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Beauty style Taste functionalty. Why furs really have gone.

Guest touchofsable

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I toyed with the idea of putting this in the pub.

But then I thought no; because it is related to two other things we are talking about, and it is something that keeps cropping up. At the moment I am listening to a programme on tv caled "Perfect Home".

essentially its discussing taste in homes.


Now we often say things like:

"beauty is in the eye of the beholder"

and "its all a matter of opinion/taste"

"everyone is entiltled to their own opinion"


as though "beauty" and "style" is a matter of taste.




Now sorry to dissapoint you all, and before you go accusing me of being elitist or seomthing let me qualify that by saying that MY opinion isnt worth a gnats breath in some spheres.


Now this programme on tv has highlighted that up until the late 19th century there was widespread concensus about taste. The great architects dictated what was taste and the aristocracy, bowing to their knowledge, commissioned them to build. Bath for example was built in lightening speed and is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. Because the architects were not constrained by matters of taste...it was agreed on what THE style was. THIS was the same in furniture, Art, Music, engineering etc .

Then things changed with the new Protestant ethos of the emerging middle class. Between the late 19th century and now, functionality and purpose became more important. Beauty became a drty word, and the idea that it was all a matter of taste was developed by new petit bourgeois professsional architects, commissioned by new entrepreneus and eventually in the twentieth century the new property buying petit bourgeois.

They despised greatness and beauty and preferred functionality and purpose.


This protestant taste affects us all even today.

It is almost considerd unethical to try to achieve beauty. A bowl of rice to a poor person, or cheap functional cars/housing etc for the masses is considered far more important than to use resources to create beauty.


HENCE the world of fashion is the same. We live in a society where couture is despised, and people feel free to criticise and knock it. YET these are the finest designers we are talking about; educated for years to achieve great design beauty etc. Now they don't always get it right, but I actually find it obscene that some bank worker can think she is the height of taste by buying a piece of mass produced crap from MandS and yet cock a sneer at couture; call those who do aspir to it fashion victims etc. This is the culture of the petit bourgeois drone.


Now lets go back a few years. Remember the seventies? Well EVERY woman it seemed suddenly had a fur. Millions of coneys. Until everyone almost had one. BUT quite clearly SOME furs were better than others. Mrs Jones got pissed off that her ribbed fox from C and A at £199 was somehow she learned inferior to a full pelt blue fox from a furrier in Oxford street. And that in turn inferior to a £40k sable. Now they could TRY to say that it was all a matter of taste. Yes sometimes. But Quality and beauty were pretty obviously in the glamour stakes standing out. So what happens? Suddenly the ribbed blue foxes and the rabbits dissapear. The women that wore them suddenly decide fur is cruel. The differnce between leather quality is less obvious to some. So they continued to wear that. BUT the real quality furs ar still worn by the women that can afford them.

In couture too many designs are passed off as "ridiculous" and "unwearable".



We have abdicated beauty and quality for medicority under the idea that everyone has the right to have an opinion; yet usually that means they are justifying the functional and the practical and setting out a different lot of priorities. Protestant ones. Anything "ostentatious, beautiful, guilded, visionary...is considred vulgar, uneccessary and "way out". And that is reinforced in the UK by a decade of socialist Scottish protestantism.

Now go to a catholic country...Italy Ireland etc...and you will find a different ethos. There furs, quality clothing, couture, real fine Art, Architecture and beautiful things in general are still valued. They don't do things by committees of the mediocre with functional taste, they still commission the best to build create art and fashion.


"When you say you dont like an object, what you are actually saying is you dont like what is being suggested by it about the way of life or values it puts forward" Alain de Botton from this programme.


And now things begin to change. A massive recent shift in public opinion away from Blair and Brown has seen the Tories surge in the polls. Maybe people have had enough of mediocrity , drab functionality in everything from architecture to fashion. Just maybe we will start to see a questioning. All ovr the world this questioning is starting to happen. It is called the New traditionalism. Native people are returning to old lifestyles and customs because their youth are suicidal in the modern global culture of mediocrity. You can't be a great hunter with a baseball cap an ipod and a can of coke. But even people here are starting to question:


Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser chiefs:

'It's everything,' chief Kaiser Ricky Wilson told The Sun. 'If you go out for dinner, it's average. If you see a new building, it's average. A hundred years ago, buildings could take 25 years to build and were spectacular. Now, if a new building pops up on the outskirts of town, it looks like a furniture warehouse.' Probably because it is.


'Music's weird at the moment,' he adds. 'You see bands conquering America and being the biggest in Britain based on the sole fact that they are bland. Basically, if it's bland enough, more people will buy it.'


He is of course in the latter part referring to the dreadfully bland lift music of the Arctic Monkeys. Or maybe the mind destroying dullness of the Ordinary Boys. Name says it all really.


