Last week the average news media consumer no doubt came across one or two (hundred) snaps of emaciated beautiful people dressed like utter tools.
Almost invariably the doe-eyed skeletons captured for posterity were striding purposefully forward, faces expressing that particular combination of contempt, superiority and simmering stupidity apparently unique to professional catwalk models.
Barring the odd plausible frock or realistic suit most looked as if they had been garbed in a darkened room by a spiteful circus clown gone wrong on a diet of LSD and absinthe.
They call it London Fashion Week.
Like Christmas it comes once a year. Like Ramadan it is broadly incomprehensible to everyone not actively involved.
These remarks, by the way, are intended to imply no snooty atheistic judgement or partiality in regard of either named festival. Christmas, Ramadan, Easter, Eid, Pancake (Jif Lemon) Day – all the same here.
Just ceremony. Acts. Rites. Human rites acts!
Fundamental to the faithful, fairly to the half-interested – those who might consciously consider themselves unbelievers but who remain largely defined and directed by the belief system (and its traditions) into which they were born – and spectacle for the neutral onlooker to dip in and out of on a whim, taking whatever one wilt (this pick and mix approach applying most obviously to how our own supposed Christian culture marks the birth of its prophet with carol singers, advent calendars, drunkenness and greed). London Fashion Week belongs alongside such business, one key difference being that the fashion flock receive their divine guidance in subtly different, er, fashion.
Not for them ancient texts and custom interpreted by earthly representatives of unseen deities! No, these modernites refer less to written codes handed down the millennia (although fashion does draw on its own brief and arbitrary history) and instead roll clergy and gods into one.
Their high priests (Versace, Armani, Lagerfeld, er, Paco Rabanne?) claim no celestial underpinning for their commandments. The medium is the entire message, and for the most part disciples embrace same as direct instruction and follow regardless of sense or reason. Only the true supplicant, for example, could wear those skinny trousers with a yard-long backside and knee-high gusset. They look daft, hinder all physical activity bar standing up, but hey – never mind. Tis decreed. Still, good luck to them (so long as they ain’t harming anyone, say by exploiting sweated labour, or driving over-consumption of limited resources). Their hilarity antics are always welcome.
And if you can’t raise a laugh at London Fashion Week you’re either dead or, more probable, dressed like a complete and utter tool.