This article was originally published 9 October 2017 in Mazzy McDaid’s Gagg magazine. It served as the fashion review for the Spring/Summer 2018 collections. It documents a girl choosing an outfit for a day at a popular book fair in New York City.
It was Sunday and I was due at the MoMA PS1 Book Fair with the girls. Not exactly to read, but to stand around looking hot and talk about the state of discourse. I needed to dress in a way that made it clear I not only know how to read, but happen to love reading. In the event that a boy might approach, I recited that line enthusiastically in the mirror as I put on lipstick. Like a convertible Bentley Continental left in the rain, I made my mascara streaky and cool, as if I were at a funeral before I “hurried over” to the book fair. I thought about the bikini-top and skirt look that miss Katy Perry wore a few times. A lot of people don’t know this, but I will tell you: Katy Perry is actually part of an extremely cool and important collective of girls in NYC, American chicks that play violin and write poetry and pronounce “France”, Frahnce. Anyway and whatever, my mind snapped back to the closet. I eyed a skirt by Dior. I remembered the last time I wore it… a hot Hawaiian summer day. I had mistakenly driven my car really fast off a sand dune. It happened to be a Toyota Prius with the brake problem as well as the malfunctioning airbag, subject to a recall by Takata and millions in lawsuit payouts. In the style of a Dead Kennedy, I did a number of terrific backflips and crashes and landed on my back in a pile of gorgeous Dior skirt, the mangled Prius a few feet away. Before I spoke to my mother, I spoke to my lawyer. I reset: I gritted my teeth, ripped the skirt off the rack and hurled it into the fireplace. It went up in flames immediately.
My girls tell me I look like a Matisse drawing. They are so wise and right! My tender features and artfully curved jaw does evoke the mind-image of a happy Henrie; in his Paris flat, making intense love to a stick of a woman then drawing her as she sips post-sex coffee.
The next piece in my closet was peach-colored number by Marni, featuring work by David Salle. David Salle and I have a very long and gorgeous history: my friend is his nanny! David is very posh, no matter what they say. He even goes to estate sales on streets like Gin Lane in the Hamptons. If it were up to me, David would propose to both me and my dear friend at the same time. I bet his kids are so feral and free, full of vibrant ideas… living in a house that looks like something Rachel Zoe used to own. Anyway, this dress has pictures of naked females on it, and hangs low, almost revealing at least one of my tiny but healthy breasts. I thought about the logistics. The razor thin straps could catch on the corner of a metal bookshelf and tear off. The thought made me shudder: hundreds upon thousands of cool book lovers watching me have a sexy wardrobe malfunction. Though I’m a big fan of Spectacle, I’d rather keep eyes off of me and on the books full of creative penis photos. I disregard this piece as simply too dangerous for the book fair.
Did you ever read “The Iliad”? I want to look like “The Iliad”. I found this old Calvin Klein piece that might fit the bill. It kind of looks like a book. The shirt has words and manga or something written on it. I’m not totally sure because Calvin Klein does some of the most intelligent fashion of all time. However, I will say I connected with Iris Van Herpen’s Biopiracy collection and always wear one of her pieces when I go to the doctor as a statement on Western Medicine. I think it is so important to silently voice your position on things as well as vocalize them. For example, when I saw the doctor, I told him I was wearing the garment as a statement on Western Medicine. There is also blood-splattered crimson skirt that as supposed to accompany the bookish Calvin Klein blouse. As much as I acknowledge and condemn the Spanish Inquisition, I’d hate even risk being regarded as an endorser of it. I laid that skirt down and out of view. I realized after I did an oatmeal bath that I was silly for ever contemplating the Calvin Klein stuff. Obsession aside, I know the Book Fair’s clientele and the Klein stuff would be seen as lowbrow and surface level, no matter how many times I’d implore, “It’s part of the joke.”
