Going Vogue: The Merits of Airbrushing
Airbrushing: that magical fix-all tool that makes models perfect. Erases blemishes, lengthens the legs, slims that pesky extra fat around the thighs and tummy. In theory, I should hate it. Society should be celebrating women for who they are, and all that. I do believe that. But airbrushing has its merits.
Fashion is a fantasy world, and I like my fantasies flawless. Fashion serves as the space where I can escape from all those pesky imperfections that normal people suffer from. Fashion is the form of art where everything looks good on the surface alone. Should we really be going to fashion to find women we can relate and look up to? If it is, we are looking in the wrong places. I’d rather find those role models in political office, on a bookshelf or in a classroom, and go to fashion for some pretty illusions. The artificial nature of fashion is what makes it easy to swallow. I know that what’s on the runway and in magazines isn’t real life — it’s a representation of the ideals we project onto women. Those ideals themselves are certainly flawed, but at the same time they are captivating, entrancing images of beauty. We continue to facilitate that look by buying clothes and magazines as much as we bash the industry they sprout from.
High fashion is just another art form where one group of people got together and created one standard of beauty. Designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Tom Ford constructed their visions of beauty in art, just like Monet did, and each artist’s pieces are equally relevant. Fashion shouldn’t be viewed in a societal context, but rather as another form of art. But because it is art, we can criticize all we want, while at the same time respecting the particular artists’ inclinations for what they are. Airbrushing is just another tool in the artists’ toolbox, like a piece of charcoal or a paintbrush. Censoring fashion is just as dangerous as removing a Monet painting from an art gallery, and its influence has to be tempered with a dose of reality. Runways and magazine pages are the fashion industry’s galleries, expressions of one artist’s vision and not society at large.