Friday dilemma: Fashion Week vs jumps racing
Got out of the office twice this week, in the name of something faintly resembling real journalism.
On the first trip, I saw wasted, starving people in strange coloured clothing perform a strange, dangerous dance before an adoring audience. On the second trip, I saw exactly the same thing.
My trips were to Fashion Week and the TAB.
The first thing that strikes you about Fashion Week is the pencil people. Obviously you’re not expecting contestants from week one of the Biggest Loser, but haven’t we had backlash after backlash about overly thin models?
Haven’t we had outrage after outrage over all those anorexic women puking their chocolate friands in the gutter? Shouldn’t models have enough flesh on their skeletal frames to hold up their pants without a belt?
Forget it. If you’ve got boobs here, you’re one of the fat kids. Not a lot of blue lids on the milk at the coffee bar at Fashion Week. Plenty of ashtrays, though. This is the last place on earth where smokos seem to be officially written into the work schedule, and smoking is de rigueur, which is fashion speak for compulsory.
To be fair, I was rather impressed by the show I attended. It featured a label called Romance was Born and a superhero theme. The models had long, dark fake eyebrows that looked like black leeches. This struck me as interesting, because models go to great lengths to primp and preen and trim themselves, only to stick fake bits on the bits they just got rid of.
Actually, the more you think about it, fashion week is full of contradictions. For the models, this must be the highlight of the year. So out they walk with faces fixed in a deliberately disinterested stare into nowhere.
And here’s a really big contradiction. The people behind the shows dress as unfashionably as possible. This is presumably because when you are in the business of selling cool, you are surrounded by so many cool people that the only way to be cool yourself is to be desperately uncool.
Either that or the creative director dude behind the Romance is Born show forgot he had to come to work today.
But the greatest fashion contradiction of all is that the more expensive stuff you make, the more likely you’ll make your money selling middle of the market stuff. Take Chanel. No one can actually afford the suits but loads of women, by association, wear the nail polish and sunnies.
At least that’s what a woman just told me. I don’t actually know anything about fashion, apart from the fact that “MBFWA” (the official acronym for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia) sounds like the noise two models make when they greet each other with an air kiss.
I do, however, know a little about horse racing. When I went to the TAB this week, it was to watch the Grand Annual Steeplechase in Warrnambool, a 5500m marathon nearly twice the length of the Melbourne Cup with 33 fences for the nice horsies to jump over.
Yet still South Australia and Victoria persist with this savage form of equine Russian Roulette. The real mystery is why the racing industry at large lets them get away with it. Last year, just 95 of the 19,281 horse races in Australia were jumps races. That’s less than a half of one per cent.
If you worked in an industry where a miniscule division was destroying the image of the entire company, how long do you think that division would last?
Anyway, if there’s one thing that both jumps racing have in common, it’s the gamble. Horses and jockeys bet with their lives, while punters hope their horse will be as sure-of-foot as it is fleet-of-foot.
In fashion, designers sit back and prey that a wealthy overseas buyer will fall in love with their collection and install it in stores around the world.
Given the casualties, I’m not the sure the risks in either industry are worth it. But I’m keen to hear from you. Which do you think is the more lethal pursuit?
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