Lost in Taste

We are always talking about a “good” or “bad” taste, without giving any thought to the anthropological nature of the concept of taste.

Nevertheless, taste has originally pure biological routes connected to human physiology, where both disgust and aversion have developed as a part of the evolution in association with something inedible.

Human beings have however adapted the concept in other different spheres of life. Everything begins when a child starts its first relationship with things the parents consider to belong to the “good” taste of the social class they belong to. Take the tiny and narrow baptising gown, which certainly feels unnatural and suddenly limits the movements. Later it can be an extremely uncomfortable piece of a milliner’s work decorating the head of a girl attending the Royal Ascot. “Anna Karenina” by Tolstoy with a deep conflict of time and soul is a clear manifestation of good taste unlike “Fifty Shades of Gray” with its sadomasochistic sexual games.

Thus, the “process of civilisation”, as a German sociologist Norbert Elias (1897-1990) called it, occurs by suppression of natural reactions through replacing the latters with reactions ascribed to the certain social group. Any alternative manifestation which falls outside the customs and traditions of the group receives aversion.

Next logical step is the predictability where any book with a predictable plot is considered primitive, any outfit of predictable nature is interpreted as tasteless. In other words, the logic of the game hunts itself and the risk to be considered primitive and tasteless and fall outside the elite within own group is impending.

This is exactly what is going on in fashion. In the 1980’s when street style appeared on the fashion stage, it became an element of exotic cosmopolitanism. In 2015 Vetements broke all the conventions and made almost a social revolution by marrying Western European luxury with Eastern Europe’s tastelessness of the 1990’s.

Today we can hardly see any difference between luxury brands as they all have almost stopped being “Anna Karenina” in fashion and turned into the game of the 1970’s trying to transcend each other in the luxury of casualty. Predictability is killing and the ouroboros of fashion is eating its own tale.

About TheStyleFibula

I am a lawyer, who all of a sudden has become a fashion and marketing student at Stockholm Business School. This is my free space, where I let my inner inspiration create a symbiosis with a genuine passion for art, scientific curiosity for fashion and profound interest in the anthropology of style.

Leave a Comment