Humour: Haute, Hot or Odd Couture?

Haute, Hautism, Hautistic, Hautistique


I work in the Fashion Industry. In its lowest rung. I has never been a fashionista and I even dislike the word because it sounds so close to a “fascist-a”. There is no such word as “fascist-a”, but the association is there and it is unpleasant. Language allows us a lot of creativity, don’t you agree? It is a living thing, an organism. We need words, we love words, we play with words, we savour words, we use them to convey meaning, we use them to conceal meaning, and we use words to show off.


The word “haute” seems to be in high (high being the operative word) demand. It is popular. It is trendy. It is a pity, of course, that most people I meet mispronounce it. It is a French word meaning “high”, but so few Canadians or so it seems are aware that in French “h” is silent. So, it is in Spanish by the way. If you don’t know, Canada has two official languages, English and French. Toronto is the most multilingual and multicultural city in Canada, it probably scores very high on the multiculturalism even on a world scale. It is a hub for all spoken languages; it is a Babylon Tower (we shall rename Toronto into Tobylon or Babylonto soon), often referred to as “an international airport”. Funny thing, though, is that residents of French-speaking province speak English well enough, while the English-speaking population of Canada remains largely unaware or indifferent to French. I am not making a judgment. It is only an observation. After all, of all people I know how hard it is to be truly bilingual. Indeed, most Torontonians speak more than one language, where the second language is English, not French. The unilingual Canadians are those who were born here. They don’t really bother with the second language. No interest, no need. Not until there is an urge to show off.


So it is “Haute Couture” (High Fashion) and it should be pronounced [‘o:t cu:’tur], not [ho:t]. There is a metamorphosis from “high” to “hot”. The French speaking population of Canada might actually remove all H’s from English words. Why not? No, it is not retaliation. Same words, different rules. “High” will become “Igh”.


So, “I Fashion”? “Eye Fashion”?


This is certainly "Haute" and Practical for?

The model is certainly high, especially wearing heels, however, in what country and what weather can you wear this? To work? To entertain the masses on the street? Or better yet in the Subway?  I can only imagine.
The model is certainly high, especially wearing heels, however, in what country and what weather can you wear this? To work? To entertain the masses on the street? Or better yet in the Subway? I can only imagine. | Source

Creativity, Créativité, Creatividad, Creatività


You probably think… Maybe you don’t even think about it… I don’t see the point of using foreign words that most people don’t understand let alone have no clue how to pronounce. Maybe it feels good to be in the world of your own, in the world of “hautism” (drop the h, please). The mall I work in is very “hautistic” or is it artistic? Feel free to “frenchify” to “hautistique” ou “artistique.”


Yes, I am making fun. Or having fun. I love words and languages and I dislike illiteracy. I despise it. I have contempt for “faux pas” and pretence. Even though my French is not that good, I feel that “haute” sends the wrong message.


Coming back to Fashion. To “Haughty” Fashion. Well, at least it is an English word and all that “high fashion” is pretty “haughty” to me. Elitist, overpriced, impractical, unwearable and unbearable. Don’t’ take me wrong, I value creativity. This is my creativity. It is my creative writing. In my opinion, all writing is creative unless you copy word for word. How many “fashionistas” are creative and how many follow the advice/orders from designers or trend setters or trend columnists or God knows who? Who decides what is fashionable? Then marketable? It is all business. Commerce. INDUSTRY.


Only recently I mentioned the line "commercial art" talking about Lady Gaga (speaking of fashionistas!) and I was told that there is no such thing. Words "commercial" and "art" don't belong together. But we are not appalled by "Fashion Industry". I am slightly, but I am weird. Yes, I believe now that Fashion is commercial art. Selling is art of commerce, especially selling something that people don't need. Too much clothes of questionable quality and even more questionable design.


Fashion is Cruel or is it the Weather?


I was thinking (I am still thinking) about my vision for 2011 and I designated (post factum) January to be a month of a Hub. Note: I will be dropping every now and then Latinisms that most people have no chance of understanding unless they have immediate access to the Internet. See how well-educated and well-read and well-versed and multi-lingual I am!!! I am almost blinded by this grandeur of mine. So, January. I called it "the month of a Hub" because I joined HubPages in January and instead of working on my “Vision for 2011” I dedicated time to creating a presence in the writing community. Inflated presence given my fabulousness.


