Capitol Couture: Innovation or Complete Contradiction?

 

Fans of The Hunger Games will probably already have heard of Capitol Couture, the new clothing line with features clothing inspired from the Capitol fashion in the books. It also includes makeup.

From most of the reaction I’ve seen, the common consensus is excitement. Fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of these glamorous garments which dazzled viewers who saw the scenes of the Capitol citizens in The Hunger Games (2012).  Now, I have to admit, I love merchandise as much as the next person. I collect T-shirts with my favourite bands on them. I have a Hufflepuff wristband, and I have a lot of badges. Movie companies have every right to sell products and make a bit of money if they see where profit can be made. To name a few movies where it’s been done: Harry Potter, Twilight and probably the biggest giant of all Star Wars. That’s fair enough. But it’s just this particular movie that doesn’t bode well with this idea.

In The Hunger Games series, there are 12 districts and a Capitol. The Capitol is filled with rich people living luxurious lives. Some are more shallow then others. They eat well and are obsessed with trends, looks and reputation. They live this way only by the utter poverty and hard labour of the districts. Some districts are slightly better off than others, the outer districts bear the brunt of disease, starvation and squalid living conditions. The Capitol are oblivious to this (or else they just don’t want to know).

Now are you beginning to feel a bit unsettled by this? The allegory isn’t as fictitious as it first appears. In our world there are people, like those in the districts, who live in similar conditions. In the 1st world its the homeless or struggling underclass who have to wonder if they’ll have a next meal or will they have a roof over their head at night. In the 3rd world its the people who are afraid everyday of war, genocide, drought, famine or a natural disaster. The world isn’t such a big place. Yet there’s inequality and injustice everywhere. While we in the 1st world are worrying about getting the latest technology or fashion, they’re struggling to survive. And in most cases they’re not; they’re dying. That’s the message Suzanne Collins was trying to get across when she wrote those books. I know she sold the rights to the series, but I really believe she would be disappointed with Lionsgate’s attempt to try and drain the cash cow on this series.

Trish Summerville designed the clothing for the movies, and she did a superb job, but this is going a bit too far.  The images in this post are examples you can expect to find on the clothing line. You can also find them on the Capitol Couture website. The website is quite clean-cut. The amount of design and marketing that went into making the site is quite apparent. I must say I was quite taken aback by how sleek it was. But don’t be fooled. Behind the pristine images and tidy layouts is just another capitalist corporation trying to make a profit off of reckless consumerism in the 1st world.

For that reason, I feel really uneasy about how people are going to celebrate and consume the mindless greed that was so apparent in the movies by buying these clothes in real life. Are they just going to ignore the idea the books/movies are supposed to portray? It just boggles me how the movie company portrays a message of injustice with one hand, and tells people to consume with another.

In a blog I read,  http://victorsvillage.com/2013/09/05/crossing-the-fashion-line/#comment-14200, they talk about how Lionsgate “dont care […] what the message of the story really is” and I’d have to agree with a lot of their points.

 

Cloud Atlas

Future, Present, Past.

Death, Life, Birth.

Love, Hope, Courage.

These are what define our lives. We are obsessed with time, with our mortality, with our morality. Cloud Atlas (book turned movie) uses many of these themes to provide a platform of transience. This map work of individuals shows how our lives are both tiny in the grand scheme of things and also extremely significant. Individuals cross and re-cross with the paths of others. We’re creatures of habit, often making the same mistakes and triumphs. But with each mistake, do we not learn anew? Do our actions not impact on others? David Mitchell (author) uses 6 intertwining to show that, looking from outside ourselves we can see that there are consequences to our actions.

Ideas about free will, destiny and such have been thrown about for centuries. They’re interesting concepts, but which one rules our universe and defines the course of each of our lives? Are we living by a predetermined script, or do we create our own futures? I believe that it is our actions that create out future. With each act of kindness, our paths in life are safeguarded. And each cruelty damages that path.

In Cloud Atlas, each story is recorded in some format or another. And each tale is thereby read/viewed by a character in the next. It is important therefore to remember that all of our lives are meaningful, and our actions are consequential. We impact on others everyday, and our acts today will forever have impacts in the years to come. In the book, Adam Ewing’s journal is read by Robert Frobisher. RF’s letters to Rufus Sixsmith were read by Luisa Rey. A manuscript of one of LR’s mysteries is read by Timothy Cavendish. A movies about TC’s life is watched by Sonmi 451. And S-451’s Declarations are believed to be a sort of new age “word of God” if you will, in a post-apocalyptic future.  From this it is apparent that lives can be connected, and our acts can inspire or affect others.

The stories “Letters from Zedelghem” and “Half Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery” give an insight into the life of Rufus Sixsmith, one of my favourite characters. His life is that of selflessness and utter tragedy. *SPOILER ALERT: His relationship with Robert Frobisher frustrated me because RF seems to be a gloating, selfish person who doesn’t mind boasting about his promiscuity. And then RF kills himself without a good bye (in person) to RS. I know RF had his reasons but the suicide would’ve seriously damaged RS. And then decades later RS again selflessly puts his life in danger to speak out about a cover up of a detrimental working nuclear plant. He does in fact get murdered “for the greater good.” In the grand scheme of things he saved many lives, but I still can’t help but think a good soul died for trying to do good, and his lover took his own life. But I understand that it is a realistic portrayal of humans. We’re not perfect people, and life is, unfortunately, unfair. Bad things happen to those who do good. But I believe that truth will eventually out, good will triumph over evil.

Mitchell gives us the comforting idea of reincarnation. Although I think you should life your life to the fullest, enjoying each day, the idea of past and future lives is utterly infectious. I read that 5/6 protagonists in Cloud Atlas are reincarnations of the same soul. This reiterates the idea of trying to overcome the same challenges but in different lives. I must say, I do like the idea of meeting the same people in other lives. Meeting in different situations. I believe that our good deeds lead to prosperity in another life.

Although we’re only individuals, it is important to remember Adam Ewing’s words in “The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing,” : “My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean,but a multitude of drops?”

The Birth of A Blog

So yeah, here we go. This is the beginning of something new. I don’t know how this is going to work out but we’ll give a try. To whoever’s out there, pleased to make your acquaintance. May my words be that of comfort, companionship, and most of all, meaning. I can’t help but be reminded of the book “Cloud Atlas,” written by David Mitchell (not the comedian, although his rants are hilarious). The book, turned movie, tells the events of 6 stories, all exclusive of one another, yet cosmically and historically intertwined. I’ll discuss the book at a later stage. For now, I wonder will these blog entries intersect the lives of others and have an impact on them? No matter, someone will stumble upon them (and obviously if you’re reading this you have). Dear reader, I hope you enjoy this journey and get some insight. 🙂