Fashion’s Body Shop: Cars, Clothes and Bodies



Ferrari’s runway debut, Victoria's Secret’s new collective and a Y2K fashion thriller—a list of engrossing fashion picks and TVOF reads.

In the driving seat of my exploratory weekly search for engaging news and views, I had fueled myself for Ferrari’s first fashion show. The branding itself, among the world’s top Formula One cars, Italian in breeding and origin, fast and fabulous, would have a wearable component to it, was tempting. I was cruising on a pre-show bias. The 52 looks, designed by Rocco Iannone, who was formerly with Dolce & Gabbana and Giorgio Armani were sent out in Maranello, Ferrari’s birthplace in Italy. Bias factored in, the clothes—most were unisex—had a stylish, boxy vibe around them. The proportions striking. I was most intrigued by the use of the colour red, splashed and dominating somewhere, little yet loud elsewhere, peeping up, skirting around, present all through. Not as dashing as an F1 red Ferrari car but fierce in a fun way. Sneakers by Puma and sunglasses by Ray-Ban—made the race runnable for all of us. It is modern, you will say, come on.

A glimpse from Ferrari's debut fashion show.

The word modern in fashion perplexes me. It became a louder echo last week as more than a few fashion reviewers assessing VS Collective by Victoria’s Secret (described by the brand as an ever growing group of accomplished women passionate about driving positive change) saw it as a “modern” direction. The brand’s angels, top league supermodels, with impossibly lissome and artistically enigmatic bodies were sent stilettoing into the sunset and the new dawn brought women (our Ms Muchest Priyanka Chopra Jonas included) with diverse bodies, different skin tones and ambitions beyond how sexy lingerie reveals and conceals their boobs and butt. They urge us to support change, positivity and the lives of women across the world. The VS collective fund for women’s cancers adds to this direction. I respond with a complex feeling. Lingerie brand. Modern direction. Diverse women. Angels uncaged to fly away. Women’s bodies. Cancers. It is a lot to connect. None of us may be mourning the departure of the misogyny that brought the angels to the ramp in the first place, but something feels lost here. Even though nobody says the lingerie will be qualitatively different or its sexy quotient will have been watered down. Which means the modernity is in the temper and intent of the brand? Right? What about the product? Why aren’t we talking about the colours and materials of Victoria’s Secret bras?

Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

Third and last on my engrossment list this week is Sara Gay Forden’s 20-year-old book The House of Gucci (Custom House, 2001), now out with a new epilogue. In the making as a motion picture soon, starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, the “sensational story of murder, madness, glamour and greed” by the former Milan bureau chief of WWD is unputdownable for those who love behind the scenes spins of fashion.

The House of Gucci.

From the TVOF story rollout of last week, I highly recommend Where is the Plus Sized Male Model. Opening up fashion’s “woke” circuitry doesn’t mean there is no odd cross-wiring that we could fix. If “modernity” essentially becomes about redirecting women’s bodies or the gaze that stalks them, we will have to call it something else.


Banner: Ferrari's first fashion helmed by creative director Rocco Iannone.

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