Archive | April, 2013

Oops We Wore it Again: Imitation as the Finest Form of Fashion?

“Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.”

– Pablo Picasso

An artist knows that at  the very  moment he completes a sculpture, a painting,  a song, or a poem and lets it out into the vast abyss we call the world, his work is  immediately subject to criticism, approbation, and of course imitation. But when Monet released Water Lilies, I doubt the following is the type of reproduction he had in mind. Googling “Monet dress” led me to discover I had more in common with Gayle King, Diana Argon and a few other celebrities than expected. Turns out we all sported my graduation dress, the en plein air “Revisited Impressionist Dress” by Tracy Reese which was once available at Anthropologie for the relatively affordable price of $298.

Now that I’ve exhausted the attempt to establish what is fashion/beauty in my previous post I can speculatively say, this artistic frock seems to qualify, certainly passing Hume’s test of time. What other dress can be worn with dashing élan by me, a young orthodox Jewess, a 16 year old movie star, a 26 year old silver screen icon, and a news anchor on the cusp of the big 6-0? But as usual, the obvious question on all the editors’ glossed and augmented lips is –WHO WORE IT BEST?

Let’s approach this chronologically; this is fashion we’re talking about and despite the constant kerfuffle  it is supposed to be an orderly, beautiful discipline. June 4th 2012, I walk into the auditorium wearing the dress.  Black Steve Madden platforms— an extra six inches never hurt anyone—as well as the edge of a black JCrew studded belt provide the perfect foil to the ultra-feminine print and darting. And the well-chosen modest addition– say, a white long-sleeved undershirt— made the ensemble all the more seductive.

Next on June 18 of that same year, Caroline Sunshine stayed true to her name illuminating the faces of fans and photographers at the premiere of Brave. The 16 year old kept the look chic pairing the busy garden number with nude pumps and a complimenting pink minaudière, channeling the focus where it should be. Usually au natural makeup and hair in addition to simple accessories equates to BORING, but Sunshine made a smart choice as the dress is a chef-d’oeuvre in and of itself.

The very next day a Glee-full Dianna Argon stole the show at a Coach party in New York City adding high fashion to the high Line. Diana sported the dress with a black belt featuring a filigree buckle, blue and black ombre Coach Legacy sunglasses, a Coach Legacy Clutch, and glittering Miu Miu  Sandals, landing her a spot on oodles of best dressed lists. Has she forgotten that less is more?! That the wise Coco once said “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off”? The dress’s grassy digital embankment, and painted girly garden print are already verging on an eye sore— the over accessorizing and filigreed belt do not do the fin de siecle Impressionists any justice.

As you all have eyes and a growing fashion sense from reading my posts, I’ll let you be the judge of the last two contenders; nonetheless, I must interject one point—boy does that bright print look great in contrast to Gayle King’s dark complexion, 10 points to the Oprah camp!

Entre Moigayleyoung and restless

Since this whole gap year thing has made me adopt an I think therefore I philosophize modus operandi I must ask – Is all this imitation eating away at the vehicle of individual expression known as fashion? Is the fifth times the charm when it comes to this sartorial masterpiece?

Being the good Semgirl that I am, I first turned towards the Bible for clarification. After a good scratch on the head and mental “control f” of all the midrashim, agadot, sugyot,mishnayot, and halachot I’ve encountered, “imitation” received a bright yellow highlight in a most unexpected context: God.

