Squishing About in My Brain

Archive for February 2011

Despite all appearances to the contrary, I love fashion and makeup. I know! You wouldn’t have guessed that, right? But I do. My favorite thing is fashion ads. In a not-unusual twist for me, in fashion mags, I like the pictures best. Quelle surprise! An artsy fartsy hippy who likes pictures! [By the way, according to WordHippo.com, (what?! You don’t ask a purple hippo YOUR translation questions?!), the verb surprise in French is surprendre, but “What a surprise” IS actually “Quelle surprise”, which I thought was just an American bastardization. Which it still may be, but an accepted one. In the spirit of learning something new every day, however, I DID have my gender wrong–well, not MY gender, the word’s–as I had it as quel(masculine), not quelle (feminine). Which is NOT a surprise, as I find females more surprising than males in the real world as well. Men are just not creatures of surprise, really. And now is the time for you all to remember that you ADORE my tangents.]

Ahem. So, back to me and the fashion world. While I am more of a jammie pants/tee shirt kind of girl, or, alternatively, a red and khaki have-a-job kind of girl, I do dream of a perfectly tailored, fun, beauteous wardrobe that makes me look gorgeous and chic and sexy and important and blahblahblah, ad nauseum. (Yes, I know, I need to be rich enough to have both a tailor and an army of stylists.)

My basic problem with this love of fashion is that I am also a great lover of self-esteem and loving one’s self and one’s body as they are, which is NOT what fashion markets to us. From birth on, we aren’t quite good enough, and we spend tons of money on,  and tons of time detesting ourselves for,  it. Thanks to the capitalist society we live in, the drive to make money (Money is King!), and the drive to sell shit people do not need and keep them coming back for it time and again, we have a society built upon self-hatred. Personally, it took me a long long loong time to get over it, and OF COURSE I have my moments still, but I can now look at pretty clothes and airbrushed ads and not think, “We are supposed to look like that. ”  We aren’t. It is physically impossible, and those that get closest to the ideal look ill and underfed and close to death. Sorry, girls. And I say this having a daughter who is very slim. Don’t think I’m not watching her to make sure she doesn’t go over that edge. But, I also must say, I raised her to LIKE herself, more than I was raised to like myself (they didn’t really think about that so much in the 70s and 80s), so I am not worried about her so much.

BUT, that is my difficulty with loving fashion. That tug to the underlying possibility of harmful effect on girls.

Still…pictures and clothes and such are PRETTY!

So today, rather than talk to you about Prozac (guess that’ll be next time), you get to take a walk through the latest Harper’s Bazaar with me! Stop looking like that; it will be fun.

First things first: why I chose Harper’s to subscribe to, over, say, Vogue or Elle…I went to the store and flipped quickly through all of the top mags. Guess who had the most ads, with the most colors that popped? Yup, Harper’s. And then, by coincidence or universal convergence, I got offered six free issues when I bought something, somewhere. There you have it. Choosing a la Chelle. (How do you do French punctuation marks? Cuz I know they are supposed to be there; I remember just enough French to be…well, no, not dangerous, really. And y’know what my favorite thing to say is?—“accent agout”! I love that. It sounds awesome.)

First off, I am trying to find you a cover shot of the spring fashion issue I just received. So far, no luck. It’s the subscriber cover, not the newsstand Kim Kardashian one. I am not surprised, as it is horrendous. Truly. (My daughter says she likes it. Oy. The artiste in me is shuddering.) Even on their website, I cannot find it. I’ll take one on my phone later and add it for your…enjoyment. Looks like a lovely Chinese district, lanterns hung in the street, etc…however, the main image? A waify model in a barely-a-color dress, with a bored and somewhat drugged out look to her face…holding hands with a person in a smiling panda suit. Panda is standing still, model is walking…I am appalled. Yes, I CAN assign many interpretations to this photo. I just don’t wanna. Euw. I vote euw on this cover.













By the way, there is an ad for Harper’s Special Collector’s Issue of best covers. As a lover of strong images, I’ll probably buy it, but this cover ain’t in it, I am sure.

Let’s move on. The first page ad has clothes that do not match in it. BAD Chanel! Bad! They fixed that bad on the second ad. Much better. And, no, we are not going to go through each page together. That is not the point. That would be oversharing of opinions, because I WILL have an opinion on each page. Euw, Gucci! Oh, Dolce & Gabbana is actually a good story ad. Sorry. Said we weren’t doing that. Onward.

