Abbey Yawn: Avril Lavigne’s Reflection on Celebrity Narcissism
Last night, I inexplicably found myself sitting four rows from a catwalk at the Metropolitan Pavilion, where a collection of models showcased some clothes that were purportedly designed by a fading pop singer. Fine. I was actually a little thrilled to be attending a Fashion Week event thereby earning a modicum of relevance for the week, no matter how insignificant in the grand scheme of things. My plus one, on the other hand, was thrilled to collect the free vinyl Elle Jewelry tote they were handing out at the end. Nevertheless, there we were, watching a parade of the latest finery from “Abbey Dawn by Avril Lavigne” set to the tune of a half-dozen of Lavigne’s greatest hits, when I decided that going the way of Van Gogh would be too easy, and that somewhere in this messy facsimile of vintage punk couture, was essentially Lavigne’s greatest hits package, all premised in indulgent histrionics.
As we’ve learned, greatest hits compilations can be a bit of a bother. A pop star has to sit down and figure out that of all the shit she’s recorded, what can she actually listen to straight-faced? Sometimes the process involves lumbering back into the recording studio, where she may half-assedly sing a few hooks, refrains, maybe a middle-8. And then as she sips on some Tanqueray, a producer will spin that into radio-ready fare, and voila! You have the obligatory “bonus track.”
So this fashion idea is something of a genius pursuit for Lavigne, who finds none of her songs aging particularly well. A fashion project which probably finds her just sketching some things and other people actually executing the design, while small children in third-world countries stitch the pieces together, makes sense. Minimal labor for maximum pay-off. She may never have to sing a tune again.
But if only it were that solid. At the runway show, the models were all groomed after Lavigne, from their flat-ironed ‘dos to their flimsy gaits. None of that helped when they showed off such garb as “Crossbones tee with pink/black suspenders & Living Doll shorty-shorts” or the “Doodle Jean.” But as with her music, it makes sense that Lavigne would stamp her name on the hard work of people who already created and propagated a sub-culture whose commodity lied in appropriation.
And even if the clothes kind of sucked, there was something bittersweet and reassuring about seeing Lavigne sashay down the runway upon the show’s conclusion in a tutu and promptly disappear before anyone, unaware of her new blonde ‘do, could remark, “Was that Heidi Montag?”