February was supposed to be… A month of love? No, that is too typical. Too banal. Too cliché. Oops, another French word, n’est-pas? I just cannot help it. What next? Cherchez la femme? Femme fatale (in other words, fashionista) or "a la guerre comme a la guerre"? Somebody stop me! But there is no stopping when it comes to fashion. "Fashion", a love reverie for one day or forever. Actually, substitute "Fashion" for "IDYLLE" and you will get it right, it is a line describing fragrance (sell, sell, sell while it is haute!). But fashion is idylle for fashionistas and fashion business. It generates money and money is always taken seriously. Not for a day. It is "amour pour toujours"! Love forever!


Anyway, as the time passes by and it passes by so very quickly, something “haute” popped up. An article in “The Toronto Star” by Karen Von Hahn (I love this “von”, you should know what that means, of course, and if you don’t, I feel so much superior to you, ha-ha-ha, imagine a touch of Mephistophelian laugh, very haute and …and … and.. no, not actually high, but low, seductive, languorous, fashionable, absolutely fabulous! This little spark will give birth to the line “Mephisto” fragrance, jeans, haute couture, no wait, the idea is still mine.) Ok, moving on. Von Hahn informs readers that “February is the Cruellest Month for Fashion”. Oh, our fabulousness is at risk. Especially mine, because I never had one, except with words.


We shuffle through February like overmedicated mental patients, Karen Von hahn writes

It is not the photo from the article, it would have been better.  However, I kept the spelling, the editor missed "hahn".  Should be Capitalized.  Not so haute, eh?
It is not the photo from the article, it would have been better. However, I kept the spelling, the editor missed "hahn". Should be Capitalized. Not so haute, eh? | Source

"It's so cold and so miserable out there...

that the determining factor in what to wear has less to do with the latest on the fashion runways in Milan, New York or Paris than what might somehow manage to keep one warm and dry. " K. Von Hahn
that the determining factor in what to wear has less to do with the latest on the fashion runways in Milan, New York or Paris than what might somehow manage to keep one warm and dry. " K. Von Hahn | Source

Something Odd


Karen von Hahn believes that Canadians are a nation that is seriously style-challenged. Blame the weather. “Fabulousity of February” is indeed compromised by winter clothing. We are bundled up “in many dull-coloured layers”. Well, if you look at the picture, the first thing that you would notice that “we” are NOT bundled up. That the saddest truth about Canadians. They don’t want to dress according to the weather.


It might be cold, it might be freezing, but the majority of people would be underdressed. Look at the first picture. The girl is wiping her nose. How typical! She is not bundled up. She never will. She will be “fabulous” and “haute” and wipe her nose with her sleeve. That is the reality of Toronto style. It was the first thing that struck me when I came to Canada. It was March 4th, 1997 and Canadian miserable winter was in full bloom. The lack of fashion and style was striking. Torontonians did not seem to care about either style or comfort. They still don’t. I adjusted, I scaled down as most immigrants did, but now I think it is time to reconsider, it is time to come back to Russian fabulousness. Why? I don’t know. Maybe working in retail rubbed me the wrong way.


Maybe the whole “haute” business stirred some memories and feelings. Just today I had a conversation with a customer.


-- We came to buy gloves at that place, but it is closed.


Note: there was a store across ours and now it is closed, but there is a huge sign that reads “Something Haute is Coming”,

but they did not pay attention, which is also typical. So, I said:


-- Something Haute is coming.

-- Something odd?

-- Not odd, haute.

-- ???

-- Do you speak French?

-- ….

-- Do you speak French?

--


It was not such a difficult question, by the way, but people hate admitting that they don’t know something. They don’t have to know, yet they won’t admit. Fine. Not getting an answer to a simple “yes or no” question is typical. Once I spent ten minutes trying to get out of a sales “associate” an answer to the question “Do you speak Italian?” He just could not answer. The big mystery is not that he did not know the answer, of course, he did, but he was trying to figure out, why I was asking him. As if he could.


The supermarket where I buy coffee is very haute indeed, maybe even hauter than the whole mall. The names of their pastries are all in French. So I pay for my order and say


“A small Vienna and danoise aux fruits, s’il vous plait” (Vienna is their medium roast coffee and danoise is a Danish).


You should see the look on their faces.


What is the point then of being so fancy?


Before I continue...


