Eight Remarks on Style and Fashion

The ball, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

  1. The man without style is almost always fashionable, while the unfashionable man has, de facto, a measure of style.
  1. There is always fashion; there is not always style.
  1. Even decadence has its own style (Rococo architecture, Impressionistic painting, et cetera). Fashions, on the other hand, are morbidly ascendant.
  1. The (re)introduction of style into any field is bound to be interpreted as a criminal act, and will thus provoke the fashionable critique par excellence: it will be smilingly dismissed as ironic- or as something naive to be ignored entirely.
  1. Death is to style just as death is to life, an actuality and a drive- but fashion takes death within itself and lets it rot, hermetically sealed. This is the engine of fashion’s ever-changing changelessness. It is not courted, but bloated by death.
  1. Style is a mask. Fashion is the grotesque face that takes itself to be more real than any ‘mere’ mask. And the face of fashion contorts itself solely to prove its reality.
  1. Thinkers of style within style: Goethe, Spengler, Wittgenstein, Benjamin. Unfashionable theorists of fashion: Leopardi, Debord, Nietzsche, Gracian.
  1. Finally, one should not wonder at one’s ‘place’ with regard to style and fashion, precisely because they are not points on a continuum; they do not have the same conditions of sense, but look past each other completely.