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September 13, 2007 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-09-13

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, September 13, 2007 - 3B

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, September 13, 2007 - 3B

Jacobs at
Fashion Week:
Flop or satire?

herbooks have closed
on another New York
Fashion Week, but as
the reviews continue to trickle
in, critics only seem con-
flicted over the Marc Jacobs
show. Jacobs is as inventive as
any when it comes to break-
ing with tradition - an ele-
ment both
embraced
and highly
criticized in
the fashion
industry
- but this
year he's left C
even long- CAROLINE
time admir- HARTMANN
ers wondering
if he went too far.
The show was scheduled to
start on Monday at 9 p.m., but
an agitated crowd waited for
two hours before Jacobs finally
took to the runway, an unprec-
edented start to any show. The
first pieces to march down the
white-tiled steps were draping
black gowns, covered in tulle
or cut high up the leg - eve-
ning looks typically reserved
for a finale effect. Spectators
watched in confusion, sus-
pending judgment on the back-
ward order while large-scale
video screens flashed images
of each model in nothing but
bra and panties.
It became increasingly clear
as the show progressed that
it lacked any obvious focus or
cohesiveness, expect perhaps
the familiar tone of irony ever-
present in Jacobs's work. The
variety of pieces was said to
represent the range of people
in the designer's life, but this
explanation is insufficient to
explain the unexpected juxta-
position of styles for an indus-
try veteran.
There were loose, knee-high
stockings, sheer and intricate-
ly embroidered, worn under a
dull and almost formless dress;
tufts of colorful strings emerg-
ing from flower prints and
hemlines falling down to the
floor; highly exaggerated clas-
sic suiting that felt less Jackie
O and more awkwardly heavy,
as if overpowering the model;
and jersey-like mini dresses
with athletic numbers stamped
on the front. Accessories
like metallic gold, pom-pom
adorned booties and whimsical
headpieces only further com-
plicated the ensembles.
Somewhere between the
glittery, devil-horn headband
and a party hat bizarrely remi-
niscent of a Halloween witch's
costume, Jacobs lost his audi-
ence.
It would be easy to say the
collection explored popular
notions of female sexuality
with the constant allusion to
undergarments, or that the
deconstruction of familiar
shapes harks back to pre-
feminist ideals. Too easy, in
fact, for a designer who rarely
offers a spoon-fed message.
Then there's the obvious
reality that Jacobs might just
be having an off year (rehab
does take its toll), but certain
pieces in the collection suggest
otherwise. Extract the retro-
kitsch, pastel-heavy looks, and
Jacobs's distinctive magazine
ads immediately come to mind,

ads that have remained popu-

lar and provocative for several
seasons. Or look closely at the
gown Chanel Iman wore down
the runway, elegantly draped
and beautifully understated,
despite the all-over flower
appliqu4s.
And Jacobs wasn't the only
one to emphasize lingerie as
an essential part of the outfit
- Doo Ri's collection had simi-
lar undertones, only far more
subtle. Jacobs wasn't alone in
recalling the housewife cul-
ture of the '40s and turning it
glam; Bill Blass's retroadesigns
were just executed ins more
contemporary style context.
Jacobs's presentation isn't
completely out of line with
this season's prevailing run-
way trends, but it's undeniably
over-the-top.
To be honest, I was disap-
pointed when I first saw the
photos, but now that the initial
shock has subsided, I'm hesi-
tant to dismiss it as distaste-
ful or irrelevant. Jacobs's Fall
2005 collection was received
Giving NY's
Fashion Week
a run for its
money.
with far harsher criticism,
only to have single-handedly
predicted the following year's
obsession with the bubble
shape. It would be foolhardy to
presuppose upcoming trends
before the industry has even
had time to digest the lat-
est round of garments, but
my inclination is that Jacobs
intended his hipster edge to
transcend the literal, stylistic
approach and enter more dan-
gerous territory.
Jacobs's Spring 2008 collec-
tion goes beyond his typically
overstated irony. The effect is
no longer menacing or whimsi-
cal; it's just plain silly. What
we assume must be an attempt
to dictate style is perhaps a
not-so-veiled effort to poke
fun at the elitism surrounding
the fashion industry. Jacobs
rejects the conventional -
though undoubtedly arbitrary
- runway norms in favor of
an off-kilter spectacle. Let the
pretentious crowd grow frus-
trated for hours. Why not flip
the show backward and elimi-
nate all points of reference?
The exaggeratedly plastic
faces of the models look like
those of toy dolls, bobbing
down the runway in costume
and their half-naked bodies on
film, suggesting a stab at the
industry that's playful rather
than bitter. Though the point
Jacobs makes may come at the
expense of a wearable collec-
tion, the sacrifice is a worthy
one, especially when it drives
the very community he's
mocking to such impassioned,
analytical extremes.
"I love that reaction of love
or hate," Jacobs once said. "It's
indifference that bores me to
death."
- E-mail Hartmannat

carolinh@umich.edu.

FROM LEFT'COURTESY OF NO LIMIT, FILE PHOTO, G UNIT, FILE PHOTO

Is hip hop morally responsible? Ask these guys.

