Subjective Cool


Author’s Note: Due to formatting and gallery layouts, this post cannot properly be viewed or appreciated on a mobile device.


It is my belief that there is no such thing.

No such thing as subjective cool. You see, cool, cannot be placed in quotations; it has no evolution; lexicographers cannot redefine it; Cool may be misused and abused, it may be misunderstood and misapplied; Cool may be poorly replicated and conspicuously counterfeited; Nevertheless…  Cool remains unchanged. It remains unchanged because it remains objective. Bieber, Brittany and Boy bands notwithstanding.

Elvis Presley’s high school classmates have told stories of his younger years. Stories that suggest that he always had a somewhat detached swagger about him. They said he dressed eccentrically, not because anyone else was doing it; not because television commercials had defined his ideal image, but because of something that flowed through him. Elvis had tapped into something inexplicable, something beyond an ad campaign. There was a new culture on the horizon, and Elvis, McQueen, Sinatra, Brando, and a handful of others were destined to introduce it to the masses.


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Now, in recent years the masses have become dissatisfied with the casual coincidence of cool. We’ve become dissatisfied with the esoteric occurrence of the sensational. In todays world, we’ve taken the mystical element out of cool, labeled it, and marketed it to the public. In a sense, we’ve placed cool in an attractive box, separated it into categories, and sold an entire generation on a concept of “cool off the rack”… with free gift wrapping.

Many of you are familiar with the famous Givenchy fashion brand. Hubert D Givenchy rose to fame in the fifties and sixties, when he designed several custom dresses for Audrey Hepburn. One such dress was the radiant ball gown that Miss Hepburn wore in “Sabrina”.

Then, of course, there was the iconic, little, black dress pictured below from the set of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. I’m sure you’re familiar with this one.





This dress was an epic win for the designer, and please understand that Givenchy was not reinventing cool when he designed it; Instead, he was playing by the rules. Givenchy had gathered some of the subtle ingredients of cool, and his designs were a mirror of the elements that he understood of cool. In a sense, Givenchy attached himself to cool – like branches to a vine – and allowed it to flow through him.

Today, like so many designer  brands, Givenchy (the brand) has allowed their success go to their head. Because they’ve experienced tremendous acclaim due to their founder’s harmony with cool, they now recklessly suggest that cool is a pliable element; it can be molded and updated annually  and seasonally to increase profits. To them, cool is as clear as mud. And the desperate public takes them at their word,  feeling that need to experience cool, they emulate the confusion. Thus we watch in wonderment as, one year, colored denim is outrageous, and the next it’s all the rage. One season, women’s jeans must come to their belly buttons, and the next season those are called mom jeans along with anything that doesn’t show a little butt crack.

The gallery below is comprised mostly of images from the Givenchy 2011 mens fashion line. There are a couple of photos from Ralph Lauren’s current purple label included. Tell me, in these pictures, do you not see a gentle molding of the definition of cool?



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Yes, these designers have lost their way. They’ve tasted cool, and now they must control it. And in order to control an objective element, one must make it subjective. Thus the true element must be hidden away. Afterwards the new, subjective element may be carefully introduced masquerading as the original. Convince the masses that it remains the same objective force that it always was, and they’ll follow along. Only, what they are following is nothing more than a control mechanism bent on creating dissatisfaction and overspending, thus lining the pockets behind the mechanism, and making the masses feel like they’ve just purchased cool…

if only this season’s version.


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24 thoughts on “Subjective Cool

  1. No matter the price, if you have to purchase cool, you aren’t.
    BTW, have I told you how glad I am to see you back in the swing of things? I’ve missed your thoughtful and often thought provoking posts.


    1. It’s good to be back, and thank you. It may not be easy to get in the swing of things, but I have a new computer with a working space button, so at least I can write again. Plus, the stress of recent events has caused me to fall back on my passion for writing.
      I agree with your point. You just can’t buy cool. As the hip hoppers have so aptly demonstrated! :)


  2. Great informative writing my friend, covered all bases.
    Elvis was cool long before cool was invented, his body moved in a way that no living man could create or imitate.
    There was a few other great cools, The Fonz, Vinny Barbarino, all not up to the standard of the King himself but they all in their own way demonstrated cool.
    Cool blog you have written mate.


    1. Emu, you are the king of covering the bases in these types of posts. So, from you, this is the ultimate compliment.
      Great examples of cool you’ve mentioned as well.
      The Fonz has his picture in my dictionary, next to cool. :)


  3. Great post. Isn’t it always cooler when we don’t try so hard? Man, that fashion slide show is a joke. It seems that everything is about making an extra buck, which is so uncool.


    1. Thanks Lola :)

      Wasn’t it a joke? I mean… damn.
      It really is about making that extra buck. And when men begin wearing pleated skirts and “pots” (my son’s observation) on their heads, they’ve clearly bought into the money mechanism.


  4. Cool stuff Dink … and I would think it would be cool if you stop by my place for my holiday party … Christmas Eve … well, actually starting the night before for the Aussies. …. and hey, bring your friends too!


    1. Mrs Weaver, I’m goin’ to speak frankly to you. Having visited your blog, I say with some authority on the matter… You are cool. Yes Ma’am.
      I’m going to be in your neck of the woods on business in another month or two. I’m not asking you out, just makin’ small talk. I like your blog. I like you, and I like your story.
      Keep up the good work. And good luck with that parrot. Those things hate me. I think they may just be hateful. ;)


  5. speaking of elvis, I went to Bells the other day (belz? beles? However its spelled), and found an actual pair of Blue Sued Shoes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m taking a picture and posting on my blog with the story. I am so proud of them, i showed them off to EVERYone and put them on right in the store lol. :)


  6. Great blog, and I especially enjoyed this post! :) I’m living in Berlin at the moment and I think many people here are going through this “coolness” “trendiness” [absolutely trying too hard] thing.
    Regardless, glad I stopped by and I hope you have a blessed week!


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