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This won’t be any news…

19 May

… to any of you, but there was a fashion orgy at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala Benefit earlier this month. Many celebs did their best to impress, which unfortunately often translates as re-enacting the prom night (deeeep sigh). Just a precious few caught the message of this year’s theme (Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty) by either going McQueen or savage…

But let us be fair, there was a lot more real fashion on the red carpet this night than usual. Looking at the pics, I found two of these women deserved special mention.

#2: Christina Ricci in Zac Posen

Morticia's true heir

The pixie won a special place in my heart as Wednesday Adams, a literal killer. She often goes back to the gothic chic of the Adams universe, with much brio. Here in a fabulous Posen number, with the designer himself as the non plus ultra accessory.

(Wanna be cruel? Look at the sorry excuse of a prom-queen behind Christina…)

Fashion hot tip: don't go out without your dress' designer

#1: Anna Wintour in Chanel

Chapter XXI: How A Prince(ss) Should Conduct Him(Her)self As To Gain Renown

What a lesson in class! No matter how hard the competition, Anna Wintour still rules the red carpet queendom with an iron fist in a sequined gown. She totally wins the title and you won’t find a better picture to illustrate chapter XXI in Machivelli’s The Prince (a great read by the way), which begins thusly:

NOTHING makes a prince so much esteemed as great enterprises and setting a fine example.

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In the days of yore…

14 Feb

… when I was still innocently yielding to the thrills of young flesh, unsure voices and inexpert lips, the problem of the socks seemed to have been solved once for all. Loose Burlington’s argyle was a necessary and sufficient solution to any sockwise sartorial trouble.

It’s exceedingly difficult to find a good picture since the Japanese high school girls seem to be the last masters of the Art of the Slouch Sock, and they don’t do argyle. I guess this one will suffice to convey the idea:

Loose argyle, short pants

Now, as you know very well, an infectious aberration is upon us, coming I guess from some frivolous admiration for the anti-fashion par excellence, the primitive semi-Neanderthals from Northern America’s great outdoors, the trappers. You are right, my little shrimps, I’m not that big on plaid. It belongs to the blanket on the couch of your aunt, you know, the one who smells funny.

Plaid is still everywhere on NY’s runway at the very moment I’m writing this. How disgusting.

Anyway, something very nice and unexpected made my week-end. Joseph Altuzarra is what happened. The good boy clearly had a problem with the plaid. His attempts are half-hearted and vague, a clear passive-aggressive response to the tyranny of the zeitgeist. Which is good, of course, since you may reluctantly put your ass on some plaid, but never ever in it, and Altuzarra’s propositions are certainly not meant to make you think otherwise. No plaid, we get it, I hear you mumble, but then what?

Argyle.

Almost better than morning sex

Genius.

Plus, probably traumatized like anyone by this winter episode, the good boy opted for a very clearly functional line, on the practical side of fashion. Modulo some breast cover here and there, give me anything from a good half of the collection and I’ll go to teach  in that RIGHT NOW. I mean it.

Joseph, I know you read me, please be a darling and send me any of those asap. I have nothing to wear.

WWII parka plus WWI skirt

Elk shooting then dowtown dinner. No need to change.

Dress, coat, boots. Want'em all.

Pics from FashionGoneRogue.

Thou Shalt be Iconic…

11 Feb

… is the last commandment, coming to us through the rather mysterious channel of Dior’s marketing department.

In this context, iconic means emblematic, which in turns is equivalent (modulo irrelevant details) to being such that anyone would associate your aspect with some brand. Obviously, the suggestion from Dior’s apostles is to become a walking commercial for them. How nice. Not that it’s really new either. For the last 20 years, everybody, and especially her sister, has been exposed to such unreasonable doses of commercial brainwash they think it’s a good idea to walk with garment displaying logos as big as said garment can hold.

Rule: NEVER buy clothes with visible logos. They are a bad taste fucking manifesto. Like ‘hey look at me! I can’t tell beautiful from ugly if it’s not written on the label.’

Let’s set aside Dior and disgraceful marketing.