Imitatio Dei, man’s obligation to imitate God is a central doctrine stemming from the biblical account of the creation of man in the image of God, acknowledging a resemblance between man and his Creator. Yet man is to imitate God, not impersonate Him (Gen. 3:5). Biblical sources for the injunction, call man to walk this way: in the command to be holy as God is holy and to walk in God’s way (Lev. 19:2; Deut. 10:12, 11:22, 26:17). Man is to be God-like in his deeds, but not aspire to be God, differentiating the biblical notion from the pagan attempts to achieve apotheosis or absorption in the deity. Man is to imitate God in resting on Shabbat (Ex. 20:10–11); loving the little monster stranger (Deut. 10:18–19); and in other ethical moves. Surprisingly I’m not the only one mulling over the faux facet. In rabbinic literature Ḥama bar Ḥanina, expounds on the verse, “after the Lord your God you shall walk” (Deut. 13:5): “How can man walk after God? Is He not a consuming fire? What is meant is that man ought to walk after [imitate] the attributes of God. Just as the Lord clothes the naked, so you shall clothe the naked. Just as He visits the sick, so you shall visit the sick. Just as the Lord comforted the bereaved, so you shall also comfort the bereaved; just as He buried the dead, so you shall bury the dead” (Sotah: 14a).

Among medieval Jewish philosophers, Maimonides dealt most extensively with man’s copy rights when dealing with the ultimate Creator. The Spanish polymath enumerates “emulating God in His beneficent and righteous ways to the best of one’s ability” as part of the sacred commandments (Sefer ha-Mitzvot, positive commandment 8). For Maimonides the commandment intertwines with his famed fetish for the middle way. In his Guide of the Perplexed, the philosopher stresses that the acquisition of academic knowledge, especially that of God, should be the goal of human life, but in the final chapter of the Guide he holds that such knowledge leads to the imitation of God:”Having acquired this knowledge he will then be determined always to seek loving kindness, justice, and righteousness and thus to imitate the ways of God” (Guide, 3:54).

In contrast to paganism, Judaism propounds copying not counterfeit: we should walk in the way of God, not strive to be God. Similarly in fashion, counterfeit is certainly unacceptable, illegal, and a highly punishable crime, but the borrowing of ideas, concepts, techniques, is sine que non for fashion. By its very definition, the French for fashion –mode—is mathematically understood as “the value that appears most often in a set of data”. Essentially fashion favors frequency over function, ubiquity over uniqueness.

Musicians, filmmakers, painters, and even Lady Gaga are legally protected against copying, under the premise that leaving work up for grabs, translates into ‘au revoir innovation’. But despite the recent retail rivalries like the red sole lawsuit between shoe king Christian Louboutin and the father of le smoking suit YSL, to the shock of many, copyright laws barely protect the fashion field. Yes, some couturiers have lost sales to knockoffs, but design replication has not been a serious menace to the survival of the chicest. Au contraire, much of the development and ingenuity of the industry hinges upon imitation.

Why the exception oh fashion gods? Well, it seems to be a corollary of what an English playwright picked up on back when women still frolicked in farthingales. As Shakespeare said, “the fashion wears out more apparel than the man.” Meaning, most of us go shopping not to satisfy a need, but to quench the thirst of staying au currant, a la mode, and away from societal jeers.

Sans patent fetters (no not the patent leather kind), companies can modify a design as they please and join the bandwagon of a projected profit reaping style. Mix it all together and what do you get? The industry’s holy doctrine: the trend. Imitation produces trends and trends sell fashion. Each summer-spring, winter-fall, Ready-to – Wear, Couture ,Cruise or however many ways you can divide time and styles to maximize production, design houses “get inspired” by each other(I’m taking to you Dior, we notice how you seemed to forget in your advertisements and products that you’re not Chanel). Chanel summed up the cycle echoing Hume’s on aesthetics as follows, “fashion fades; style is eternal.” Trends become “hot”, “not”, then a relic of seasons past until they’re revived with the kiss of a handsome editor or somehow lucky enough to earn the coveted title “vintage.” We all know this circle of clothes, this wheel of fashion, but we often turn a blind smoky eye to the fuel behind this fire— the freedom to fake.

Despite a recent punch to some designers thanks to the recession, overall since World War II the American fashion industry enjoys solid progress; clothing businesses accrue over $300 billion a year, employing millions. Undoubtedly some designers suffer losses from copying, but increased copyright ‘protection’ would bring prices up, the creative cycle down and ultimately lead to the torpid ungainly death of the industry we all love to hate, hate to love, but fund anyways— fashion.

