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Showing posts from March, 2011

Fashion Fascism and Malignant Self-esteem

An article on the John Galliano debacle in a recent New York Times sparked me off on a roundabout but productive train of thought. In this article, Professor Rhonda Garelick pointed out that Galliano's anti-semitic outburst was significant for far more than its racism, upon which the press has mostly concentrated (and for which he was sacked). Garelick notes that Galliano was behaving in perfect congruence with the profoundly anti-democratic aesthetic that underlies the fashion industry - an emphasis on bodily perfection, disgust with the common and ugly, extreme economic elitism  - and that the French fashion industry in particular collaborated enthusiastically with the Nazis during WWII. Here's a sample of her conclusions:
"Which brings us back to Mr. Galliano in the Paris bar. His was not a generic anti-Semitic tirade, but the self-conscious pronouncement of a world-class arbiter of taste (“I am John Galliano!”). Not only did he use ethnic slurs, he accused the woman of…