Fat People, the Hottest Thing Happening
Beth Ditto, diva and lead singer of Gossip (formerly the Gossip) **photo by Gavin Doyle
Karl Lagerfeld wasn’t joking when he told an interviewer at Prestige Magazine, “Let’s talk about the fat ones, shall we?” Fashion secretly dreams of fat ones. The evidence officially came in when designer Karl Lagerfeld asked Beth Ditto of Gossip to headline his party last Spring in Paris. Here’s a man who, chubby for most of his adult life, wrote a diet book and admitted that his inspiration rested in fitting into a Hedi Slimane Dior Homme suit. He’s recommended eating an egg a day, basta! with copious amounts of Diet Coke.
But on the shadow side of fashion’s obsession with skinny rests an alter ego that wants to sit on a couch, scarf down pizza and donuts and say, “Screw it!” Fat is the ultimate taboo. What better voyeuristic joy ride than to watch a possibly 300 pound gal belt out her emotions like the best blues singer on the planet all while shaking her jello like folds? Thus, when Gossip hit NYC a few weeks ago, fashionistas rallied.
Even with the debut of the movie Precious, backed in part by Oprah Winfrey and based on Push — a viscerally numbing book by Sapphire — the heroine, Precious Jones, an obese girl raped and impregnated (twice) by her father, steals the show. I did not see the movie, which took three Sundance Awards and has already generated serious Oscar buzz, but I did hear a reading of parts of the remarkable novel by the author Sapphire, a Nuyorican poet. I ingested those gut gripping words over three years ago, the saga of Precious, at the PS122 space in the East Village. But this larger than life actress, Gabourey Sidibe, who plays Precious on-screen, has also set a new standard for intriguing.
Call me crazy if you’d like, but I think those of us obsessed with fashion and images of skinny perfection all possess a darker side that wants to let it all go. The big gals who perform, do it with a bravado that insecure people obsessed with trends would never allow themselves to do. Therein lies the seduction. You can’t help but watch.
**For a serious look at the film Precious: watch?v=rx-3jYJkUWQ
**Read the book. Push by Sapphire (Knopf) Support independent actors, artists, and dancers; be entertained www.PS122.org