Fashion Writer Blames "Fascist Industry", "Gay Designerdom" For Womanity's Ills

There are so many inaccuracies, statements pleading for correction, and things just plain wrong with Kevin Myers' Irish Independent opinion piece that I almost don't know where to begin. Ha ha, that's a lie! Let me start with the beginning:

Myers might not actually know anything about the fashion industry, models, modeling, designing clothes, fashion magazines, or any of the other aspects of the process by which we, as a species, get up in the morning, take a look in the mirror, and decide how we are going to present ourselves to the world. But he would never let a little thing like ignorance of the topic at hand stand between him and the opportunity to write 842 words of thundering copy about the "fascist industry" and its "Fourth Reich" of gay designers who want all women to look and dress "like a teenaged boy" — or else. There are many things wrong with his views.

Firstly, Alexandra Shulman did not write to designers and tell them she and her magazine would "would no longer accept from them any pictures of skeletal she-models." Shulman's title, British Vogue commissions its own photo shoots, according to its own concepts. What Shulman asked in her leaked letter was for fashion houses to make its sample clothes in a more realistic size, so that when Vogue stylists pull garments for their shoots, the models can fit them. Say what you will of the corroded advertising/editorial barrier in fashion magazines, British Vogue still is not in the business of merely reprinting fashion houses' own images of their wares.

Furthermore, the French term haute couture does not mean, as Myers says, "high culture." Couture is French for "sewing," and haute couture means "high sewing," or "sewing at the highest level." Myers goes on to base an entire paragraph's argument on his misunderstanding of haute couture — something about how the fascistic ambitions of fascist gay designers are fascistically totalitarian, and the fashion industry as a whole illegitimately claims the mantle of "high culture" to further its fascism — which, because it is a wrong argument but also because it is an entirely spurious one, based on a mistranslation of the French that no high school student in the language would make, we can entirely forget.

The writer has strong criticisms of designers he considers gay, like Versace, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior. But, strangely, he puts a raft of other out, proud, homosexual fashion talents in a category of his own invention — and then criticizes them for that. Karl Lagerfeld and Jean-Paul Gaultier are not of ambiguous "cosmopolitan sexuality"; each is a gay man whose partner died of AIDS-related illness in the late 1980s. In his excitement at apparently having coined a term and now getting to plump it up with meaning, Myers similarly miscategorizes as a "cosmosexual" Valentino, who has been in a same-sex relationship with his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti for almost 50 years.

Myers goes on to make blindingly homophobic statements about "gay designerdom" and its "fascist, woman-hating ethos." The argument rests on the boneheaded assumption that only a man who wants to fuck a woman could possibly know how to dress one. (Françoise Sagan might have said "A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to want to take it off you," but modern women dress for a lot of reasons unrelated to sex as well.) The allegation that a designer has to be a red-blooded straight male in order to treasure a woman's body and make her look sexually enticing is laughable; any perusal of the collections of Tom Ford would quickly disabuse an observer of such a notion. (But who are we kidding, Myers by now has proved that he wouldn't know Tom Ford if he blew him.)

His comparison of the supposed project of fashion to "the earlier schemes of Marxists and National Socialists, to create The New Man" is risible in its hyperbole. Lastly, he shares this vision of the fascist designer gays' "New Woman" ideal:

This emaciated elf eats on Tuesdays and her tiny peapod of a bowel sheds a shrivelled pebble or two about once a month. She hourly snorts cocaine like a bee smothering itself with pollen. At night, she lies listlessly akimbo beneath her many lovers, a comatose orchid being ravished by a series of priapic wasps. Then up at dawn, to stride the gaunt catwalk, all skin and shin and rib and polished pubic bone.

Which is about the most offensive thing I've read all week.

Thank you, Kevin Myers, for your homophobic, misogynistic, mistranslated, ahistorical, straight-men-do-it-better idiot's guide to the fashion industry. Rolling out of bed, scrubbing the hungover sleep out of the corners of your eyes, you happened upon a story about skinny models, decided this was A Problem You Could Solve which would also, happily Solve Your Problem Of Filling The Weekly Column With Copy, and that moreover taking as a topic your vision of the industry as full of coke-addled sluts who can't even feed themselves would provide ample opportunity for you to get nice and angry about those nasty little faggots you've always had such a problem with, and also to transcribe for a mass audience the fantastical model snuff film that you guiltily play in your head every night during your ritual of self-abuse. Thank you, no, really, thank you for acquainting the world with your ignorance and closed-minded prattle so now we know what to avoid.

Cosmosexuals Redesign Women To Suit Their Own Demented Needs [Irish Independent]