Monday, 21 April 2014

Immortality and Fashion

When anyone mentions the word ‘immortal’, the traditional train of thought usually leads to living forever, never dying, etc. It is human nature to want to prolong life, the same as it is human nature to want to be remembered forever. So what I am wondering is, what, pray tell, is the difference?

There have been many famous faces throughout history, in fashion or otherwise, who have died well before their time. The most recent example, sadly, being another Geldof.

Peaches Geldof was found dead in her home in Kent, on Monday 7th April, 2014. Like her mother before her, her death was sudden and unexplained, and she left behind a husband and 2 beautiful boys. Peaches was only 11 when her mother, Paula Yates died, and has been known to speak about never getting over it, posting a picture of her and her mother on Instagram, the day before she was found.

There have been many tributes to the 25 year old presenter and writer, mostly by her famous friends, Fearne Cotton, Daisy Lowe, Alexander Chung, Kelly Osbourne and Peaches own sisters Pixie, Fifi Trixibelle and Tiger Lily are some of the key few to Tweet or release statements.

Peaches Geldof is the latest in a long line of celebrities and famous faces to die suddenly and very young, just before her L’Wren Scott, fashion designer, stylist and long-term partner of Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger. The pressures of the fashion world seemed all too much for the American Designer, who was found in her home in Manhattan by her assistant, on March 17th 2014. She had committed suicide by hanging herself in her New York estate, due to debts she had accumulated through her fashion label not making enough money. She had earlier in the year pulled out of Fashion Week because the A/W 2014/15 line had not been completed.

Both cases, whilst extremely sad and tragic, are proof of just how hard living in the limelight can be, how much it can take its toll, and how it is not a career path to be taken lightly. In the fashion industry, especially, even for a designer or photographer, the way one is portrayed and the way one looks, is paramount to the individuals’ happiness and well-being. In a world so obsessed with celebrities, it is becoming increasingly more likely to die young. Perhaps, dare I say it, it’s almost a trend.

Now, I am well aware that this will offend many individuals, but I say this with an extremely heavy heart. Many may think me cynical and extremely insensitive to believe that it is ‘trendy’ or ‘popular’ for a famous face to die younger than they would have necessarily done if they were just a ‘mere mortal’. But when you really stop and think about it, part of becoming famous in the first place is the notion that it will never last forever, no matter how young you dress, how many times you get married or how much surgery you have. Everything has an expiration date, be it time in the public eye, or indeed, life itself.

Another issue I wanted to address is, if someone like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson had not passed away at the time that they did, and they had indeed, lived longer fuller lives, would they be as famous? Isn’t part of Elvis’ legacy the fact that he was a rock star who died from partying too hard? Or the supposed fact that Marilyn had romantic relations with John and Robert Kennedy, and was allegedly involved with some questionable characters in the Mafia?

For someone like Jade Goody, who, in her life, was much disliked for her attitude and drama created in the Big Brother House, having her cancer treatment filmed could be considered to be her way of winning the public back? She too, left her children behind, who have and will continue to grow up with only the echo left by the many videos and pictures.

Each one of the examples above, plus many other famous names, have each left their own individual stamp on the world. Some have left a bigger impression than others, but every single one will be remembered at one time or another, for both positive and negative reasons.

The memory of Peaches Geldof will live on, for young mothers everywhere, for bloggers, writers, budding TV presenters and all round fashion-enthusiasts. She was an extremely burdened young woman who lost her mother far too early on in life. That lack of a mother figure, I can imagine, has left a void, and now, horrifically, that void has been repeated, for her 2 sons. My thoughts are with that incredibly broken family- I hope they can gather the strength to stay together and support each other.

For now, all there is left to say, is that I believe that living forever, whilst it is an extremely attractive notion, would be far too lonely an existence. Being remembered forever, however, even by 1 person; now that is true immortality.