Beauty and the Beastly: All in the Eye of the IPhone holder?

I usually roll my eyes when often encountering those in the religious Jewish world who deride fashion, associating the industry with the many perils for the soul such as pig, non-Disney films, stocking-less female legs, and radio hits. To those same people I also share an algorithm buttressed by the writing upon this wall:

Graffiti across Bnei Brak reads “Fashion = Pritzus/promiscuity”

“One who teaches his daughter Torah, teaches her Tiflus (promiscuity)”explains Rabbi Eliezer in the Talmud (Sotah, 20).

Thus Torah = Tiflus

and Tiflus = Pritzus

Therefore, Torah =Pritzus.

If according to the photo, Fashion = Pritzus

Thus by transitive property Fashion = Torah. Right?

Then recently, a collection came along challenging my entrenched confidence in the industry, making room for validation of the tenuous aversion towards fashion. I’ve seen models hit the runway topless, flashing some but check, but never in fully in the nude. So thank Pam Hogg, for sending models out at the latest London Fashion week in a striking palette of white, noire, and burgundy, sculptural hats, and birthday suits complete with glittery materials you must have stolen from my childhood art box. Did you forget something Ms. Hogg? The accoutrements are set but the pièce de résistance appears to have been left outside with the bouncer.

Most models were nude. I’m talking really nude, more than Lena Dunham in a “Girls” episode.

Hogg’s collection begs even me, one who lives, breathes, eats, and excrements fashion, one who puts Coco Chanel up there with likes of Gandhi and Mother Theresa , to ask – Is this really fashion? If runway styles are to be translated into commercial stores for the forthcoming seasons, is Kim suggesting we let it all out leaving nothing but our hair to the imagination this winter?What happened to leaving something to the imagination?

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for using clothing as a tool for attraction. If that weren’t the case, we’d all be strutting around in burlap basmati bags, but to the dismay of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, we don’t. Clothing is game of concealing to reveal, proving that demure is by no means drab, modesty’s got mojo and that covering up is far sexier than leaving flesh out on display.

Tznious (modesty queens)

Tnizous(modesty) queens M&K Olsen

If it’s all already off – are we not robbed from the romance of the chase, the hunt, the whole fun of life?

Checking every nook and cranny for leavened bread on the heels of Passover has also been a great time to check up on old friends. While I have been back in the States for spring break one of those old friends was an Israeli ex- boyfriend of mine. Upon hearing that he wanted to see me, I was suddenly conscious of such delight,and at the same time such dread, that my senses failed me and I could not remember what I wanted to remember.He was not the same as he used to be, nor as he had been on Facebook chats; he seemed quite different. He seemed more mature, manly, but that could have just been the new found scruff adorning his tan face.”It’s been long time” he said, and with desperate determination he pressed his hand against my cold one. We chatted about his college life: the football team, classes, his fraternity, and I went on about Israel, religion, and whether I had become a “yeshiva girl” as he put it. It didn’t take long for me to realize where his eyes aimed the whole time like a deadly unmanned drone ready to fire —my lips. After forty minutes of whispering in my ear, tugging at my jacket, and playing with my hair I had to oust him from my warm Mercury Sable. “Well it was actually really fun, I liked de chase” he said in response to his futile efforts, shutting the door and throwing one last unctuous wink at me. Israelis…

The merits of clothing are analogous to the merits of good writing—style, structure, modesty, poise, elegance, endurance— not to mention getting it right sometimes. Literature is not praised when ideas are laid out there for you on a $27,600 Tiffany silver platter. A great poem excites by what lies between the lines, and behind the stanzas then the actually words themselves. Since the days of the Oral Torah, Hermeneutics has been established to unveil the treasures beyond the ink on paper; after all, if an author said all that was on his mind clearly, would we even bother reading his work? A life of only Spark Notes, Cliff Notes and X for Dummies seems like no life worth living.

