Janetta Mackay: The emperor's new clothes

By Janetta Mackay

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A model walks the runway at Salasai during New Zealand Fashion Week 2014. Picture / Getty Images
A model walks the runway at Salasai during New Zealand Fashion Week 2014. Picture / Getty Images

Today the dog and I headed out rugged up against the wind and rain. Perhaps it was a subconscious hangover from Fashion Week, but we were all matchy matchy: Ruby in a little red tartan coat and me in a similar scarf. The supposed start of spring sure blew out the cobwebs, but sadly did not deliver the flash of inspiration I was hoping for in terms of starting this piece.

Much as I'd rather talk politics or should I say Dirty Politics, I find it's back to Fashion Week, this being Viva after all. At the risk of provoking mirth in certain quarters, I venture the view that both have similarities. That both matter. Fashion is a business with a social context. Politics is morphing scarily into a series of Big Brother.

Both creative callings seek attention and attract scuttlebutt. They prompt an unhealthy urge to idolise or demonise.

Both exhibit the need to make more of not very much - I say this as the initial reporter on a much picked-up piece quoting Trelise Cooper on her use of Native North American feathered head-dresses.

At the same time, fashion and politics also show a parallel universe knack for, at their peril, isolating themselves from the prevailing mood. (And, in the case of certain deluded or nakedly ambitious political players, putting at peril values one would like to think were commonly held).

The main difference, however, is that the fashion genie emerges fully from its bottle, but once a year. A time when creativity rather than competition is celebrated. So cheers to that.

What has been unleashed on our political landscape is an escalating expose, too important to become last week's news.

Anyone wondering why the young supposedly would rather shop than vote, shouldn't scoff too loudly quite just yet.


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