Thursday, April 27, 2006
Gwen Stefani, You Like-uh Me!
Okay. I loved her catchy dance album for about three months. Three months of drunken-dance party-debauchery. Three months of Gwen singing about how crazy her bananas were and how much she wanted Johnny to "drive into me" at the "drive in movie."
I thought her collaboration with LeSportsac was too umm...I don't know, "I wish I was Takashi Murakami" but still pretty cool, and I even forgave her all over the place LAMB collection actually designed by Zaldy that was terribly unfocused and shakily executed. (It looked like three fashion shows at once. Not one, not two, but THREE fashion shows.)
And then I started to see through the cuteness of bright, jumbled colors and dancing Asian girls to realize that somewhere along the line...The Pregnant Blonde had gone too far. The wheels of distaste started to turn when I read up on her latest accessories venture, "Harajuku Lovers." Again, more Imitation-Japanese cutesy artwork, with blatant references to her only solo album. Nothing new, but definitely tackier, which is what bothered me. I decided to do a little investigative reporting to see if there was a legit explanation for the success of her bad taste.
The real Harajuku girls loathe Stefani and her stylploitation of their image. Numerous reports in the actual Harajuku shopping district in Japan bring back the same results. The Fruitsy dressers hate what she is commercializing, and scoff at her attempts to built a fan base in Japan, which has so far proven embarrassingly unsuccessful.
And then I read up on her actual Harajuku Girls. You know who they are, the sweetfaced Asians who work out, mop the deck, and bow, yes BOW to La Stefani in her funkytronic pop videos. Apparently, none of the girls are ACTUALLY JAPANESE. They are American born Chinese...and I think one of them might be an American born Korean. And unsurprisingly, each are under a CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT to keep their English speaking mouths closed at public events. Enough unsaid.
And as much as I want to hate on Gwen for this, and selling her body, soul, and image to the world, I can't. Because if the Faux Harajuku girls all picked up camp and moved on, who would replace them? More white girls? Or worse, Faux Blatinas?
In the end, the customer decides. And as much as Gwen is photographed in her own line, toting her obnoxious accessories around the world, you know she does all her shopping at Vivienne Westwood in Paris, where she can stop at Christian Dior's boutique around the arrondissement; A world away from the real Harajuku....