Bling Ring Feature: From Obsession & Completely Bypassing Delusion

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The Bling Ring hit theaters this past weekend and tells the infamous tale of the crime spree of burglaries from the group known as the “Hollywood Hills Burglary Bunch.” I was surprised at how fairly packed the theater was, but there was a lot of laughter in some un-funny parts! In defense of the film, I think it was supposed to be shot the way it was with the camera angles and all, going for a realistic look. Also, in terms of the acting, these young actresses, notwithstanding Emma Watson, are all fairly new to movies so that aside, they were supposed to play vapid, narcissistic teens so the Valley-ish accent, totally appropriate.

All in all, I think the movie was pretty good. A few initial thoughts as I was watching:

  • My grandma always says to us, “Don’t forget, lock your doors.”-So these people have surveillance, but don’t lock their doors-ODD??
  • Ironic if these kids really did use stolen Louis Vuitton luggage to further steal more goods, including other LV luxury goods and used the luggage to store the stolen goods.
  • Finally, and the book Nancy Jo Sales I think got it right-the suspects really did wear their stolen Louboutins to court-really??

My whole point on featuring the Bling Ring and doing it for 2 separate posts is really the focal point it places on the fashion industry. There were a lot of elements at play in guiding these troubled teens-drugs, greed, peer pressure, self-esteem/wanting to fit in, etc. But it can’t be forgotten that these teens, especially alleged ringleader Rachel Lee, were obsessed with their victims. Although, you never hear anything about their love of these individuals for their acting, other jobs, good deeds or the like. It was always clear where there obsession centered-the love of their icon’s style and fashion sense.

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The movie is laced with images of the stolen goods and the emphasis on labels and logos, as well  as calling out or namedropping of the brands-Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, Birkin bags, Alexander McQueen, etc. In fact, in one of the scenes, Lee says “Let’s go to Rachel Bilsons’. I want some Chanel.” Obsession to these actresses and icons quickly led into delusion of a strong desire or need to have these luxury goods. Also stolen was expensive jewelry, shoes, dresses, lingerie, artwork, and the like. The way they went about it was that there was no fear of being caught or that it was okay since these celebrities had so much and their doors were unlocked. Although, there were homes where the breaking in came from unlocked windows or climbing in a doggie door. But they were all really open about it-talking about it openly at parties, discussing it with others who were not part of the group, taking pictures at clubs/parties all while wearing or holding the stolen goods.

Actor Israel Broussard, portraying Nick Krugo was ultimately the one who told the story of the operation, which led to the other arrests. He spoke of the girls doing this as wanting other girl’s goods and just being a part of the lifestyle. The film also would show the group out at the club, wearing their expensive stolen goods, using the stolen cash to buy table service and bottles. They were at clubs where celebrities attended, likely trying to get noticed. The film glazed over mention of future goals for some of the teens and it was modeling, acting or fashion at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, FIDM.

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Its just clear this group became way to obsessed with fashion and fashion icons and soon knew no limits with who they targeted, how they broke in, what they took or how often. News broke of the Audrina Patridge break-in, yet many more crime sprees occurred after the fact. As I mentioned in my law of fashion post on the Bling Ring, there are a lot fashion-related crimes and torts. To me, this is just another breed, very akin to when people counterfeit or purchase, replicate or rip-off and sell or infringe. Robbery is more clear-cut, but it all comes from the same place-that desire for more, the desire to own the big name brands, the want to have others notice you, to be in a fashion spotlight or just plain and simple, greed!

Make sure to check out my legal post in conjunction with this fashion feature piece as well!!

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