We need another reading, and my little shrimps, here’s mine. The true meaning of the holy commandment of iconicity is found considering yourself as a brand. And then be a walking commercial for yourself. There’s a troubling proximity between good brand image management and just style. Style (in most cases) is style because it is recognizable as such, which involves some strong distinctive features that the media call iconic when they are sufficiently far from the rest of the crowd.  The good ol’ medievals had a notion for this they had inherited from Aristotle: sui generis. Something is sui generis when it is so different from everything else that you have to create a new category to classify it. Like this guy for instance, a living proof that the Creator either has a weird sense of humor, or invented pot before finishing the animals.

Consequently, we introduce equivalence (1):

(1)    Be iconic = Market yourself as a sui generis brand

I hear you, my delirious hordes of readers (all the six of you): why, you ask, are you so particular and concrete? Wouldn’t you please ascend to the universal and provide us with transcendental deductions of the conditions of possibility of iconicity? After all, that’s why we got PhDs in the first place…

Well, let us not go astray from our true path, the one that will lead us to conquer the world and pinch the flabby cheek of Lagerfeld, and that path of glory goes through absolute domination of the blogosphere, which is good, of course, and forces us to give examples because we want everyone to follow us.

(And that would the end of our psychotic episode of the day)

So. Here’s my list of highly iconic people: the singer, the actress, the blogger, the model and the designer.

Case 1: Gaga. We’ve been through it already. She has a way with clothes that sets her apart. You can make a joke about her outfits, everybody will get it. Even the devotees of death by fashion boredom (sweaters+jeans+sneakers).

You know I like her

Case 2: Helena Bonham-Carter. She’s got a truly fine attitude, the crazy witch. She cares about fashion, it’s obvious. But fashion rules and common wisdom? She doesn’t give a friggin’ fuck. Like, who said shoes must have the same color?

Victorian irrational

Case 3: Suzie Bubble. Another major player in the sui generis league. She’s a leading expert in unconventional fashion. You won’t find her in the usual random-glam stuff. She rocks the edge of fashion with the aplomb of the true adventurers.

Fashion Stuntgirl

Case 4: Kate Moss, post 05 era. First she was just extremely beautiful in a girly way. Throw in a daughter and a salad bowl of cocaine, a hefty measure of sex scandal and being the godmother of two children of one of the Clash, and what do you get? The last living scion of the noble house of Punk, that’s what you get. Fools ran away. The smart guys came running. People like their ads with a touch of rock’n roll in it, it covers well the sour taste of greed.

Soho 77 meets glam porn

Case 5: Herr Lagerfeld. He’s arch-evil, but in a most distinctive way. There are lots of loud eccentrics in the fashion world, but he is by far the best at the game of branding himself. Look at that: he’s the bride of his own défilé:

Who's bad?

Are you iconic? What would you do to brand yourselves?

How to blind a nation

28 Jan

No fashion for right now. I’m just too fucking stunned by this new.

The Egyptian government decided this night to simply turn off the internet. Like, click. And a whole nation goes blind.

Internet had always seemed to me something too complex, too net-like, too fluid in some sense to come into the power of any specific group or institution, giving actual substance to the classical notion of ‘General Will’, the will of a people that no representative or institution could confiscate.

How silly of me, it seems.

Now, loads of particular initiatives are taken by the legions of discreet übergeeks that protect us all from such massive abuse. Let us hope that they find ways.

So, on the lighter side (meaning: let’s wash our brain of the world’s insanity to fall back on our bimbo’s high heeled feet, let’s be shallow and good looking).

And let us dig Egyptian design today. I would easily base a look on this dress:

Egyptian designer Bishara

Throw on that a short dark brown leather perfecto, fine gloves, a big big fur scarf and some seriously hot fur boot madness in the fashion of those deliciously warm Louboutin

 

(Road)killer heels

… and I’m your girl, ready to kill.

She did it again

27 Jan

I don’t want this place to turn into a Gaga worship joint. I really don’t. But I’m a victim of circumstances here: I didn’t chose today for this news to hit the fan. You know it already I’m sure but according to some rumor (it doesn’t really matter if it’s true), she wanted her new fragance to “smell like blood and semen”. LIKE BLOOD AND SEMEN, for fuck’s sake!

She’s just too good for this world.

