06 2 / 2012
(All images from forum.santabanta.com)
05 1 / 2012
(Via GreatGlam; These all seem to say the same thing to me…)
Amid the new years revelry, I played a little game with myself called “spot the bodycon dresses.” This was hardly a “where’s waldo” thing, because the bandage dresses were apt to be out and about on the biggest freakum’ dress night of the year. What I observed was not shocking, although slightly counter to the sartorial norm in Williamsburg, where the usual female “going out ensemble” casts the chick as a vintage-clad indie ingenue rather than a club vixen. But in a major upset, the streets were festooned with girls wearing skin-tight bandage dresses and clivesdale-platform heels.
Because on the eve of the year’s biggest hangover, the bodycon dress communicates one clear message—I’m down to heavily pet tonight. Even the compound word, “bodycon” suggests the very utility of the dress to make every heterosexual male in the vicinity “con” of the souped-up Ferrari that is your “bod.” And as a social tool, it is hardly limited to New Years. Everyone has either seen or done the homeward march in the early morning hours wearing a skin-tight minidress or some permutation thereof. Whether American Apparel or Herve Leger, for your Snooki costume or for that one night you accompanied your tourist friend to the Meatpacking District, the bodycon dress is a coded garment that most of us have experimented with in one form or another. It’s a great leveler. For better or for worse, the bodycon dress enables you to take on a different persona. And we all need a bit of an escape sometimes. Momentarily, or for a couple of hours, you can flee the rigidity of workplace decorum(depending on your workplace) and hope to get a little bit of attention. Whether or not it is the right kind, really. And, lest we forget, bar culture is creepier than anything. Imagine recounting to your grandkids that fateful day when Pop-Pop saw you at the end of the Turtle Bay bar in a painted-on Forever 21 minidress and calling it love at first sight. Bull.
But my question is, why the bodycon dress? As a girl with a body I consider to be normal, I feel like 130 pounds of lumpy schmaltz stuffed into a chinese finger trap in bandage dresses. Even the same with bandage skirts! They leave absolutely no lump or thigh dimple to the imagination, and seem to highlight the errors on my body in bold red ink. The only bodies that these dresses really flatter are waify, modelesque bodies. This goes without saying, but rather than bodycon these dresses make the female feel self-con. This is why I tend to favor loose, overgrown toddler dresses with cinched waists, particularly when I go to the watering hole/meat markets. Friends will often ask with a raised eyebrow, “That’s your freakum dress?” I respond “It’s the freakiest thing I have.” And I’m going out to have fun with my friends in the first place, maybe to talk to some charming strangers and flirt a little, but do I really need a sort of nightlife armor uniform to do so? For this reason, my “going out” clothing doesn’t look like “going out” clothing.
The truth about the bodycon dress is that it reinforces the constant self-surveillance that is encouraged in women in our society. It puts the female body in a glass case of scrutiny. The idea seems to be that the wares can be easily inspected through a thin film of lycra before the pairing-off occurs. And that has its use if a female is owning her own sexual agency. Because sometimes all a girl really needs is a non-verbal sexual contract.
(Via EntertainmentWise.com; But if it weren’t for Bodycon dresses, what would the Kardazzians kardazzle about in?)
But, a skin-tight dress is the most facile, banal way of showing sexy. It sets up a trope in which men are encouraged further to see women’s bodies(and thus women) as objects, and thus makes women impose this view of subjectivity on themselves. Granted, the men are being seen as objects as well, but in a much less subjugating way. Not to mention, it seems to make all these girls at bars look almost exactly the same. It’s sort of like a flashback to tenth grade, where throngs of girls flooding the hallways with straightened hair and Abercrombie tops looked indistinguishable from each other. But the reason for stylistically opting in is essentially the same: to showcase a body that gets you what society tells you to want— someone to kiss, someone to bed, or maybe if you wish on a falling star, something a bit more long-term.
Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting any of these things, but it means that emotionally, the relationships people have now may not be much more complex than they were in 10th grade. And while I’d like to think that most people have emotionally matured between 15 and 25, maturity from point A to point B for many people is little more than the acquisition of a bank account and perhaps a house. Within this mass state of arrested development, the “sexy” dress mentality prioritizes coolly transactional relationships, leads to very little but further insecurity, and requires the purchase of 40-dollar Spanx.
(Via DailyMail; Courtney Love leaving a Soho club in July 2011 shortly after her split from long-time boyfriend. Getting right back on the horse with a bodycon dress)
I don’t mean to sound like some sort of blue-law fundamentalist or anything. Every woman has the right to feel sexy however and with whomever in whatever dress she pleases. But the bodycon dresses really do get to me. Mostly because it’s such an uninspired idea of sexy, heavily informed by male control and spectatorship. It is not the chintzy bandages or the uncomtortable thigh-clinching, or the aesthetic of the dress itself. It is the larger issue that it is symptomatic of. It’s the fact that the silhouette of this dress is suited for prepubescent or anorexic bodies. This brand of “going out dress” encourages self-consciousness while focusing attention away from the self and towards the female body as an object. While this has been happening since the days of Cleopatra, it seems that in our age of supposed stylistic pluralism there should be a bit more open-mindedness. A girl should be able to feel sexy and freakum’ dress-ish in a paisley poncho, opera coat, or pair of overalls and at any size. The day that we have Spanx-burning rallies, I will say we’ve made progress.
29 11 / 2011
…and you have a weak stomach, are epileptic, or make less than six-figures, stop dead in your tracks. This is a spoiler alert. It will make you vomit and convulse in frugal indigation. So instead of wasting a subway swipe on a big letdown, I’ve covered it here. Last week, a few friends and I made a pilgrimage to Barney’s to visit the retail temple of Gagaloo after a mess of fashion-blog hype. The very night before, Barney’s hosted a midnight-ribbon cutting ceremony for the beautiful people who can afford the displayed inventory and the dedicated little monsters who just couldn’t wait to shop the hallowed floor of Gaga-branded glory. While, thanks to an advanced preview, we knew there would be absolutely nothing reasonable at the Gags’ high-end pop-up, we expected a spectacle worthy of the Lady herself. The bloggerati set expectations high, forecasting a display that incorporated life-size replicas of Gaga’s boudoir constructed from her recycled wig hair, and overall, making it sound like a theme park of the pop absurd. Reality is always a letdown, and the same was true for the shop of our first lady of fantasy. An arrangement of vaguely Tim Burton/Seuss-esque installations read more “Toys R Us” than avant-garde theme park. The main statue is a pink-chain barricaded giant GaGa statue surrounded by black shards of glass and crystal, large enough to invite fantasies of coming alive and wreaking havoc on Midtown New York, Godzilla style.
(Scale of me and Sam to Gag-zilla; Photo Credit, Neil Chiragdin)
The journey began with Gaga’s sweetshoppe, a collection of haute couture-priced edibles. And none of them contained pot, sadly. But for the prices, you could be fooled.
(Photo Credit, Neil Chiragdin)
15-dollar Philip Treacy Telephone Hat cookie. Just gonna take a shot in the dark and say it looks better than it tastes. 15 bucks down your esophagus. But it pales in comparison to the crown jewel of the sweet section…
(Photo Credit, Neil Chiragdin)
95-dollar lobster-claw shoe inspired by the prolific Alexander McQueen heels worn in Bad Romance. Some filthy rich little monster is gonna have the coolest chocolate bunny on the block. And then it is destined to melt into 95 dollars of chrome-colored sugar. While perusing these nuggets, this piece was of particular interest to fellow shoppers. Middle-aged women with Macy’s bags and midwestern blowouts exclaimed over the craftsmanship of these, and then caught sight of the price sticker, quickly shooing their teenage daughters away to avoid any admonition for a stocking stuffer.
