As promised in yesterday's post,here's the second part of the Fashion Glossary.
Fashion Education: No fashion designer used to go to college in the past and the best way to become a tailor was starting from the lower step of the tailoring pyramid: picking the pins from the floor of the master tailor's workshop. Now it's all about avant-garde fashion colleges quite sadly producing graduates that may or may not find a job in a saturated market. Condé Nast even founded a college of Fashion and Design in London. Promised to do for people who want to get into the fashion industry what Hogwarts did for Harry Potter, the college looks like an aseptic environment in which students are taught topics that are not explained in the prospectus or on the college site. What do they teach there? Who knows. But a good testimonial for it would have been Darth Vader, obviously accompanied by the slogan "join the Dark Side".
Fashion Show Notes: See Catwalk/Collection Press Release in yesterday's post.
Fêtes/Fêted: Ordinary beings celebrate something or someone. Celebrities, models, fashion designers do not celebrate, they "fête". A term mostly abused by WWD to indicate a certain degree of pretentious endorsement from that specific celebrity to that specific party. Example: "Pucci Fetes Coffee Table Book". Enter "wwd + fetes" in google and you will get over 90,000 results. Cringing.
Holistic: A term that should worry each and every one of us as press officers are growing very fond of it, even though they aren't completely sure about its meaning. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary "Holistic" literally means "relating to holism, the theory that the universe and especially living nature is correctly seen in terms of interacting wholes that are more than the mere sum of elementary particles" or "relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts". People working in the fashion industry employ it in a confusing way, almost to describe something relaxing, purifying, meditative and therefore holy, possibly with an aura of "sustainability" about it. So you get terms such as "holistic approach", "holistic imprint", "holistic collection", "holistic designs". A solution to the proliferation of the "holistic" adjective? Do not trust any kind of products preceded by it. And don't forget to burn the press release you were given that contains this term.
I want to be a fashion designer: A sentence usually pronounced by your 3 year old cousin during her birthday party after receiving a new Barbie doll with hundreds of new little dresses. Now quite often pronounced by pop stars, celebrities and assorted icons of style, most of them thinking like Dita Von Teese that you just need to visit a vintage store and copy some successful garments from the past to be a fashion designer. In some cases this statement culminates in "I want to design furniture and offer my customers a 360° degree lifestyle". Considering that it was extremely difficult even for well-established and well organised fashion houses to design successful interior design objects, these statements are usually the proof that the society we are living in is full of deluded narcissists.
(To) Lens: Mainly employed in sentences such as "(Name of famous Photographer) lenses campaign for (Name of Brand, Fashion House, etc)". The origins of this cringy expression are unknown, but it is thought that this hip verb was made up by some illiterate PR agent. Warning: Do not use this expression outside pretentious fashion/style circles as it understandably gets on the nerves of sensitive people who hate language being butchered by a PR agent.
Luxurious Uselessness: Not a word, but a concept or rather an innovative idea. An innovatively demented idea because designers, marketing officers and PRs think that in fashion consumption, demented ideas are extremely successful. Example: after Alexander Wang's $150 croc embossed rubber yoga mat with lamb leather strap, in March Havaianas announced it was "teaming up" with luxury French label Pinel & Pinel on a limited edition flip-flop (40 pairs) featuring a rubber sole with a hand-dyed and hand-picked crocodile skin strap. Retail price: £450. Yes, we all need at least one pair. Now we know it is exactly what we will be wearing come armageddon.
(Uselessly Grand and) Magniloquent Language: The fashion industry deals with something very superficial, clothes and accessories and not with open heart surgery. Yet press releases (see also Catwalk/Collection Press Release in yesterday's post) are peppered with a grand and magniloquent language, copious amounts of exclamation marks and other useless words. A pastiche of melodrama and a combination of terms derived from different semantic fields, ravaged, raped and remixed by an ignorant PR officer who read two books in his life (and one was an Ikea catalogue), this sort of language can cause massive cringing fits. Example (from a recent Diesel press release): "Hell yes! Diesel ignites yet another firestorm by appointing Nicola Formichetti to be the new commander-in-chief of the brave army that will spread Diesel's marching orders far and wide." I'm tempted to start a petition to find the culprit.
Must-Have: Indicates something that you don't really need but that women's magazines aggressively manage to convince you desperately want, reminding you that a particular celebrity owns it. Since consumers have started switching on their brains more often, sales of specific must-have items like Alexa Chung's Mulberry bag went down, causing profits to plummet. Must have? Say, no, thanks.
