Julie Burchill: The 'courage' of the fashion fools


Click to follow
The Independent Online

On the island of Tanna in Vanuatu, the Prince Philip Movement is a religious sect followed by the Yaohnanen tribe, who believe that the Queen's ill-tempered, short-fused consort is a divine being. I've never got this, but over the past decade, observing the honour(s) given in this country to the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, I can definitely see how such misguided reverence comes about.

In the 1980s I was forced to spend some time with fashion people (my second husband's best friend was going out with Katharine Hammnet, she of the T-shirts with VERY BIG WRITING ON, presumably so that fellow fashionable fools could have a reasonable stab at making out the words) and I honestly can't recall a more boring period of my life – not even school, not even punk. All my life I've loved the company of my fellow hacks more than drink and drugs even, but I was amazed how the addition of the word "fashion" in front of "journalist" instantly transformed a potential fun new friend into a suck-uppy bore entirely capable of using words like "genius" about a blouse. This led me to the conclusion that those who care about clothes really are the dullest, daftest people in the world, and this is why their elaborate window-dressing is so important to them. The Emperor really is that nakedly thick.

I don't include the models here, who are much smarter than designers and fash-hacks, and tellingly seem to spend most of their free time in jeans and flip-flops. Seeing how the Eighties supermodels have conducted their lives and careers, be they the brainy Crawford and Christiansen or the savvy Moss and Macpherson, compared to the gibbering wrecks that mostof the fashion crowd end up as, it's pretty clear that the clothes-horses have the lion's share of common sense.

All designers are differently-abled from us civilians, but their doyenne is surely Vivienne Westwood, who recently pointed the finger at Kate Middleton for looking "hard" and "ordinary" – no doubt for eschewing that signature Westwood look which can summed up as looking as if one would be equally at home in bed or Bedlam, but nowhere much else. Only in Broken Britain would a cackling septuagenarian get a DBE instead of an ASBO for going to Buckingham Palace without knickers and showing the resulting hot mess to the paparazzi – but we can be thankful she did not wear one of the Cambridge Rapist T-shirts she was so proud of at the start of her career.

Another brave voice to be heard attacking Middleton this week was the vile Kelly Osbourne, a brat so thick, privileged and trivial that she makes the Duchess of Cambridge look like Rosa Parks. Now reborn as an expert on matters sartorial on the American TV show Fashion Police, Osbourne mocked Middleton for wearing the same dress MORE THAN ONCE! When a group of people make the monarchy seem like socialists, you know there's something very weird going on.

It is telling that whereas many actors – whom we consider preening ponces – turned their backs in revulsion on Mel Gibson when he drunkenly accused the Jews of "being responsible for all the wars", the fashion crowd rallied around John Galliano like so many mother hens protecting an errant chick when he came out with his far worse racist rant. To refresh you, Galliano's barrage of abuse at a couple in a Parisian bar included "your dirty Jewish face", "people like you would be dead today – your mothers, your forefathers, would all be fucking gassed" and "fucking Asian bastard", with a gratuitous "I love Hitler" thrown in, just in case we hadn't got the message.

Westwood's latest thoughts on Galliano? "He couldn't be a sweeter person." That's good – maybe she can send him some of her famous swastika T-shirts to cheer the poor oofums up.

When knee-jerk liberal reactions collide

Goodness knows there's been nothing at all amusing about the events of the past week – with the exception, perhaps, of tracking the liberal reaction to the riots. Initially, the response seemed based on postcodes, and I could imagine all the bleeding hearts in their nice NW Twee homes, cheering the rioters as they set extreme north and south London ablaze – and then becoming distinctly cagey as the trouble moved towards the middle of the city. By the time it got to Camden, you can bet your booty that the formerly pure-hearted Children's Revolution was starting to look more like the Children of the Corn – Stephen King as opposed to Martin Luther.

Then I imagined the liberals pulling out their old standby, Paint-Chart Politics, in order to understand what side they should be backing. Black rioters good – but burning down Asian businesses bad – Turkish, Sikh and Kurdish vigilantes protecting neighbourhoods from rioters with baseball bats – hang on, immigrants good, but vigilantes bad – DOES NOT COMPUTE!

By Wednesday, three Muslim men had been murdered by a hit-and-run looter and other rioters could be heard complaining about the Poles taking all their jobs and the indignity of having to pay taxes. Moral compasses spinning wildly, the liberals retired from the fray. But no worries, they will surely be back again, with their humbug and hypocrisy, to tell the rest of us what we should be thinking once more.

Zuckerberg knows fashion is for sissies

Fashion footnote: men used to know better than to act like a bunch of dogs in a sack baying at the Best of Breed, but the desiccated ninnies over at GQ magazine have just named Mark Zuckerberg the worst-dressed man of the moment. That'll be 27-year-old billionaire-13-times-over who last year donated $100m to the state school system of New Jersey, and also signed – along with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett – something called the "Giving Pledge", in which they promised to donate to charity at least half of their wealth over the course of time. Don't we bet that young Marky is just DEVASTATED at being dissed by a bunch of sissies who think that SOCKS MATTER?