Last week, Lincoln Center Corporate Fund and Hearst honored Stella McCartney with the Women's Leadership Award, and Jerry Seinfeld took the stage to grill McCartney about the important stuff, including men in shorts, angry models, and whether or not she's seen Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. But, when it came to fashion-fashion, it took a decidedly non-fashion person to pose possibly the boldest question to our industry:
"Now, let's get to fashion, which is really a subject that interests me," Seinfeld deadpans. "My first question about fashion is…what's the difference what anybody wears, anyways? What's the difference?"
It's a question — especially asked in that sort of flippant way — that could throw a seasoned designer with a reasonably sized fuse into a curmudgeonly fit, inspire the kind of canned response that turns everyone off, or lead a fashion person to say something she doesn't really believe just to be in on the joke. Because, in the face the kind of heavy, crucial, heart-heaving stuff that goes on in the world every day, whether you choose the blue blouse or the red blouse in the morning isn't as important as many other things.
So…what is the point of it all? Why have more than one outfit? What's the purpose behind trends and style? What's the point of Stella McCartney's job, or this website, or the first thing you indulge in when you get a moment to procrastinate? How could there be any intersection between politics and fashion?
In a supremely classy way, McCartney responded: "The difference is that, I think, what you wear reflects who you are and how you feel." After a pause, she threw in a bit of real talk: "It also keeps you warm and it means that you're not naked in public."
There you have it, Jer. Public decency, protection against the elements, and also to give you a personal tool to help you express yourself, your ambitions, and your perspective — it's the entire difference between clothes and fashion. Watch the full interview below, and click through to Harper's Bazaar to read the transcript, which includes love notes from Glenda Bailey, Chelsea Handler, Amy Poehler, Doris Day, and more. (Harper's Bazaar)