CÉLINE “CHINATOWN” PLAID
It’s About Time I Reconciled With It
Growing up in the “dusky jewel” that we collectively know as Hong Kong, I was privy to this boxy woven plaid from ages eight to eighteen. It lived in my grandmother’s closet, filled with hand-knit itchy sweaters and moth balls. It lived on street carts, smeared with grime, carrying wafers of cardboard picked off the streets that were then sold for pennies. It waddled down sidewalks, weighing down poorer souls, stashed with their life’s worth — full to bursting.
I do not have an issue with Fashion’s rampant culture-sampling; it seems quite inevitable. Recycling and re-working is key to innovation. I know that some have found Fashion’s dilution or dissemination of cultural motifs and visual heritage as irreverent due to its stripped context and commercial falsity. I can get behind those ideas sometimes, though it wholly depends on the situation.
Mostly, I wonder whether the ignorance of the Céline shopper (I use Céline in particular because of Philo’s truest interpretation to the print — little was altered when translated to coats, skirts, etc.), regarding the history of this particular print and the low-class implications of the object it debuted on, adds to the value of the newly interpreted high-end piece…or hinders it. If you get the “joke” and the reference, would you value it more for its cheek? Wearing a print that felt low but was “elevated” — have we not seen this before?
Or does not knowing that this black, red and blue trio of check-patterns that once (and still) graces cheap polyester traveler’s bags allow the print to shine of its own aesthetic merit? Removed from its humble beginnings: the print is pixelated, graphic, minimalistic. It takes after historical European plaids but has a very clean, limited palette. The proportions work minimized or maximized — it is a great stand alone plaid.
So what say you, dear reader? Are you going to follow the lineage of this plaid and carry on its legacy a la Louis Vuitton, Céline, Zara, ASOS, and the like? Or does it stop here for you, as it does for me? I chuckle a little and move on. Though I do admit to feel a certain stirring for that woven leather beast of a clutch that ASOS put out, just within my reach…
Ph. Street Peeper, Fashion Magazine and Asos.