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Young, fabulous and apparently shallow v.2009

March 9, 2009


While browsing fashionista’s glossary page I read this definition of the movie Clueless:


Amy Heckerling’s 1995 masterpiece loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma starring Alicia Silverstone. Overflows with epic quotes and is basically the greatest movie of all time in Fashionista land.


The greatest movie in Fashionista land? Yes, I realize that this praise is purposely exaggerated for comic effect. Still my reaction is to strongly disagree and to present my counterclaim. Sometimes, I take myself too seriously.

I don’t think a movie has to be about fashion to influence fashion. More important fashion moments, in my opinion, are found in iconic symbols and visual memories i.e. the grey dress in Hitchcock’s Vertigo, the red jacket in Rebel Without a Cause, lady-like style as embodied by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, costume design in period films such as Pride and Prejudice or The English Patient, the evolution of fashion through several decades as seen in Forrest Gump, etc.

Though I do believe that fashion is sometimes art and therefore extremely profound, sometimes, as in the case with Clueless, it’s just entertainment and consequently shallow.


I blogged about this topic about a year ago on my old blog in a post titled “Young, fabulous and apparently shallow” (though this post was more about the shallowness of a fictional character, not the movie itself, which in terms of satiric parody is actually pretty brilliant):

one saturday, while shopping on ventura, i tried on an uber fab mike & chris leather jacket. it fit perfectly. great detailing. gorgeous distressed leather. removable hood. pretty amazing. but $910? that’s more than my rent. i’m pretty ridiculous, but not that ridiculous.

so just how ridiculous am i? the more i live and work in los angeles, the more i think i’m turning into a grown-up, korean version of alicia silverstone in clueless. minus the rich dad. cher horowitz is attractive, popular, stylish and romantically-challenged. check, check, check, triple check. hahaha. (don’t argue with me, i’m trying to make a point.) but most importantly cher is unbelievably shallow, but thinks herself to be incredibly deep.


case in point:

“Until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there’s no point in taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value.”

“I felt impotent and out of control! Which I really, really hate! I had to find sanctuary in a place where I could gather my thoughts and regain my strength.” …she ends up at the mall. go figure.


though while clueless is like so 90s and therefore way obsolete, a modern day example exists as well. i present lauren conrad of laguna beach and the hills:


“I have a very stressful job! I have to guard this VIP area!”

“A good roomie is like a good pair of jeans. You hang on to those!” (did i mention i just bought the coolest pair of serfontaine jeans?)

and lastly, the self-righteous verbal slap heard round the world…
“I want to forgive you…” (obligatory pause for dramatic effect) “and I want to forget you.”

i scoff at their shallow characterizations, but the truth is, i’m a lot like them.


To be fair, I’ve watched Clueless dozens of times and I think for what it is trying to accomplish it is extremely well-imagined as a film–thoroughly enjoyable and infinitely quotable. But while it is arguably deeper than it may appear to be, it’s still not anywhere near important enough to merit the title of greatest movie of all time in Fashionista land.


And though I love fashion and I am extremely passionate about it, but I hope that I never get so singularly caught up in it that I become vapid or narrow.

Truth and art in fashion is found in the humanness that drives it: iconic visions and the visionaries behind them, designers with a distinct point-of-view, patterns and trends that reflect social/political/cultural history or relevance to the current times and of course individual style and the special power that we each possess in choosing to hide or reveal our identities in the visual presentation of our unique selves.


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