Updated: Oct 23, 2019
We are living in a time where in fashion, the possible has been turned into a consumerism of disable products. How is the desire built on one's mind?
Supermodels concept created by the end of the last century have opened the 90's area with this famous quote from Linda Evangelista "We have this saying, Christy and I.... we don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day,"
Today we talk about influencers, yesterday was publicity and a century ago an idle privileged social class. Many have portrayed influencers as a group of lazy people expecting free goods in exchange for some publicity on Instagram. Working very little and earning quite a lot. Faking its own life and its own taste.
From social class to social media. Puns apart, we seem to be driven by a mimetic desire, or better say a triangular desire. Something we got introduced by a third party working as a reference. A construction between one and its desire. Construction on one's construction. We don't all desire the same. Remember in Vertigo Hitchcock's picture, when Scotty suddenly realized at the end of the movie, that turning Judith into Madeleine wouldn't be Madeleine anyway? Making a "bad" copy of the one once made by his friend. This way we understand that this triangle is not to desire his friend's wife or mistress, but the possessed Madeleine: the character built by his friend. A Madeleine who is acting as she was possessed by a dead ancestor. Two ghosts in one woman who brings Scotty towards impossible love. A distant, iced woman, well described by feminist author Tania Modleski as a typical gothic cinema character. Just as in Rebecca, another Hitchcock picture. You never see Rebecca, but you know her as well as you would have. She became at some point the camera itself in the cottage house when Maxime de Winter tells about her last night.
Once the reality is here, possibilities disappear. Virtuality says once Bergson is the promise of the possible. Once we possess the desired product, what happens to our own mental construction of this desire, its ghost? Can we accept it as being real? Shall we act like the new Mrs. de Winter in Maxim's ancestor dress, trying to wipe off Rebecca's identification, or shall we "fall" as Scotty in Vertigo and not allow ourself to mourn the virtuality or our desire?
Hitchcock's movies are well known for mixing identity and scepticism, up to a point that some characters would wonder about their own reality.
I think the fast fashion industry and the trends making are surviving nowadays, as mourn has no time nor space in our modern societies. Identification is kept on a constant movement. We never know where it will come from. Just like in Rebecca, her ghost appearing anytime in the movie together with the characters who can't mourn their construction of her.
Nowadays Supermodels are young girls suspected of plastic surgery. Coming from powerful rich families in the United States, which suggest that they are not professional nor good enough. But they rise sales.
LHMV group ex-president Bernard Arnault who has participated on moving luxury to goods for consumerism once said that bad publicity doesn't matter as long that it is on the first page. Luxury has then follow a way of production closer to the fast fashion industry.
We have lost the idea of who literally made our clothes: our mother, grand-mothers, a local dressmaker or nuns (like for Rebecca's undergarments). Dressing up has moved towards consumption of clothes made by a famous designer, or imitating them, or as long as a third party would bring them to the first page.
"She was beaten at the end, but it wasn't a man, it wasn't a woman, it was just the sea," says Mrs Danvers about Rebecca's personality and death.
Rebecca's character was first imagined by Hollywood producer Selznick as a new Scarlett O'Hara. We see now both characters as the modern woman, challenging through hypocrisy a patriarchal world that was also facing changes.
Manderley burning made Rebecca's movie as a visionary scene on what will happen a few years after its release on screens: WWII putting a term on privileged social class living on rentals and characterized by idleness. Has then this class as the phoenix come to birth again from its ashes into our imaginary through the invention of famous influencers?
Nature and its materiality, a return to reality, as a gun in original Daphne du Maurier Rebecca's novel, or cancer on Selznick's version of Hitchcock's script.
In the identity triangle-shaped with Rebecca, Mrs Danvers and the new Mrs de Winter, this last character seems to be the only one to feel all the 4th elements of nature, without dying. Water that soaked her, Earth through sand and rocks she climbs to finally discover the sea cottage, Air through the wind that freezes her, and Fire she escapes, unlike Mrs Danvers.