This may not be a new trend. However, I am certain that it is one that is growing more popular, and that, moreover, is becoming more of a concern for practitioners. I am talking about “Pandora” jewellery. Pandora taps into an older market which has now become a thriving one: shoppers who collect, and who, moreover, collect decorations for their own body. Most of the jewels are purchased as gifts for others, and, usually, by others who are trying to strengthen a connection which is missing.
I walked into “Pandora” today to see what all the fuss was about and I was provided with a really interesting sales pitch. In view were $75 tiny jewels. The jewels are to be purchased one at a time and added to a collection alongside others on a bracelet. The jewels have no special inscriptions on them except that they have different qualities, shades, colours, and so on. However, some of them have written, in small letters, “Sister,” “Father,” “Mother,” etc. What makes the jewels particularly interesting is that they are sold to people because of the word that the store itself places alongside it: “Beautiful,” “Intelligent,” etc. However, once the jewels are removed from the store the words are no longer associated with the jewel, except in the imagination of the consumers.
How could we not see this as a demonstration of the way in which what Lacanians refer as a “semblant” comes to stand in place of the missing non-du-pere? A semblant is a make-believe authority, a make-believe name, which holds it all together for the individual – and there, precisely, where it matters most: on the body. I recall now also that Jacques-Alain Miller once claimed that the ordinary psychotic, whose body is neither hidden nor discoverable, is the one responsible for achievements in fashion.