Portia’s model in ‘The White Lotus’ is telling about Gen-Z trend
Every week on The White Lotus day I’m so excited to seek out out what will transpire subsequent in Mike White’s unhinged universe, and every week I’m reminded that essentially the most unhinged factor of all, is Portia’s model.
All of us collectively felt it when she stepped off the boat in her Home of Sunny sweater vest within the sweltering Sicilian solar and spent everything of the primary episode feeling woefully sorry for herself that her boss did not need to hang around along with her on their all-expenses paid luxurious trip in Italy. It was solely a matter of time earlier than the following few episodes confirmed what so many people already knew to be true in our souls: In a sea of exceptionally dressed ladies, Hayley Lu Richardson’s character, Portia, had been dealt the tragically brief finish of the wardrobe stick.
If there’s one factor The White Lotus costume designer Alex Bovaird is aware of how you can do, it is to speak the complexities of a personality via what they’re carrying, and whereas it will initially seem that Bovaird utterly dropped the ball on Portia, she’s really hit the nail on the top with revealing who Portia really is, chatting with a collective subject that has been making the rounds of web discourse for a while now: does Gen-Z have an authentic sense of fashion?
She’s a twenty-something, chronically on-line girlie with a sprinkle of scientific despair who simply can not seem to determine issues out or discover the joys in life anymore, so she’s turned to her wardrobe to attempt to make sense of issues, attaching herself to so many micro-trends and TikTok-fuelled “aesthetics” that her model seems as if the web has thrown up on her in each scene she is waxing poetic to anybody who will hear. It’s exhausting for the viewer to observe, nevertheless it additionally strikes a chord with the way in which mainstream trend has felt for the previous couple of years.
In a world when model has all the time been linked to the sorts of subcultures we exist inside (music, artwork, trend, and many others.) and the methods we select to signify stated subcultures with the garments we put on, Portia’s model comes throughout as disingenuous for the straightforward reality that apart from attempting to flee from the management of social media, she would not appear to be really linked to something that brings her pleasure or fuels a way of ardour. Which is precisely what Bovaird has been telling us via her horrible ensembles and a specific model of “normie” core that’s virtually utterly derived from the micro developments her character has satirically seen on the web in an try to be “completely different”.
There are outsized classic Tommy Hilfiger shirts paired with elasticated waist pants and fake Doc Marten sandals, after which the following minute she is eating in a crochet costume and converse, adopted by a zebra bikini prime and a knitted bolero on the seashore membership, all accompanied by an eclectic mixture of beaded equipment that look as if they have been bought in a bulk pack from a quick trend label. Are we stunned when Jennifer Coolidge’s character, Tanya, wasn’t satisfied when Portia assures her that she has “cute stuff” to take to Palermo?
The commentary on the style period we’re at the moment current in is astute, and the additional into the web we wade, it begs the query: will we ever discover our method again to genuine and particular person expressions of fashion as a substitute of appropriating what’s fed to us via our screens? Clearly the idea of a mode icon is not any new suggestion, however once we take an thought like Euphoria’s Maddie Perez, for instance, and fail to attach her to any sort of cultural area of interest or phenomenon (AKA she is the phenomenon), the result’s a whole lot of individuals dressing precisely like Maddie Perez and failing to ascertain a way of individuality exterior of a handful of references they should work off of from two seasons of a tv present. Bovaird’s illustration of Portia’s insecurity or sense of self via her wardrobe addresses this completely.
“Portia is consumed by TikTok and ‘the discourse,” Bovaird instructed W on the subject. “So we thought it will make sense that she is attempting exhausting, and that she follows the mish-mash developments. She makes unhealthy decisions and is misplaced, doing a random job, so each time we received her dressed, we tried to inform this story within the garments, too.”
Is Portia’s polarising model and character the get up name that we have all wanted to see how really lack lustre the fixed barrage of disconnected developments are? Maybe off the again of this collective loathing of her unrelenting jorts and psychedelic prints, we will all be inspired to faucet into the garments that actually make us glad as a substitute of, like Portia, trying to find that means the place it can’t be discovered.