I’ve been away. Yes – we go places here. And we still end up back in bed, back at our desks, at our work stations, in the kitchen, on the front porch. Okay – in the lobby, on the sidewalk, hailing a cab. No – that’s New York. That’s right, we’re here in Los Angeles where the subway’s still hard to figure out. Easier to key the ignition. And away we go.
Will we be ‘reconciled among the stars?’ You tell me. Yes, the fall menswear shows have already come and mostly gone – one of my faithful readers was kind enough to post the Dries Van Noten menswear runway show to my Facebook page (thank you, Willij – xoxox), which by the way has one of the best soundtracks ever – and the Paris couture shows are apparently in full swing as I write this. (Am I just locked into the art world calendar, such as it is – or does this seem to be tracking just a bit early??) Without going into a discussion of the menswear collections (yes, I have been following them), I’ll just say straight off that the Dries Van Noten reminded me of the way I used to dress at high school and university (seriously). But, ah, those were different times…. Let’s get back to L.A.
We were talking about the political year 2012, and how we might be dressing in it, or at the very least accessorizing it. But first of all, before I go all couture on your head: take it easy for a sec. There’s a social-fashion phenomenon that stands in polar opposition to the surf, skate and sweats looks that all but visually pollute the sidewalks during the daytime here in L.A. This is, practically by definition, an evening look; and we see it almost everywhere on almost any given night, but especially in certain precincts of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. We see it in different variations on the social X-ray, X-file, or exhibitionist – depending variably upon the assets or insecurities on display – all but embalmed in her artfully draped bandage dress (probably gauzy at that), the camera-ready maquillage, coiffure iron-straight and shiny or cut and combed-out with not a hair out of place; stiletto heels six inches or higher, or perhaps a pair of custom cantilevered shoes that make normal walking seem like a balletic feat. (It’s something to see marching across Sunset Boulevard or up Canon Drive – although the distance actually traversed is rarely much longer than the stroll from chauffered Town Car or Ferrari to the restaurant entrance.)
I’m reminded of that line from Robert Towne’s and Hal Ashby’s Shampoo, where George (Warren Beatty) is telling Jackie (Julie Christie) that she should cut her hair, that she looks “like a whore.” (An unforgettable moment, with Beatty in classic form, that slightly enervated but cheerfully dispassionate pleading tone in his voice, with just a dash of his sexy charm; Christie instantly crestfallen.) We may not need the same attention to our hair. If anything, we might pull out a clip and shake it a bit looser. Perfection is wonderful on the runway or red carpet, but in a more typical day or evening context, it conveys a kind of airlessness that is the province of the Plexiglas showcase, not life. We’re definitely not giving up heels, but we might give a thought to simple functionality before the display aesthetic takes over – shoes that serve our own pleasure before our companion’s fetish. (A side note here: couldn’t help noticing the ValentinoFall 2012 couture went down the runway mostly over flats. Interesting?) Of course there’s nothing easier than an elegant evening dress – but why even sweat the day to evening transition? I noticed a lot of very luxurious trousers, many in a slightly looser silhouette (albeit some on the shiny or ‘decorated’ side) over the holidays; and I see no reason for that trend not to continue into the season and through the rest of the year.
It’s not as if leggings and form-fitting jeans are going to disappear (let’s face it, we rarely let go of our jeans until they’re worn out). Bill Cunningham recently noted that leggings or slim pants (anchored by a sometimes platformed ankle boot) continued to figure into the dominant winter street silhouette in Manhattan. But then that’s Manhattan. Things evolve here in L.A. somewhat differently. And then there’s the weather. Forget about Kevin, Tilda – what we really need to talk about is the weather.