Wham, Pam, no thank you ma'am

BY ROSEMARY MCLEOD
Last updated 08:35 01/10/2009

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Rosemary McLeod

Placenta-eating not for this mammal Then and now - teens are still misunderstood Purge as Henry burns in fire of public odium We all have our dark sides, including Superman The symmetry of emotional and financial fraud Porn hoarder far worse than contrite Brooke A life less ordinary and much less pleasant At last, a reason to be merry this Christmas You can tell a lot just by looking at Paul Henry The confusing signals teens must decipher

OPINION: There are A-list people and B-list people, and then there's the rest of the alphabet to slide down, to grade how groovy and important you're not.

But you'd have to go through the alphabet several times - and throw in every Chinese character as well - to get down to Pamela Anderson and Richie Rich. They'd be the guests of desperation for most people's dinner party from hell.

Who asked them to Fashion Week, can anybody beg to be guests of honour, and is any publicity really such good publicity?

Only in New Zealand, surely, could anyone think that a 42- year-old woman with Botoxed lips and penciled eyebrows, a woman who toddles about in public in a tablecloth and a pink thong, could be a fashion person.

Fashion, of course, can mean many things to all people, and trashy often seems to pass for edgy in desperate times. It was once the prerogative of the rich and sophisticated, people of taste, and such bores. But now anyone who stars in their own pornographic DVD has instant cachet and will become somebody's creative muse.

Fashion used to trickle down to the streets from on high, but now trickles upwards from the footpath. It has been equalised. But mysteriously, it still costs the national debt to be togged out in it - so why invite somebody who typically wears an eighth of a metre of fabric, with an eye patch on her pudenda, to represent it?

Anderson recently modeled for Vivienne Westwood, no bargain-bin designer even in her punk days. One of Anderson's breasts accidentally-on-purpose fell out of her garment then, much as her body accidentally- on-purpose kept threatening to fall out of her tablecloth here. It may be a co-ordination thing. Or maybe breasts, in the world of size 0 models and flat chests, are considered such a rarity now that actually seeing them causes people to gasp and faint. Otherwise what could possibly be the point of such a strange performance?

Rich, formerly co-owner of the defunct American Heatherette label, has also used drag queens, Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton as catwalk models, but what they have to do with serious people fashionistas have yet to explain.

What puzzles me is that many designers and makers here work hard to get themselves to Fashion Week and strut their stuff, imagining that it matters. They deal with - oh, boring things like cut, and fabric, and finish, and creativity. Most of them are probably poorly rewarded: this country is a small market, and those who break out of it into the world of real money - America, Europe - are great achievers.

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We justly make a fuss of successes like Trelise Cooper, the Zambesi label, World and Karen Walker because we know what they've had to overcome.

So I wonder how delighted they were in private about Anderson becoming the whole point of Fashion Week, the chief focus of media attention, as she inevitably was.

If the point was that fashion is frivolous, irrelevant and daft, the traditional bigot's perspective, the point was convincingly made. If the purpose was to put gently reared young people off joining the rag trade, it will have been a success.

That is why, I guess, Anderson advertises that she loves possums and all furry beings, and the garments she helps to sell will be ecologically taint-free. Fashion is worth so much money that it has to at least seem relevant, and green is relevant even in that chuck-it-away-it's-so-last- year business.

It's an odd alliance, adoring decadence on one hand, and Having A Conscience About the Environment on the other, and a strange sales pitch coming from a woman who's content to present herself as an accessory to a pair of breasts that compete with her for attention.

The good side of it was our own half-naked Nicky Watson, looking all class by comparison.

She proved that if you must have implants, the least you can do is make sure they're house- trained.

- The Dominion Post

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