Times, they are a-changin'. What was normal yesterday—hugs, live theater, a tiny bottle of Purell at the bottom of your purse you didn't think twice about—is today under a microscope. And yet, between ferociously washing my hands and Googling if dogs can get COVID-19 and if my in-laws will be stuck in Europe, I cannot stop thinking about this $455 designer dog raincoat, a Moncler Genius x Poldo Dog Couture collaboration.
Between Washing My Hands and Watching the News, I Can't Stop Thinking About This $455 Designer Dog Raincoat
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Someone had sent it to me a few days before "all this" started, because c'mon, just look at Oreo the Dalmatian modeling the long-sleeve translucent polyurethane coat in blue with silver-tone hardware.
But it's not just about the look. No, there's function here, too, people. Namely, a detachable hood, press-stud closure at the front, bungee-style drawstring at the hem. Do dogs need any of that? Of course not. But that's what makes designer dog stuff fun and funny. It's frivolous in the way that it almost double downs on its own absurdity because why not? Why not make designer dog outwear for such a singular purpose that only the richest spendthrifts would buy? It's campy. It's fun. Like an electron that exists in two places at once, it's not just a product of our culture but also a comment on it.
And that's probably why I can't stop thinking about it. This $455 designer dog raincoat feels like an archeological artifact that belongs in the museum of "Before COVID-19." It says so much about who we were—how careless, fun-loving, ironic, campy—we could be before standing in line at Costco was our number-one priority. There is nothing campy about toilet paper lines.
I don't mean this as a "we're being punished for being foolish" moment, but more of a "look how delicate our existence is" moment. One day we're buying designer dog clothes for our Insta-famous pups, the next, we're stocking up on dog food just in case. One day I'm complaining about my commute to work, the next I'm grateful I have a job I can work from home, food in the pantry, and, yes, toilet paper in the closet (for now at least). This has been humbling in the biggest way possible.
Between bowls of Top Ramen as we social distance and self-quarantine, is it OK to laugh at the absurdity of a $455 designer dog raincoat? Does irony die when the economy is balanced on the tip of a needle? When our grandparents are stuck in their one-bedroom nursing home quarters without visitors? When you realize just how lucky you've had it this entire time?
Yeah, a little. But at the same time, maybe we need a little camp. From Susan Sontag's Notes on Camp, "You can’t camp about something you don’t take seriously. You’re not making fun of it, you’re making fun out of it. You’re expressing what’s basically serious to you in terms of fun and artifice and elegance."
What is more artifice and elegance than a designer dog raincoat in the middle of this biggest sh*tstorm we've ever witnessed?
So between anxiety attacks and existential crises, feel free to join me in gawking at some more designer dog-wear. How silly, how fun, how yesterday.