Fashion Week: Why don’t fashion models smile?

Fashion Week: Why don’t fashion models smile?

 R U JOKING, GRANDAD BLOG  26th September 2017

 We are currently at the height of the Fashion Week season:

NEW YORK FASHION WEEK (WOMEN’S) September 7 – 14, 2017

LONDON FASHION WEEK September 15 – 19, 2017

MILAN FASHION WEEK (WOMEN’S) September 20 – 26, 2017

PARIS FASHION WEEK (WOMEN’S) September 26 – October 3, 2017

You probably wouldn’t expect it of me but I do find the Fashion Week season quite exciting and no I’m not in to cross dressing.

I love the creativity, the air of anticipation and the excited hussle and bussle. Also having a wife and two daughters and now a granddaughter who love cutting edge fashion, I get left out and left behind if I don’t take an interest.

But one thing really gets me and always has “Why don’t fashion models ever smile on the catwalk?”

If you put in a search engine: “Why don’t fashion models ever smile?” you get about 46,300,000 results (in 0.83 seconds) on Google or if you look on Bing a more modest 426,000 results which demonstrates the enormity of the problem that obviously bothers a lot of people, so much so that should questions be asked in parliament about it?

But if you look at the responses it is clear no one knows the answer.

It is a question that continues to vex sociologists, psychologists and historians around the world.

Some argue that if you turned the faces of models the other way up then they would seem to be smiling; from this evidence, it has been suggested most models are simply trying to appeal to an audience in the Southern Hemisphere.

Others claim that the reason models never smile on the catwalk is that they have only recently checked in the mirror to see what they are wearing.

Is it the models who are to blame for their grim, unsmiling expressions or the fashion designers?

There are those who maintain that top designers force models to drink a glass of vinegar before stepping on to the catwalk, so as to create a filmy, soft-focus vapour around them.

Someone suggested the reason is actually rooted in psychology.

Smiling in primates – and often in humans – is a sign of appeasement. It’s saying “I’m very happy with what you’re doing.” Because of that, smiling when there is little reason to smile can be seen as a sign of compliance. It is thus a sign of low status.

In other words, fashion models don’t smile because it makes them seem lower in status.

That’s exactly how they don’t want to appear. They want to project an image of being high status. They want you to think “I want to be that girl. I want to have the status she has. Maybe if I buy the clothes or makeup she has on I’ll have her status too.” (IMPORTANT NOTE: I do not think that in any way: I think what a miserable spoilt bitch you look.)

Another view is that it also conveys the self-control, stiff upper lip and nonchalance of the European upper classes—“civilized” qualities which the “jolly old working classes” in those days supposedly found hard to convey.

To be emotionally controlled also suggests elevation above earthly concerns, access to higher knowledge and—in the modern world—an ability to be “unshakeable.” This is even more impressive in what theorist Erving Goffman called “ fateful situations”—situations in which you or your dignity and composure are at greater than average risk.


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