You don’t need to be a die-hard fashion person to figure out how fashion works, it’s pretty obvious stuff: whatever is IN fashion now won’t be next season, and vice-versa—it’s an endlessly predictable cycle.
So, really, all you have to do is track down whatever looks stupid at the moment and wear it before everyone else does. Or, if you don’t have time to do that, some people will do the digging for you.
Someone like Dora Moutot, for example. Her trend forecasting website called La Gazette Du’ Mauvais’ Gout, “the newspaper of bad taste”—it’s a play on France’s first fashion mag, Gazette du Bon Ton—is a convenient catalog of all of the ahead of the game freaks.
VICE: Why devote your existence to bad taste?
Dora Moutot: I started La Gazette Du’ Mauvais’ Gout about three years ago, first as a blog, before starting the current site. I’ve always been a huge geek.
During my Myspace period, I was totally obsessed by internet trends and saved an incredible amount of images on my computer.
I had the most ridiculous scenester pictures and the the most teenage and tacky of styles in 2005.
I’ve always been super-excited by tacky and kitschy stuff, so one sleepless night, I decided that if I was spending so much time online, I might as well share my finds.
How do you work out what’s going to go on your site?
I don’t really. I just surf the web, look at blogs and Tumblrs, and read my friends’ Facebook status updates, and it comes to me. I’m a very dedicated person. I Google absolutely everything.
At some point by doing this, you end up on weird Yahoo forums, on 4chan, and you’re being swallowed by the “hole” of the internet. Another way is just to type in anything that crosses your mind.
For example, I can be like, “Oh, what about… a unicorn horn as a dildo?” If you look hard enough, you’ll find out that some people on Second Life love to have sex with unicorns and there are Second Life shops where you can get a sexual unicorn, etc—the internet is really awesome.
Unicorn sex is fashionable now, then?
If anyone spends time on Tumblr, they will quickly see that unicorns are popular. Jeremy Scott’s AW12 show featured a unicorn dress, and iridescent fabrics were all over the catwalk; Sonya Rykiel is designing sex toys, so yes, unicorns are fashionable.
And sex and fashion are cousins. If a small amount of people want to have sex with unicorns on Second Life, even if it’s a micro-online trend, it’s worth knowing.
It’s something that the sex toy industry should know. A super-girly unicorn dildo would get a lot of press. It would be in every magazine aimed at young women.
The internet is a gigantic source of inspiration for commercial ideas and Second Life is an amazing place to discover hidden human fantasies. I wish Second Life Trend Forecaster was a job I could apply for.
Extreme black hair.
Ha ha. What makes a bad taste thing turn into something cool?
It’s all about timing. Absolutely anything once considered ugly has the power to come back and be cool again.
The question is, when is it right to bring it back? I have friends working in big fashion houses, such as Kenzo and Dior, whose job it is to look for weird and outdated pieces of clothing on eBay to inspire their new collections.
Yet, the fashion media have such a hard a time understanding the intimate love and hate relationship between bad and good taste.
Some designers create collections inspired by bad taste in order to make them good taste. Jeremy Scott is obviously good at doing that. And some designers think they’re doing something good, but don’t succeed, like Ed Hardy, for example.
It is BAD, bad taste now. I wouldn’t post on my website. But, it will probably be cool in a few years. Although, it probably has to be forgotten to become “cool”. Ed Hardy has never been forgotten, it’s here and it doesn’t want to disappear.
But future hipsters will feel super-blessed if they find an Ed Hardy t-shirt in a thrift store.
London tribes-themed Nick Knight shoot from a 1986 issue of The Face.
Everyone says that anything super-wrong is likely to be right again. But what exactly is more likely to come back and why?
I don’t have a theory on why things are coming back. Fashion is not mathematics. If it were as predictable as that, it would be pretty boring. Fashion is in the air, it’s related to the collective subconscious, and it’s about collective nostalgia.
I also believe that right now trends are totally linked to internet-enabled sharing of old and forgotten images online. “Forgotten” and “new” are two very close adjectives in the fashion world.
I also think that people feel always more excited by something they didn’t experience. Right now, 15-year-old kids are really into 90s style. It’s nostalgia for something they didn’t even experience.
Suppose you see a picture of Gwen Stefani for the first time, of course. In that case, you will get more excited by her style than Rihanna’s because Gwen was pretty much as famous and mainstream as Rhianna back in the mid-90s, but because she isn’t ‘now,’, she’s more exotic, and exotic is always good.
LOVE magazine’s After Taste issue.
Are all unfashionable things doomed to become cool again? Is it a never-ending cycle?
It’s never-ending. A few years ago, people were like, “Eww. Buffalos? Disgusting!” Now you can buy them at the Office. It happens because people are simply bored.
Picking stuff up from unfashionable subcultures and groups is easy and suddenly looks new and fresh. Right now, people are using a lot of traditional Indian accessories.
I don’t think that stuff came back because of a sudden interest in Indian culture, but because people started to share old pictures of 90s pop stars online, like Gwen Stefani, Madonna, and Björk who were wearing bindis.
So the bindi first became popular online, then people started taking the next step and wearing Indian nose rings, Indian head jewelery, and henna tattoos, or styling shoots and designing with this look in mind.
People will get sick of Indian accessories sooner than later, and from what I can see online, are really getting into the super-long nails, wigs, and fluorescent furs from the tacky side of ghetto culture.
What’s next going to be the height of good taste then?
It’s probably more bad taste than good bad taste right now, but all these things are on their way back—early 2000s Christina Aguilera style and Nike Air Max sneakers, belly piercings, tribal tattoos, faux denim spandex fabric, XXL baggy jeans, long denim skirts, big skate shoes, and Lacoste tracksuits.
Written by Thais Mendes