Flat White

The Wintour of our discontent

27 January 2019

7:06 PM

27 January 2019

7:06 PM

When it comes to fashion, one minute you’re talking about something and then next thing they’re talking about something else. All in the space of a fashion season – just like that.

The trick is to keep up with this and make sure you don’t get left behind, as fashion isn’t an aesthetic it’s really a time management tool you can set a watch to. Unless your watch is going out of fashion and isn’t as good as this one I’m wearing now.

Vogue editor Anna Wintour is just like this – she used to be just like that but then that went out of fashion and now she’s like this again – and that is why all of us love her even those of us who have no idea who she is but like the idea of her all the same. She is a fashion icon, the voice of a generation and a pair of really cool sunglasses all in one.

For fans of the seventies romcom Apocalypse Now, Vogue is the Colonel Kilgore of fashion. Holding the dripping water bottle of fashionability over the dying poorly styled Vietcong in a great act of humanity but then walking away the moment someone starts talking about the surfing or something else more interesting like the latest smartwatch that I’m wearing right now.

And it turns out ‘Charlie don’t surf’ – just like Vogue doesn’t do skateboarder profiles as they don’t fit its high wealth demographic.


Of course there is an important difference and that difference is Kilgore’s yellow cravat probably isn’t made from finest Japanese silk imported for this season’s Paris show after being manufactured in a sweatshop for eight cents probably by the grandchildren of those same Vietnamese kids in Apocalypse Now hanging off the fence watching the Playboy bunnies.

Then again, no one ever claimed Coppola’s cinematic masterpiece isn’t flawed and clearly Brando – the love interest in this film (Friend’s Chandler to Martin Sheen’s Monica if you like) – wasn’t doing his heroin chic best at the time.

For Anna Wintour who’s permanently bobbed hairstyle I believe was manufactured as a homage to the US marine’s helmet after the D Day landings (the last ‘just’ war) the existential question of Apocalypse Now isn’t just how can I replicate the colour pallet of those Viet Cong outfits but rather, ‘how did someone so fat ever get allowed on camera?’

This is why we pay the fashion industry the big bucks on these important social issues and why Miranda Kerr should be prime minister and allowed to decide whether we go 100 per cent renewables or deal with the China threat in a timely fashion before they take over the Pacific with their belt and road initiative.

Or am I showing my age as I did all my modelling just before the Tet Offensive and probably mean Kendall Jenner.

The fashion industry deals with important social issues all the time. It’s why in Australia we elect people who could be models to positions of power.

Anna was at the Australian Open which is a sporting event for people who want to hide their tan lines and she spoke about LBGTI rights and the need to terminate the memory of Margaret Court’s name from Open venue’s – with extreme prejudice – which all makes sense as Court’s social views are completely unfashionable and probably precede the Maginot Line.

Anna did all this while wearing dark glasses, just like Colonel Kilgore in a conference hall full of women also wearing expensive sunglasses who are probably just as aggressive as a Vietcong warrior when it comes to buying the latest bespoke leather Armani sandals at a Boxing Day sale — preferably David Jones, not Myer.

Michael Scammell is a freelance writer.

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