Today's post isn't as much about decor porn as it is about excessiveness, design abominations and the frivolity of tasteless wealth. I'm talking, of course, about the Millionaire Fair. In the spirit of overindulgence, I have invited one of our favorite bloggers, Raina, of If the Lampshade Fits, to join in the debauchery. After all, we all want more, more, MORE! Right?
Since 2002, the Millionaire Fair has presented "a fairytale for the affluent, a cornucopia for culinary fans and a feast of superlatives." (their words). I asked Raina what she thought of this and of the future of the fair: "Sadly, this fairy tale may end with a Grimm (ahem) case of affluenza, the symptoms being a shaky world economy, freezing credit, and painful portfolio shrinkage." Probably, Raina, probably. But we can still remember the good ole days, right? And it's hard to imagine that I might not be able to pack a bevy of basketball player's wives into my converted Porsche-Winnebago for a road trip to visit this little gem myself. The Lights! The Fashion! The Enter-tain-ment! I can't bear the thought of missing such sights:
Raina agrees: "Doesn't it all sound delicious?!? Like an unfettered fantasy romp through a Disney-fied "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." The reality of which may come closer to "The Real Housewives of Orange County," replete with fake tans, fake boobs and fake personal pedigrees, than to any dreamy vision of privilege and grandure. (When your Mistress of Ceremonies is Elizabeth Hurley, who would show up to the opening of an envelope for the right price, you're off to a roaring start.)
"I have to wonder if the different venues dictate different product mixes. Istanbul (sheiks and oilmen) would host a different type of swank than say Moscow (Peristoika-fed oligarchs) or Shanghai (Asian mafia). The video highlights include a runway show featuring Fendi fashions, more appropriate for Munich or Kortrijk, Belgium. Still photos show a very different and rather questionable mix of ensembles that are decidedly not haute couture (cough, Amsterdam, cough). Is the height of chic a cheap-looking geisha robe over jeans from the Monica Lewinsky for J Brand collection? With knee-high hose and payless pumps? I must have missed that memo. I'm not even going to comment on what looks like Sarah Palin's idea of Alaskan High Fashion."
After being assaulted by a myriad of poorly shot images from the fair (way to budget for a real photographer, Millionaires). I can't help but wonder if I'm over analyzing the entire event. Afterall, this appears to be just like an American auto show with ice sculptures replacing the rebel flags and Prada-and-skin-clad-girls with $400 dye-jobs replacing the spandex-and-skin-clad-girls with home perms.
Noting the dumbed up version of american ephemera, I show Raina a series of photos from the fair and ask for her comments. Like any aspiring apathetic millionaire, I know when to delegate:
Tiffany, recognizing the need to reach out to a wider customer base, introduces the "Bridge and Tunnel" line of gifts.
Millionaire Fair "hostesses" come with a sanitary sash, discreetly replaced after each use.
The Millionaire Fair-ies welcome international dignitaries and guests
Ravaged by the current economic crisis, the U.S. Space program looks to the Millionaire Fair to secure sponsorship
The Windsor knot tells you this is a Millionaire Fair performance!
After careful surveillance I've absorbed Raina's observations and work up a couple equations, I believe my math holds water:
after all, here is a quick web-roundup of some products you can expect to see at the fair:
Do the very wealthy suffer from congenital sensory deprivation that can only be aided by attaching tactile sparkly bits to every last item they own? Asks Raina
I think Raina is on to something, but I think the target group is a bit more specific, and feel the need to pinpoint the demographic. Get out your diamond-encrusted TI-82s:
By this point, of course, both of our heads are spinning: The wealth! The indulgence! The brazen disregard for taste! Can't. Go. On. It is here that we (again, in the spirit of extravagance) ask for your input on this post. I'll present a series of quick-fire questions. You fill in the blanks. Winner receives a gold-plated hunter's duck decoy coated in millions of precious stones courtesy of Harry Winston*
*actual prize and sponsorship are nonexistent. winner gets love.
1. Tie-dye is to hippies as _____________ is to attendees of the Millionaire Fair
2. Myspace is to Social Networking as ___________________ is to the Millionaire Fair
3. Ego infested socialites are to taste and class as _______________ is to ____________
And real quick like, before anyone leaves comments about wealth and jealousy and how we're a bunch of bitter hos, let me say: I have no problem with millionaires, are you kidding? I wish I were one! However, if I'm ever so lucky, I will never in a gazillion years sacrifice taste and composure in exchange for a plane ticket and admission to this so-called-luxury event. Where is the design hidden in these comforts? Where is the craft? Where is the empathy for humanity? I don't have a problem with the wealthy, but as soon as someone buys a $42,000 shirt, I have to raise an eyebrow.