Onto the apparel. I strongly caution those who are thinking of taking Acid and going to Gaga’s workshop not to do so because of the following. You are walking into a bad trip. Behold the terrifying display racks:
(Photo Credit, Neil Chiragdin)
Something for each member of the family— leather jackets for men, women, and children, and onsies for the innocent newborn little monsters. Because it’s never too early to introduce your child to disco sticks and leather. Speaking of leather, I tried on a jacket, attempting to pick up one piece of Gaga-phernalia in each section of the store and take a master picture at the end. I was thwarted by sales people that asked me too many questions, instilling poor-guilt in me. This is essentially as far as I made it: a bandana and a jacket.
(Photo Credit, Neil Chiragdin)
The bulk of the floor is populated with tchotchkies of Marc Jacobs accessory store quality for Barney’s prices. That pouch is 65 dollars, and I’m pretty sure I saw the same thing on Bleecker street, and something similar as a game prize on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. But onward we trudge…
(Photo Credit, Neil Chiragdin)
Now to the books and novelties. Here I am showing my best side with one of the items that is actually kind of a justifiable purchase— if it were twenty dollars, which it is not. And while I’d relish in the freedom to dress up magnet gaga in anachronistic, mismatched ensembles, I feel like I couldn’t really make her look much more out there than Nicola Formichetti does. So wha’eva, 65 dollars saved.
Moving on, we came to the most pricey department of Gaga-land. This part involved glass cases, and made its message clear— stay back, plebs. One of the encased goodies is a white hoof boot, identical to the ones that Gaga wears all the time. While the salesperson was adamant about letting me know that they were “handmade and shipped from Japan,” not to mention in incredibly limited stock, they cost $4,000. Thus, my initial zeal to try on a pair of shoes that I have gazed at and wondered about from afar for years was snuffed out like a cigarette in dirty water. Although I usually have no qualms about trying on out-of-my-pricerange things with no intention of buying them, these items felt more inaccessable if it makes any sense. I would’ve anticipated a flat out “no” if I had asked to try them on.
And that is what the problem with Gaga’s Workshop is. It takes a genre of product that should be accessible and affordable and makes it aspirational. Lady Gaga, despite her musical chops or talent for “pop-cultural performance art”, has an obligation to her demographic as a mainstream artist. The teenage girls I saw snapping pictures of themselves in hairbows and spiked sunglasses weren’t taking the items to the register because her product isn’t affordable to her audience. And while this fanbase may range in socioeconomic status to those who can, she and her team have a duty not to rip off little girls and boys and Zeds(however you identify). Because if Gaga is being real when she admonishes everyone to love themselves “whether you’re broke or evergreen” she would stand up for her little monsters in the middle class. The amount of profit being made off of the product in Gaga’s workshop is egregious. Even if a quarter of the proceeds are being given to The Born This Way Foundation(which supports victims of bullying, a noble cause, but one that is very difficult to monetize) the 75 percent of revenue left over still means that the enterprise is shwimming in money. Even if Barney’s is the main profit-garnering entity behind this vomitrocious rip-off castle, Gaga has a responsibility to conscientiously object. Because if the goodies in her workshop are the ones on the playground being used to arbitrate the elementary school pecking order, it’s likely that her self-esteem message could become the very instrument of oppression.
19 11 / 2011
The buzz at the front lines of the Versace x H&M opening is just as expected and it’s Bedlam all over Manhattan. Because the opportunity for label-conscious New Yorkers to snag something that carries the blessing of the Queen Mother of Eurotrash at H&M prices is too good to pass up. The Racked team has been liveblogging the inaugural in-store day of the highly anticipated collaboration since the early morning hours and the scene involved lines snaking around city blocks, wristbands for entry, and mounds of leopard print. Because I believe that the only thing worth waking up for that early on a Saturday morning is free food, I decided to follow the chaos from my couch. Perusing the H&M website, I refreshed my initial impression of the collab after viewing the sneak peak a few weeks ago. Ultra-body con dresses with hooker-mesh illusion panels up the side, studded leather jackets, and Kool-aid colored leopard print skirts scream the definitive message. THIS IS VERSACE!!
