Ya’ll knew this was coming, didn’t you?
*Ahem* The worlds of online snark and men’s designer fashion collided spectacularly this week, as you may have heard from, well, everyone on the internet.
To recap: the high-end fashion brand Balenciaga is now selling shirts for men… that come with other shirts stuck on the front. Their “T-shirt Shirt” (a t-shirt with a button-down shirt on the front) retails for $1,290 (there’s even a variation for women at the same price). But for only $200 more you could class things up with the “Double Shirt”, which is basically the same thing only instead of a plain ol’ t-shirt, the base is a short sleeve button-down. So, like, double the button-downs!
(and double the sleeves — a point that was particularly funny to me, considering our own Petr Knava was the first to bring this controversy to my attention)
Both garments, according to the sales site, come “with two wearing options” — which I think means someone could actually just wear the front button-down shirt, and have the other cascading down the back like a shirt-shaped capelet?
But here’s the thing — and I know this has never happened before, so bear with me — EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET IS WRONG THIS TIME. Because this shit right here? It’s totally worth it.
… If you accept that it isn’t so much a fashion statement as it is a HUMAN SHIELD HOLDER.
That’s right, don’t get stuck worrying about whether a single person would really wear two shirts stuck to each other at the same time (besides, the attached shirt-inside-a-shirt has been a women’s fashion staple for years). Instead, consider why TWO people might wear TWO shirts stuck together. And that reason, obviously, is for personal protection. One body forcibly placed in front of another (or behind — it’s a matter of perspective!) in order to take damage from an attack. A human shield holder set at a price point so absurdly high, only the upper echelons could afford it. The next natural evolution of this concept will be to also attach shirts at the sleeves, and at the back, so a single individual can be fully ensconced in disposable bodies at all times. Or, in boring situations, a person will be able to wear the garment even more ways — like with four shirts hanging off one sleeve. Or whatever.
Am I joking? Yes, duh, obviously. That shit is weird and dumb and overpriced and nothing more. But as the New York Times argued, our online outrage is what is “… converting what could be seen as a novelty item or a fashion experiment into a phenomenon. We are making it famous. And in doing so, we imbue it with social meaning and symbolism that gives it a life beyond clothing, making it into an artifact of its time.”
So doesn’t it make a strange kind of sense that we have hit a point in our culture where we can read the peculiarities, extravagances, and intentional provocations of fashion as, specifically, a response to the prevalence of gun violence in society? A symbolic reaction to the idea *cough* SOME people have that the only way to combat that violence is to expect people to put their lives on the line rather than, you know, trying to control the guns? And not just when people choose to lay their lives on the line rather than hand over their Louis Vuitton?
Look, I’m all for laughing about fucking boob knots and elf shoes, but this time? I’m choosing to look at it as a metaphor for the flawed concept of “heroic sacrifice”: costly, ugly, and often avoidable.
Besides, if you want a REAL fashion statement, Balenciaga has that readily (and laughably!) available as well: the so-called “Big Denim Shirt”, which is a STEAL at only $950.
Now that is quite the statement!