Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

The title of this little piece is not in reference to "Fractured Fairy Tales" from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show... althought that shit rocked back in the day. No, this week week I'm blogging about the hair-raising machinations wrought by Chris Marsh on the penultimate episode of Project Runway. PR is one of my all-time favorite shows and I regularly race home from my West African dance class on Wednesday nights to watch Heidi, Tim, Nina Garcia and the rest of the gang duke it out at Mood Fabrics, late nights in the sewing room and of course, on the runway.

Last week's episode featured a faceoff between jersey-fabric drapery god Rami Kashou and drag queen cum Edith Head wannabe Chris Marsh for the coveted third spot at Fashion Week and therefore a chance to win the big prize. Both designers expertly pushed themselves to their design limits to create mini-collections for the judges. Chris also pushed the envelope of good taste with his use of human hair to trim his garments.

Yeah - in case you're a little shocked - he trimmed his garments in human hair.

He lost, and it certainly begs the question, "was this the ultimate bad hair day?" Let me state for the record that I do find the use of human hair in lieu of synthetic animal fur a little on the creepy side, but since Wednesday I've been wondering, why?

I don't bat an eyelash at wearing wool jackets or sweaters or leather shoes; and plenty of people wear fur and silk, other animal-based fabrics. Some of those sartorial creations require the death of an innocent animal - and this just hair! The human who donated the hair was not likely fed an odd diet, or kept in physically restraining cages in order to make his/her hair grow better. So why should we find wearing it repugnant?

Now, I know (and faithful readers will well remember) my previous post on the wearing of wigs, natural or synthetic, and I'm setting those aside for this conversation. Today, we're just focusing on hair used as ornamentation on garments and trying to determine what about it creeps us out so much. Can we not disassociate from Buffalo Bill? Are we afraid of accidentally wearing our friends? Is this some long-buried fear of the hairstylist come to life?

The creep factor seems to bridge gender and age barriers and nonetheless fascinates me. While I don't think I'll be racing out to buy a Chris March original with chestnut brown trim any time soon, it will certainly make me think twice when I get my next hair cut. If it's just going to go in the trash - why not reuse it and be en vogue at the same time?!

1 comment:

Jenny said...

I think it feels to0 close to making an outfit out of skin a la "Silence of the Lambs." But I totally hear your ambivalence and was shocked that the judges took it as well as they did. Sad to see him go...