Kate Moss and a Cheap Chic Critique

Is it any coincidence that the most famous fairytale about vanity and self-deception is also about fashion? The Emperor's New Clothes comes to mind often these days whenever a major designer or model launches a cheap chic clothing line.

Proenza Schouler opened a pop-up store earlier this year for their Target line, but you did not see it on Gastro Chic, because it sucked. I've never been a fan of Proenza Schouler, despite their heartwarming meeting-at-Parsons story and socialite connections. Take away the high-quality materials and hand stitching, and Proenza Schouler line isn't much different from the run-of-the-racks clothing you'd find at Target. By 3pm, the only things left were cropped orange jackets and weird floral things in size 14.

But this didn't stop Colette in Paris from carrying the line. Can somebody please pass the Kool Aid?

As for the Alice Roi collection for Uniqlo, when it is bad, it is very, very bad, and when it is good, it looks like anything else you'd find at Uniqlo. Here's a nightmare in floral, right, and for a floral Alice Roi house dress, check out Racked. Mystifyingly, it was sold out by the time I arrived at Uniqlo. Couture designers seem to see doing a mass market line as an opportunity to take risks they would never take at a high-end level, in a "let them eat cake" sense. There's a fine line between jolie-laide and just plain ugly, and many of them cross it.

This Alice Roi sack dress was interesting but not particularly wearable. The only things worth buying from Alice Roi's collection for Uniqlo were the more conservative designs, like this safari-style top, below. And for that, why do you need Alice Roi?

Everything I needed to know about Madonna's ill-conceived collection for H&M I learned by peering in the windows at H&M and seeing rows and rows of basic hoodies and sweatpants. They should have called it "Madonna Gym."

Last week's Kate Moss at Topshop at Barneys hullabaloo was best approached with cynicism. If it is possible for a blog to stalk someone, Fashionista did before this opening, posting a video, Kate Moss Speaks! In case you were wondering whether she has anything remotely of interest to say, no, she doesn't. Nevertheless, Kate fans were in awe of the video, sent multiple comments, and drove traffic to the site. Barneys, Fashionista, and Racked all posted countdowns to Kate. Apparently, she is Santa Claus. Maybe even Jesus.

Is it any surprise that the line is a letdown after that? This may come as a major shock given her involvement with Pete Doherty, but Kate Moss is dumb as bricks. But it doesn't matter. They're like the stylish couple Woody Allen approaches in Annie Hall and asks for the secret to their happiness.

"Uh, I'm very shallow and empty and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say," she says.

"And I'm exactly the same way," he says.

Forget about love. The fashion take-away from Annie Hall is, they're still stylish! For better or for worse, you can have nothing interesting to say and still have style.

But not chic. Only an original like Isabella Blow can be truly chic.

I wasn't one of the hundreds waiting in line at Barneys, but I did go up to the seventh floor around 1pm Wednesday to find...tank tops! Oh my God, tank tops! With buttons on them! They reminded me of... dare I say it? Another K word. It begins with a K and ends with a Mart.

There was no sign of the cool black windowpane dress that reminded me of...some other designer. Or the floral dress that was directly copied from Kate Moss' wardrobe. I grabbed a ruched gray thing before anyone else could, but it wasn't in my size. A salesguy appeared immediately and offered to pull it in my size from the display window.

I nearly fainted. Not only had a Barneys salesperson rushed to my service, but he had volunteered to mess up the pristine, Simon-Doonan-designed Barneys windows for me. Thrilled, I accepted. There was no way I wasn't going to buy the Kate Moss thingie now. I was beginning to like this fairytale.

It wasn't really the first time. I became obsessed with the Rodarte for Gap white trapeze top with pintuck pleats when I saw it on a friend who works for Marc Jacobs. It's on its way to me now, being shipped from Gap in the mall at Lakewood, CA. No big deal. I just put in an hour of phone research on 1-800-GAP-STYLE and called five stores all over the nation when it sold out in New York.

So here are my spoils from Kate Moss for TopShop, below. I'm not sure if it's a top or a dress, but it's actually kinda cool. The detailing seems to be hand stitched. And there are none left anywhere in the world.

It may be mass delusion, but the quest for A-list style at D-list prices has unified fashion fanatics everywhere. The long lines, the months of anticipation, the inequality of demand versus supply: it's the same kind of mania you see surrounding a Rolling Stones concert or a really big sample sale. In the end, who really cares whether it's worth it or not? It's all about the feeling of group participation in an otherwise merciless, every-woman-for-herself fashion world.

As for the Kate Moss for Topshop dress, I may be wearing the emperor's new clothes, but that doesn't take away the thrill of winning the hunt. As someone who beat out Kate fans across the country and in the U.K., all I can say is, How you like me now, sucka?


joy said...

I can't believe you found that Gap shirt! At last! I think you shouldn't wear it--you should frame it and save it for your descendants for some future episode of Antiques Roadshow.