Getting frocked at the movies
I haven’t been to confession for fifteen years, and even then, it was an ‘I wonder what’s behind this curtain…’ accident. Oops! So, in light of my neglect for spiritual flagellation, here’s a big one: I like frothy movies. And I like them just because the clothes are nice.
Whew, I said it. Far from the cinefile personality I aspire to, along with those other high-brow traits espoused by my colleagues and friends (such as political-correctness and environmental activism), I fall short. Worse, I enjoy not caring about plot, dialogue or character development. If the clothes department has done their job, I am a happy popcorn-munching miss.
On a positive note, I think vacuous disregard for the deeper meaning can be a refreshing perspective. Picture the post-movie discussion: “so do you think her daughter knew that her mother’s brother was the reason she felt shackled by convention and anti-feminist policy in post-war America?” Erk. How about this instead: “I really liked that yellow floral dress in the dance-hall scene. Do you think it was vintage?” Insert giggle and hair flick here.
Even a film which moves nations to tears and changes the way we work, shop and use the toilet (such is its poignancy) – could be sadly eclipsed if the lead actress demonstrates an astute way with twinsets. Yes there is such a thing.
I have a theory that many films are made with the precise intention of appealing to pathetically aesthetically-bound individuals. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that Sex and the City attracted an audience. Twice. The plot was negligible, the jokes were un-funny. But there was that wedding dress montage… and we all know no-one can resist a montage.
There are films that shape the way the world thinks; albeit, their influence is more around shoe selection than the election. Pretty Woman, Breakfast at Tiffanys, Singing in the Rain, Dirty Dancing… they inspired the way people dressed and typify an era. Not to say that these are poor quality films, but their visual spectacle was essential to the following they earned.
I have a suspicion that there are TV shows that wouldn’t have an audience without the impressive array of outfits flouted by their model-esque stars, though I rarely voice the opinion for fear of being reprimanded: “Gossip Girl does have a plot! they shout… “Desperate Housewives is a really intelligent show!”
Far from being oblivious to this trend, the clever people-who-invent-stuff have established a website, ISawItIn.com, to help people track and purchase outfits from films and television. Cue the fashion-obsessed person taking notes on their ipad on each ‘essential’ item as they watch a movie in a darkened cinema…unless similarly enamoured, the irritated co-viewer would be well within their rights to deliver a firm slap to the nose.
There’s a difference between being inspired to try new things and buying the exact dress worn by a star in a film. Firstly, you can’t afford to buy Vivienne Westwood. Sorry, it’s true. Secondly, that ruins the fun part. The creation, the assembly, the personality. Sure, Carrie might have looked hot in that dress, but won’t it be so much better if you tweak it and make it your own?
And so ends my confession. Dear priest, I hope you will forgive me. It has been three days since my last frothy film. And yes, I will do it again. Amen.