Political Threads

Friday, February 01, 2008


Models wearing designs from John Galliano's Fall 2008 Mens collection looked as if they’d stepped out of Abu Ghraib prison and onto Paris runways. Do the designs fetishize torture? RISD professor Kathleen McDermott says Galliano is following in a long tradition of designers who use couture to make shocking political commentary.

Comments [4]

Brian Jacob from NJ

I couldn't decide if this guest’s statements were irritating or flat-out hilarious.

"He [Galliano] is engaging the public. What’s the connection between rich and poor? What’s the connection between the person on the street and the person who buys couture clothes? To me he’s using his pulpit in a responsible way."

What the heck does that even mean? Basically, your guest was trying to sound deep over the notion that some people are so clueless that they'd rather congratulate themselves over mocking the less fortunate instead of trying to actually help them.

The real issue is what happens (or doesn't happen) *after* the look-at-me party. It would have been interesting to hear if Galliano or other attempted to engage people on these topics off the runway platform as well. Instead, the impression I got was that all they strive for is outrageousness for the sake of press. This has nothing to do with helping the homeless or "social commentary." Give me a break!

Your guest weakly tried to rationalize it all as the responsible use of a "pulpit." I say that it's simply "bull...", well, you know. These controversial designs are simply about getting attention, and using human tragedy to do it. There's no depth here.

Thanks for closing the segment with the Zoolander dialogue. When I hear people like that for real, I think of Mugatu's immortal line, "I FEEL LIKE I'M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!!" Other than this oddball segment, great show as always. Thanks, OTM!

Feb. 08 2008 09:04 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

There is little hint of protest in the art movement so, if this is part of it, I commend it. Far too much that is reprehensible has been done in the name of this nation for there not to be protest.

As former Senator McGovern says, impeach Bush and Cheney, if only as an act of national performance art!

Feb. 08 2008 01:30 AM
Rachel Stewart

I think that was an awesome move by Mr. John Galliano. It created so much controversy which is exactly the foundation of good art. And yes I meant to say "art" because fashion is deffinately a form of it. I believe the mixed reviews recieved are exactly what the designer was looking for and I believe that taking leaps like that is what makes the fashion industry flourish as well as other areas of media. Bravo!

Rachel Stewart

Feb. 04 2008 09:16 PM
Rose Connolly from MA

I had to listen to this podcast twice. It was so interesting. Kathleen McDermott's intelligent commentary made history come alive in a whole new way.
Loved it. Thank you.

Feb. 02 2008 05:55 PM

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