Before I continue my little pasquinade, I really want to tell you that I don’t hate Toronto, foreign words or Karen Von Hahn. I have nothing against anybody. I am pretty sure that Karen Von Hahn is a lovely woman, but my writing is just what it is, a little satire, and a harmless creative piece, nothing else. And I don’t invent anything. Toronto is a nice, lively city, Torontonians are nice, lovely people, if only slightly depressed, especially those who have to take public transportation especially in harsh winter weather.


I even agree with Karen, especially with these words “we lose the spring in our step, shuffling along…” Yes, shuffling. Oh, my God, Toronto is a city of shuffling, dragged feet. Young people, young women don’t pick up their feet. Just give me the gun! I am kidding. About the gun. Not about bloody shuffling. It is simply maddening. The song that I included at the end “I’m only gonna break break ya heart…” is very catchy and I have to listen to all sorts of maddening songs at work, but this one stuck at one point and I was going home and singing “they only gonna drag and drag their feet” Try it. Either singing or dragging or both. Imagine you are visiting Toronto. Anyway…


Express to Impress

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Style

Russians are terrible show-offs
Russians are terrible show-offs | Source

Czarism


By the way, hautism is not a real word; it is my creation resulting from my creationism of fabulousity.


Czarism on the other hand is a real word. A Russian word that is. When trendsetters start dropping Russian words, I simply could not resist.


This headline that read “Style Czar” caught my eye and naturally I was drawn. It is the word “czar” that was the trigger. Fancy, are we? Russian, eh? But now it is my turf undoubtedly. It is a Russian word for king (it originates from Caesar, but czar is a Russian version nonetheless). The picture that came with it was so ridiculous that I thought it was an advertisement for yet another fashion style (another haute couture quelque chose unpalatable). No, but Karen VON … appears. I hope the word “czar” was not in personal reference to her (despite the “von” business) because it would be even more ridiculous than dropping “haute” everywhere. She could not be a “czar” unless she undergoes sex change procedures. A czar is a male only. Russian is a gender sensitive language. As is French. As is German. She can call herself “czaricza” if she wants for “queen” or “czarevna” for “princess”, but I would leave “czars” to the other sex. Yet, the paper tolerates everything. Even my writing.


I am having so much fun with it. Next time you have a Caesar salad, you might say “Can I have “czarist” salad?’ Or instead of having “caesarian section” ask for “czarsky section?” Even though you might not be in the mood for jokes. But you know doctors, they love their medical terms, mostly latin. Oh, where my Latinisms? Locus minoris, delirium tremens…


What can be better? Starbucks in Paris!

Source

Well, from French to Latin to Italian…


Do you ever go to Starbucks? If there is Starbucks where you live, of course… They are fancy, too. It is not about having coffee, it is about being, no, having sublime coffee experience. They use Italian… Italiano, Milano, mi amore, tesoro mio, ti amo… ragazzo…


“Venti”, “Grande”, “barrista”. I tried reasoning (not really reasoning, talking more like) with people who work at Starbucks, but they are, of course, clueless. I started with “Parlare Italiano?” with little success, but then I just started using “per favore” and “grazie, signora” and it worked like a charm. No longer I had to speak English and they were so happy to see an Italian. “Are you from Italy?” a face lit up as a thousand candles. “Si”. What if I had said that I was from Russia?


Valentine? Valentino!

A Red Dress - an absolute necessity for a fashionista's fabulousness.  But seriously, it is beautiful and practical and affordable.
A Red Dress - an absolute necessity for a fashionista's fabulousness. But seriously, it is beautiful and practical and affordable. | Source

Cool and Chic


I don’t think it matters. But to tell you the truth, I do love languages and now after writing this piece I think I will be absolutely fabulous with my vocabulary and style.


I will be making a difference, one Russian woman in Toronto at a time. Since today is St. Valentine’s Day, I picked a Valentino outfit. Red always makes a statement. Besides in Russian language words “red” and “beautiful” have the same root, at some point the expression “a red girl” meant “a beautiful girl.”


Yes, it is winter in Toronto and in Moscow. We are style-challenged and money-challenged, but not language-challenged or dream-challenged. There is an old Scandinavian saying “there is no bad weather only bad clothes” (what an opportunity for fashion industry indeed!)


Dear designers, Toronto is in a dare need of a style make-over and language schools. Once we conquer these heights, what irresistible heart-breakers we will become!!!