Bright rusty orange seems to be the color of the season this year, folks. Raise of hands—how many of you actually WEAR orange? …yeah. Not the most popular clothing color. For good reason, I think. It takes a special person to wear orange. Or rather, it takes a special shade of orange to look good on a person. But this seems to be the trend. Dior, Fendi, Prada…they all got some orange in there.

Guess by Marciano is still making “Young Sophia Loren” looks that I always wish I could be more like. In my head, I AM that dark and tall and sultry and sexy and fuckable. (Yes, I said it. Right out loud.)

Celine is making pants that will make you fall downstairs and kill yourselves, so potential suicides, take a look (yes, I know that is not FUNNY, but it DOES make my point. Lighten up.). I hope they come with a warning label: “So long that you may well die if you are someone who walks ANYWHERE in this world, even to your fridge.” Of course, seeing the thinness of the model, perhaps fridge is not the correct object for that warning.

Michael Kors has a nice skirt, except it’s white. I am NOT going to go on a raging  tangent of what I think of white (Or khaki. Or, really, ANY “neutral”. ) Let it suffice that I like COLOR. That, and I spill something and stain anything white I own, first time I wear it.

I have just fallen in love. Okay, let me preface this by saying I KNOW I will never own any of these clothes, unless there is an apocalypse and the gold standard collapses, and rich fashionable people have to come beg me for water and trade their fashionable apparel for it, BUT… I just fell in total and COMPLETE love with Max Mara’s satin (?) purple jacket. OHMYGOD! Here’s a pic from nymag.com:

Not the runway color, the buggy-sunglasses one.


Please PLEASE someone who owns this who needs water, come see me.

Okay. Pulse is slowing. Whew.

I will never own clothes from any of these designers, will I?

In a cosmic quirk, as soon as I typed that, I turned to…a Target ad. OH, me of little faith! It even has that pretty purple color in a dress, which is a good dress…if you don’t already HAVE hips of your own. But still, I got the message: never say never. Thanks, Cosmos!

It amazes me how high fashion puts together clothes no mentally-sound person would ever wear together. Lord almighty. No one should EVER think the tiny white tiered skirt should go with the khaki shirt with the nautical top under it and a plaidy kind of thing on top of it all. No.

Oh great Jesu Christo—the poor Calvin Klein model looks like a zombie.

I am sorry, honey, whoever you are, I am sure you ARE pretty; I am sure it is just the way they decided to make you up, but you look fresh from the grave, albeit in their spiffy white dresses which proves you did NOT just arise from the earth. Calvin, you did this model a great disservice, and honestly, I cannot even focus on your clothes in these ads.  And why do I suddenly have the urge to have a chainsaw permanently affixed to my arm?

Bulgari has Julianne Moore in their ads this round. Hullo, pretty…you have no clothes on. Just purses. Aaaand a white tiger cub across your boobs. It actually looks like he may have been chewing on the strap of the worth-more-than-my-car bag, and that they stuffed his own paw in his mouth as an afterthought, though. Which makes a fun little scenario of the photo shoot run through my head, with design people cursing and running around in a panic because a tiger is chewing  thousands of dollars worth of bag. But, what are they trying to say, exactly? There are LION heads on the purse clasp, so they failed on that one. The first purse is a gorgeous blue color. The tiger…er, lion, purse looks pimply like a tan-skinned teenager. Still, whatever they are selling, hot white Julianne, I’d buy on you alone. Or maybe I would just BUY YOU alone. Whichever.

When you turn the page, you KNOW what Boss is sellin’…but even the guy in the ad doesn’t look like he’s buyin’.

Mini-rant: I am SO TIRED of people’s models ALL LOOKING THE SAME. I am sure it is SUPPOSED to make them less individual so you look at the CLOTHES, but it just irritates me. Oh, look, we have three girls and they look like identical triplets even thought they are NOT, so pretend they are not there and look at the clothes, please. This matching-model thing is just taking matchy-matchy too far, I say. (Do you hear me, BCBG Max Azria?)