Notably, the present Jewish holiday—Passover –revolves around this very concept (no not through the hidden Afikomen). In the Haggada we read that God made a covenant with Abraham promising his progeny would be afflicted by a four hundred year exile before returning to the promised land with great swag bags;  a sign of God’s affection for Abraham. How could four hundred years of bloodbaths (Rashi ,Shemot 2:23), celibacy (Sotah, 12a) and backbreaking labor be anything but a divine comedy? The Chasidic Work Sfat Emet expounds that we exist and by extension the reason the world exists is to reach a revelation of God.  If He were revealed, our existence would be futile. Hence, the world was created as a garb to prevent us from “seeing” Him, providing an opportunity to work towards revealing Him, to experiencing Him, to brush shoulders with the divine. In order to gain the capacity to find the divine in every situation in which He is concealed, God enacted exile. In fact, the very word exile – galut – contains the same root as the word for revelation –  hitgalut . Exile thus leads inexorably to redemption, simply another nom de plume for revelation. Accordingly, the world really is one big game of dress up, and it is our task to strip reality of its many attires.

Perhaps Pam’s creations are just an extension of the phenomenon occurring outside the tents, a trickling down of what Suzy Menkes dubbed “The Circus of Fashion”: the recent over democratization of fashion and outburst of pathological media- thirsty ‘fashionistas’. Hogg’s extreme outré quality seems to detract from any possible aesthetic point,  but maybe I shouldn’t be so critical of her works; fashion for fashion’s sake should be the purest form of fashion, just as learning Torah Lishma (for its own sake) is regarded by most as the most exalted type of study.

Who am I to place judgment on this collection? I do not work for Vogue, have a brand sponsored blog, prance around in more labels found in a Barneys or bask in fame for being well… me! Is fashion in the hands of the editor writing on it, the masses wearing it, or the brand producing it? Is a jacket pleasing because it meets certain criteria, because says it’s in, or because Kate Middleton wore it while grocery shopping last week?

Mayhap Pam Hogg winter ’13 should not be classified as fashion but pornographic art. Must we even draw lines (even over those nipples)? Why is there all this fuss over visual arts, when the sober amongst us all recognize The Iliad, The Canterbury Tales, Hamlet, Brothers Karamazov, Paradise Lost, and Gossip Girl as significant works of literature?

These quandaries boil down to one question: Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder, or is that just one of those ameliorating axioms like love conquers all?

Eye for an eye: since when are all eyes created equal?

Eye for an eye: since when are all eyes created equal?

To properly engage in this debate, picture a time where we could sit around smoking cigars, sipping espresso and pour over aesthetics like Proposition Eight, or Gun Laws. Today irrespective of the cigars, such a conversation could not exist as beauty has been relegated to the world of subjective; welcome to age of concordance. Once topics under the microscope for professional discussions and a central task for architects, painters and sculptors, the questions I raised have now been swept under the Persian carpet. Postmodernist have been pontificating that beauty, unlike science, can hardly subscribe to the exactitudes of rational inspection and is critically dependent on moods, hence lacking an objective calculation of what is beautiful. To truly appreciate beauty, according to postmodernists, assumed certainty in science must be flouted in favor of a trust in the fact that something is not automatically beautiful in all cultures and races. Forced objective standards of beauty, they claim infringe upon human nature, denying liberty to freely express values. Consequently, we should exercise our right as individuals rather than submitting to the aged, mustached, wool sports jacket clad “connoisseur”.

Bold and the beautiful?

Bold and the beautiful?


Thus, delving into the philosophical question of beauty requires you to take of your converse, slip on your finest top hat and imagine we are dining in Madame Geoffrin’s Parisian salon, or 27 Rue de Fleurus with good old Gertrude.

