Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Friday, 7 May 2010

Speaking as one of those "imperfect bodies"....

A piece in the NYTimes on a show of the art of high fashion at the Brooklyn Museum starts off frankly and sensibly, acknowledging the gulf between the sorts of garments that end up in such displays and the clothing of real life.
But then, seemingly without irony, (certainly without scare quotes,) the writer allows this toad to leap from her mouth (or rather, pen):
Here you’ll find .... the black silk twill gown that Queen Victoria wore in a famous 1896 family photograph, reproduced here. It shows her with her son, grandson and great-grandson, the future Kings Edward VII, George V and Edward (VIII) the Brief. Among the dresses once worn by sylphs like Ava Gardner, the art collector Dominique de Menil or the socialite and major Charles James patron Millicent Rogers, Victoria’s is a shock. The mannequin is so short, wide and top-heavy that you may first think that it is seated. Hers is the only imperfect body in [the] show.

Ah, yes, the rich, famous, beautiful and healthy are "perfect."
The rest of mankind, well....
And I may be envisioning the wrong golden age of Hollywood star, but I would have thought Miss Gardner excessively zaftig to earn the appellation "sylph."

(Incidentally, never heard of Charles James before, he may have been a genius, judging from the photos)

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