Mediocity, lowest common denominator, everyone has the right to their own opinion culture. Because then cheap crap can be sold to us all and we dont want to admit we are buying crap. How the hell did they rebrand crimplene bri nylon etc and stuff as sportswear????Its ugly...practcial for a sportman only sorry. But it gives the impression of being functional and casual and non flamboyant. And for twenty years people have worn this stuff oblivious to the piss taking of Wayn and Waynetta comedy. Because it all a matter of taste. NO..no it isnt. You can pretend and believe all the adidas ads about design and streamlining but honestly the emperor has no clothes; Sportswear is ugly.


Well thinking about it once again from a creative perspective; it is natural that the creative mind will want to produce the best, most beautiful. And that is maybe why the vast majority of fashion designers are using fur again...it is the most beautiful material because nature designed it.


And for those that say it looks better on the animal or "I don't like fur" when really they mean I cant justify buying it and therfore I dont like it" or "I think its ostentatious" while going round in thir £50 jacket from Mand S....what do I say to them?

"I say you have the right to your own opinion but not everyons opinion is of the same worth. And don't confuse functionality with taste or beauty. Your £3.99 picture from Habitat or you piece of furniture from IKEA or overpriced modern semi or Mand S jacket may be dressed up as something nice but cheap and cheerful, but actually its crap"


Now I cant afford great Art or a beautiful house, but I aint going to pretend that someone who can is vulgar, showing off or a "rich bitch". I will strive to achieve what I can in life to the best of my ability, and when I can afford something it will be something beautiful. A fur; a piece of couture; a really nice gourmet meal in a really smart restaurant. I want to enjoy beautifful things unashamedly without someone telling me that a bottle of sparkling wine is just as good as champagne. We all do it; it isn't.

What is more I think that really wealthy people are letting us down by not trying to achieve beauty in society.

In the 18th century we got Bath.

In the 19th centrury we got Cardiff.

In the twentith century there is Milton Keynes. Get the drift?


THIS ATTITUDE IS MAKING SOCIETY DECAY. We can pretend that there are more important things like comic relief and live aid....but when out global corporations built on selling rubbish are destroying these people and creating poverty it doesn't hold up.


We could put a man on the moon in 1969 but we cant justify that expense for something that seems unimportant in the modern world of feeding the poor in Africa etc. Well maybe they wouldnt be so poor if we hadn't stopped the ivory trade and big game hunting. The wealthy have abdicated their responsibility to the craftsman, couturier, game keeper, native, artist, architect etc etc . Now they do things differntly, and these people get let down unless they are producing something for a mass market. But I can see throught them. Cherie Blair may look like a woman who works in the local building society with her "practical" (but expensive subtle) clothes, but to me I think she is a disgrace because someone who earns a million pounds a year as a so called human rights lawyer is just a fraud to me. But if she went round in furs and diamonds then maybe the drones wouldnt like her...thats what its about. And the real issue doesnt change; she is a judge and a human rights lawyer who earns a million pounds a year...that is what is wrong(especially when she looks so boring).


Lets get beauty, quality, style back. It really isnt a matter of opinion except the opinion of those who aspire to create it. Let us start trying to aspire to greatness again.


THEN and only then will we see furs and beautiful buildings and use technology to put a man on Mars instead of creating the latest ipod and sneering at those who aspire to something more.


Oh yeah and functionality? Sorry but furs are never going to come back just because they are functional, warm ; because they are perceived as expensive and a statement of status. And in the presnt climate that is despised.

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I'm not sure I understand. Are you asserting that there is some objective code of beauty as defined in their trades respectively by architects and furriers? Well, those who hire them are ultimately are in charge of what gets made. I'm sure there were aspiring architects at the time Bath was built who would have designed things differently but didn't get hired. Their ideas of beauty either didn't get built or got built at some less illustrious site. So your notion of objective beauty as lodged in the gray matter of particular artisans or professionals holds up only to the point of which of those artisans or professionals gets the job. It seems only through a relationship between wealthy patrons and their hirelings that your notion of objective beauty is expressed.


So problem when it comes to furs is that if you're going to insist that only those objects affordable to aristocrats are beautiful, you create the kind of hierarchy you suspect is responsible for those who bought less expensive furs to rebel against by joining the antis.


I've a very different notion of art. I prefer art as an expression of rebellion against a stratified culture rather than an instrument to be controlled by aristocrats and imposed on those aristocrats regard as their inferiors. I've never been to the UK, so I can't be too sure, but I strongly suspect I'd loathe what the Torries advocate much as I loathe what the Republicans advocate in my own country. (And I note a strange irony that the Iraq occupation was hatched by an alliance between a Republican and a Torry opponent.) Then again I don't suppose I'd have much use for Blair's party either, much as I think the Democrats in my own country generally aren't worth sh**.


All that said, I believe one of the best ways for me to be true to my convictions is to abdicate from a game of "I'm better than you because I can afford a (fill in the name be it premium car, house, fur, shoes)." Instead I can be content with what I have, knowing that my own sense of who I am is what counts with me. Ultimately I'm seeking to express excellence by deliberately choosing when I have enough. When I've invested enough saved wages to generate an independent income to satisfy my modest desires, I'll be free. If I want to create art, I won't have to wait for a blasted aristocrat to pay me to do it. I'll just do it. And if TouchofSable wants to say it's vulgar, he's certainly entitled to his opinion. But to me it remains me no more than an opinion, and I'll swat it away more quickly than gnats buzzing at my face.


