A Young's Guide to Jeff Goldblum at Prada
Breaking down one of the Milan Men's shows most attention-getting marketing gimmicks.
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Welcome to Back Row’s first installment of “A Young’s Guide,” where I Oldsplain something to Youngs so you can forward this email instead of personally engaging in discourse with them yourself. After all, you’re busy. Those YouTube tutorials about how to make TikToks won’t watch themselves.
Today, Back Row is taking an analytical, perhaps slightly lusty look at 69-year-old Jeff Goldblum modeling in Prada’s fall 2022 men’s show, a fashion moment that rocked the internet over the weekend like the footsteps of a hungry T-Rex bioengineered by humans from the blood of an amber-preserved mosquito.
Are you ready for some Jurassic Park chest nostalgia? Please, ensure you are wearing breathable fabric because it’s about to get warmer in here, and come sit next to me.
Why did Prada have a random season five Search Party actor close its men’s runway show? Was MrBeast unavailable or something?
Oh boy. Jeff Goldblum does not just play an eccentric (and, to be perfectly honest, perplexingly/badly dressed) billionaire on Search Party. He is a celebrated star of the screen whose seminal role dates back to 1993, when Jurassic Park came out and you weren’t even alive yet. Actually, you would have liked it back then — mom jeans were popular, and stuff.
Oh. I thought Jurassic Park starred Chris Pratt, who is like, so problematic.
The 2015 remake Jurassic World did, but in the 1993 original, Goldblum played Dr. Ian Malcolm, a scientist who was brought in by an insurance company to weigh in on the idea of a theme park with real dinosaurs. Most people who saw the movie then probably remember his whole look/vibe — mussed hair, rectangular glasses, open shirts, dangly charm necklaces. It was sexy, what can I say?
OK so then… the Prada marketing department probably thinks it’s sexy too?
Why wouldn’t they?
Wait. His sex appeal is a Thing on the internet right? But in a way that’s kind of pushed by Olds like you onto Youngs like me because you think we’re on your wavelength but we’re really on, like, a better wavelength.
I guess. Google “jeff goldblum zaddy” and you’ll see that many websites agree on his high degree of sex appeal. Dazed Digital traced this phenomenon back to 2016, when shirtless GIFs of Goldblum as Dr. Malcolm became a meme.
Yeah, I guess that’s a chest I can get on board with. In a literal sense.
We’re making progress, then.
And he’s fine with all of this crass millennial objectification?
He likes it. He went on Hot Ones (it’s a YouTube show, so surely you’ve seen it) in 2018 and said he likes being called “daddy.” He asked host Sean Evans what “zaddy” meant, since he’s often called that too, and Evans explained that it was a super-hot daddy. Goldblum was all, “The spicy daddy. Yeah, sure. I like it. Zaddy!”
We’re all over the place. Dinosaurs, zaddies, chests. I thought this was about Prada?
You know how a lot of male actors just kind of dress in bland garbage when they’re on their own in the wild not promoting a movie, in sweats and bad newsboy hats and things like that? That is not Goldblum. Goldblum likes fashion. Like, from the runways fashion. Capital F Fashion! He talked in that Hot Ones episode about how he enjoys “dad shoes,” like the Balenciaga Triple S sneaker. In 2019 he shared the below photo of a Prada look from his Dazed shoot, including memorably minuscule shorts.
Ok yeah, I mean, he’s got runway legs.
Excuse you. He’s got runway EVERYTHING.
Calm down, lady. Not all of us are as old as mosquitos that bit actual dinosaurs. But this can’t be his only Prada moment? Or is that all it takes for a man in his late sixties to land one of the world’s best modeling jobs?
Goldblum has what fashion people would call a relationship with the brand. Writing for GQ in 2019, Rachel Tashjian explored this in more depth. He wore printed Prada shirts almost exclusively on his recent jazz tour, for one. Those shirts were also sometimes made custom for the Zaddy King himself. So his 2022 runway appearance was really years in the making.
And I guess fashion brands are desperate to have celebrity moments because they can’t get mass attention for their fashion shows otherwise?
Pretty much. Like, how many people care about fashion shows in general? Well, multiply THAT small number by .0000001 and that’s roughly the number of people who care about men’s fashion shows. And I say this as one of the people who does care, but I can admit we are a small audience.
Plus, we’re (thankfully) post the celebrity front row. Having Kate Hudson or Rita Ora in your audience isn’t much of a thing anymore, especially in the pandemic, because why would anyone want to draw attention to a group of people sitting in tightly packed quarters these days? Plus, the general public won’t really click on that kind of story (unless, maybe, it involves Julia Fox), so if brands want to capitalize on a celebrity association, they have to make like Versace and put Dua Lipa on the runway. Or, in Prada’s case, Jeff Goldblum, because that’s the star they’ve been nursing.
And I suppose this also distracts from the idea that the collection was derivative? Which seems to be a thing people, including Diet Prada, have been saying. Some seem to blame it on Raf Simons becoming co-creative director alongside Miuccia Prada herself.
Yeah, people seem to think it’s derivative. But here’s the thing: not only are runway shows grasping for attention in the current media ecosystem, fashion reviews are, too. And I say this again as one of the few people who loves them. So if critics slam your collection for resembling those that have come before, unless that critic is Diet Prada, it’s kind of like, shrugs? A notable number of young people are making fan TikToks about the show because of Goldblum, and isn’t that what brands are really looking for these days? Your generation should get that.
Wait, I thought a “fashion review” was someone making a greenscreen video for TikTok…? What will you tell me next, that “newspapers” used to be actual paper?
Why wasn’t Goldblum wearing a printed shirt on the runway? For that matter, where even was this chest everyone’s so nostalgic/thirsty for?
Luke Leitch reports for Vogue Runway that this collection was called Body of Work, and Prada herself said in a statement about the show, “The collection celebrates the idea of working — in all different spheres and meanings. It is a practical, everyday thing. But here, you are formally important. You are not casual.” And perhaps the idea that a bare chest is nothing if not “casual” can bridge our vast generational chasm. So Goldblum wore “a dark, furry mohair hemmed and elbowed overcoat, dark big-break pants and dark chisel toe shoes,” Leitch wrote. People are calling the furry stuff “poodle.” I find this particularly apt, given that the millennial internet kind of treats Jeff Goldblum like its collective pampered purse pet. But the important thing for Prada is that its coat was, in this fall 2022 runway moment and quite unlike all of us, one with that chest.
Ok but I’m still not buying that coat.
Of course you’re not. You’re poor like the rest of us.
Well, I don’t like how it looks.
That’s beside the point. The point is that we’re all talking about Prada so when you need a keychain or a wallet or a pair of sunglasses, you might gravitate toward Prada and not think twice about why it costs as much as it does. Which, again, is why it arguably doesn’t much matter whether or not the coat was a good/innovative design.
Because Jeff Goldblum walking in its show was ironically brilliant and it’s that combination of wit and aesthetic that says L U X U R Y. At least to Old people whose media diet is a constant trickle of semi-exciting, viral moments put forth by news outlets desperate for higher audience “engagement.”
Well, yes. Goddammit.
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