Beyoncé is so flawless she “woke up like dis” and Prince once told us not to hate him because he’s fabulous. But what is fabulousness and why does it matter to us now? Is being fabulous only about narcissism, selfies and Instagram likes, or can everyday acts of fabulousness be political gestures, too? How can amazing style be used to shake things up and stay true to ourselves, especially in dark political times?
Building on the social economist Thorstein Veblen’s theory of conspicuous consumption, where conspicuousness is primarily about power, wealth and social status, Fabulous! The Power of Style and the Rise of Glamorous Eccentrics shows how for queer, marginalized people and other outcasts, fabulousness is less about power and status and much more of a “critical mascara” that highlights creativity, ideas and extreme risk-taking. Drawing on cultural analysis, personal narrative, ethnography and interviews with creative powerhouses including Patricia Field, Vjuan Allure, Lasseindra Ninja, Alok Vaid-Menon and Susanne Bartsch, Fabulous cuts across time and space to tell the story of style as a political gesture. The book brings you on a journey through fierceness, catwalks, nightclubs, vogue balls, street fashion, eccentricity and opulence to show the ways that people, especially queer people, have used fabulousness to make their voices heard.
Fabulousness is a form of cultural criticism that shows how outcasts and the marginalized survive and thrive in a world where they are not supposed to exist. With fabulousness it’s possible to be critical and look great, too.
Out Spring 2018 on Yale University Press.
Fabulous: The Power of Style and the Rise of Glamorous Eccentrics,