First, as I said, it’s not important whether it’s true or not. It’s just that she’s the only one who could have been associated with such an idea, which is per se a mark of the outstanding.

Second. I flatter myself to have a not-so-bad olfactive memory, and I believe I can imagine the combined smell of these two not unfamiliar notes. Like the meat dress, it could perfectly work if placed into the proper hands.

Third. She’s got a singular talent to find a way to the glamorous uneasiness that’s becoming her signature. The paraplegic on the rise in Paparazzi‘s video as well as the sartorial butchery were two other instances of a same fundamental idea: it’a all about sex and death. I couldn’t agree more.

Andres Serrano, Blood and Semen III

Assuming all this is more than just the usual internet BS proliferation, would you try this perfume? I pre-ordered mine.

Something stirs

24 Jan

Nicola Formichetti, the main architect of Gaga’s iconic genius (which we discussed here) will première for Thierry Mugler Hommes in Paris anytime soon. He released a video featuring a Gaga soundtrack, and announced he will settle for nothing less than revolution. The collection is called Anatomy of change.

I am intrigued. On the one hand, Mugler rings to my hear like desperately 90, and (let’s face it) somewhat over the top and even vulgar at times. And the video above has a very distinctive air de famille with what The Prodigy were doing (era Music for the Jilted Generation, still so 90). Yet, Prodigy was really the dog’s bollocks in those years, I recall some videos that were so good they bordered with the scary. So this Mugler renaissance may really be something. I hear ‘impeccable taste’ à propos the new collection, a claim always a little hard to substantiate. But clearly, as was already obvious in the work with the Lady G, Formichetti is a free mind, intent to use a very daring range of percepts in order to convey a fashion statement, without confining himself to some sense of glamour. Which, to tell the truth, spoke rather directly to most of my lady parts.

On the whole, it is clear is that Formichetti is interested in monsters, and I find he has all the reason. Hyperbeauty is just another kind of freak, which is good, of course, as Wilde or Huysmans knew so well.

Everytime I hear that beauty is natural and fashion must strive for glamour, I go all Hanns Johst and release the safety of my Browning.  You?

PS. This guy knows what I’m talking about.

Genius meat

23 Jan

Case study one. The Gaga in the meat.

This whole affair caught my eye otherwise globally uninterested by all pure showbiz stuff.

Platform wedges with a twist

Well, THIS is an instance of what makes life worth living. You would be hard pressed to name a single fashion statement strinking a deeper note about everything showbiz, media, woman image, person vs. product, etc. than the Lady’s outfit for the 2010 VMA edition. I cry: genius!

Surprisingly (or not), very few people noted that the idea was not new. When they did, as C. Knight in the LA Times, it was usually to scorn it as déjà-vu. Which is, per se, interesting: art-educated gents could not miss the strength of the message, so it was either hailing the Lady as the über-bitch-with-a-brain she is (which will cost you friends in some circles) or point that the show was good indeed, but actually not Gaga but Franc Fernandez, and not even Fernandez but Jana Sterbak ’87.

Alas my friends, this is a little short-sighted. For, as anyone should know since Duchamp’s farsical invention of pop art in 1917, provocation is absolutely contextual. The meat dress on a mannequin in Paris’ Pompidou center is interesting at best, as an outsider’s critical view about fashion etc. Now take the idea, put it in the hand of a higly capable fashion designer, and dress a sexy star with the outfit for a mass-mediatic event, what do you get?

I tell you: a situation. As much in the cops’ sense (like in ‘we have a situation here’) as in Debord‘s sense: a surrealist and concrete here-and-now where no one really knows what is happening. This is what the context-shift is all about: in contemporary art, you are supposed to be provocative and challenging. Not on MTV, where you are rather (if you are a female pop singer) expected to be glamorous (that is, essentially, determine the exact amount of flesh you want to show to the cameras, then add some). You know what’s best? The Lady Gaga does exactly that! But genius (I insist) kicks in when she does it in a way that will detonate in the face of eveybody else.

(sigh) If only her musical endeavors could match her iconic abilities…

But come on now, let’s come back to fashion and forget about meat. The bondage-y touch of butcher strings on the platform wedges had me producing moist in some of my lady parts. Which is good, of course.

Does anyone know about a non-meat version of this idea?