Top 10 crimes of fashion

Fascism is on the rise, and silliness is being foisted on consumers.

By Janelle Brown

Published June 12, 2001 7:27PM (EDT)

Blame it on the summer doldrums, kicking in a bit early. Maybe we read just a few too many glossy fashion magazines this month (nine, at last count). Or perhaps all this dot-com downturn business has just simply made us cranky.

Whatever the case may be, we're feeling way down on fashion this week. Crimes against consumers are being committed, fashion fascism is on the rise and it is never a mistake to take a moment now and then to point out how much silliness is being foisted on the public by way of the fashion media. Don't get us wrong -- we still think style is fun and we, in our own way, are a part-time part of the fashion media -- but as we usher in the age of the new austerity, it seems that a little levity is in order.

Thus, we bring you Communiqué's top 10 crimes of fashion (summer 2001 version):

10. Lace. Yes, lace is back. Sheer, grandma-lace turtleneck dresses. Lace Jimmy Choo stiletto boots. See-through lace and mink Valentino couture dresses. It's not the lace that we object to but the fact that it's sheer and worn on the outside with only a (very visible) bra and panties underneath. Sure, it's daring -- on, say, Pamela Anderson -- but it's not supposed to be. Lace is for funerals (on your head), doilies (on your chair) and underwear (where the sun don't shine). Always has been, always will be.

9. The thong bikini. "Is this the year you wear a thong?" asks Cosmopolitan. You better hope not.

8. Self-tanning lotion. I don't care if it's $200 an ounce -- the stuff doesn't even look good on J.Lo.

7. The equestrian look. First it was the polo shirt and the khaki-saturated preppy look, which we wouldn't personally choose to wear but at least understood. Now, we're getting the full-fledged return of jodhpurs, complete with leather patches on the inside of the knees. If there is something that these pants are useful for other than riding a horse, we don't want to know.

6. The micro-miniskirt. Make it stop.

5. Swarovski crystals. Is nothing sacred? These are high-end tchotchkes never meant to be worn -- in tattoo form or on those big belt buckles. Put them back on your aunt's coffee table where they belong. And no playing ball in the house.

4. Gucci's under-the-breast corset, to be worn over a T-shirt. Sure, it looked cute on Kate Moss in the advertisement. But she'd probably look good in lace jodhpurs.

3. The $927 customized cotton T-shirt. You know that shredded top encrusted with safety pins and beads and dangling bits of thread, recycled from a T-shirt found in a thrift-store bin? Save the money, buy a sewing machine and make 27 of them for yourself. They will look exactly the same and cost less.

2. The mullet. This month, Cosmopolitan offers a spread on how to get "the most wanted new mane." In a show of contempt and irrepressible sick humor, the Cosmo editors call the cut "gutsy." When you get one, they will laugh.

1. Christina Aguilera. Just when you thought her look couldn't get any more psychotic, it does: Witness her new "Moulin Rouge"-meets-Tammy Faye look, with a pink-and-white curled Afro, caked-on lavender and fuschia makeup and jewelled fake lashes. Perhaps her stylist should return to Kabuki theater.

Janelle Brown

Janelle Brown is a contributing writer for Salon.

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