Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mythologick: The Future of Fashion?

With all due respect to my fellow bloggers, the shining moment for me in The Devil Wears Prada--was Madame Meryl's speech on the uselessness of trying to avoid fashion, during her spiel on the color cerulean. There is no non-fashion--there is "anti-fashion" which is essentially bad taste thinking above its class. I have a beloved monkey friend in London who vehemently refuses to wear any type of pattern or print. (I think he was recently swayed into stripes). Like any self-respecting, public-school teaching socialist, he wears drab industrial colors with no generic slogans or capitalist logos. Alas, I think, he does not realize how much he is in fashion--his version is simply the clothing equivalent of minimalist design. Use less, do more, say more. Now, he may not be spending as much attention or time on his clothing as the Park Avenue fashionista tottering by on her stilletos, but his statement is as loud and clear as hers is. Fashion has become a signifier of identity; even going around buck naked says something about you.

I think that we always envision the death of fashion. As Jerry Seinfeld said, we always portray the future as fashion-less--everyone dressed in avant-garde, angdrogynous jumpsuits, usually in unassuming shades of gray and blue. But the 21st century fox doesn't seem to have any limits in his/her wardrobe. You can cover up, reveal, dye, pierce, inject, paint or tattoo anything. It is an industry; it keep growing. The assumption of the 2001 Space Odyssey glamazon had better things on her mind than to think about her clothes. That was the assumption from many post 9/11 too, but guess what? Fashion adapted.

It is obviously superficial to think about clothes. But humans, especially now, react superficially; decisions about whether you like someone takes place in the first ten seconds ofmeeting. Are you looking into their soul or at their shoes? Body language counts for more than 60% of the message you convey. Why wear something that makes you uncomfortable Your clothes-- until a nuclear apocalypse makes us reconsider the superficiality our materialistic ways--still tell your story.

It seems to me that instead of dying, fashion is curving in on itself, like one of those wierd fractal equations that describe a fourth dimensions. (Mathematicians: my most humble apology for that last sentence. Bear with me.) Corsets show no signs of going away, joining by another ancient fashion totem (and torture device) the foot-binding stilleto. Empire dresses straight out Austen are back, and Victorian lace drips over everything. Sleeves are puffed. Instead of reaching towards the future, fashion going back in time, reinventing and reinterpreting the past.

Witness Mythologick, a new brand that blurs all the distinctions between past and present, East and West, real and imagined, handmade and computer generated. There are three designs, available in t-shirts, tanks, baseball-style tops, in a ridiculous array of colors. Contemplate the following, with my interpretations. (Get the site's own description by clicking on the link).

Ganymede: "Beautiful Trojan prince. Kidnapped by eagles, whisked away to heaven to be the cupbearer to the gods. Oh, the eagle was Zeus and he was in love with the boy. Cupbearers never

The eagles are Japanese, and the bulging muscles on the falling boy would
make Camille Paglia swoon. The figure holding the lotus is reminiscent
of Atlas with the world on his shoulders, but the lotus means much more
than that. In Buddhist mythology, a lotus sprouted when the Buddha
reached enlightenment; in Hindu mythology, it means rebirth. Ganymede,
floating high above the flames of Troy, is a flower plucked from the
East, flying to a higher place. In black the destination seems less certain...the figures lose their organic green and become pewter, like statues. is Ganymede leaving or coming home? The lotus beckons, but is bludgeoned by the god of war, and the eagles take fiery flight. CLICK THE ABOVE LINK FOR MORE COLORS, MORE STYLES, MORE INTERPRETATIONS.

2. Orpheus: "A love story full of cosmic music and poetry. A love so strong it transcended life and death. Well...maybe not death."

On a bed of paisley greens, Orpheus looks tempted by a noticeably masculine hand--since when did Eurydice have such prominent knuckles? Or do we have it backwards, with a flat-chested Eurydice reaching for her music-loving husband's hand...

In black the greens are less organic and more neon--Orpheus looks tempted by the nightlife, wanting to boogie. Look at those innocent eyes....but how long are those robes going to stay on, anyway? Maybe there's something to the music of the Dark Side, this Mordor...Contrary to the myth, he may give in. Orpheus, so pure, so holy in his angel wings, seems caught by the intricacies of the Far East, the paisleys licking like hellfire flames. How far, how low, will he go? CLICK LINK ABOVE FOR MORE ORPHEUS AND EURDYICE.

3. Minerva: "Full grown and in full armor, she sprang forth from her father's skull. the first of many headaches he would have over her."Confession time. Mythologick is designed by my absurdly talented brother, and I think Minerva is about me. First of all, he well knows that I had always identified with Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, on whom Minerva was based. A warrior goddess, associated with the arts, with wit, with besting the men in her family? Naturally. Second, there is, of course, the innate confusion of the design. This is not Minerva, but the Hindu Goddess Durga--another warrior goddess, born as an adult, in full armor, to vanquish demons. Can one warrior goddess merge with another? In black, her many arms fan in technicolor glory; she is pink like a rose, red like blood. My favorite colors. CLICK LINK ABOVE FOR MORE VERSIONS OF THE DEADLY GODDESS.

And there's just something about the phrase "The first of many headaches he'd have over her." Don't know what it is.

Sure, he's my brother, and that's why I'm pimping his shirts...but take another look. The future of fashion is in computer artisanship; using technology to expand fashion, not limit it.

Be useful. By a shirt. You clothes are making a statement anyway.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I Can't Wait to Get Old

"The Devil Wears Prada" has inexplicably stirred up several teacups full of tempest, from whiny-assistant Andy vs. bitch-boss Miranda debates to self-serious dissections of the authenticity of the fashion-maven characters' wardrobes (thanks, New York Times!).

