April 13, 2014

On Sundays, I do a quick scan of major publications and blogs to see what the media feels are the major stories of the week and how they're framed. Most of the time, I'm looking for stories on politics and issues of the day.

But this morning, this little blurb on the NY Times site caught my attention. Matthew Mellon, scion of the Mellon and Drexel financial families, ex-husband to Jimmy Choo shoe magnate Tamara Mellon, and tasteful art collector ("The walls [..] are lined with paintings by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Peter Beard and, Mr. Mellon said, “Taylor Swift.” “You mean Sam Taylor-Wood,” Ms. Hanley Mellon said.") is launching a new clothing line with his second wife, Nicole Hanley Mellon.

Their first move was to create a website, so that the Mellon lifestyle-as-branding was clear:

The couple started slowly with hanleymellon.com, a lifestyle website that has fashion articles (“For Nicer Weather Days” features a Balenciaga bag, $1,485, and Mulberry coat, $3,000), posts on the perfect crop top featuring portraits of Ms. Hanley Mellon, and collages of images they find inspiring.

The Hanley Mellon line will have 10 pieces of clothing, including a coat and blouses meant to be wardrobe staples for a jet-set life, priced from $250 to $2,000.

It's a little like Gwyneth Paltrow's $90 for a basic white t-shirt on her lifestyle blog. Who are these people? I fully admit to living a privileged life, but there are about 10,000 ways I think I could spend my money in a more meaningful way than throwing away $1,500 for a purse. But if that tone-deaf privilege in a world where one in five American children suffers from food insecurity isn't enough, Ms. Hanley Mellon imagines the inspiration for the future of her line:

“I’ve never been to Africa, but I feel like I have this deep affinity for it,” Ms. Hanley Mellon said. “I’ve read every Hemingway, we collect Peter Beard, I’ve watched ‘Out of Africa.’ It touches your soul to visit and smell the smells, and you can’t recreate the experience without immersing yourself.”

Of course, being mobile has many connotations in the age of new media, which Mr. Mellon feels ambivalent about. “In the old days you’d have to travel to India or China for inspiration, and these days you’ve just got Pinterest boards and you can create looks from home,” he said.

So, you see, they don't need to travel to Africa (which is exactly like it is depicted in Out of Africa, and not a place of unrest, exploited populations, famine, depleting resources and warlords, donchaknow?) to immerse yourself in the region. You just go to Pinterest.

And then drop a couple grand on an "authentic" safari blouse.

Ahhh...the taste of privilege in the morning....

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.