Friday, February 17, 2006

America's Next Top Model

Every few years the fashion industry decides to trumpet one of its own models as a superhero of contemporary culture, hence the term, supermodel. From the Amazonian likes of Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell to the Brazilian beauty of Gisele Bundchen, these girls are the faces and bodies of each generation. They represent all that is right with society. Why bother looking at the damage bird flu has incurred when you can watch Heidi strut her stuff wearing much healthier looking wings? These girls are our only hope. And now the fashion gods have anointed the next savior…. Daria Werbowy?

The name doesn’t exactly roll off your tongue. The problem with Daria, as far as supermodels are concerned, is that she has no personality. Cindy is the American icon. Gisele is the Brazilian bombshell. Naomi is the bitch. But who is Daria? From Vogue to GQ, Daria has been hailed as epitome of glamour, fashion and sexiness. Sure she’s stunning, sure she can sell perfume but what happened to models with kick-ass personalities and less than riveting movie roles (Fair Game, Taxi anyone?) I don’t exactly see Daria starring in the new Vaughn/Wilson romantic comedy. But if Anna Wintour says it, so it shall be.

Daria’s look perfectly embodies what fashion is about right now- soft colors, sophisticated lines and a muted elegance. Perhaps she is an averse reaction to our current obsession with gross reality from the Kate Moss debaucle to Jessica Simpson’s sexcapades. Perhaps she is an indication of where our culture is headed. Namely, an anonymous, shy, private culture where crass extroverted behavior (read: Taradise) is scorned rather than championed. Could it be?

Final Word: We may never tire from the obscenity of reality tv and gossip rags but at least fashion has provided us with enough escapism to make the world beautiful again - and in that sense Daria is a superhero in every sense.

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