But for me, personally, there was only one truly weighty matter that this perfectly enjoyable wisp of a film brought up: Hair. Now, I came out of the theater wanting Anne Hathaway's lovely mahogany mane. (Mine is kind-of close now, but seeing her onscreen made me realize that I want more pronounced bangs, and perhaps a slightly darker color.) So already, this movie has changed my life. But what really stuck with me (after I came home and immediately cut my bangs, to quite nice effect, I must say) was Meryl Streep's gorgeously gray coif.

She apparently came up with the look herself--and who's gonna argue with Ms. Most Nominated Actor in Oscar History?--and it has sparked its own share of debate. And while I don't claim to know a thing about fashion mag editors, who exist on an entirely different plane from entertainment magazine writers who also edit online alternative women's magazines, I'd like to say that I think her hair kicks ass. I even think it's possible that some bold, forward-thinking, truly self-confident women's fashion mag editor might just decide the time has come for women to embrace this particular sign of aging, and might actually make it her signature look.

Of course, we're living in the Botox era, so Meryl's "Devil" hair is probably still more fantastical than Andy's wardrobe transformation (and her romance with the famous author, and her showdown with Miranda in Paris ...). But Meryl showing how truly gorgeous she can look--after all, one of the fashion editors in that bitchy New York Times story griped that she looked "too pretty"--with silvery locks could just be the first step. As a 31-year-old who's taken to nightly examinations of her own emerging laugh lines, I sure as hell hope so.

It's no secret that not only have men always had the privilege of going gray gracefully, but it's also now seriously in. I'd paper my apartment with dorm-room-style posters of George Clooney and Anderson Cooper if it were socially acceptable--and I'd pretend those crushes were unique if I could find just one woman over 30 who didn't swoon over either of those guys. Honestly, I get a little pissed when I see those commercials for Just for Men that strongly imply that guys get more action after they wash the gray right out of their hair. It's patently false advertising, and it screws with men's minds the way ours have been screwed with for decades. It's irresponsible. We've been trained. They're more susceptible, and must be protected.

But while we're shielding men's fragile egos from the advertising industry, it would be nice if we could embrace the Clooneys and Coopers of our gender. Or the one we've got for the moment--our Streep.

My mom always jokes that she doesn't even know how gray she's gone, because she's been dyeing her hair red regularly since about 1970 ... I can only hope that when it comes my time, I'll feel like I at least have a choice. But for now, I am going to get that mahogany haircolor so I can look like Anne Hathaway. I've got a few more years to go.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Welcome to the official blog of This is our place to rave and rant about life as we know it. It's your place, too, so send us your thoughts!

(l-r) Jennifer & Heather

Are We All Just Catty Bitches?

Barbara Walters used to be my hero. I (and, hell, any career-minded young woman this side of 40) idolized the strong, independent ball-breaker, who did as much for women's career advancement as Sandra Day O'Connor as far as I'm concerned. She elbowed her way into some of the most important interviews of the 20th century, became the first female co-host of a network news show and championed women in the media, so much that she created “The View” to allow women of all ages and ethnicities a forum on everything from politics to motherhood.

“The View” was supposed to disprove the stereotype that women are innately competitive with each other. It was supposed to show unity and sisterhood. Instead, it proved we’re just a bunch of catty bitches after all.

The claws came out this week when Star Jones abruptly announced what we’ve all known for months: She’s leaving the show. This came much earlier, (and much more truthfully), than ABC executives or Barbara had expected.

Star was scheduled to “gracefully announce” her departure from “The View” last Thursday, but instead, she blurted out “I’m leaving” after a commercial break on Tuesday’s show. Her co-hosts (including an obviously shocked/pissed) Barbara feigned surprise and remorse, but it wasn’t fooling anybody.

Literally hours after that show wrapped, Jones was on the phone to People magazine giving her side of the story: “I was fired.”

This truth incensed Barbara, who in retaliation opened the next day’s show with “And then there were three,” and immediately went on the defensive: “I always tell the truth… except this once.”

Barbara’s honesty is one of the things that’s made her such a role model for women. She’s famous for milking the teary truth out of celebrities, but when questions are directed at her, she doesn’t hold back either. She was the first to admit that it's nearly impossible to balance a functional home life (i.e. a kid and a healthy marriage) and a demanding career. A lot of women hated hearing that. But it was the truth! She also admitted to firing ditz Debbie Matenopoulos, back in the show’s first incarnation for “not being the right fit.” If she could tell the truth then, why not now?

The truth (what we’ve all known for months, thanks to the not-so-discreet rumor mill) is: Rosie O’Donnell was hired to replace departing Meredith Vieira (you got out just in time, Mer!). Rosie hates Star for lying about an obvious gastric bypass to lose half a person (funny, Rosie lied for years about being gay). ABC executives were pissed at Star anyway for pandering to non-paying advertisers on the air. Barbara was sick of her me-me-ME! worship. It was enough to justify not renewing the woman’s contract – and tell the truth about it. But what Barbara (and ABC) wanted us to see play out was a thankful, graceful Star (who are they kidding?) leaving the show with tears in her eyes and love in her heart for her sister co-hosts.

Why was it so important to preserve this idyllic image of these four completely different women as a group of giggling girlfriends rather than admit that their differences were too much?

Adult women should be able to look another woman in the eye and admit that there’s a rift, accept they’re not going to be BFFs, but still go on and conduct themselves professionally. THIS could have been the crowning achievement of “The View,” the move to perhaps make headway into banishing that catty bitches stereotype.

Oh, well.