I disagree, but I thank you for putting something out there to disagree with.



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Well firstly Frugal thankyou for arguing in a thoughtful questioning civilised way.

a few points. Firstly the Iraq war was Blair's idea ...he is a socialist. The majority of Tories have fiercely opposed the war since they found out they were lied to about WMDs , though naturally support British forces. There has been little oposistion to the war form the socialists apart from half a dozen nutcases.


I am against the war; it cannot achieve anything without taking notice of what the military...and especially the UK military...are saying.


You cannot fight a war when one side do not play by the rules and the insurgents are not. However, as there were no wmds then the war should never have happened. Bush was let off the leash when Blair fixed up the false evidence and therefore Blair is completely to blame for the war.

Without that I think Bush may have held back. Blair felt the hand of greatness on his collar and mongered the war.


Now. As We were saying.

You put forward the idea that there was difference in taste and style BEFORE recent times, and that it was just the architects and artists that got picked who prodced that style; another artist or architect would have produced another. THIS IS NOT TRUE. I am afraid it is completely without foundation or historical example. We can go back as far as the Egyptians if you like. There was ONLY one mainstream oipinion about what constituted beauty and everryone shared it.


There has been absolute consensus in style and taste, throughout the centuries. CHANGE only happened through movements . Then another style would come. And that would have consensus. So for example, there was the battle between Neo Classicism and romanticism. BUT even then both would have agreed that BEAUTY was the imporatnt thing; whetehr that would be achieved by order symmetry and classical style, or drama

assymetry and romance. there would have been NO dissent form either one or the other. NO individual idea that beauty was a mtter of opinion and anything goes. In fact, that is almost solely a product of recent times; and it has been fostered because capitalism that you despise can sell any crap to the masses.


Let us take clothing.

The most stylish people in the UK tend to wear natural fibres, idiosyncratic marks of individuality, traditional well tailored cuts, plaids in a myriad of colours for the country and superbly cut pin stripes for the city. Brogues and chelsea boots trilbies and caps are worn, and bowlers now only for stewarding or judging at shows etc.The women of this "style elite" will wear couture items like Dior Chanel and Gucci for special occassions like Ascot or a hunt ball or theatre, and tweeds for the country. Leather pants gloves and quality shoes, are de riguer even when casual, and hats are worn to events which require respect. These are the British ladies who still wear furs, and they are ACROSS the spectrum of social class.

You will very rearely find ANY of these people wearing trainers or jogging pants or anything of synthetic material (unless they are actually doing sport).


Now. You COULD say that you don't like that style. BUT according to Alain de Botton's theory, you would be actually rejecting consensus opinion of people who have had an education in the finer points of dress etiquette,

1. Because you actually dont like what is being expressed by the look

2. Because you think that there IS no such thing as true style, and is "all a matter of opinion"


Therfore what is sad is by propagating this view, people allow themselves to be sold short by mass global marketiing of rubbish masquerading as fashion. The view that its all a matter of opinion, is actually keeping people down. The global clothing corporations rub their hands together with glee at this bcause the masses don't understand quality or beauty.


Now this isn't the only style of course. there are other manifestations of style based on ideas of aesthetics and lifestyle that also attempt to create beauty. Take for example the gothic look. This isn't new; it goes back as far as Byron and Shelley, who paraded around with paloured skin , rgency black jackets, riding boots and frilly shirts. Consumption (cancer) was considered something beautiful, as though it meant a rapidly reduced lifespan, you were at your most beautiful. Hard to understand in a society where we fear death so much, and cancer especially, that one possible expanation put forward by the "overweight" society is actually fear of cancer. Think about it. Mother can't wait to "feed you Up" when you get home from college because you are shockingly thin to her; she would rathe rhave you two stone overweight like you were before you went to college.

Anyway the gothic look is still wth us; and various couture houses, musicians and movies and literature have specialised in making this style. Thierry Mugler for example combines the gothic with the futuristic, for an unusual and beautiful style; exceptionally cut for women. There are a myriad of gothic bands producing qaulity music , such as Cradle of filth, Rod Zombie etc carrying obn the tradition of the cramps and siouzsie and the Banshees. Everything has a consensus of what is part of the style.

It is a celebration of the romance of the dark side, and a play of light against it. The dramatic make up is a manifestation of the same idea of light flooding into a gothic window in a dark church. Film noir is gothic. Dita von teese is gothic. There is a splendour and quality of style and beauty and detail there.

BUT what happens? It gets marketed to kids who have no education about it because they like it a bit. So they don't get to wear quality nap black velvet; they get "velvetteen and crushed velvet. ITS NAFF. ITS CRAP. It isnt a matter of taste. It is Bad period.


And those that look at the the gothic style and dont understand it, are ignorant. Now I am not suggesting for a moment that we ALL go round as goths, or country gentlemen.

There are LOTS of different style movements.


But I am sorry, if you DON'T think about what you are saying by what you are wearing , your opinion is NOT an individual one; it is likely to be dictated by global capitalism. Style individuality is NOT expressed by what colour baseball cap you wear. Baseball caps are rubbish. they are sold to people who do not understand style or beauty because they are cheap to make. And we don't have individuality we have the opposite. There is no rebellion except by those that want to create beauty.


Now I can go on and on like this.

My assertion is that there ARE style rules. That breaking them CAN be done; but MUST have a way of thinking and statement bhind it. Bricolage of the punk movement for example, first started by Mclaren and Wetswood and the Bromley contingent, was an intellectual art movement NOT just an expression of rebellion that "anything goes".


The anything goes idea owes more to the hippy movement. It had few style elements. Loon pants and cheese cloth shits are ugly that is NOT a matter of opinion . Now YES, they wre a style statement. Or rather, an anti style one. BEAUTY was NEVER part of that. I mean I generalise; because SOME element of the movement did have a style agenda...Biba, Zandra Rhodes etc. But for you avrage hippy in the US? What he THOUGHT he was saying is hey man, chill; doesnt matter what you wear; let it all hang out". THAT IS FINE. BUT DON'T ANY HIPPY TRY AND TELL ME WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL. It isnt imporant to him; it is to me. It is to the couturier and the architect who ASPIRES to creat something beautiful or GReat, rather than functional.


Yes; in the past style was paid for by the aristicarcy. They didn't have the vision; but they TRUSTED the skills and vision of artists architects ad craftsmen. There was consensus on taste. EVEN in cities like Prague, where very invasion changed the style of what was being built, so you have medieavl and baroque , classic and romantic and gothic and islamic in the same building....they are still beautiful because it was the INTENTION that they wre beautiful

THEN CAME THE FASCIST. Brutalism. Then Communism. Utilitarian; functional; devoid of beauty which was considered immoral. THEN what have we got since the fall of communism? A return to beauty? NO. Only where facades have been restored to their former glry. And what of NEW buildings? Well before the end of communism change was afooot , and some extraordinarily beautiful modern buildings sprung up. But in the last ten years? Do you know what the new developments are? Crappy apartment blocks tailored for czech yuppies; macdonalda nd KFC shops replacing character restaurants. NO THOUGHT ABOUT CREATING BEAUTY.


So HOW can something be beautiful unless it is the intenetion based on a code of concensus style, even if it is a new style. If you build something, wear something, have furniture...that is just functional, you are rejecting beauty ; are probably just buying what is marketed at you by mass production,and therefore have NO weight in any opinion you may have about beauty or style.


Simply if beauty and style are not important to you you have no right to criticse something that has been created with those factors in mind , whether with old traditions or new spirit .


Capiatlism or socialism will NEVER create anything beautiful or great because for the most part those that try fail; either because they are rejected as "whimsy" or " oppulent" by the socialist mentality who despise the wealth that can commission it; or because beauty and greatness is of no importance to the shareholder dividnd....cheap and ceerful....easier to sell a million things for a dolar than one thing for a million dollars.


And thus our society has decayed. And it is my contention that THAT is why we aren't seeing so many furs; because it takes courage to stand out from the drones who bleat that they are cruel, tasteless, vulgar, and that their cheap synthetic clothes are much nicer (bleagh!). What they are really saying is that they are a staus symbol and actually that is something they reject.

So not just furs disappear, but Jaguar and rolls royce go bust and cut corners to survive. I was at a car park today looking for my mates car. it was silver. Ther were four hundred cars there and 2/3 of them were silver (functional...apparently less accidents in silver cars) all ugly and boxy and lacking beauty. Then another mate turned up in a yellow e type Jag . Wow. People however were laughing at it. I felt like whacking them as they got in their drab silver box.

We get ugly buildings that look like council estate swimming pools. We have fast food insead of quality . And we get the bank or office worker who think that their taste by having a £9.99 crappy cheap print on the wall is as good as anyone elses.

Even in sport it is maifest. I mean we all do it. Badminton and golf. These are appreciated because people can do them without much effort. SNowboarding anyone can learn and its marketed as extreme, and a sense of freedom . NO. Its crap. Extreme sport is steeplechasing...winning the Grand National; extreme sense of freedom is scaling Everest; The Matador facing the Bull; the battle of wits between Argentine horses and British horses at polo; the crash of lacrosse rackets around young girls heads as they strive for victory; the greyhound coursing the hare; standing at the wicket in 140 degrees for two days in Faislebad facing cheating bolwers...that is cricket not this instant gratifiction whack the ball one day lowest common denominator stuff. These are things that NOT everyone can do so interest in them has wained. Capitalism has problems marketing cricket; it is too complicated and requires understanding to apprecite it. Even soccer is still frowned on by capitalism in the US because you cant get your heads around offside; the commercialisation of soccer is widely held to have ruined the "beautiful game". But golf, snowboarding, cycling, badminton...all these easy participant sports are marketed like hell. They are rubbish. ANYONE can play golf; it is easy to understand. The ultimate petit bourgeois sport. Yes it can be played at a higher level. with great skill. But there is no element of risk; no attempt to create warfare or hunting. So for me it cannot be classed as sport. It is a game. It is mediocrity celeberated.


And is you tolerate all this nonsense, you will never see a revival in furs in our lifetime. Because essentially the woman in fur wants to be beautiful; great; a goddess. She is never a drone.


Sorry to go on and please dont interpret my passion about this as bigotry; it isn't. I have qualified WHY I think that things can be compared, and why they are not a matter of opinion; and how that idea is just the creation of a middle class without apprciation of beauty, and their attempt to market poor quality with money as the aim, or steer the masses deliberately away from it to suit socialist values.


And the Old British money? The aristocrat? Well they haven't much money left because they spent it all trying to achieve greatness. Scott of the Antarctic stuff. Could someone like him be prduced in the modern Britain? I doubt it. I know A Lord who lives in a council flat on a soldiers pension. He was in the Gurads, a dashing heroic figure. he spent the family silver represnting the UK military in races all around the world. Other aristocrats have spent all restoring beautiful houses that they now open to the public.


But it isnt a class issue. I am working class. My family were. My grandfathers on both sides saved for years to buy a crombie. Grandmothers minks. Crombies are still the best coat. THAT is NOT a matter of opinion. It is true. If everyones opinion merits the same worth we will never find truth, or undertsand beauty or attempt greatness. Fur IS the best material. THAT is a qualified opinion too...nature created it. It is beautiful. People who deny that are living a lie....especially when they think it immoral to create something beautiful by killing an animal, but its okay to throw dead chickens down your neck , or run animals over accidentally, for convnience.


Before you get any ideas may I add that I live in a two up two down Victorian terraced house. It is a prely functional railway workrs cottage the same as all the other in the street. Its okay; cheap, convnient. I can't afford anything else. So why did I buy it? Because it has the most beautiful Aga I have ever seen. I saw the same Aga in a stately home recently. Yes that is right. I bought an Aga with a house over it because the Aga is beautiful.


Am I a Tory? Well there is no other choice. Please remember that in the UK (apart from the evil petit bourgeos Thatcher) that the Tory party has a long tradition of one nation politics. Disreali; the idea of wasted talent among tha working class and the deire to foster it. The idea of tory paternalism; the responsibility towards helping the working class achieve.

The idea that if you have money you have a responsibility to spend it wisely in encouraging the Arts, the Environment and habitats; on preserving things like beautiful buildings by encouraging great rural artisans like dry stone wallers and thathed roofers. Abroad we had a tradition of being fair to native peoples; not always but most indepndence ws achieved amicably (in fact the only reason for the trouble in the subcontinenet was the british attempt to stop infanticide of females and widow burying ; and the black hole of calcutta. BUT mostly we consider we have a responsibility to the commonwealth; and particularly to native peoples. THIS is ONLY a Tory philosophy. The British tory party is not racist; it is profoundly anti fascist, and thoroughly appreciates other cultures. Our national food is bangladeshi; our games cricket and polo are from the empire. The socialist wouldnt have a clue about a sense of fair play. The idea of a property owning democracy was Sir Anthony Edens. Labour OBJECTED to the working man owning his own home. A man who had the decency to stand down over the Suez crisis. This is our Tory party; not the money money money or Christian fundamantalist US right wing.

So am I a Tory? yes I suppose I am.

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Last night, after deleting about 10% [4500 words] of a response to your post I went to bed.


I think this topic is counterpriductive and the biggest Blunderbust [the gun] spread shot you have ever written. It's so unfocused and scattered there is no way to even begin a response.


Take a long bath, two asperin and call me in the morning








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I reject your assertion that it is unfocussed; rather, it is questioning and exploratory. It attempts to cover a lot; to see if it is applicable in several forms of human endeavour.


You could offer a grea deal to the argument in your specialised area.


If you like; I can do the same in mine.


There ARE ways of assessing beauty objectively. And it is THOSE criteria that have given us the greta variety of beautiful man made creations in all Art movements. So far all the " art is in the eye of the beholder" "all matter of opinion" culture has given us is conformity and mediocrity and functionality. If that is what we want as a society thats fine; but don't try to tell me S*** is Cadburys!


So; for example; it IS possible to assess a movie or a photo image witha set of criteria that is widely agreedon. IF aesthetics do not come into it then it CANNOT be beautiful xcpt in case of the odd accident. It also follows that somtimes, great attmpts at producing beauty end up falling flat too. BUT 99% of man made beauty is created by those who ATTEMPT as a prioruty to create beauty. That should be obvious yet in our society it isn't. Now no way is the aim of a baseball hat to create a beautiful hat. So anyone who wears one and thinks its more beautiful say than a silk top hat, a country tweed hat, or a ladies couture hat is off their trolley. Therefore baseball hats are not beautiful. If you like them its because you have poor tatse, or believe FUNCTIONALiTY is more important than beauty.

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I read about the first three paragraphs of ToS's leading post and skimmed the rest of the topic. I admit to skimming... Okay? Sorry if I miss a finer point. When a post (anybody's post) gets longer than a screen full of text it starts to lose my interest unless there is a compelling reason. Sorry...


Back 500 years ago, 100 years ago or even 50 years ago, couture was still within the realm of a majority of peoples' taste. Nowadays, people can't do anything without doing it to the extreme. Fashion and couture are no longer ways of discovering the new things to come but are now just excuses to "push the envelope" on what is acceptable to society.


I think most people see couture as being too far outside the norm to be of any use but to people who participate in the fads of the day.


To be honest, most of that stuff is out there where the busses don't stop!


That's why I think most people see high fashion as something vulgar. It is out of touch with reality.


P.S: Including this line, my post is exactly 194 words.

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One of my first deleted points as in complete agreement with your premis of "Objective Taste" standards but I have o agree with Worker on the point of current "Couture". It's more like a Halloween party.


To pick a very specific point of the contirbutions and popularization from the world of "Athletic" ware toward a widespread style or taste shift.


The almost universal use of the hood. Yes it's an anchient adornment but you have to admit it wasn't until the current widespread use in sweatshirts beginning in the '60's that it had a significant resurgence. We now even have "Hoodies"


The wider spread use of hoods in furs is beginning to be a must for any quality fur. Stylish and useful. Mid level Couture is addicted to the hood now.


I have a point in that there is NO point.


Aesthetics is my livelyhood and the absolute aesthetic standards are a given yet folks will wantonly squander 100' to billions of $$$$$$$$$$$$$ on tasteless crap. As my ex often says: "There's no accounting for taste"


Big business literally takes bad taste to the Bank.


Back to Gertrude Stein.


At least she was having fun in her total absurdities and made some sense of beauty from it.





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1. what defines "tasteless" (though I agree...I said that capitalism has no interes in beauty)



2. Why do you think that the hoody is currently in fashion? It has to be said, that here in the UK the hoody is only worn by low class youth. My opinion on that is it gives them anonimity. There is nothing functional about a cotton hood in the rain. UNLESS you want anonimty so you dont get picked on; dont get recognised if you are thieving, etc. Whilst I do not agree in "banning" hoodies, to suggest that some cheap cotton hood is beautiful is nonsense. It isn't designed to be beautiful. It is sometimes designed to be functional BUT that is not the same.


3. The intention of couture is NOT to alienate the mass of people. Produce me one couturier who has ever said that. Couture was a far removed from peoples lives forty years ago as it iis now....but it offred escape from quite harsh realities of working class life; it was before the availability of real mass produced clothing, and people DID wear it. SOME -ppeople wear it now; I saw TWO of the Viktor and rolf raccon coats in Europe and one worn with the face mask at St moritz.

To MOST people furs too are in "far outside the norm"; and THAT is entirely my point. THAT is why they dont wear them...they do NOT want to stand out from the crowd; we are a culture of conformity to mass production of taste governed by cheap poor quality tasteless and ugly functional clothing. COTURE is meant to define spirit and glamour and beauty ....these are NOT things the mass of people value...so it is SOCIETY that has become divorced from couture NOT vice versa.


Every designer wants to create something beautiful...yes sometimes an exagerated fantasy; something creative that changes how people think; or a spirit. THIS should be what we look at , recognise its beauty and teh integrity of the designer. BUT we don't, because WE dare think we have more idea than them . Preposterous.

Its the equivalent OFF of people under some ideological regime being encouraged to live in grey apartment blocks and then someone building a beautiful Gaudi type group of buildings. What am I saying; that did happen...only now is it appreciated elsewhere a little; and the word Gaudy comes from it as a term of criticism of anything brightly coloured and vulgar. YET this criticism came from a time of brutalist fascist and dreary communist and boringly utilitarian homes whic have crushed the human spirit over the last 80 years.

BUT Gaudi's architecture has something beautiful about it; that the aforementioned buildings that have dominated housing architecture all this time do not. ONE is beautiful the other is not. One is yes a bit "removed from th norm" , but it at least is an attempt at a beautiful style. Not my taste; but I can appreciate it.


As with couture. It is US who don't understand them; and that is because we are the creation of dglobal capitaist drone mass marketing and conformity to dreary anonimity and functionaism. We live at a time where to strive for beauty is vulgar; wicked, pointless....because other values are more important.


As I keep saying; it is acceptable to kill animals, rear them with apalling cruelty, for FUNCTIONAl reasons; convenience, cheapness, mass availability. BUT kill then for beauty ( and its a crime. But the percived crime is not the killing of animals, but the killing of them For "VANITY". how many times have you heard that one? What they mean, is beauty.....and it is frowned upon.


This all HAS to change.

The drone must be told he is just that. He must be told he has wallowed in ignornce because he has been allowed to form his own opinion WITHOUT education. He must be TOLD that not every opinon is of the same worth. he is free to express it; but it may not hold any value. The only person whose opinions about couture that should be respected are those that create it, photograph it write about in and study it. LIKEWISE, about architecture. I have SOME opinion about architecture as I studied it as part of Art movements and my degree in history BUT I am NOT an architect....so is my opinion as valid as yours? No. I have some knowledg only. BUT I have a lot more knowledge of couture. SHOW me something you don't undertsand and I will eplain it to you. but DON'T tell me it is rubbish before trying to appreciate it, when such an enormous amount of vision and work goes into it.


Otherwise these values and conformity and stifling of beauty and creativity; and our spiral of decay into medicority, will continue. And furs will go forever; because it is ONLY in the power of couture to bring them back. Couture fashion is a beacon; not to be worn but as a guiding light to follow to strive for beauty and elegance and galmour an mystery and spirit whatever. That Victor and Rolf coat will bring back power furs over the nxt five years and we will see veils worn on hats again as a a manifestation of the VandR mask. No not on the streets; BUT at smart events. Maybe one day the drones will realise that they have been had over by mass marketing in rejecting couture, and they will suddenly say yes I want some of that. But its a way off yet. Although the young begin. We are seeing it in the emo and the suicide girl; the goth and the fashionista. Our kids are starting to NOT look like American teens any more....and that is at street level.

I have seen teenage girls in fox furs over their shoulders, tutus, hair completely covering one eye, dramatic theratrical make up, fetish influences and clothing CLEARLY worn to be different; beautiful even. NOT so very different actually from the large image I posted I have seen hats like that here at GIGS recently. I hope it continues.

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Hahahha !!!


I don't believe this!

My mate sells hats at the races. I just listened to some telephone messages I didnt know whee there, and he is rambling on about these amazing pill box fascinators with veils he had, and he sold all twelve in a day. he is getting loads in for Cheltenham. That is EXCATLY the kind of hat you have been criticising for being out of touch with reality.

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TOS - have to agree with you. As I wrote (briefly) somewhere before, in the UK we have a culture of 'Dumbing down'. Every girl wants to look like and talk like a 'WAG'. They all have straightened hair, usually blonde (usually from a bottle and done very badly) and sporting 'muffin tops', appauling cheap fake fur trimmed parka's, and dressing in cheap 'labels'.

Individuality and sensuality have gone out of the door for the vast majority of UK women and mores the pity.

A recent trip to Amsterdam showed a wealth of individual fashion shops and we hardly saw the same shop twice. Any UK city has pretty much the same shops everywhere and so cloning of fashion has been complete!

I would personally welcome the demise of 'Top Shop' et al and a return to more individual fashion outlets to encourage flair and style.



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way to go Auzmink!


THAT is exactly what I am trying to get at.


Small shops, designers, sometimes have dreams of creating something beautiful. Sadly they are being crushed by an alliance of sociasit councils with high rates and global corporations who have hoodwinked the drones into accepting their mass produced conformity.


We ae NOT going to see furs back until we encourage a spirit of beauty, individualiy, aspirational dressing etc being important.


We have to get rid of the "who does she think she is?" mentality.



"right. so let me get this straight. YOU are going to give me/her fashion lessons?" is normally a good answer to those that snigger; sneer or make an ignorant comment; combined with an eye up and down.


hat applies whether my girfriend is wearing fur or myself an outrageous celtic plaid tweed suit with spats.


We will see. Couture, style and difference stand the test of time. They may laugh at furs or the plaid suit and spats; but for the last 100 years at least tehy have been regularly reinvented and have stood the test. They were stylish in the 1930s and they will be stylish in ten years time. In some form they will be on the catwalks of high fashion in ten years time.


Rah rah skirts, shell suits, velour jogging pants burgundy sta press and

501 jeans haven''t.


So those lauhghing and sneering now will have to realise it is they that are dictated to by global mass fashion; not me. And in ten years time the little cheap synthetic crop jackets with faux fur hoods are going to look dated. And THAT is because the secret of mass fashion is to make the look transitory, so you have to replace it.


Couture, by the very nature that it is Art; and Quality classic clothing will never look dated. That is why mass markets don't like it. They make things to need replacing , and every year they cut more and more corners ...not just in clothing everything....cars, technology, architecture; tv film etc until society itself decays.


The Great Escape, Citizen Kane, Psycho or The sound of Music is as good now as ever. The teenage mutant ninja turtles, Grease and Crossroads or eastenders could not look any more dated and third rate because they wre created for the masses that do not ask or know what quality is any more.


Mediocrity conformity acceptance social decay . That is the ultimate end of socialism and capitalism; which both sneer at brilliance, quality Art and beauty and the media and public justify it by thinking that its all matter of opinion.

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I appreciate when someone goes to effort to explore a subject to some depth as you've done here TouchofSable. Unfortunately, I believe I've succumbed a bit myself to the digital age's dumbing down when I'm not always willing to give my attention to it to the end. I read your response to mine, TouchofSable, but not much of your further development on this thread.