(From top left: “Stampa” Dress, $129; “Stampa” Jeans, $69.95; “Pelle Borchie” Skirt, $129; “Bottoni Oro” Dress, $149)
Dressing like an Albanian club owner’s trophy wife is not quite my thing, but different strokes for different folks. As long as the price is right, and it’s understandable that wallet-watching Versace fans will flip for this collection. Also, if I had the disposable income to spend on a Showgirls-style alter-ego wardrobe, I could see myself in one or two of the dresses:
(“Frange” Dress, $199; “Pelle Borchie” Leather Jacket, $299)
The one hitch about this high/low retail fusion is that the designer mandate allows the company to hike the prices up way beyond the H&M range. The cheapest thing on the menu is a pair of lame’ leggings for 29.99, while most of the dresses sell for $150-$300. No fooling. Donatella is playing a sick joke on every person braving the sudden drop in temperatures to wait for the release of her “accessible collaboration” with H&M. Nonetheless, people don’t seem to be discouraged from purchasing. The most money spent today on the merchandise was reportedly $9,000 according to Racked. And so continues the ironic cycle that Versace epitomizes, in which people drop more and more cash to make it themselves look cheap. Only now, it’s marginally cheaper to do so!
But Nomi Malone likes conspicuous consumption, and would resoundingly approve.
09 11 / 2011
(Credit, via Vogue.com)
This just in… Lady Gaga doesn’t care about money, and she’s showing you just how little of a shit she gives by charging 350 greenbacks for a Gaga’s workshop teacup!(shown above) Gags’ highly anticipated retail undertaking for the Holiday season, entitled “Gaga’s Workshop”, will take over the 5th floor of Barneys’ Madison Avenue store and is sure to be a wonderland of the absurd. Lynn Yaeger’s sneak peak of the event just broke on Vogue.com. While the retail peep-show is sure to make you covet and drool, it’s just as liable to make you wonder what in the world of unholy pant-less glory compelled our girl to charge $65 for a leopard-print journal that you could’ve bought at Claire’s? However, if there is an option to sit on Jo Calderone’s lap and tell him what I want for Christmas, I can’t be trusted with my money. Check out the full story and slideshow at the following link:
02 11 / 2011
Otherwise known as The Coveteur. Featuring the closets and houses of members of fashion stylists, editorial power players, and celebrities, the site is an aesthetic fantasy journey into how the other half lives. Despite the success of the site to appeal to your most rabid material sentiments by making everything they photograph look so, well, covetable, it’s pretty absurd. Although the “day in the life” thing works to an extent, there’s an odd, fussy style of placing the enviable objects in completely outlandish places. These totally silly placements invite a bit of explanation. I want to know… How did your Miu Miu glitter heels end up balancing on the rim of your vintage Kitchenaid mixer? Was it a peyote trip, or just a stroke or curatorial genius? So let’s investigate some photographic subtext…
“Totally forgot… I left my Rag and Bone distressed work boots on the roof when I was up there pretending to reshingle.”
“The Arena bag is so 2007. Therefore, I figured I’d execute it by drowning it in my sink, and then burning it to destroy any evidence that I participated in the trend. I think that I left my Prada pouch perched on the Aloe plant outside because I totally got burnt at the tanning booth and needed to cool. It looked nice out there, so I just figured I’d leave it be.”
“The first picture is like male Cinderella. The only caveat is that his charming princess never picked up his Ferragamo oxford and they never achieved their happily ever after. It makes a real statement about the dichotomy between fantasy and reality. Also, I always try to keep one dress in front of my fireplace just in case I run out of twigs or newspaper, so I can use it for kindling.”
“I can’t reach my outfit, so therefore, I don’t need to get dressed and leave the house today. Just another excuse for a Netflix marathon!”
Check out more silly still-lifes at The Coveteur.