Locke, Galileo, Descartes, and Boyle, were all fascinated with nuances between “primary” and “secondary” qualities. Primary, objective properties like shape, size and motion exist regardless of any minds at hand to perceive them. To these thinkers, it seemed objects would not have secondary qualities — colors, sounds, smells and tastes— sans minds to see, hear, smell and taste them. No minds, no secondary qualities. Thus secondary properties are subjective: in the nose, tongue, eye, and ear of the beholder.

Nevertheless, even secondary qualities entail a grade of objectivity. Though absent in the absence of minds, the minds that do exist usually agree upon them in proper conditions. But what about the fact that I like Serge Gainsbourg and you don’t; most people with working noses since 1919 like Chanel N5 but my ex-boyfriend detested the scent?  Where does beauty fit in?  Are aesthetics an objective, mind- independent quality?

Largely in the history of aesthetics, at least in the West dated far back to Plato, beauty has been defined by few individuals thought to actually hold taste. They promoted an objective criterion in measuring beauty as opposed to a definition based on personality, disposition, and sentiment. For years, Classical beauty was haute, not and ‘in’ again— remember the Renaissance? Classically, beauty consists of arranging integral parts into a coherent whole, according to ratio, congruence, symmetry, and similar concepts. The great coco herself said that “Fashion is architecture.  It is a matter of proportions. “Take Polykleitos Canon as Classical beauty par excellence.

In a typically Aristotelian pluralist design, Aquinas propounds “there are three requirements for beauty. Firstly, integrity or perfection—for if something is impaired it is ugly. Then there is due proportion or consonance. And also clarity: whence things that are brightly colored are called beautiful” (Summa Theologica I, 39, 8). Essentially a nice J.Crew outfit embodies Aquinas beauty at its finest.

Now the Canon and other leftovers of classical beauty sit in historical museums across Europe, like what harem pants of 2010 should be doing in the back closets instead of on religious Israeli women in the West bank . So where did the objective mode of beauty go wrong? Why oppose absolute formulas to constructing a window, a door and relating rooms to halls that went unchallenged for eras?

By the 1757 Hume shatters established philosophical thought  stating:

“Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty. One person may even perceive deformity, where another is sensible of beauty; and every individual ought to acquiesce in his own sentiment, without pretending to regulate those of others “(Of the Standard of Taste , 136).

Similarly, Kant presents at least as ardently in The Critique of Judgment:

“The judgment of taste is therefore not a judgment of cognition, and is consequently not logical but aesthetical, by which we understand that whose determining ground can be no other than subjective. Every reference of representations, even that of sensations, may be objective, save only the reference to the feeling of pleasure and pain, by which nothing in the object is signified, but through which there is a feeling in the subject as it is affected by the representation”(section 1).

That’s nice and all, but  if beauty is pure subjectivity —if anything anyone hails as beautiful is beautiful — the word seems stripped of meaning or that the only fact communicated by labeling something beautiful is a personal stamp of approval. Additionally, though individuals can evidently differ in specific discernments, it is also evident that judgments converge to a remarkable degree: for a person to deny that a perfect rose, dramatic sunset, or Grace Kelly are beautiful is by far perverse. Perhaps aesthetic taste is similar to food taste—those who don’t appreciate what is widely regarded as beautiful simply have an unrefined aesthetic sense or are missing some ‘beauty buds’.

Dancing the sun away in caesarea

Dancing the sun away in Caesarea

To Hume and Kant something important was lost when beauty treatment was merely a subjective state. They witnessed debates arising over the beauty works of art and literature, and that in such discussions, reasons were identified and convincing. They also observed, that if beauty is completely qualified by individual experiencers, it ceases to be a paramount value, or even recognizable as an interpersonal value at all.

Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgment attempt to find answers through an “antinomy of taste”. Although proverbially subjective: de gustibus non disputandum est (about taste there is no disputing), some individuals are believed to possess good taste or tastelessness. Through different means, both philosophers treat judgments of beauty neither as purely subjective nor precisely objective but, inter-subjective or as having a social and cultural aspect, or as conceptually involving an inter-subjective claim to legitimacy.