Happy St. Valentine’s, St. Valentino’s, St. Designer’s Day, mon amour!!!


A Designer to a Fashionista (Not literally! When was the last time I was literal?)

© 2011 kallini2010

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Comments 14 comments

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Svetlana, A lovely hub. I wallowed. I love words, and I love it when someone as clever as you uses language so effectively (if only with the slightest bit of your tongue wedged elegantly in your cheek) to poke fun at it and its uses.

What is more, I learned a new word: "pasquinade"

And when I read the section in the hub that refers to being "bundles up" against the weather, it took me back to being in the glorious railways station in Kharkov, Ukraine, surrounded by the chandeliers and mosaics and all that stucco work and seeing old peasant ladies in maybe four or five layers of coats and blankets.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank you, Ian. When did you visit Kharkov? I am just wondering what your impressions were.

When I said "Russians are more style-conscious and terrible show-offs", I have to correct myself and say that those are my memories. I am so used to living in Toronto now, that I might be terribly disappointed if I saw Russia now. At least my ex said so when he went to visit Moscow last year. He said "Don't ever regret the decision to immigrate to Canada." It is not about regrets, it is more about curiosity now.

I remember how we went for our first vacation abroad in 1995. It was Torremolinos (Costa del Sol), Spain. We were so happy and pleased and impressed. Then we went the second time around in 2002, to the same city, different hotel. We came from Canada and Spain was a terrible disappointment. It all depends on the point of reference.

I cannot even imagine myself in Russia anymore. With all my "hautism".

The first year in Canada, 1997, when internet was only more of a luxury, especially in Russia, I remember participating in chat rooms. And naturally being in Canada I was acquiring quite fast new English expressions. Russians speak English, but it is not the same when you use the language every day. So, in one of my conversations in Russian, I "dropped" the line "Will you give it a rest?"

The guy on the other end responded in Russian "If you cannot speak English properly, don't even try it!" I think that was the end of my enchantment with Internet, chat rooms and nostalgic thoughts of Russia. I don't belong to a country, I belong with like-minded people.

And about "pasquinade" - I translated it from my "Russian" vocabulary and I learned as much as you did once you mentioned it. It is fantastic. Writing and learning and having fun. Always. Siempre.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

I was in Kharkov about ten years ago with an “adopted” family. One of the most amazing experiences was arriving at Borispol Airport, where the military were carrying weapons everywhere but were so helpful and charming; and the taking the overnight sleeper from Kiev to Kharkov. It was like stepping back in time. I loved it. Then returning on the same train about ten days later and spending a few days in Kiev, What a rich and elegant city after the grinding poverty of the Russian speaking area around Kharkov,

And I had Kotleta po Kievski in Kiev (Where else?), what an amazing taste; and to think people in this country eat “Chicken Kiev” and think they are getting the real thing.

The food, even in the fast food chains was magnificent in Kiev

Whilst in Kharkov and one or two of the surrounding villages, I felt embarrassed to know that in my wallet, I had spending money that would have fed and housed several families... I hate appearing to be rich; it broke my heart.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Ian, I don't know how "rich" you are, but I would assume you are not in the same category with couturiers, designers and Hollywood/Bollywood stars.

Every time Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt adopt a child (yet another one), it makes me sick to my stomach, for all I know they can adopt a few orphanages. Because I know I would.

Celebrities donate, but it is still very much part of their "publicity campaigns".

Compared to many developing countries, you and I are terribly rich or well off or at least we have all the necessities.

Somebody has no food for days and somebody would be spending $200,000 for a dress. I am not trying to lay blame, because if I were consistent I should give away everything that I have right now.

It is very interesting to know that you "adopted" a family and you went to visit Ukraine, I guess it gave your life another "edge". As far as food goes, you are right. My favourite soup was always borscht (my poor father ended up hating it so much because my mom was always going with my preferences!), but I never had anything close to what I tried in Ukraine. It was not Kiev, though, it was Poltava, but still. It was a pleasant trip as well (1989). I was eighteen, can you imagine?


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

I don't know if you checked the Language Log link with "Latte Lingo", but I found it hilarious:

" Recently, at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Death March, Mister Language Person noticed that a Starbuck's competitor, Seattle's Best Coffee (which also uses ''Tall'' for small and ''Grande'' for medium) is calling ITS large cup size -- get ready -- ''Grande Supremo.'' Yes. And as Mister Language Person watched in horror, many customers -- seemingly intelligent, briefcase-toting adults -- actually used this term, as in, ''I'll take a Grande Supremo.''

