Thursday, 26 March 2009

F Words

My favourite part of Inside the Actor's Studio is when James Lipton pulls out the Proust questionnaire and asks his celebrity guest: "What's your favourite curse word?" Mine would be motherfucker. It's polysyllabic, emphatic and achieves that delicious mixture of profanity, vulgarity and deep, personal insult. I just wanna pour it into a greased 8-inch pan and stick it in a 475-degree pre-heated oven until the whole house is full of its acrid sentiment. But that's not what this post is about.

When I talk about "F Words" — and usually I'm rolling my eyes while doing my best Billy Idol sneer — I mean fashion words. Those obnoxious adjectives and glib turns of phrase that have been so overused that, well, to borrow a stale joke from my schoolyard days, my grandmother farts dust. These are the words that are so often turned against those of us who work in the fashion industry and thrown back in our faces. It's fodder for the ridiculous which is, sadly, perpetuated by ridiculous fashion characters themselves. But we all suffer in the end. Herewith, a list of my most hated F Words:

—also, Fab, Fabu
I cannot stress enough how much this word drives me crazy. Everytime I hear or read it I automatically think of a screaming queen wearing head-to-toe fuchsia and a sequinned turban backstage at a fashion show where the fall collection is awash in shoulder pads and feathers. (I may have just described the behind the scenes at a Heatherette show, but I can't be certain as I've never been backstage at Heatherette.) Or worse, it reminds me of Sex and the City. Also, if I see one more magazine coverline claiming the season's new looks to be FAB! I'm gonna...oh, I'm gonna...oh...well I don't know what I'm going to do, but it won't be pretty for anyone standing around me at that moment.

[Fill-in-the-blank] Is The New Black
Know what the new black is? Nothing! Nothing is the new black because black is always black. Just like red is always red, green is always green and chartreuse is a colour that looks good on NO ONE. So don't you dare ever tell me that chartreuse is the new black. Because that's bound to make me all kinds of angry.

It's All About [Blank] This Season
This phrase is especially laughable today because as anyone who follows fashion knows, it's never, ever, about one thing. It used to be. Twenty years ago designers across the board would draw from the same muse. If, for example, that muse was the Far East, almost all the collections on the runway would use chinoiserie in one form or another. In which case, yes, it was all about Mao. But today, when seasonal must-have lists have gone from "Top 5" to "Top 25", it's pretty clear that muses are a dime a dozen. So I'd really appreciate it if glibby fashion reporters would cool it with the "it's all about" business. The only thing it's all about these days is a 90% off sale.

—also, Stylista, Beautista, Bargainista, Frugalista
Bascially, any English language word with ista as its root makes me want to put on a tuxedo jacket, red sweatpants and topsiders and have lunch at 4 Times Square. What can I say? I'm passive aggressive sometimes.

Are there any F Words that drive you nuts? If so, please post a comment. Because if bittery enjoys company, I'm gonna be your new best friend!


  1. I'm as guilty as any other writer for using "red carpet" as a phrase to encourage the choice of an accessory or lipstick shade, but this useless F phrase has got to go. What does it mean? That some random person with a point and click will snap your photo? More than likely you'll end up in Glamour Don'ts...

  2. You know, I feel like I'd be able to contribute a lot more to this comment if I had a copy of Grazia handy. But the fashion writing in that magazine used to make me all kinds of crazy. What was that one word they used all the time that drove us nuts? I'm blanking...

  3. oh yeah, it's when they would say things like "fash week". argh! i wanted to get into that in this post, but i thought if i started bringing up all those annoying journalistic britishisms this would've turned into a book chapter

  4. haha marili you're hilarious!
    I heard recessionista the other day... *BARF*