Fin-De-De-Siecle Splendor Character Analysis

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Oftentimes people look down on the fashion world because they deem it to be shallow and vacuous, probably because people typically associate fashion with women, and things associated with women are frequently dismissed out of hand. However, as depicted in Zhu Tianwen’s “Fin-de-Siecle Splendor”, not only is fashion an integral part of the protagonist’s life, but fashion reflects the trends and attitudes of changing modern society. In the increasingly transnational world in which “Fin-de-Siecle Splendor” was written, fashion represents globalization. In “Splendor”, Mia reflects on her feelings toward other cities. “This is her homeland: a city-confederacy of Taipei, Milan, Paris, London, Tokyo, and New York” (Zhu 457). The cities named are widely considered to be the fashion capitals of the world, with the exception of Taipei. Fashion connects these cities to each other, and creates Mia’s connection to them. Mia has probably never been to any of the cities except for Taipei, but fashion connects her with the world beyond Taiwan. Mia’s connection with the world at large through fashion reflects the way society became more and more globalized and interdependent.
Fashion also changes in accordance with shifting social values. For example, in “Splendor” fashion reflects growing care for the environment. “These are fake
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In “Splendor” this change is reflected in the fashion world’s response to the AIDS crisis. “The fear of AIDS led to a new fashion trend: feminine clothes for women and a gentleman’s look for men; unisex clothes all disappeared” (Zhu 451). “Splendor” makes an explicit connection between the AIDS crisis and changing fashion trends. Presumably due to the stigma associating AIDS with gay men, it is unfortunately easy to understand why society, and by extension fashion, would revert back to conforming to traditional gender roles. The fashion world fell in line with society’s fears and

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