When I was young and wild and kooky, I always imagined that I would grow old gracefully. I saw myself sitting contentedly in a rattan peacock chair—looking like a cross between Quentin Crisp and Golda Meier—dispensing bon mots to a group of rosy-cheeked acolytes clustered at my feet. Attired in naff sweats and polar fleece, I would reminisce about my long-lost fashion heyday.
I never imagined that the opposite would happen, and that as I aged I would become MORE UNRELENTINGLY TRENDY than ever! I never imagined that I would morph into a middle-aged raver. But I have. I have become like the fad-obsessed loony from that old Kinks song, pulling “his frilly nylon panties right up tight, ’cos he’s a dedicated follower of fashion.” And nowhere is my current condition more apparent to me than at New York Fashion Week. Let’s recap!
THURSDAY, JAN. 31: My first fall show is Band of Outsiders, the nifty cult men’s wear line created by former CAA agent Scott Sternberg and worn relentlessly by moi and peeps half my age. The line for the elevator—the tableau vivant presentation is on the fifth floor of a West Side warehouse—is much too long. I cannot wait around to see what I’ll be wearing next fall. Wearing a B of O jacket, Acne corduroys and a Liberty print Paul Smith shirt, I skip up all five flights of stairs, born aloft by my new silver Nike Airstar sneakers. I am easily the oldest person in the room. At 55, I am probably the oldest person in America wearing Band of Outsiders.
The truth of the matter is that fashion is having a midget moment. Our time has come. Since I am petite, and trendy men’s wear designers like Scotty are now cutting their clothes for shriveled heroin addicts with no internal organs, there is now more merch for me to buy than ever before. Tiny is the size du jour. An edgy shrunken jacket becomes, on my torso, a serviceably hip sport coat. Superskinny rocker pants? On my legs they become a nifty narrow trouser. When things were blousy and boxy—remember when Karl Lagerfeld was tubby and he always wore those Comme Des Garcons suits?—I was shit out of luck. Now, thanks to the new anorexia chic of the 21st century, I’m drowning in options. Choices! Choices! Choices! I am like a kid in a candy store. In fact, with my youth-centric attire, I probably resemble one of those unfortunate kids with progeria syndrome, that dreadful disease that causes one to wrinkle and age prematurely.
FRIDAY, FEB 1: Wearing a placenta-hued Moncler jacket, size XS, a John Bartlett turtleneck, Prada slacks and Adidas sneakers, I slosh through the rain to the Rag and Bone show at Cipriani. R and B designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright, fellow Brits, are an endless source of fascination to me. They hail from an upper-class hoity-toity milieu—they met at the superfarty Wellington College—so I can only imagine how bizarre and declasse it must seem to their friends and family that they chose to enter the shmatte business. I am not surprised that they had to leave Blighty in order to follow their dreams. And they’re straight, and talented, and married!
When actress Julianne Moore and Tom Brady crumpet Gisele arrive, the paparazzi go berserk, trampling my Moncler in the process. It’s been reported that thanks to the writers’ strike, this Fall ’08 Fashion Week will see the mother of all celeb turnouts. I resign myself to more trampling.
Next stop, Erin Fetherston, sort of. I was all excited to go and see the ethereal frocks produced by this gorgeous gal—she looks like a beautiful albino Madame Alexander Doll—but the type on the invitation was so small I showed up at Bryant Park at the wrong time. Is this Erin’s way of trying to weed out the middle-aged ravers?
Despite this snafu, the evening ended on a positive note. Missing the Fetherston show allowed me to catch up on Tivo’d episodes of American Idol. One would-be contestant caught my attention. This spunky but massively obese gal was smiling broadly and wearing a T-shirt bearing the words I BEAT ANOREXIA. I toy with commissioning a T-shirt that reads, “I’m not suffering from PROGERIA—I’m just a middle-aged raver.”
SATURDAY, FEB. 2: I’m walking through Nolita wearing a face full of makeup. I have just lensed a segment for Full Frontal Fashion where I enthused about the nifty tailoring and spunky sportiness of Rag and Bone. “You do look well,” says an acquaintance. Should I be filling in the cracks more regularly?
SUNDAY, FEB. 3: A sporty kind of a day. A regular jog along the West Side Highway ensures that I fit into my closet of micro-garments. The downside: Between exercising and watching the Super Bowl, there is only time for Diane von Furstenberg. The show is a triumph: I love DVF’s haunting revival of the 70’s revival of the doomed late 1930’s vamp. Very Dominique Sanda in The Conformist, if you get my drift.
MONDAY, FEB 4: Thom Browne is largely to blame for my current predicament, his influential shrunken silhouettes having spawned a million tantalizing imitations. Along with being a rallying point for micro-devotees, Thom’s strange runway shows have become the new N.Y.C. epicenter of creative fashion perversity—TB models invariably resembling mentally disturbed escapees from a Pasolini movie. This season was no exception. Pale-faced lads with smoky eyes pranced round a circus ring dressed as if they were members of a perverted Otto Dix mime/military academy. The signature Browne pixie-sized tailored garments abounded. However, the finale left me with a distinct sinking feeling, and not because of the demented, doom-laden vibe. No, it was that last outfit on the runway… a 16-foot-tall bloke on stilts!!!
I hope to God this is not a harbinger of new silhouettes to come. If tiny goes out of fashion, what the hell am I going to wear?