A symptom, not a cause

By ANTHONY BABER
Daily Arts Writer
For any lover of hip hop it's
always difficult to watch writ-
ers and artists verbally attacked
on "The O'Reilly Factor." But you
know it's getting bad when the
black community starts to turn
against the music. For months
now political activists like the
reverends Jesse Jackson, Sr. and
Al Sharpton have been building a
movement against hip hop for its
graphic, often sexist lyrics, its glo-
rification of drugs and the frequen-
cy of words like bitch, ho and the
n-word. But is theirs a reputable
cause to save our souls, or is it just
wasted time and effort?
Some of the blame goes to
Michael Richards and Don Imus,
ignorant white men who didn't
know where to draw the line. But
it doesn't stop there: It's come to
the point where hip hop is blamed
for any situation where a black per-
son has done something wrong.
Michael Vick fights dogs; it's hip-
hop culture's fault. Teenagers
involved in shootings; they got it
from rap lyrics. There is basically
no separation between messages in
the rap scene and the customs we
have taken from black culture.
Vick wasn't involved in dog

fighting because of hip hop; he was
taking a sport common to the rural
south and making money for him
and his friends. Black youths aren't
in gangs and shootingsabecause rap
music tells them to do it; both have
been a component of urban com-
munities for decades.
These are negative aspects of
black culture that needed to be
stopped a long time ago. Rappers
aren't the only ones calling women
bitches and hoes. These words
were common speech long before
hip hop was mainstream, but no
one ever told other people to stop
using them.
Thus hip hop has become a
scapegoat for the problems that
have plagued black culture for
decades, and if you want to change
what's in it, you have to start at the
source. It's not as simple as rappers,
athletes and pop figures dressing
more professionally and young
black men squeezing polos and
button-ups into their wardrobes.
I don't believe this is the fault
of rappers, because I see them as
nothing more than pawns that fit
into the music industry's image of
an acceptable black man. They've
got money, expensive cars and
homes and are easy for kids in
urban neighborhoods to relate to.
But few of them have stepped on

a college campus except to per-
form, and when they talk, you hear
mostly nonsense - and everyone
loves it.
"Rap artists have come to me
with lyrics about history, politics
and the environment, but they do
not get a contract," Jesse Jack-
son told the Michigan Chronicle.
"Unless they go into self-denigra-
tion, they can't get a break."
For the most part, Jackson is
right. And Sharpton pushes the
issue even further, calling for
the withdrawal of public funds
from entertainment companies
that "won't clean up their act," as
reported by The Washington Post.
It's not the rappers who need to
change, but the industry and its
consumers.
As long as a certain subject sells
albums, rappers will include it
in their rhymes. But while we're
waiting for rap to find a new inter-
est, let's try and fix the issues in
the black community. There are
plenty of instances where black
women degrade themselves. Kids
don't embrace the idea of selling
drugs just because a rapper told
them about it; many are unedu-
cated about real-life issues and
need guidance. And odds are a rap
song isn't the first place a child has
heard "bitch," "ho" or the n-word.

Taking it out isn't going to stop
people from saying it.
Kids can't see R-rated movies
under the age of 17 or buy "Grand
Theft Auto," so if you can keep
these video games and movies
away from your &ildren, why
can't you stop the music? At least
share some insight with your chil-
dren about what they might be
hearing. Tell them a woman is not
an object, that there are plenty of
legal ways to make money, that
there are offensive words you
shouldn't use and that half of the
rappers they listento are justlying
to make money. If you think kids
are adopting rappers as role mod-
els, step in and show them another
option.
The worst part of this is that
the political leaders in the black
community have other things that
should be their focus. Figureheads
with . so such media influence
should support mentoring pro-
grams in urban communities so
kids are in class preparing for col-
lege and notin the streets pretend-
ing to be thugs. In fact, for those
who really want to make change,
start with Jena, Louisiana, and
fight for the six black students who
are about to spend up to 20 years
of their lives in prison for basically
nothing. Google it.

find out what's
blowing in the wind
Michigan Engineers - General Electric recruiters look forward to meeting enthusiastic Wolverines at the
following GE "Go Blue" events:
" "How To Get Your Resume Noticed: A Resume Writing Workshop"
(See ECRC for location) - Sunday, Sept. 16th (3:30 PM)

IF r z
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free Obi
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" GE Day: "Exploring GE Technologies, Businesses, and Student Opportunities"
(Duderstadt Center) - Monday, Sept. 17th (10:00 AM - 4:00 PM)
" "Meet Your GE Recruiting Team" Networking Event
(Buffalo Wild Wings, Central Campus) - Monday, Sept. 17th (6:30,PM)
" "How Does Your Resume Stack Up?" Resume Critiques
(Pierpont Connector) - Tuesday, Sept. 18th (10:00 AM - 4:30 PM)
" "Intern vs. Co-op: Why?" Intern/Co-op Workshop
(1013 DOW) - Tuesday, Sept. 18th (6:00 PM - 8:00 PM)
" Global Awareness Week - Energy Day Booth
(Mason Hall) - Wednesday, Sept. 19th (11:00 AM - 4:00 PM)
" Engineering Career Fair
(Duderstadt Atrium) - Monday, Sept. 24th (10:00 AM - 4:00 PM)
" Networking Event
(See a GE recruiter for location) - Monday, Sept. 24th (7:00 PM - 10:00 PM)
All events will be on North Campus, unless otherwise noted. For more information on
"Go Blue" events or opportunities at GE, please see: http://www.gecareers.com/umich.
ecom gin .tSo
to learn more visit us at gecareers.com
on equal opportunity employer
imagination at work

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Monday, September 11th
M:0-a4:3oPM
Wichipan league Ballroom

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