What is it with this fake "down home" country as value resurgance we are seeing these days and no we aren't talking about America's hokiest Vice Presidential candidate. We find "straight talking straight shooters" to be contrived in politics and frankly we like it even less when it shows up in our fashion. And now we have not one but two major shows asking us to ride into the sunset thanks to an urban cowboy resurgance at Givenchy and Hermés.
Maybe the ride'em cowboy aesthetic was mere idle inspiration at Givenchy and admittedly we thought the black hat bad cowboy vibe worked in a strange way towards Ricardi Tisci's wider vision for Givenchy. But John Paul Gaultier's preposterously kitschy Wild Wild West theme for Hermés Spring 2009, complete with cacti, was clearly premeditated spectacle. And it doesn't make a damn bit of sense.
If country is the new urban, down home the new luxury, and meaningless clichés the new value then who the hell knows what feels "right" for the next season. We want no part of this clunky contrived artificial pandering. Not in politics and not in fashion. Sure, they say that cowboy is a perennial trend that pops up like clockwork but are any other designers genuinely doing a return to country seriously? We think not. And it feels even weirder coming culturally twice removed from a man who probably doesn't spend a lot of time on the open range if you catch our drift. Its cultural appropriation at its worst.
We are going to recycle another pony paddock bon mot and say you can only polish a turd so much. Country themes just don't make a lot of sense in luxury goods regardless of current events, even if you are a leather goods house. Its one thing if you make saddles but we are pretty sure no rancher we've ever met (and we're from Colorado) ever bought Hermés tack.
Thank God Hermés has separate merchandising and accessories teams or we would be forced to write off this entire mawkishly sentimental season as a complete and total farce. Blessedly someone took care of making sure reasonable luggage, belts, gloves and other proper commercial goods made it onto the runway so those of us concerned with the actual products shown have something to focus on. It is times like this when we wonder if Gucci doesn't have the right idea by putting a merchandiser instead of a designer in the creative director slot.