"Yick. Are those Via Spigas? Did you get those at Strawberry?" The 20-something PR lackey didn't actually say it, but his narrowed eyes, suspicious look at The List tacked to his clipboard, disapproving look at me, then back at The List, said it for him. The headset affixed to his cranium appeared to be held in place by a strategic combination of industrial-strength hair gel and the big head he'd developed during the past five days wielding Door Power at various 7th on Sixth affairs.
Not that I really blame him. Every other day of the year, his job sucks. Saying no to would-be fashionistas for even one day is probably enormously gratifying. And maybe next year, if he works really hard, he'll get to be the condescending door boy at the [secret undisclosed] Balenciaga show!
I'm not a fashionista at all, but I've discovered that it's basically impossible to write about celebrities and New York media without being somewhat aware of what's happening in the fashion world, so I decided to suck it up and make some attempt to go to something remotely 7th-on-Sixth-y. Project Alabama's Friday night show seemed appropriate because the designer, Natalie Chanin, is from Alabamaas am Iand her entire line consists of pieces that are handmade by Alabama quilters. I've been harboring a conspiracy theory for months that Alabamians are taking over New York, and this just seemed like more damning evidence.
I got the "if you must" nod from the door boy and headed up the stairs of Bowlmor Lanes to the main floor. They did the actual show shortly after the party started and I missed it. (The only thing I do fashionably is arrive late.) The models were still running/stumbling/dancing around in various Project Alabama creations accessorized with fishnet stockings, Marlboro reds, and nondescript hipster boy hanger-ons that were frequently removed or exchanged for new ones.
I grabbed a much-needed glass of wine and tried to appear approriately self-absorbed and vapid. Page Six columnist Richard Johnson was enthusiastically bowling in a lane a few yards from the entrance, stopping every few seconds to shake hands or air-kiss an acquaintance. (Wife Nadine's PR firm was managing the event.) Johnson, in system-administrator casual, looked even less hip than I did and I briefly felt more secure about my choice of 1999 Diesel and three-year-old Moschino, which had been determined largely by laundry doneor not done, ratherin the five days prior. (My recent transition from the hedge fund world to the lucrative world of freelance journalism has adjusted my fashion tastes for available disposable income, and now run more toward Gap Clearance Couture and this season's East Village Thrift Store.)
I actually liked Chanin's stuff, although the pieces all have the trademark unconventional stitching which makes it impossible to fathom buying more than one item. There are different designs, but only one "look." The seams are on the outside of the jackets, corsets, shirts, etc., and the loose threads are left hanging. My Alabama grandmother would be horrified at the needlework, which in some adolescent way, probably explains why I thought they were cute.
The only real "Alabama" fashion on display was the ubiquitous "truck driver" capthe baseball caps with the mesh backs and the foam fronts most popularly worn in John Deere green, with the actual tractor-company logo. I wish this stupid trend would die. I've started making mental notes of places spotted and number of occurances. Three at the Project Alabama show. Two at the Vice party at Sweet and Vicious for [That Band Whose Name I Can't Remember] that Natasha Lyonne left to go hang out across the street at Cafe Lebowitz with non truck-driver-capped people like Yoko Ono.** And, of course, the daily infestations of truck-driver-capped hipsters in my East Village neighborhood. In other parts of the country people are unironically wearing the same hats as they gingerly place their Remington 700 rifles into the gun racks in the cabs of their four-wheel drive pickups, aligning them perfectly with the Confederate flag stickers that say "Heritage; Not Hate." This alone should make New Yorkers feel ridiculous about wearing them, but apparently it doesn't. Drunken people in bowling alleys, incidentally, also remind me of Alabama, but in an entirely different way.
The popularity of the horrendous truck-driver caps seems to be the cyclical result of the usual Veblenian fashion world economics where lower-class fashions imitate upper-class fashionsuntil the lower-class fashions start looking a little too much like upper class fashions and the elites start imitating the lower classes to differentiate themselves from the bourgeois scum. Or maybe people are just tasteless and stupid.
The DJ started playing a weird mix of "Sweet Home Alabama" and various dance anthems that basically consisted of stopping one song abruptly and starting another one, then repeating. It seems the "mix" part of the "mix" concept was completely lost on him. Lynyrd Skynyrd in a New York dark bowling alley crawling with 20 Debbie Harry look-alikes, one Debbie Harry (or so I'm told), and an assortment of stilettoed fashionistas, drag queens, fashion "journalists," and "industry" people was too surreality much for me. The black lights and the balloons were getting to me as well. I grabbed my coat, said hi to Ben "I'm boycotting fashion week!" Widdicombe on the way out and headed to an East Village bar to have a much more enjoyable four-hour round of drinks with a friend who subsequently suggested that it might be a good idea for me to recover my southern accent. (You first, Tennessee boy.)
**It recently occured to me that when I do spot celebrities, I should perhaps note as much on Gawker.