Listen, people: You should never, ever have to utter the words ''Grande Supremo'' unless you are addressing a tribal warlord who is holding you captive and threatening to burn you at the stake. JUST SAY YOU WANT A LARGE COFFEE, PEOPLE. Because if we let the coffee people get away with this, they're not going to stop, and some day, just to get a lousy cup of coffee, you'll hear yourself saying, ''I'll have a Mega Grandissimaximo Giganto de Humongo-Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong decaf.'' And then you will ask for the key to the AquaSwooshie [toilet]. And when THAT happens, people, the terrorists will have won."


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Actually, Svetlana, the family i adopted were a Pakistani guy and his Ukraine wife and their little girl. One of my main reasons for going to the Ukraine was to "shout" at the British Embassy staff member who accused me of being a liar when I was trying to get them into the UK. She is a teacher with a BA Hons (Equivalent in UK) but they still refused them entry. I tried later for here, went to appeal... but no go. So I did the best for them from here. Enough spoken here in HP.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Fascinating and well-written hub...thank you for sharing this.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank you, Genna, I am glad you liked it.


vicki goodwin profile image

vicki goodwin 5 years ago from Winchester Kentucky

I really enjoyed the word play. What an awesome Hub. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank you, Vicki, it really is a pleasure to be read!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

.....well I'm not a haughty hottie - I just speak the god's honest truth and I have been swept away by your :

hold on hold on - it's time for another famous epi-man top ten ..... TOP TEN reasons why I'm swept away by your writing"

10. swept away by your intellectual charms

9. your liberal use of Canadiana

8. your construction and disciplined use of the english language

7. your obvious good taste in the arts and fashion

6. the actual amount of fun you must have in putting these hubs together

5. .....just as much as I had the fun of reading them

4. I understand completely what you are going through in two simple words: Canadian winter - lol lol I know I live but 100 feet away from Lake Erie itself - lol

3. your profile photo and the way it was taken tells me a lot of your persona, your identity and artistic purity

2. Vicki - above - mentioned your delicious or hubdelicious use of wordplay - and it's obvious that words are your happy adoring children as they wait eagerly to jump on your lap ..... and say pick me pick me pick me .....

1. Toronto - your city is in a sports draught and the Leafs haven't won since 1967 - although I have always loved FTV (City TV's Fashion Television - what a world class/landmark show)


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank you, Epigramman! I really need a boost of self-confidence. NOW! SCREAM!!!

It is very comforting to read your comment. I wonder should I write at all? How important is it to me? Do I write on HubPages just to escape what I should do instead?

To look for a job. Because I just lost one. Yes, in retail. In an boutique in a "high-end" hautistique mall.

As upsetting as it is... I never fit. I am too much which is apparent as well.

I've been told by the person who disliked me so much and had the decision power "You were missed".

Well, I had no freedom to say what I thought.

"I am not a target to be missed. Missed by whom? By the speaker? Certainly not."

The only thing that I wish for is to find where the hell I belong.

When somebody like you read what I write and say what you said I want to hope that I belong in the writing world. At least...

Thank you again,


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..yes you do belong in the writing world - big time - and Hubpages is your choice or not - but I'm sure others would miss you here if you were to leave and especially me - your fellow Canadian - big time - hang in there buddy - another job will come along - and with even greater prospects too - think positive because your writing (and mind) is very special!!!!!


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank you, Epigramman! Maybe today in the morning, it is too early for positive thinking... LOL

No, I am kidding. Thank you for your support. I am not yet leaving HubPages (or as I said once to another Canadian) HUGpages. There are lots of ideas and maybe when time permits...

I just happened to lose two things at the same time - my job and my computer, it died a blue death, you know when it won't start... So maybe for a week, it is going to be real pain.

I will try to find an opportunity to read what you write, but I cannot promise prompt responses. I am saying this because I don't want to appear to be rude.

Well, hoping that Spring is coming and Spring FASHION with it and warm and better days. Now I have to entertain my little one on his March break despite the fact that we are both slightly "under the weather!"

The irony! Thank you again for reading and leaving a comment. I will come back soon. Hopefully with "Names that mean light" or maybe "Stupid Jobs are good to relax with?"

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