Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Viva La Revolution

David Brooks writes a funny op-ed in the Times about my favorite fashion magazine, Lucky.

Lucky is different from other fashions mags, because the models smile, Brooks explains, rather than pout or snarl.

In some of the photo spreads there will be groups of models staring despondently into space, looking like Sylvia Plath and the Methadone Sisters. Other models will be done up like psychologically damaged Lolitas, their lips pouting and ready for depressed sex. Still others glare out at the camera clad in, say, Ungaro, wearing the fierce expression Lorena Bobbitt must have adopted moments before she gave her husband that extreme circumcision.

It's all about elitism of the old school fashion rags. The authoritarian editors proclaim what's in from above. And you probably can't afford it.

In contrast, Lucky is much more democratic.

But in the world of Lucky, there is no beau monde. There is no fashion hierarchy. There are no authority figures, nor any social elite (that's why there are no celebrities). There's just the happiness of the local mall.

I used to poo-poo Lucky. I mean it calls itself the magazine about shopping. And any good New Yorker has a strong elitist streak. New Yorkers love being in the know, being the first to drink Cosmopolitans, skipping dinner so that they can afford a good pair of shoes, favoring scowling over smiling. Malls? That's for those commoners out in the provinces.

But Lucky is cool. They love clothes, rather than designers. Their fashion spreads feature frocks from Target and scarves from Old Navy mixed with more expensive items. The magazine contain pictures of their loyal readers proudly displaying shoes that they won in a contest. Nothing dark or artsy about it. Just joyous materialism. Yay, shoes!

I haven't forked over $12 for a year subscription yet. I'm not sure that I want the mail carrier to see it. But I love buying a copy from the Indian newspaper guy as a guilty pleasure when I have a sore throat or when I feel like I'm slipping towards frumpy housewife or serious professor.

But thanks to Brooks, maybe I can order that subscription without shame. After all, I'll be furthering democratic fashion revolution.

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