The Abolition of Style
Fashion, as we know it today, was created at the Versailles court under Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King. His relentless aestheticism and narcissism (which more often than not spilled into debauchery), while contributing massively to destroying the Crown’s reputation and to preparing the sociocultural substrate that would then unleash the French Revolution, had nonetheless a very fine logic. Without going too much into detail into the Sun King’s implicit logic of inner political rule, it will suffice to say that the King despised but also feared the noblemen, and thus forced them to live at Versailles with him. One of the means he utilised to distract the nobles from fantasies of conspiracy and plotting was through the imposition of “court fashion”.
By imposing a certain meta-protocol of dress, he firmly established his own role as trend-setter, and the nobles’ own narcissism meant that their minds were completely subdued by the King.
Louis XIV hence invented fashion, and this invention was motivated by an aesthetical and hedonistic thirst, but it was also inherently political as well.
Now, I am certainly not suggesting that we should emulate the debauchery that took place in Versailles; however, to appreciate and re-evaluate the importance of fashion, we must frankly admit that it came to light in that era and thanks to that era. We have to recognise the importance of the conditions under which it came to be to adopt fashion today.
Fashion is an intrinsically reactionary element, one of the few that have survived the bloos baths of Jacobinism and liberalism well into the 20th century. The only other reactionary element of modern society that had survived Jacobinism that long were military aesthetics and rituals, which however have undeniably started to decline after the 1950’s.
Fashion alone was able to survive longer, and it has only been besieged by modernity relatively recently, with more serious efforts starting around the turn of the millennium.
Modern fashion (as in 3rd millennium fashion) has witnessed the offensive of proletarisation, with the invention of “urban style” and the de-stigmatisation of hip hop influences and other miscellaneous bestialities. Even though we are living in probably one of the best decades for old school style (nowadays it is perfectly acceptable to sport “fashy” haircuts and sober clothing), general fashion has been completely overtaken by the will to bring fashion to the masses – itself an abomination of a concept, as fashion as a concept was born imbued with a hierarchical spirit and carrying the seeds of reactionary aesthetics. Taking these facts into consideration, it is nothing short of heretical that nowadays the ghettoes and suburbs are the trend-setters to the average Joe, rather than having the hierarchies of old impose style on the few that come int ocontact with them.
I will from now on switch to using the term “style” to convey what I mean, as fashion is but one more of the battlefields of the currently ongoing metapolitical struggle, one where we are at more of an advantage than in others, but which is still not firmly under our control.
Style is first and foremost a form of violence. It is not physical violence, but it is the violent imposition of hierarchy against those who are present to observe it; Louis XIV was perfectly aware of this.
By dressing with style, one wields an incredible amount of psychological infuence on others, in the sense that it compels them to behave as if they were speaking to a hierarchically superior person. When style is faced with style, mutual respect and self-confidence are automatically increased in the parties involved; when style is faced with proletarian clothing, it is a sublime form of violence – it makes the other subconsciously (at times even consciously) uncomfortable, as it forces them to come to terms with their own miserable ignorance of aesthetics.
Style is a most compelling power, one that is incredibly hard to counter (which is why it is so fiercely under attack) – before style, ghetto-style bomber jackets appear more ridiculous than ever, dull hoodies suddenly reveal their inappropriateness outside of a gym, flashy synthetic footwear regresses to its inborn tackiness. There is no “trendy” piece of apparel that is not instantly vilified by a tailor’s greatcoat, by a classic pair of leather gloves, by a decent pair of chelsea boots.
Remember the saying “Never judge a book by its cover”? More preposterous words have never been uttered.
A person’s appearance and the way they present themselves plays no small part in the value they have as individuals, and ultimately in the power they have. Style is a form of uniform, and like all uniforms, it is an integral part of the function that justifies it.
Hence, Style does definitely empower the stylish person and does subdue individuals adopting plebeian fashion, but it also serves a very important role as function-reinforcing factor: just like a police officer or a soldier are almost unconceivable without their uniforms, so is no true gentleman or lady ultimately deserving of that title without the proper style.
The abolition of style is thus a necessary step towards the so-called “diversity of individuals”, in which rootless and malleable individuals are the only members of society left, and are thus unable to oppose the hyperconsumerist/materialist distopia our countries are turning into. In the era of ever-changing “fashion” requiring us to change our wardrobes entirely every 6 months, timeless style is a vehement means of identity-building and dignity.
Hence, fight for style and be stylish yourself.