Fashion Designer's Baffling, Wackadoodle Vision
There are several valid reasons not to do drugs, among them their illegality as per the laws of this great nation, the exhilaration that comes with conforming to non-self-imposed notions of morality, the possibility that they will fry your neural wiring, and the deleterious effect they might have on your driving or taste in music. To that list I'd like to add Anna Dello Russo's "Fashion Shower" series of clips -- because after watching the most recent installment, it's like: Stoned, not stoned -- who can tell the difference anymore?
Of the hundreds of brand-stamped videos that have crossed my cyber-path in the 10 months I've written this column, "Fashion Shower" is the second that has left me genuinely baffled. With the slightly-too-old protagonist prancing about like an overcaffeinated Bravo network heroine and sounding rules like "fashion is always uncomfortable" in the type of Eurotrash accent usually employed by Bond villains, it plays like a "Saturday Night Live" digital short. But at the same time, Dello Russo is a living, breathing being -- and H&M, the retailer set to roll out her new collection early next month, is involved in the real business of selling items in exchange for valid currency.
So maybe this is a hyper-fabulous meta-commentary on the low business of marketing high fashion? A knowing tweak of Internet-era age and gender memes? A desperate attempt to Target-ify a retailer mostly known for cheap, disposable leggings? I don't know. There are 259 possible interpretations of the clip's approach, none of which make a whit of sense.
The 2012 "Fashion Shower" picks up where the 2011 version left off: namely, astride an oversized gold shoe. Dello Russo goes the solo route this time around, however, trading in her smile-resistant line-dance compatriot for, in no particular order, a pair of oversized scissors, 17 different variations of sunglasses, a peacock plume of a hat and a gold record (which she uses, naturally, to fan herself). As she juggles this exhaustive catalog of props and accessories -- after a third viewing, it dawned on me that she is in the accessory biz 0- Dello Russo anoints herself either "the guardian of fashion" or "the garden of fashion," depending on how you interpret the accent, and rips off a list of 10 fashion "lessons."
I put "lessons" in silly-quotes because "wear a coat as a dress" isn't a lesson so much as a way to liven up a first meeting with the prospective in-laws. Nonetheless, as Dello Russo cavorts with multiple versions of herself while wearing dominatrix boots and a black-leather tutu, she shares other pearls accumulated during her years in the steel mill: "You must wear outfits once," "Wearing night clothes in the daytime is unexpected," etc. It'd probably help from a branding perspective if she devoted more than one of the 10 lessons to her core accessories business, but clearly Dello Russo doesn't do marketing by the book. Unless the book is "Señora Wackadoodle's Guide to Extreme Pantomime and Self-Promotional Frippery."
Given my current getup of flip-flops, old t-shirt with frayed neckline and shorts in which one might place and transport small items of cargo -- "cargo shorts," if you will -- I could use a fashion shower. (A conventional one might also do me, and by extension everyone within sniffing distance, some good.) But heavens, I can't imagine anyone watching the most recent Dello Russo "Fashion Shower" iteration for any other reason than to bask in its complete lunacy. It's a kitsch-seeking missile and, as such, does little beside expose the brand and Dello Russo to easy ridicule. Hell, maybe that's the point.
Meanwhile, in the 18 minutes between when I first viewed this clip and now, a drag-queen remix of "Fashion Shower" has hit YouTube. Let nobody say of our civilization that it aimed low.