Sunday June 3 2012
Disclaimer! Disclaimer! I’m iffy about ‘street style’.*
It was 12 months ago that I started to hate Scott Schuman and his seminal website The Sartorialist. (Toooo seminal, that site, and not enough ‘ovular’, as my excellent feminist friend Smitty would have it.)
It had something to do with the shark-jumpy, insider vanity of his self-portraits, model portraits and girlfriend portraits; something squirmily 90s-minded in me that eschews the easy advertorial corruptibile-ness of all things ‘authentic’, ‘street’ and ‘social’. Go figure.
Then there was the online furore over his plainly dicky comments about ‘curvy’ women. The rest was just boredom. With ankles.
Refinery 29 has an excellent timeline showing the rise and fall of the entire street style blogging phenomenon, which is well worth a look (Thanks, talented Tara!) and besides, name-checks most of the best. Besides, chictopia has images I can’t beat with my cruddy Berry. As does the epic Brooklyn Flea.
But, oh, my far-flung friends, there are things to report. Things on the street, this Spring/Summer 2012. And here are ten that repeatedly caught my (Disclaimer! Disclaimer! Totally unfashionable) eye:
1. Mercilessly immaculate grooming, particularly great brows and lush lash extensions. (Individual lashes, that is, glued in, en masse.) There is nary an un-threaded brow nor an unpolished toe nor an unwaxed mons in all of this city. (Yes, still. Caitlin Moran hasn’t exactly caught on.)***
2. A thick and girlish pony with volume at the top or crown.
3. Fluoro orange touches, especially running shoes, wallets, bags and nails. Other, less-likely fluoros popping up are red, purple and green – but not pink or yellow.
4. The ubiquitous and undying feel-good-in-all-senses Tom. (Yes, still.) Cresting variants include the lace Tom. The dominant Tom is black at MOMA and on the LES; red in Brooklyn.
5. The colour red. Tomato red. Also on Toms in Brooklyn. (See 4. above)
6. The tight black pant; the jaunty ankle-roll. (Yes, still.)
7. Blocky wooden platforms or cloggy heels with lavish velvet bows wrapping around.
8. Facial hair. (Yes, still.) Beards persist. Moustaches are better. Size matters.
9. Otherwise floppy hair. Brideshead hair. Hitler hair. Sir Ed hair. Fab Four hair. Also bow-ties and suspenders, sometimes, and – inevitably – good socks.
10. Lace shifts and blouses in bold – even fluoro – colours (see 3. above) and big, baroque patterns. Bonus points if they’re lined in such a way that the wearer looks nude underneath and old guys have to stare extra hard at the wearer’s shadowy butt to be sure.
Apart from that, I offer the following: Cool black people make stuff look good. Hipsters are the same as everywhere**, except hipper. Chic chicks are the same as everywhere, except chic-er. The heavily tattooed are tattooed the same as everywhere, except more audaciously and with greater neck/face coverage. Ordinary folk are the same as everywhere, except a tad more ordinary. Children are the same as children everywhere, except less childlike.
*In spite of adoring Bill Cunningham after last year’s lovely doco.
**Which means they look like High Country farm workers having a picnic in the 1940s. I have pictures to support this.
***It was in this context that I went to the last day of the Cindy Sherman retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art . As you probably know, Sherman has been photographing herself since the 1960s in a variety of guises and this May/June MOMA turned its 6th floor over to a huge hang of many the resulting works. Always ‘iconic’, sometimes capricious or witty, mostly mordant, or deadpan, and sometimes even dead, Sherman seems to have embodied every (type of) woman. And in her latest series of ageing society gal ‘portraits’, the so-called “tell-tale-signs” of surgery and strained smiles and crumbling, fancy backdrops evoke – depressingly for this viewer, at least – the impossibility of looking (death-defyingly) young, as well as the verboten social impossibility of not trying. So very New York.