Oh look! Juicy Couture has three little matchy wanna-be hippies! TRES early 70s…waaay before they were born, I may add. How do I know this? Because that is when I was born. But semi-kudos, in that these three aren’t COMPLETELY matchy-matchy models…they are just incredibly SIMILAR. It’s a step. Oh, the clothes? Like I said, tres early 70s. I “have a hippy kind of vibe” (thanks to longtime friend Tes Brown for that succinct and incredibly accurate summation of me!) , and I wouldn’t wear them, except maybe the cool sun hat. By the way—hippies do not usually wear stilettos. Just sayin’. I am sure that detail just got…overlooked in the planning stages. Yeah. That’s it.

Oh look! Another tiger in an ad! Hey, this isn’t the Year of the Tiger, is it? I didn’t  think so. It’s the Year of the Rabbit, people. And nary a bun-bun to be seen in Harper’s.

Meet the Hilfigers. No thank you! I know enough people.

Dear Leon Max: This IS who I am…deep down in my psyche. How did you know? Le sigh. Please be my personal designer. (Photo from maxstudio.com)








WHAT?! I don’t LOOK silky and chiffony to you? Well, I AM! My soul totally looks like that. (Stop laughing; I am serious on that one.)

 Katie Holmes is up for Ann Taylor. Katie looks so exhausted and pissy that I didn’t notice the clothes. Oh, it’s a blue suit. Not bad. Might wanna wear a shirt under it, though. Just sayin’.

So, Chanel has this new pair of gladiators, so new I cannot find a pic online for you, even at chanel.com: gold, flat, kind of a Mary Jane strap, with leather cut into really cool swirls—SO me! If it wasn’t for the alligator texture detracting from the swirls, I’d be in love again. Should I take this as a sign that I should never have a great pair of gladiators, or just as a sign that some people overdesign pieces into ick?

While everyone else is going gold this year, Ralph Lauren is going silver. But should we really wear that huge-ass longhorn belt buckle with our silver-embroidered brown suede chaps and the silvery-tissue jacket with the poofy almost-mutton chop sleeve? Probably not, really. Seriously, it’s as big as the model’s face.

Hmmm…Louis Vuitton’s matchy-matchy models also look like men in drag. Nice colors, though, Louis. TOO MANY, but nice.

Roberto Cavalli, you ALWAYS scare me with your ads. ALWAYS. It’s always TEXTURE HELL in there!

See? Gives me the shudders!








ANOTHER tiger! Way to jump on the bandwagon, Vince Camuto! You DID get the prettiest tiger thus far, though. Full grown, well manicured, fluffed well, twice as big as your model (she wouldn’t even be a frickin’ appetizer, that’s why he doesn’t actually eat her!) Do designers have meetings about this shit?!

Cute little dresses, Pamella Roland.

Lanvin is winning for the “DO NOT WEAR THIS IRL!” award (which I just made up, yes),  for these ready-to-wear…tropical bags:

Just DON’T.












I am happy to report that Badgley Mischka is still making cute, sexy dresses you couldn’t go anywhere in if you ever had to sit down, even though they used Rumer Willis in their ad this round. Although she IS finally starting to look more like her mom than her dad (no offense, Bruce—you’ve got a manly look, that’s all. It doesn’t translate well in the feminine),  and I am happy to see that the girl has a booty to fill out the dress. Unless they fake-bootied her, in which case, forget my compliment on the booty. Fake booty does not impress me.

Marc Jacobs is quoted as saying he does not believe there is such a thing as good taste or bad taste. I beg to differ.

There is also an article on Michelle Obama. I notice they do not mention that she also wears Target, American Eagle and H&M brand clothes out in public.

I rejoice at the trend toward ankle-length skirts. They have always been my favorites to wear, and if they are suddenly trendy again, maybe I CAN FINALLY FIND SOME TO BUY!

Okay, fashion break. There is an ad for SculptraAesthetic injectable poly-L-lactic acid, “anti-age for the modern age”. Tag line? “You didn’t age overnight. Why should you anti-age overnight?” BECAUSE YOU TRAIN US TO WANT IT ALL NOW, FROM BIRTH ON, THAT IS WHY! Ahem. The model looks beautiful with her crow’s feet and smile lines, and if I was her, I’d not inject a damn thing. The inside flap model, showing the gradual anti-aging, looks…odd. She maybe should have stopped after three treatments, because the after-25-months picture is…kinda creepy.

