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Fashion During War Time: Let's play Cossacks

I usually don't even read reviews of fashion shows, let alone write about them. But this killer review in the Fashion section of The New York Times captures the essences of what has been most repulsive about American consumer culture during the Bush wars (the fad for Hummers, the Blackwater apparel line, etc.). So, here is the voice of NYT fashion writer Cathy Horn:

Any time a fashion designer goes off in the direction of the Russian Revolution, he or she might as well issue a disclaimer that says don’t take me seriously. The romance of that period has been well covered — another babushka, another bushy eyebrow, what’s the difference — and the real terror is too ghastly to trivialize with a nicely cut gabardine jodhpur.

Ms. [Vera] Wang’s stylized Russian story was fairly lugubrious. In a way, her problem is that she has too much information, and at the same time, she is not an original-thinking designer. Everything interests her: workers’ tunics, Russian constructivism, military insignia.

Yet she lacks the imagination and courage to create something wholly original in ready-to-wear. She is continually defeated by her own eye, which is a magazine editor’s eye. This is wonderful for creating visual effects, like pairing models in their sweet-looking Cossack wear.

(I have no idea whether I would agree with her assessment of the clothes; but the social criticism is interesting.)