, yes, I know that China is our biggest market and there is no way the average nouveau riche want to buy glorified (but technically, bootleg, because it’s been appropriated for profit) Cheongsams, but we are Louis Vuitton and we are going to completely ignore our biggest consumer base and pretend we have no interest in catering to what they want. Or, you know, LVMH just has no idea how to cater to the Chinese consumer. Or, it’s a test to see just how blindly Chinese people will consume under the bright glitz of the LV logo. Will they jettison their bourgeois aspirations and subscribe to the dictates of the West? I’m going to go with no. On my last trip to Shanghai, the big thing amongst middle class housewives were these quilted pajama sets in antiquated silk embroidery prints, which they would wear outdoors as long as they’re within a mile radius of home. Fact: it’s as fly as you can imagine. However, there’s no way Mrs. Tycoon would spend the money to affect that same satirical look. I could imagine Chinese celebrities wearing a dress from the collection to humor the West though.
Of course, it’s possible that I am over analyzing fashion, but Marc is not unaware, however airy and fluffed up his image is these days. He knows that Fendi and Chanel have already done their bid with this atrocious kind of East meets West hybrid look. He’s not one to follow, is he? Why did he do this? Why Marc why? Did Lorenzo’s departure send you into a frenzy of Asian fetishism? SIGH.
Lastly, it’s just lazy. I’m sick of Marc and Karl’s liberal exploitations of the liberties afforded to their names to put out these mediocre collections that are so bad that critics could just flip them as great. Taking a Cheongsam and adding a slouch is not creative. It would not have been the business in the 1920’s, she’d be shunned for not having a proper tailor.
Also, let the record show that I called Rodarte out way before this socks fiasco. When will people see them for the scam that they are? I won’t comment on the runway shows, because I kind of did like S/S. What can I say, I gotta thang for wood grain and tippin on 44s. HOWEVER, whereas other lines do commercial by way of a bag, you choose to do bad and overpriced knits? What world is this?