New Book Out: Mainly in the sentence "I have a new book out". Abused by fashion designers, models and high profile bloggers, it usually refers to a volume with more pictures than texts about how to dress - pardon - "how to style yourself" (because we all know how to dress, but we don't know how to style ourselves, see the difference?). The dilemma: what would have happened if each picture taken by The Sartorialist would have portrayed a celebrity rather than an ordinary person with no personality rights attached and would have therefore been a very expensive book to publish? Would Penguin have invested on such a book. The doubt remains, but for the time being your vanity may have made this man rich.
New Line/Spin Off Brands: Another day, another launch of another line/spin off brand. This bulimic mania (you can have a new eco-conscious line, a new line designed by a model, a celebrity, etc - it's potentially endless!) may destroy many high street retailers and some fashion brands. Yet the key is not produing more, but producing fewer garments in sizes that truly fit. Or have I just launched a new line? The Fitted?
Oh...!: A title of a piece, a blog post, a feature of dubious journalistic value, usually followed by the name of the protagonist of that story. Very much abused by English native speakers writing about a designer from another country or with an exotic name to prove their language skills. Denotes lack of originality, frustration and high degrees of naivety. Examples: "Oh Dolce!" (for Dolce and Gabbana), "Oh Gianni!" (Gianni Versace), "Oh Giorgio!" (Giorgio Armani). Oh shit, how much I hate it.
Patron: A sponsor, a benefactor, one that supports, protects, or champions someone or something, such as an institution, event, or cause, now a term indicating two roles, that of pimp (ever met a young designer and his/her "patron" at a hotel reception?) or a socially/politically useless role. Example: Sophie, Countess of Wessex has been announced as the first ever patron of the London College of Fashion. Did the students really need the countess as their patron? No.
Partnering/Teaming Up: A collaboration between two brands quite often implying a certain degree of prostitution. See also "collaboration" in yesterday's post.
Polymath: A term originally employed to indicate brilliant thinkers, human beings who excelled at multiple fields of the arts and science, like Leonardo da Vinci. "Polymath" is currently employed by a generation of PR officers and bloggers with no knowledge of etymology to indicate tremendously trendy and fabulously hip modern artists, musicians, fashion designers, directors and more or less confused creative minds possibly displaying some kind of dysfunctional behaviour or addicted to alcohol/drugs/anti-depressants (erase accordingly).
Pop up: An antidote to the crisis and a fun idea up until 6 or 7 years ago when it consisted in seriously endangering your life to try and find a pop up shop. Probably half of the people who intentionally set to visit Comme des Garçons' Guerrilla Store in Glasgow are still missing. Now pop up shops mushroom even inside large boutiques or in prime locations (Armani's pop-up restaurant opened yesterday on Cannes's Croisette), so there's no risk of aimlessly wandering or going missing while looking for them. Yet that was the entire point of the pop up place, going off the beaten track (and getting lost) to find a true gem.
Signature style: Previously applied to historical fashion labels or designers as in "Chanel's signature style" to indicate her tweed jackets or multiple pearl necklaces. Now often applied to young graduates by PR officers. The problem is that it is only with hindsight that you can say if somebody has truly developed a signature style. When a student develops a signature style in his/her graduate collection that student may be a one hit wonder.
You look amazing: Ordinary people extend their hand and say "Hello/Nice to meet you" when meeting somebody they do not know. An ordinary person will answer to this warmth gesture by smiling back and doing the same. A person working in the fashion business quite often acknowledges you with the sentence "You look amazing", pronounced in an envious tone of disgruntled hate. Yes, humanity is a rare thing in fashion.
Stylist: Who could ever think that this job that enraged your parents and almost prompted them to kill you when you were fifteeen (You: I want to be a stylist; Your Parents: Go and find yourself a proper job!) could become a credible career for some of us? In some cases being a stylist is an underpaid job; in others (Anna Dello Russo) it's a disgustingly overpaid job. Ah, the mysteries of fashion.
Wunderkammer (wonder cabinet or cabinet of curiosities): Originally describing an encyclopedic collection of embarrassingly tacky objects like taxidermied animals, random bits and pieces of unicorns and dodos, with the occasional mermaid thrown in (usually assembled from other random bits and pieces of animals...), this term is currently considered as a safe brilliant reference that proves you are painfully hip (and possibly also painfully confused...). A reference generated by the fact that thanks to the Internet we have all turned into experts about everything without knowing really anything (in a nutshell, we are living "wonder cabinets" of useless knowledge). In case your mind has gone blank because you've been partying too hard or you know you are extremely ignorant, and somebody suddenly asks you what has inspired you/your collection/your artwork recently, just answer "The Wunderkammer" in a fake German accent, then gravely nod and go silent. The ignorant on the other side will usually pleansantly reply "Ah! So wonderful" and call you a polymath (see the term "polymath" in this same post).
Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos
Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos