Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Urban dreams

Jaw-dropping banality from Glen Urban below. Heart-sinking too, at least on the face of it.

Except, after a moment or two’s reflection, jaw and heart started making a come back. His model’s really just the American dream restated, I thought.

Which customers can the dream serve? Why, the ones with the dream. What can we be trustworthy about and what’s beyond our control? Why, how badly you want it. What if we don’t have the right product for you? Why, stay right where you are. (It’s also the Patriot Act as you can see. As well as US foreign policy of course.)

Banal it might be but amazingly I’ve seen reports this week of Urban’s model in action.

As summer has started so a number of female minor celebrities - Z-listers they’re cruelly referred by the tabloids who endlessly report their every deed and misdeed – have been photographed in various stages of dress/undress, sobriety/drunkenness, sorrow/joy, beauty/ugliness, in love/out of love, pregnant/not pregnant, etc, etc. Nothing new about that of course, after all that’s the Z-listers’ and the tabloids’ POSIWID. It’s the furore over what they’re wearing where Urban’s model kicks in.

Z-listers like labels. The more exclusive, the better. They can afford them and they wear them. Everywhere. And the problem is they’re wearing them in the photographs and they're not necessarily the labels' ideal shopwindow. And presentation-wise, they're not always your desirable top-of-the-range sales-driving role models.

A must-have Balenciaga handbag being vomited into say or a Phoebe Philo banana shirt from Chloe with wine dripping down the front or a half-on/half-off Stella McCartney dress being horizontally modelled in the gutter and countless other instances of ‘bad celebrities happening to good fashion’ as the phenomenon is called is clearly not in line with the ‘trusted’ labels’ marketing strategy. Sales flatline after such photos, wonderful stuff is remaindered, Oxfam and Help the Aged rejoice.

How the labels must wish for power over which customers they can serve. How they must wish certain ‘things’ weren’t beyond their control when it comes to their label’s trustworthiness. How they must wish they weren’t the Z-listers’ ‘right’ product. How they must yearn for Urban.