Growing up, I wore one Prada garment every day of elementary school. My mother did not dress me. I dressed myself. My pencil case was a Fendi Baguette purse. I wrote with pens designed for traditional shodō, the art of Japanese calligraphy. My hair bands? Chanel horsehair and freshwater pearl. My backpack was a bindle acquired from a seventeenth century migrant apple-harvester. As a first grader, I carried first edition copies of Decartes and Hume. I love school. I love learning. “If you’re SO under the radar, why are you in Vogue?” These kinds of taunts from my second-grade classmates were callous and painful at the time, but have made me so strong today. I have a good relationship with the paparazzi. All the newspapers produce favorable stories of me (except my Gold Bar period during the 2010’s, when I was occasionally dating/fucking John Mayer; self-imposed). In any event, I can poke fun at myself, too. That’s why this Prada dress with Brenda Starr comics might be the right choice for the Book Fair. It shows I’m feminist and sensitive to my mortality but also retro and timely- someone who can appreciate the bygone era. When people see me in this dress, I want them to see pain and suffering, the bloodied hands and faces of abuse and patriarchy-motivated corporate violence but also… progress and wry humor. I find the pencil so inspiring. You can tell your life with this dress. But I didn’t want to reveal too much. Much like a REAL open book, this dress is like an open book.
Though I have some pieces featuring Cindy Sherman prints, my twin sister is away. She is in Antarctica, starting the world’s first arctic vineyard and wellness spa. I can only wear the Cindy Sherman dress if my sister is by my side at all times (as noted in care instructions). The power of the work is lost otherwise.
If I were going for accessibility, I’d most definitely wear this Coach and Keith Haring collaboration. I’m not saying I don’t “get” Keith Haring (I do; a homosexual young guy wanted to liberate the wall space) but I don’t want him, either. I feel like the Book Fair isn’t the place. If any artist is oversaturated, its Haring. Like, not even real collectors take him seriously anymore. On the other hand, the proletariat won! Fuck you Jeff Koons! Haring really does belongs to the people. I smile before going back to thought. I also don’t want to come across as an NYC fan-girl. But now that I think about it, wearing a Keith Haring ode to NYC could be just enough irony for the Book Fair. I could even go full tourist and bring a subway map… I feel close…
Art History really does make me so horny. Imagine not engaging with the human legacy of creativity at least once in your life, or having never masturbated to all seven panels of the Unicorn Tapestries simultaneously. It is these small pleasures that make life worth living. That’s why I may choose this Comme des Garçons piece as my choice for the MoMA Book Fair. As you know from my diet (I only eat foods that could be described as “leathery” and “spiky”), I am so sensitive to texture. This garment is like running your hand under soften-water; the feeling as if the soap has never washed off of you. When I was living in the Netherlands as a recycling advocate posing as a process server (I’d serve fake court papers in the interest of persuading a population to start recycling more passionately- I found the shock-and- awe to work well), I noticed people loved putting icons in their Nordic homes. The Danish house music thumping, I’d shout “I LOVE THAT MARY MAGDALENE PRINT OVER THE ILSTED!” Therefore, and happenstance and so on, I carried that image forever. Then, I saw the Vogue cover with Madonna wearing the cross and I knew I was a visionary. Like a happy baby, I will wear anything with old pictures on them. That’s exactly how I’d describe this haunting and beautiful Comme des Garçons piece.
I was about to close up my closet before something yellow caught my eye. An Oscar De La Renta with some pop art. Mod enough to wow the wannabe Mad Men and fantasy-secretaries. Artsy and composed enough to catch the eye of the one straight student at Pratt, revealing enough to draw a look from the chief curator and shapeless enough to patch-in the fashion professor at FIT. It was collage-y enough for the girls that only went to the Book Fair to buy socks and historical enough to pencil in smart girls with names like Vivienne and Laura for an afternoon viewing. I couldn’t believe I forgot about this! I was going to look like Brigitte Bardot or Françoise Hardy! Like a French chick in the garage; I was only missing my Fender Stratocaster and a history of chain-smoking. I poured myself into the dress and slipped on a pair of Charvet slippers. Fuck! I slammed back a wheatgrass shot for lunch then made my way to Queens for the first time in years.