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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Beyond anorexia

We went to the MFA today to see the French couturier fashions on display. This show featured selected clothing from the fashion houses of Azzedine Alaia, Hussein Chalayan, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, John Galliano for Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Maison Martin Margiela, Olivier Theyskens for Rochas, Valentino, Viktor & Rolf, and Yohji Yamamoto, all of whom bring a unique and clear vision to their work, while still maintaining the high level of craftsmanship for which Paris is justly famous. The clothing was amazing. Some it was pretty horrendous, like the fur fashions from Alaia, but they were interesting to look at. The entire Christian Dior collection was, shall we say, unwearable. Creepy in fact. Beautifully executed, but just too bizarre to even consider fashion. It was more like costuming.

The most interesting collections were Chanel and Lacroix. The most beautiful was by far Valentino. Every thing in that collection was not only wearable, but looked comfortable and sexy while still being feminine and beautifully created.

It was fascinating seeing all this clothing up close. Nothing was behind glass, so you could put your face right up to the clothing to see the stitching, pleating, and embroidery. The hours and hours that went into each garment was startling. One dress took over 1000 hours to embellish and 200 hours to construct. No wonder they are priced so dearly.

The most telling part of the show though was the sizes of the clothing. We all know about the lack of body fat on runway models, but until you see these gowns up close and realize that they are smaller than a size 0, it doesn't really connect. Each gown in made to size for the model that will show it on the runway. The exhibit showed the film of the models parading up and down the runways, so you know the clothing fit them. But the models were impossibly thin. I've never even imagined that anyone could be that thin and remain alive. There were pants that literally hung off the models, but on the mannequins they showed the thighs having a 4 or 5 inch gap between the legs. It was almost sickening to see that these are the ideal clothes models, these human hangers with no flesh and certainly no body fat to speak of at all.

The Girl and her friend were both disgusted by the sizes. I don't think they had realized just how unreal the fashion industry portrays women. What scared them most is that the models looked vacant. I know that's the way they're supposed to look on the runway, but the Girl's friend said that they looked like the life was sucked out of them. And she was right. Vacant eyes, faces that were so palid and devoid of life that they were actually scary. The models from the Christian Dior collection looked like they were zombies. The Girl said that the clothes looked like Cruella DeVille's wardrobe.

We tried to surrepticously take pictures but the guards were all over us. The Girl's friend took a couple on her cell phone, but she isn't sure how to download them. Hopefully she can figure it out and I'll post them here.

As usual with all special exhibits at the MFA, there was a special gift shop right off the show floor. This one was fabulous with so many cool things I could have spent a fortune. They had the most amazing books. I never realized there were so many books on fashion. I don't own even one, I'm embarassed to say.

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