Monday, April 20, 2009

A Run In My NYLONs.

It's hard to believe that NYLON, that most boring of fashion bibles, is ten years old. Back in the day, when it was a lush and gauzy love letter to people like Liv Tyler and places like Berlin, it was a treat to read. Now, its cover models look they're being photographed while being held for ransom. Nylon no longer holds that same delicious wonder as when it first arrived on the scene, especially back when Helena Christensen was running the show. The inagural issue allowed readers to peer into her Indian travel diary; by 2009, the magazine was strictly for the underfed and overdone.

Besides the fact that Nylon went transformed from pretty and mellow into a harshly-lit attempted knock-off of European magazines, it feels like it's trying too hard. Nylon is supposed to be a mash-up between New York and LONdon (I guess because NYPAR sounds like an antihistamine), but its "big names" on the cover are never quite A-list. Sure, it snagged La Lohan recently; but when was the last time she worked? Instead of pretty models, it tries to create It-Girls out of people like Camille Belle and those trollopes from the new 90210. Who? What? Wake me when it's over.

I have a complicated relationship with fashion magazines. I read Teen Vogue way longer than was appropriate (well into my 20s), but never really got into Woman Vogue. Can you blame me? Those fashions aren't even really escapist half the time - its like they were imported from the planet Equestrian Countess and have no bearing to things shaped like clothes. I can't afford $3000 leather leggings. I would look like a fool in $3000 leather leggings. I have nowhere to wear $3000 leather leggings. And yet: the cursed leather leggings, taunting me from the pages of Vogue. Also, Vogue once espoused a shape, like the hourglass or the inverted triangle, they dubbed "The Popsicle," which apparently means you're to wear a tunic over your (you guessed it!) leather leggings.

I wish fashion magazines had more fun with what they're doing. I see no reason to wear a frock made of, like, peacock feathers and pony skin, but this is the kind of bonafide craziness that shows up in these rags. But it shows up seriously: there's no wink to the fact that 90% of the clothes that grace the pages are totally nuts. They're either way too expensive, or so not appropriate for the temp job you just picked up at Scotiabank. In either case, these ultra-serious clothes are not going to be coming near my frivolous self any time soon. They're gorgeous! But without a sense of humour, to adore fashion is to adore the superficial; fun for a while, but ultimately dull.

A few years ago, I was really into the whole fashion thing. I still love really well-designed and well-made clothes, but wrapping a Marc Jacobs scarf around one's neck and feeling all proud of your fashion (or money-spending) skills is weak sauce. I fall prey to labels sometimes - hell, just last week I was all "Are those Campers?" to a bemused stranger. Fashion magazines, because of their national readership, are hard-pressed to pimp out awesome indie designers or local heroes. Instead, they have to rely on cachet as created by cash money. That is, if I can't afford it, it must be special.

Fuck that.

I stopped reading Nylon a few years ago, when the cover girls morphed from anonymous models into all-too-recognizable faces: Paris Hilton and Avril Lavigne? I think not. When Li'l Kim showed up wearing a skirt made of stuffed animals, I was done. I can't work with that, you know? Am I supposed to go places wearing a jacket made of Muppets? I' Given a choice between that and the cursed leather leggings, I would be genuinely flummoxed. If these are my style bibles, maybe fashion atheism is the way I roll.

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