Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
When I saw the photo of fashion designer Junko Koshino and company that appeared in the June 6, 2010 Times Gallery I felt that my minority tastes were only justified. The photo of Koshino standing with a group of dancers and musicians wearing her fashions at the Argentine Embassy made me think I was looking at a cast shot of the Rocky Horror Show. It was vaguely, indescribably creepy the way that Michael Jackson’s physical transformation of himself was skin-crawlingly creepy. Reading the caption to understand it better didn’t help, either.
The problem is pretense. We livein a pretend world and it is unavoidable that pretense permeates our lives, because it is necessary to facilitate civility and cultivate comprehension. But it does not bother me until and unless our pretenses get in the way of our relationship to the real world, which is evidenced when people conveniently forget that their pretenses are fantasies to begin with. Maybe this convenient forgetting is equally necessary to the way things work. Anyway, three pretenses in everyday life irk me the most because society is always pushing them in my face: haute couture, haute cuisine, and the presumption that top women fashion models are the definition of feminine beauty.
The pretense of haute couture fashion is that these ugly garments somehow deserve to be called clothes at all and that as a business it is a worthwhile endeavor. With haute cuisine it is that this ridiculous fare is fit for my mouth. High fashion models’ physiques and faces evoke grimaces because more than looking beautiful and attractive they usually just look ill and repulsive. In some cases, the anomalies of appearance can distract us from a paucity of talent or merit, which does not count as the lesser of two evils. Designers are artists, and as artists they enjoy leeway for bending and stretching boundaries, which is a good thing. Or maybe not, if it means being disconnected from the real world. But I could be wrong.