Poor Rita Wilson thought she was fat. Now that she looks too skinny for her head, she feels better. Thanks, Jillian.

Okay, this ad placement CRACKS ME UP: there is a skin special section, followed by…A CIGARETTE AD. HAHAHAHAHAHHA! Yeah, cuz those cigs are gonna do WONDERS for your skin, ladies. Smoke up, Johnny!

Versace used matchy-matchy boys to go with their girl. And even she looks like they could be almost the same person, except the hair. STOP IT! It looks SILLY!

Oh, gods help me. The cover photo is used again inside the magazine. GAH!

OMG. They use the panda suit in another pic too. And another! Someone is smoking too damn much doobage at Harper’s.

OOOH! The Karl lagerfeld Interview with a Vampire spread is actually really pretty, artistically speaking! Like a silent movie.  All black and white, with red added over. And really, when I see Lagerfeld, I kinda think vampire anyway…he SAYS he is really nice, even though he seems scary. Says it right there in the interview, so I must not be the only person who sees him that way. Maybe it is just the hair coupled with the sunglasses.

They have a Mike Nichols film tribute in here, with fashion stars in pictures taken from his “great” movies: Working Girl (seriously?), The Graduate, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Winona Ryder looks just like Liz Taylor in this shot!).  That was a nice break.

And turn the page to…ORANGE ESPADRILLES WITH FEATHERS! Oy. Gretchen! Stop trying to make orange happen! It’s not going to happen! (Lord, tell me it isn’t happening.)

Followed by an article on Daphne Guinness, in which she is all Black-AND-White Swan in an Alexander McQueen. At least it ain’t orange. Wow, she is QUITE the character, that one. Artiste to the max. The wealthy can afford to be that way. I am jealous.

Oh good lord, they made Kim Kardashian into Cleopatra. Are they trying to KILL ME?! And she is going on about how she needs to be on a diet. And now she is “interviewing” Liz Taylor. Hear that silence? That is me, having stopped reading the article all together. Why is this pretty girl famous, again?

Next up, “the season’s sexy side”…it ain’t sexy. And it ain’t the gorgeous black models’ fault. Skipping it.

Chloe Sevigny…in clothes that do nothing for her, mostly shot in near-darkness, so it doesn’t matter anyway.

Hillary Clinton. Woulda been nice to see her in something besides black suits. But I have to love her for this quote: “I have this Ferragamo hot-pink bag that I ADORE…I mean, how can you be unhappy if you pick up a BIG PINK BAG?” Word up, lady. Color has power. And that bag? It’s big enough to knock your husband OUT COLD. Try it. I am sure the opportunity will show itself again. If only you had had that in the White House!

The “what’s up next” trend looks like a throwback to the 50s…lots of white and 50s silhouettes. Although, there are a couple pretty ones in there. Namely the one that ISN’T white, but is coral. And the model has pink hair, to offset the whiteness, so…this wasn’t a bad browse. But 50s style will make my huge bazooms look GARGANTUAN! Like take-over-the-world big. May have to skip that trend altogether.

Interview with Liza Minelli on “her” New York (bottom line– do whatever Halston says) finishes it off, followed by “What’s In, What’s Out”: Bold glam retro cuffs, patterns of fruit, “dainty feline pumps (tigers again?), bright colorful “exotic skins” for purses, updated tuxedos, and “coquettish cocktail numbers” are IN. ID bracelets, mannish paisleys (have paisleys ever been mannish? seriously), “aggressive studded heels”, dark  moody patent bags, skintight bandage dresses and pouffed miniskirts are SO TOTALLY OUT! Dammit. There goes everything in my closet. What the hell do I wear now?! Oh yeah…red and khaki.

So, to sum up trends this spring: orange, chartreuse (although I must say their chartreuse examples are really neon lime green–yes, I WILL split hairs in respect to  color; but now that I look, there are actually some really cute MiuMiu sandals in their idea of chartreuse…if only they weren’t, you know,  CHARTREUSE. But at $595, it matters not what I think!), gold (and you KNOW someone will try to wear all three of those first ones at ONCE!); lace, pin-up, lesbian overtones (as usual), and bright colors with horizontal stripes (half the females in the world just groaned—I heard it. I didn’t add pics because I do not want to be the cause of anyone rushing out to buy those Celine pants in response!)

And tigers. Can’t forget the tigers.



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