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Monday, August 15, 2011

Top Fashion Designers of Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live has been a trendsetter in comedy and pop culture.  However, the late night stalwart of drunken, frat-boy humor isn’t where most people look to find sharp satire of high fashion.  
In 1985, Richard Avedon directed a ground-breaking concept commercial for Calvin Klein’s fragrance, Obsession.  Artsy, sexy, it didn’t follow typical television advertising.  Saturday Night Live created their version of the ad for fictional fragrance “Compulsion”.
In a rare moment in 1993, designer Giorgio Armani made a cameo on the variety show playing the Italian Prime Minister.  While I geeked out at the appearance, clearly no one else recognized the fashion legend.  He spoke in beautiful Italian, but ended with a touch of the lapel, complimenting “nice suit”.

Maya Rudolph, one of my favorites on SNL made a big impression on the show as Donatella Versace.  Her performance embodied the decadent lifestyle that many of us fantasized the designer might have.  Perhaps her portrayal was spot-on due to the help of its biggest fan, Ms. Versace herself.  The designer told the ladies of The View that she called Ms. Rudolph with pointers on how to play her.   The both of them even appeared together onstage at the VH1 Fashion Awards in 2002 in a hilarious art-imitating life moment.
Most recently, one of couture’s contemporary stars was disgraced in a drunken rant.  Saturday Night Live withheld judgment on the alleged bigotry itself, but mocked designer John Galliano’s flamboyant style and kooky public behavior.  Galliano was played by comedian Taran Killam  with the memorable quoteI have no ugly friends, I dress like a meth-ed out Musketeer and I’ve got a mustache that whispers ‘I’m a bad person!’”

Is the fact that top designers (or their comedic counterparts) have inspired great laughs a testament to their pop icon status?  Or does that mean that even the highest arbiters of taste understand not to take themselves too seriously? 

Do you have a favorite SNL fashion moment?

Photos courtesy of NBC/Saturday Night Live, Kevin Mazur, Corners Magazine, Calvin Klein Inc, London Evening Standard

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