Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
Another cute novelty print that escaped my clutches.
I don't remember quite where I saw it, nor how much it was going for. I love the rounded bodies of the deer and the squiggles of yellow. But again the eyelashes really up the cute ante.
I'm afraid novelty prints have become too trendy this season. I probably said it last year as novelty hit the couture end. Well, now it has trickled down and I am seeing it everywhere with mixed feelings.
I couldn't help but notice that Forever 21 has a cotton skirt with roosters on it. Anthropologie has a dress with orange giraffes trooping across a white background. (For a jaw-dropping $498, it should come with a conflict diamond.) Urban Outfitters has a shirt with bunnies on it. Of course I'm not shopping in these places; I'm allergic to retail-- gives me a rash. Just doing some competitive intelligence. Even every down-market on 34th Street's cheap and cheerful row is filled to the gills with owl, mushroom and tiny whale prints. Men in slouchy jeans sport hoodies covered with foil printed diamonds.
Though I am delighted to see novelty on other citizens, I can't help but wonder why they are wearing them. Are they the same people who a mere year ago would have pointed at me and laughed? Do they love their novelty prints? I mean, really love them? A novelty print should crack your hard shell and ooze your soft whimsicality all over. It must ooze, goddamn it, like candy tears from the heart of kitsch. Otherwise we're all just ironic posturing bores.
Goslings, perhaps I'm just old and bitter.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
One that got away.
Can you see this dress in this tiny photo? It's all I've got to remind me. I can only see this as if from a great distance. Adorable, late 50s cotton day dress with hot air balloons aloft and trailing flowers. It sold yesterday for about $36.
I dallied, I tarried, I debated. It is pink, I thought, though just about my size. I really need more blue in my wardrobe, I reasoned, but hey, some of these balloons are indeed green and blue. It's so traffic-stopping cute, goddamn it. No, go home and hem the 2 or 3 broken frocks that still remain unwearable. (Remember the Don Quixote dress. It is still unwearable. It rebukes you even now.) This fulfills my New Years Resolution to fearlessly combine red and pink. And I don't have anything with hot air ballooooons! Go back to computer, log on, bid now.
Just at that moment, when I was about to surrender to my first ebay experience, I discovered that ebay bidding is blocked on my server. (Not that I'm doing any of this at work--never!) Of the 150 novelty prints I have posted here, this is the first time I've been driven to bid. (Well, except for the Moulin Rogue skirt, where I tried to get Rudolpho to bid for me, but that's another depraved tale.) I was so besotted that I thought of adding an item that I cannot even try on to my already overflowing closet. Only to find that I've been protected from this slippery slope all along by Big Brother. Ha!
No worries, I thought, I shall hie myself elsewhere to get my fix. But oh goslings, the point of this blog was not to shop more but to shop less. I went to fencing class instead. (No, not the kind where you have to unload hot watches, the kind with an epée.) Safe. Until the next novelty heart-breaker comes along.
No, I am not so noble--I'm going to the flea market this weekend. Really just for old times sake. Really. My favorite flea market is closing at the end of this month. Yet another victim of NYU's relentless expansion over the village. I'll let you know how I fare. I'll be shopping with tears in my eyes, no doubt.
Enjoy the dress, winning bidder! I hope it fits perfect and you wear it on summer nights among the fireflies.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
Calling all crustaceans!
Yes, you, the 100 year old lobsters who have escaped the trawlers and the wide net of commercial fishing to flex your ragged claws and scuttle along with your briny meditations. Did you know you were the sine qua non of surrealism? Or perhaps, shorthand for surrealism’s splashings in the shallow end of the subconscious pool.
Do I love you, lobsters? You betcha.
I’ve always wanted a lobster dress and a table cloth dress; this one does marvelous double duty. In the film version of my life (working title: The Gilded Assassin), I’d wear this red and white shirt waist dress to disguise myself as a café table. In the cinematic version of my life, I’m adept at a form of yoga that involves camouflage, mostly achieved by my ability to hold still and an appropriately chosen novelty print. I’d free a lobster from a potboiler and set her loose in the seaside café with a tiny microphone in her claw. She would record conversations of the various spies in the joint (after all, my life is an Espionage Musical), before heading back to the ocean.
Don’t worry, this isn’t just a walk-on for our intrepid lobster. Especially since Zza Zza Gabor will be the voice of the lobster, and heaven knows she could use the work. There will be underwater scenes where I’ll meet her again. And like Androcles and the Lion, we’ll have a special bond. Perhaps the lobster and I will do a soft shoe number. The lobster will definitely have a whistling solo. Though the whistling might sound a bit like sound they make when boiled, even though it's in dubious taste.
The V&A is currently hosting an exhibit of surrealist objects. If you are in London, you should check it out. Or if jet fuel ain’t part of your lifestyle, read a review here. What is it about the sight of a stylized red lobster taken out of context that just makes my heart sing? As the reviewer points out, how could an apartment based on Mae West's visage not bring a smile to yours?
All of this is really just an excuse to include Salvador Dalí ’s lobster phone, and Elsa Schiaparelli’s Lobster dress (made in collaboration with Dalí ). This was one of the lobster dresses La Schiap Divina made for Mrs. Wallis Simpson, that’s right, the American divorcée who sparked an abdication. Apparently Wallis was not well-liked, what with interfering with accession and all, but the lobster dress was just the frock to turn it all around. Novelty prints make one seem whimsical, was the argument, and therefore more sympathetic. Cecil Beaton photographed her in this dress. I have marched all over Internetlandia, but have not found this photo to post.
La Schiap Divina, before whom I genuflect, deserves several posts of her own, for the edification of goslings everyone. But that’s quite another kettle. Now back to lobster pot.
I did find one of my Holy Grails: a photo of Isabella Blow in Philip Treacy’s Lobster Hat. It’s only the back, but that’s where all the drama is anyway. Alas I couldn’t crop it for you, so she is just at the bottom right and you are forced to look at some 1998 Thierry Mugler catwalk action front and center.
Ms. Blow is a socialite and a designer’s muse. She too deserves a post of her own, though I have long avoided doing so. Perhaps I’m just jealous. After all, I have worn outlandish things on my head. Concoctions of faux foliage and costume jewelry, plastic grapes (but evoking Bacchus, rather than Carmen Miranda), even things that light up (oy, and this was back in the early 90's with some weighty D batteries and a cord that I duct-taped to my back). Why am I not a milliner’s muse, I ask you? I mean, besides the fact that I'm not a socialite, don't have any capital, and don't know anyone who could get me seated in the front rows of fashion shows.
And aren't hats just the perfect accessory for a spy? This isn't a video camera on my head, I could explain, it's a Philip Treacy chapeau.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
The last one is my fave. It looks like a uniform for a biologist working on a space station in a 1970's movie where the earth has been destroyed by capitalist greed and brave scientist ladies are trying to recreate our biosphere on another planet by using early 20th Century illustrations.