Death At A Pool Party: Musings On Defining Fashion


I was so stoked to see that my photo from the Phillip Lim party was up on street style photographer Mr. Newton's site. Giving The Sartorialist a run for his brogues, Mr. Newton was out during Coachella weekend shooting looks for Harper's Bazaar when I ran into him. Of course I didn't make the cut for Harper's, too weird I'm sure. Clearly I haven't changed much since high school.

Also hats on to fellow fashion writer Natalie Alcala for including a twitpic of my outfit in her post for Blackbook!

Read some ramblings after the jump:


I had plenty of people ask me for a photo at the Lim party, or just took a candid, including Bronques of Last Night's Party, Garance Dore and Alexa Chung who was djing the event, but caught me on my way out. I was asked by a photographer, "Who are you wearing?" as she petted my veil like it was the mane of a Triple Crown-winning horse. I thought was a strange question to ask, because I was just wearing a hat I bought at the mall, a basic bikini from American Apparel and a lovely piece of lace I bought at Jo-Ann Fabric. She was obviously expecting something like, "Oh, vintage Givenchy" or "a piece inspired by Philip Treacy." But with voice lost to being sick, I bumblingly grogged, "Umm, just, something I made." Disappointed, she walked off.

It's an interesting aspect of fashion: everyone's looking for a good story. "Just something I made," or "I thought it was cool" doesn't cut it. The same piece that can make the cover of a fashion magazine could be ignored for lack of a compelling narrative. As a writer, this comes as a relief to me since storytelling is what puts gas in my car, but, to play devil's advocate against my own occupation, it also brings up a number of issues. For instance, what defines good art? If a brilliant artist merely put out a piece without any kind of description, wouldn't it be harder to sell compared to a piece that has an entertaining story? In such a case, wouldn't the story itself be the art, and the piece merely the vessel? But then again a good story can't brighten up a foyer.

Sometimes I want to call bullshit on things that rely on stories. Truly brilliant art, fashion or any visual medium shouldn't always have to rely on words or ties to well-known names--just the power of it's physical presence. Not to say my personal style is in any way on that level, but it's sad that a lack of story can detract people from something they enjoyed. Perhaps my outfit didn't evoke a literal narrative, but I felt it had an emotional one. Black, shunning sunshine and summer, and yet utterly exposed to the elements and public eyes. Alarming at first glance, but frustratingly simple when broken down. Fashion can be a riddle, sometimes not meant to have an answer.

I guess I'm completely contradicting myself writing this, but it's an interesting human aspect to think about. In other words, don't ask me who I'm wearing ;).