Fabulous Fashionistas: Questions to Contemplate

Last year I followed a link to the short British documentary, Fabulous Fashionistas. I thought I'd watch a few minutes while I washed the dishes, but I was completely enraptured by the women it profiled and ended up standing in the kitchen until the decidedly-not-bitter end.

It's a brilliant, lovely film. And even though it is about clothes, it's about a lot more than clothes. It's about how society conceives of aging, and what it means to embrace and/or fight old age, and how grief and loss change us. It's about living well when you know full well that you will die.

It's not a religious film at all, but I immediately thought that it would be a perfect movie to watch and discuss with an intergenerational group of women, and where better to find an intergenerational group of women than the church?

So, tonight we have a special event at the local retirement community: an intergenerational screening of Fabulous Fashionistas, with cocktails before and questions after. I highly recommend this film and encourage you to borrow these questions if you want to host a book club or church event.

What does our culture say about old age? (One of the women said that it's seen as "grim and boring".) Is the film fundamentally a celebration of aging or not? Do you think they are embracing aging or fighting aging?

Did you find the women vain? Inspiring? Over the top?

Tell about an article of clothing that was/is important to you.

What's your fashion philosophy? Your individual style? Do clothes matter??

Do you care less about what people think of you as you age? Does age bring liberation?

Several of the women "reinvented" themselves as they aged, particularly as they responded to loss and change. Have you ever reinvented yourself, or wanted to?

One of the major themes of the program was loss and grief. One woman said, "If you can make the other life, you can remember the good things, and the sadness goes. If you don't make the move to go on, you only remember the sad parts." Does that resonate with you? How have you grieved, and been changed through grief?

Are you frightened of dying? How does your faith shape the way you think about death and dying?

The film ends with the statement, "I love life - everything about it." Jesus said that he came that we might have life, and have it abundantly. What does abundant life mean to you? What do you love most about this life?

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