History and condition of the observer as he makes the judgment of taste, is the focus of Hume’s interpretation. “Strong sense, united to delicate sentiment, improved by practice, perfected by comparison, and cleared of all prejudice, can alone entitle critics to this valuable character; and the joint verdict of such, wherever they are to found, is the true standard of taste and beauty” (Of the Standard of Taste, I.XXIII.24). Hume further contends that verdicts of critics who possess those qualities tend to coincide, reaching unanimity in the long run which accounts for the enduring veneration of the works of Dante, Homer, and Christian Dior. The test of time, as assessed by best discerners, functions as the closest we have to an objective standard.

Kant similarly admits that exclaiming “très belle” has more content than “this pleasures me”. Something might please for reasons entirely eccentric to myself: I might enjoy Indian inspired Marchesa’s Spring 2013 collection because of my eastern roots or because it reminds me of my mother’s Indian bangles that never leave her hand, or because I watched Bollywood films as a kid while others enjoyed Bambie (which I still have yet to see), but most likely all three. Kant however, doesn’t give two cents about my childhood film habits: “no one begrudges me such experiences, but no one thinks that they might constitute a claim that they should have a similar experience of the thing in question” (Critique of Judgment, section 7).

In contrast, the first of Kant’s four key distinguishing features of true aesthetic judgments is disinterest. Beauty is irrespective of eccentricities; we take pleasure in something because we judge it beautiful, rather than judging it beautiful because it pleases. Aesthetic judgment remains independent of the normal human desires—economic, sexual, and political. Pure beauty is purely subjective, purely aesthetic, divorced from anydidactic, moral or utilitarian function, similar to the 19th century, ”l’art pour l’art”(art for art’s sake).Walking through a museum and admiring a Picasso because it would make me a pretty penny at auction, or because the prestige it will bring by hanging in my foyer is not an aesthetic experience (which is why the more modern Walter Benjamin claims art for art sake is dead.Benjamin divides the cult value of the artwork from its exhibition value. Technological reproduction, he argues, makes the cult value of art ebb in favor of its exhibition value, thus the way Kant and others characterize art is no longer valid. Art is no longer autonomous. Thus art for art’s sake, a realm in which specific social interests have no part is what god is to Nietzsche—dead.)

The Third Earl of Shaftesbury’s discourse The Moralist, précises  aesthetic disinterest in terms of a natural landscape:

“Looking at a beautiful valley primarily as a valuable real estate opportunity, you are not seeing it for its own sake, and cannot fully experience its beauty. If you are looking at a lovely woman and considering her as a possible sexual conquest, you are not able to experience her beauty in the fullest or purest sense; you are distracted from the form as represented in your experience.” (The Moralist,222)

Shaftsbury’s definition disqualifies Pam Hogg’s collection, as without apologetics there is clearly an over sexualized agenda behind her collection. When beholding her collection— the fashion, the art, the accessories are not appreciated, but the shock of the overexposed human body. Although a subjective experience, there are objective criteria it must meet, and Pam Hogg’s collection clearly doesn’t meet neither Kant’s nor the Earl’s criteria of disinterest.

The idea in particular that free beauty is completely separated from practical use and that the experiencer is not concerned with the actual existence of the object leads Kant to his second feature: free beauty is found in the form, and aesthetics are to be appreciated as a purposeless purpose. An object’s purpose is the concept according to which it was made; an object is purposive if it appears to have such a purpose; if, in other words, it appears to have been made or designed. To illustrate, a poem’s content can change according to each generation, but its form can be appreciated transgenerationally. Kant’s proclivity evokes Aristotle’s preference of plot over character, as plot is closer to form in purity and eternal elegance, making it aesthetic.

Lastly, such judgments are both universal and necessary. Since in reaching an authentic judgment of taste one not responding to idiosyncracies in oneself, Kant asserts that one will conclude that anyone similarly situated should have the same experience: therefore, one will presume that there ought to be nothing to distinguish one person’s judgment from another’s (COJ,section 8). Consequently, built into judgments of taste is a ‘universalization’ somewhat parallel to the universalization Kant connects with ethical judgments.

