Fashion loves ugly. Miuccia Prada, for example, likes to take things that aren't conventionally attractive and make them beautiful. "I don’t like things that are obvious. Just beauty by itself is too easy," she has said. Marc Jacobs, too, echoes, "I love imperfection." So Snooki is a natural fascination for the industry. But after doing a high-fashion shoot in Harper's Bazaar with her female Jersey Shore co-stars, it seemed unlikely that anyone else in the industry would consider her seriously. Yet a headline in today's WWD screams: "Reality Rehab: Snooki Style." And Cathy Horyn wrote a long article dissecting Snooki's appeal for the weekend Times.
WWD's story highlighted a laundry list of garishly dressed reality stars, including Snooki, some Real Housewives, and The City's Roxy Olin; pointed out the ways in which they dressed badly; and recommended designers and runway looks for them to wear. (For Snooki, they suggested Proenza Schouler.) But Horyn, who is apparently totally obsessed with Snooki, goes deeper. Much, much deeper.
That Snooki is not conventionally attractive — “A spray-painted Chihuahua,” Mike (The Situation) said when he first saw her — has a lot to do with why she is the breakout member of the cast. She is busty and short-waisted with small legs; sort of like a turnip turned on its tip. There is the weird tan, but the pièce de résistance of Snookiness is the half-doughnut-shaped pouf on top of her head.
... Snooki has a way of putting herself together that while in some ways is atrocious, is completely identifiable to her and consistent with her attention-seeking personality. She wears short, clingy dresses in a pattern or with some metallic trim, huge enameled or bejeweled hoop earrings and glittery high heels.
Lots of 22-year-old women wear revealing clothes, but they may not have her body shape, and it’s a safe bet they’re not rocking a pouf. Though that may change when a line of Snooki hair products comes out. Anyway, the effect has been interesting. “If you were to draw a cartoon of her, you would know immediately who she is,” said Chris Linn, the executive vice president for pilots at MTV. “She’s an icon.”
Horyn seems to agree that she is an icon, since she reminds her of another icon:
The reason she makes me think of Elizabeth Taylor — quite apart from the unbridgeable divide of talent and beauty — is that photographs of Ms. Taylor in the 1960s, many of which recently ran in Vanity Fair, confirm a short, busty woman with high hair, big jewelry, garish taste in clothes and a complete indifference to the cyclonic effect that all that produced.
Elizabeth Taylor probably didn't deserve that. But perhaps these Jersey Shore kids are also best left in their parents' basements where they still dwell, rather than overanalyzed in papers as though to suggest they are — or could be — style icons. The greatest thing about Jersey Shore, as Marc Jacobs said, is that it's a "brain vacation." Snooki and the rest of the cast's style isn't much more interesting than flipping by Animal Planet and seeing baboons having sex. You'll stop and go, "Oh my God!," but then change the channel and not really think about it further.