travel v. fashion

It’s no secret I’m a huge Anthro fan, so when I saw that they shot their May catalogue in India, I was excited and intrigued.

(Images by Anthropologie)

And the clothes and scenery (electric blue bikini against what appears to be a Keralan backdrop – swoon!) didn’t disappoint, at least not on an aesthetic level. But I couldn’t shake the sense that there was something just kind of ….off…about the whole thing. Something that left me disconcerted every single time I came back to the images.  Maybe it has to do with the models’ use of eye contact, or that shot of the girl riding on the back of the Indian boy’s bike or the fact that I saw that country (parts of it at least) up close and personal and it didn’t feel at all like a photo shoot in a magazine. I know that’s the way it always goes, but in this instance there was just something especially patronizing and irreverent about the discrepancy between reality and art. I don’t begrudge them for shooting there, and I understand that an exhausted, petrified me sitting in a rickshaw next to a guy with a rifle probably wouldn’t have gotten many people to buy the Anthro top I was wearing at the time, but the bottom line is I came away from the catalogue feeling rather icky, when I expected to feel warm and semi-nostalgic and ready to drop some cash on a dress or two.

I guess that’s the whole point of travel, though, right? — it makes you look at things, like the Spring lineup from your favorite store, thoroughly grounded in the first world, with fresh eyes. Which is why I’m continuing to resist the urge to bail on Ecuador. Plus, Anthro is now showing a “Galapagos” collection. And someone has to see how it compares to the real thing.


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