So if objective beauty offends our human nature as the postmodernists suggest, we may be lured into looking back further than western history to the ancient Hebrews where art was used to sway souls. Though learning Torah and performing precepts may lay at heart of the force gathering the faithful, it’s hard to deny that the beauty of a temple was crucial for summoning thousands of followers. Maimonides in The Guide for the Perplexed (III:45) explains that most people are moved by aesthetic considerations, which is why the Sanctuary was designed to inspire veneration; why the priestly robes were so intricate; why light burned incessantly; why Levitical choir jammed away; and why incense seared to cover the stench of slaughtered animals. Visible symbols such as tzitzit and tefillin can also be placed in this category. In fact, the sages enumerate upon a mitzvah within a mitzvah, hiddur mitzvah – “beautifying the command” ­ – ensuring that all articles used for performing a command are as pleasing to the eye as possible. Behind outward symbols of faith and temples lies the implicit attempt to support a way of life that appeals to the religious, the kind of beauty that provokes them. It is no coincidence that The Hebrew word for art – omanut– is semantically related to –emunah—faith. True art speaks to the experiencer disclosing the ultimate artistry of the Creator, adding marvel to faith. After all, Exodus 31:3, describes Bezalel, the appointed architect of the wilderness Tabernacle as being endowed with “a divine spirit of skill, ability, and knowledge.” If the architects of the Jewish temple, Notre Dame, or Dome of the Rock have succeeded in seducing millions of followers worldwide, in inducing tears, does this not say something about our idea of beauty? Judaism deems it godliness, but whatever you call it, there is an underlying aesthetic language because there are certain qualities all mankind feels the need to value.

In lieu of making an effort to consciously notice minutest details of a beautiful matter, aesthetic relativism opens man to laziness, for everything is beautiful if I tweet, blog, pintrest, or instagram it so to me and my followers. As a result I am likely to overrate my aesthetic sensibility, assuming that my uneducated eyes assure possession of beauty at a 5g rate, without a moment of meditation. All too often we are too inclined to think that we are the masters of our own senses which require no training whatsoever. We should not fear the fact that experts may write, hear, see and dress better than us, to confess that their perception of shades, beats, and syntax is far better than ours. Experts can guide minds to pick up signs which initially evade cognizance, thus cultivating our aesthetic receptivity, congeal and magnify it, granting us access to certain aesthetic surfaces hitherto untouched.

In conclusion according to Kant aesthetics earn the novel title of “subjective universality”: a personal experience occurring in an individual’s mind, which unbiased persons will all value as beautiful. As humans are social creatures, I can only understand beauty as something connecting myself to other peoples, a collective human experience of appreciation, delight, and awe.

Unfortunately for Pam, her 2013 winter collection doesn’t fall under this definition of beauty. Far from “disinterested” – the Brit has a clear arrière-pensée; there is no denying that Pam intends to shock her viewers out of their printed Prada pants and into the bedroom. Additionally the only collective feeling towards Pam’s collection is “Isn’t something missing?”. I think we can all universally agree— this collection is foul.

True beauty can stand the test of time, not because canonization by stuffy old British men, but because pure aesthetics have universally applicable messages for the human experience. In years to come, I highly doubt Pam’s looks will be studied at Parsons, The Royal Academy, The Sorbonne or even by maturing teenage boys. We need to draw line or else there is nothing to talk about and we dilute beauty to a relic of what once was; to keep the integrity of Fashion we must set standards and keep  Pam Hogg’s collection out of them.

So please Pam, next time you want to send hot young bodies prancing around naked to make a statement, please don’t do it in the name of fashion; it’s collections like yours that give the industry a bad rep. Sorry but I’m going with the Rabbis on this one, Pam Hogg Winter 2013 is not fashion: rather, the clothing – or lack of thereof— belongs somewhere in the Pritzus department.

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