You also have me nodding agreement when you write about mass marketing of crap as the ways of capitalism. There are times I allow myself to get taken, but since I don't often go shopping, especially without a specific purchase in mind, that's not often. The mantra of "there must always be more ..." certainly is a crazy making one; it's also the dominant discourse of both the political left and right in my country. Where they disagree is how the always-more is to be distributed: owners or workers. Where they lose me is that in the rush for always more, we're always putting more and more of our lives on the auction block to earn more money to buy the more crap that we're producing with those more hours spent making more. We've hardly a thought for how this rush for more is limiting our opportunities to create community with our neighbors, form functioning civic life in which citizens express their desires and make a common quality of life attainable for whoever's willing to contribute. We've hardly a thought how our degrading earth's treasure by manufacturing crap will compromise future generations' ability to live even the meanest of existences.


I often get called on the rug for using words not commonly used. Well, practically nobody got rich writing poetry, unless it was some gimicky crap. So in a culture driven to always have more, poetry and the power of language it requires are hardly appreciated. Let alone would many people take the time to learn and appreciate the power of English vocabulary, the availability of synonyms to shade a phrase or jog the rhythm of a line. Hardly a wonder I'm lonely.


I'm not about to say I'm convinced of Torry values. But I admit to a grudging admiration for your commitment to them and speaking for your beliefs. We may after all find significant shared values if we're willing to keep listening.



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Yes that is my point exactly. They are two sides of the same coin.

Both COULD have a part to play in keeping society in balance; but while they go for thinly disguised dumbing down of values , education, media and scientific investigation, quality beuaty and Art.....they will both contribute to social decay.


They are BOTH in their death throws; the "third way" alternatives have largely been horrific, or middle of the road.



I don't know the answer; I think the Libertarian solution if combined with greater emphasis based on education, appreciation , investigation, could work to stop the rot.


In theory that should:

1. Put an end to war based on the idea we have no ight to interfere with other nations...or thy with us. Mutual respect.

2. Keep capitalists happy by allowing far more flexibility in fredom of trade; internationally and locally re employment laws being more flexible etc.

3.Encourage tolerance by establicshing the notion that no lobby has the right to interfer with another's rights...to wear fur, hunt smoke go fishing boxing , not have to wear a motorcycl helmet etc.

4. Put gr3eater emphasis on the individuals rights. That way, the origianl values for example of Benjamin Franklyn etc are more closely adhered to. The State should indeed exist for the benefit of the people. And Global Corporations should fear them too.


We wil see. It is a growing movement. It is strongest in the USA . It is right wing laissez faire capitalism that is anti war and pro consumer. As long as it is NOT corrupted by global corporations (and at the moment they fear it because it would stop them flexing mucle or corrupting with governments as some US companies have done in venezuela with the obvious consquences). It also needs to respect the need for a high class academic education for all.


One thing for sure; bans on smoking, hunting , fur, ivory, the burkha, wearing religios icons, etc ect are NOT here to stay. They WILL be defeated or the n0otion that the state or lobby groups can control our evry move will stifle us all; and essentially introduce fascism via the back door.

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I've suddenly become a Schwarzenegger fan.


He has Power! He is very POPULAR!! He has a real GREEN AGENDA!!! And nobody was looking


What does this have to do with Beauty and Style? EVERYTHING


It is only when we are prosperous and focused have the various societies in history prospered in beauty, style and art.


Prosper!!! We have certainly prospered without beauty, style and art but not with a capital P.


It has suddenly become noticed that withArnold's [and Al Gore's] agenda we will be even more Prosperous while making a healthier and better life and environment for ALL of us.


This is the BIG message.


Like any great design its worth is only as good as its details and the details are what have perished in the rush to consume.


As a result of shoddy details nothing lasts. Well at least some of the car manufacturers have gotten that right in the past few years. Some brands routinely go for several hundred thoiusand miles now without significant repair. That alone is Green.


By paying attention to the details better designs are not only possible but almost inevitable because the time is spent to make it right hence the tendency to make it nicer, prettier, better.




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I hope you are right.

I certainly have nothing against Scwarzennegger. Yes of course' he is a Conservative and that is the whole ethos of conservatism...it is fundamentally truly green as it doesnt believe in waste.


Also yes the left forgets if you use prosperity to prop up the lame then you can waste resources that could be used more productively. You know give the man a fishing rod argument.

Anyway socialism has graudually over ten years ground the UK to economic stagnancy; by wasting money.


But also my assertion that global capitalism can sometimes prosper by offering poor quality is true. Pizza Hut pizzas are mediocre but cheap. They are the biggest Pizza business in the UK and fine Italian restaurants have struggled as a result because they cannot compete. Likewise many furriers and quality clothing shops have gone bust because they cannot compete with ugly cheap functional clothing....mainly from China. Now that is a prosperous country and like Russia they prosper by selling us crap and enjoying real quality thmselves. Leaving us NOT prosperous!

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