The triumphant minimalism of the 1990s veiled people’s personalities in 1)beige, grey and black basics. Now, the T-shirt has found its tongue again, and become the reflection of the person wearing it. Basic white for Bruce Springsteen, striped for Jean Paul Gaultier. T-shirts were promoted to fetish status by celebrities, identifying particular personalities, and putting their signature to styles and looks.
Well removed from political messages, advertising slogans and anonymous logomania, the T-shirt is still the ideal mouthpiece of a contemporary mood. Since the 1980s, it has allowed a new generation of men to give a different kind of expression to their professional image. Nowadays, one often comes across people wearing suits and T-shirts in the worlds of fashion, communications and new technologies. The T-shirt is replacing the traditional shirt with a more casual, sexier, yet still elegant version. The T-shirt has become everyone’s personal medium. Because it is universal and adaptable, it straightforwardly expresses moods, commemorates events in people’s private lives, and fuels the “me” cult. The film of our life now files past in a T-shirt. Once a symbol of mass consumerism, this item of clothing is associated nowadays with things exceptional and unique.
T-shirt fans scour stores in search of an old classic at the ends of the earth. Now produced in limited editions, sometimes even numbered like works of art, the T-shirt tends at times to forget its democratic origins to satisfy the whims of a handful of people forever seeking out something to give them a special cachet. At a time when the craze for vintage things has the ghosts of bygone fashion parading past us, for better or for worse, T-shirts are exhuming the dozing figures of kitsch and pop culture and elevating them to iconic status. Whether tattered and torn, bedecked with zippers and imitation jewelry, or scribbled on with graffiti and slogans, the customized T-shirt now mixes ancient and modern, old and new, transforming it into that special, one-off article, sanctioned by fashion.
In the worlds of fashion and music, the T-shirt has managed to find high-profile ambassadors who have helped earn it its fame and fortune. The fashion designer Giorgio Armani has beautifully illustrated the elegance of this garment by turning it into his official attire. “A dark blue or white T-shirt has long become part of my working uniform. I literally live in T-shirts, because I appreciate the comfort, enjoy the luxurious materials they are made of, and feel confident wearing them in any situation, whether it be for work, sport, relaxation, or an evening out,” explains the maestro of Milan.
In music, likewise, it has immortalized certain looks. In the pared-down vein, Bruce Springsteen has immortalized the T-shirt in the “working-class hero” style. On the cover of his Born in the USA LP, the singer poses with his back toward us, wearing a white T-shirt, jeans and biker boots with a red bandanna in his pocket. Madonna, the provocative singer has managed to personalize the T-shirt by having her son’s name—“Rocco”—written on it, and asking Dolce&Gabbana to customize especially for her a Britney Spears fan-club T-shirt with safety pins.
The personalization process has championed a crucial yardstick—the criterion of personal achievement. However, something else is at stake: the desire for self-expression, whatever the nature of the message might be, and the narcissistic right and pleasure to express oneself for no particular reason, but relayed and magnified by a medium. The T-shirt is probably the ideal medium for giving public vent to one’s ego.
2011-03-25 15:03 编辑：kuaileyingyu
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