Friday, August 28, 2009

Calculated Whimsy


Calculated whimsy is not my bag, to borrow a phrase from one of Meghan Daum’s fine essays in My Misspent Youth.

Literary name-dropping aside, whimsy loses its je ne sais quois when contrived; indeed, it can verge on the clownish.

Take this sequined cardigan by Kate Spade, for example. Styled differently, with a pair of dark jeans, perhaps a white fitted tee, and an attractively scowling model in front of a graffiti-print building, I’d give it a second and a third look. (Maybe with a different belt, though.)


However, on the Kate Spade website (above), worn by a boop-a-doop model lookalike of Deborah Lloyd, KS’s creative director (below), the cardi becomes too cartoonish for me.



And oh--Nordstrom's tried styling it too, with different, but still ineffective results:




Kate Spade used to have a more understated whimsy in her ad campaigns—remember Visiting Tennessee?—and it would be good to see that return.


Until then, Kate Spade won’t be my bag either . . .

6 comments:

materfamilias said...

I'm a fan of whimsy, but it has to be organic or natural somehow -- I would never have realized it was "calculated whimsy" that bothered me, but I think you've nailed it. I wonder, is it a fine line? Am I sometimes guilty when I hope I'm not? Hmmmm. . .

Belle de Ville said...

I'm not a fan of the new direction that the Kate Spade company has pursued with their new creative director.
Please Kate, come back from retirement!

WendyB said...

I feel like I could wear that piece despite the pictures.

Eliza Higgins said...
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Lizadoolit said...
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hmstrjam said...

Trying to be cute isn't, couldn't agree more!