Body Image, Round Tables
Body Image

The old and new guard did a lot of hypocritical slinging at each other during this past fashion week, which felt to me like the pot calling the kettle black. If you are perpetuating the same cold and distant veneer, what is the diffference if you are of the print or blogger ilk? The question remains for SLU: Where is there anything innovative and genuine? Are we really breaking any ground with virtually identical blank-staring, stick-thin, often pre-pubescent models going up and down the runway? Let alone the plethora of unapproachable, overly-produced ads with this season's regurgitation of imitation images from last year or even 20 years ago. And certainly parading for attention outside of the shows in borrowed or contrived loud clothes isn't the central qualification for the trailblazing status of Diana Vreeland, Gloria Steinem, or Coco Chanel.

As a fashion stylist and editor for 25 years, I am of both the old and new guard, around in the 80s when the industry was packed with originals whose ideas were truly mind- and fashion-expanding. It feels as if much of fashion today is a watered down, karaoke version of that. It's at the point where I actually got into a cab during NYFW and starting hitting the taxi TV screen from the overload of brands shoving this season's robotic mannequins in your face in order to push their products. I, for one, would at least like to move this show an inch into the 21st c. and know who these girls are and what their opinion is on the garments that they are wearing. Some personality, substance, and, best of all, flaws, perhaps?

Don't get me wrong, I am obsessed with fashion and clothes: they are the lifeblood that enables me to express myself. I love it so much that I consider fashion to be an art and continue to look for the art season after season in its community and industry, only to find commerce and a machinery that allows almost nothing in terms of true originality or revolutionary ideas. I have a feeling that what would bring clothing back to a fertile life would be a fashion business that is aspirational and inclusive, instead of inane and exclusive.

On our body image roundtable we begin the conversation about how painful the inauthentic, unattainable, cookie-cutter norms have been to females and why mass culture accepts these (or any standards) that diminish women. We often ask our muses to tell us what they consider to be beautiful. Now I am going to answer what is beautiful to me: beautiful to me is Eve, Cory Kennedy, Venus X, G*LEE, Megan LeCrone, Nicolette Mason, Domonique Echeverria, and Sara Ziff. Each of these women has the guts to set a new tone for what I feel is the beginning of a fresh paradigm -- one that leads to palpable, not phony, token, empowerment. Diana Vreeland, Gloria Steinem, and Coco Chanel all wore clothes -- clothes did not wear them, because their sartorial freedom and voices gave license to a needed change. Style and beauty is a self confidence that comes from a willingness to be as much vulnerable as bold, i.e. having vision and putting your money where your mouth is. The 21st c. is upon us -- time to blow up what's exhausted and doesn't work anymore.

- Elisa Goodkind

Video Edited by Andrea Cruz.
Music: 'Searchlight' by Dreamings.

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