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Really bad taste makes for really unique style. I think street-level style can BECOME fashion as designers co-opt the raw looks of head-turning outfits that please or piss-off people, either extreme. I love those photos, and the John Waters interview. He is the guy who now waits for the raw styles to become fashion so he can pay thousands for it, whereas he used to be the creator of raw looks from thrift stores. Is this how success is measured?
John Waters is right, taste (good or bad) changes. What was once vilified as dreadful is often rediscovered and taken up by the fashion crowd - just look at 1970s style, it used to be called the decade that style forgot but with more distance, it's been re-evaluated and admired.Taking a risk and doing something outrageous can make a great statement. Perhaps describing something as bad taste is just a snooty way of saying you disapprove and don't personally like it, maybe it's a class thing?Interesting to think about, Bella. xxxx
None of the outfits pictured are to me in bad taste.I would say bad taste is wearing a skimpy outfit to appear in court or at a job interview. Or wearing designer when meeting up with a friend who has just lost her job. So I'd say bad taste is what may offend.It's not an aesthetic judgement for me but rather one of appropriateness and respect.But pink (fake) mink with BMW buttons (if such exist) to a night club or a premiere? Why not?
As Jean Paul Gaultier once said, 'It's always the badly dressed people that are the most interesting.'
I love Helena BC - I think she dresses lovely - and taste ? What i think is beatiful you might find ugly...JpG is an ikon.
I love bad taste - Helena and Bjork look amazing! Liberace always looked great, though not so impressed with all the fur, that's a lot of road kill. I prefer him in sequins. Oh John Waters how I love thee!
I adore John Waters. And all these "bad taste" dressers are what makes fashion evolve and stay fresh. You won't see me in any of Liberace's capes, but I appreciate the fashion risks!
Bad Taste? No such thing, it's just a euphemism used by the chattering classes for anything than isn't beige. Bjork's swan dress was the best red carpet frock I've ever seen or at least the only one I've ever remembered. xxx
"Bad Taste?..a euphemism used by the chattering classes for anything that isn't beige." -Vintage VixenI think there's something to that Vix. It does seem to be a class thing, something the upper classes prounounce to anyone who'll listen. I agree with the Waters view you have to know what's "good" to know "bad," and that it changes. I think there needs to be an element of "bad" to make "good" fashion- the Bjork dress is a good example, as well as anything Vivienne Westwood can dream up (see Helen Bonham Carter's red carpet outfit)HBC was ragged in the US press as a horrendous red carpet choice, but loved by the UK press. I personally loved it- didn't even see the "bad" of it- but I do like a bit of irregularity to my ensembles. All I know is that interest comes from the off-putting. Great quote from JPG, a master designer and adapt at harnessing the "bad": It's always the badly dresses people that are the most interesting."
I have to agree with Jaljien - I think of particular actions to be in bad taste, like wearing a sleazy frock and stripper heels to your grandmother's funeral (unless that was how she dressed!). I don't think any of the outfits pictured are in "bad taste". I rather like three of them, and the large sparkly thing is just ugly. Vix's definition of "bad taste" is brilliant!
Personally, I LOVED that crazy swan dress that Bjork sported all those years ago. I would totally wear something like that.
I get that we all have personal definitions of bad taste, the pictures chosen above were those that had been singled out by the fashion industry to be "bad" in taste, yet like Bjork's swan dress- I wondered personally what was so bad about it- I liked it. Like the Liberace arsenal of sequins and furs, etc, it maybe "bad" but it is fabulous. The point is that, as Waters states in the viddy, is that good fashion may just stem from "bad" taste. Including wearing stripper shoes to the office. Maybe one man's bad is another's fabulous.
LOVE John Waters. I think there's also a generational thing here; many women (and men) born after the 1960's didn't have the kinds of rules of propriety we did. So they have a much more open definition of "taste."
This whole question is a conundrum. Good taste/bad taste; at this point in time who gives a f*ck? They are totally interchangeable, depending on the moment and venue. I'd like to think that good taste, as one comment points out, is about respect for the occasion and place. But even this idea is subject to challenge. If the occasion and place reflect a cultural status quo that's fundamentally evil or unfair, do you honor it or challenge it by your attire?Who decides? These are questions I don't really think about day to day. I just try to wear things I have respect for, in terms of how they were made and crafted. Were they made in a sweat shop somewhere, or recycled in an artistic way etc. This way of thinking has been a slow evolution for me. But this has become my personal litmus test of "good taste".
I prefer bad taste in front of "less is more" and other crap ten times out of ten.
Oh Ulla-Marie is damn right - I believe MORE IS MORE not this "less is more" bullshit. Choosing the John Waters vid was inspiring Bella, yet I do believe that one can get away with more crazy stuff as one gets older - it's not for the teenagers. Fucking stylists!!!! The worst thing that EVER happened to the red carpet!! Now the award ceremonies are just waste of time with the generic shite everyone wears. If people want a stylist, they can hire mine ... THE Stylist ... a 9yo with KAPOW!!!!!! Woop woop!!!! xoxoxo
Goodness I love John Waters. His point is really interesting that in order to have bad taste, you have to know the rules of goof taste...I think that is true if you are dressing with intent. Those who pay attention to style know the rules, they may not follow them, but they know. But there are also those who have intrinsic bad taste, and eschew style altogether. They see dressing with intent as a waste of time, and view those of us who do as frivolous.
Personal choice should mean no good or bad taste. After all if we all like the same thing life would be incredible dull don't you think?X x
John Waters is such a crack up, I had no idea he grew up with militant refined style. I don't agree with his comment about wearing labels anymore though. I once held the belief that designer labels were only for those that needed to show the world that they were valuable because they could afford the high end stuff. I feel totally different now that I have done so much research into where fashion comes from and knock offs produced at the speed of light in China, etc. (See "Over-Dressed" The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion). Consumers buy knock offs and stopped sewing not knowing it has killed our country. Back in the 50's the US was the envy of the world when it came to clothing manufacturing and now most of our garments come from China. With high end and vintage clothing we are not just wearing labels and history, we also are not supporting the madness that is going on with junk clothing. Chanel and Prada shoes are made by hand, by artisans in France and Italy. Sure, they are expensive, but we are so used to JUNK clothing and excess in the world and have lost the concept of less, but better quality is more. We have forgotten what "lay-a-way" was, when you paid a little every month and didn't get to take home the dress, necklace or shoes until they were paid for in full. Now there is Forever 21 and Payless and Target and you can get so much for so little; a new dress every week, why not? The reality is that all those clothes will end up at the thrift store and women will buy more and the cycle will continue unless some of us refuse to support it and make some changes. Great post Bella. :-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlmP5Wp05W4
I'm not a fan of bad taste per se, but I am a fan of wearing whatever the hell you want, and not caring what anyone thinks!
Love this! My favorite fashion rule of everyone three years older than me - "you've got to balance a nice outfit with a pair of ugly shoes." Dress and chucks, lace and combat boots. If EVERYONE is doing it, how is it counter culture?
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