Being that it is Super Bowl Sunday, my Ravens were eliminated two weeks ago, and I can’t stand to hear another analyst talk about how well Tom Brady plays under pressure, I decided to do a room sweep and toss some of what I’ve accumulated over the years.
I came across a whole storage bin, the contents of which (essentially a copy of Bergdorf Blondes and ripped out pages of early aughts issues of Vogue) proffered me a Proustian rush as I remembered being a chubby, frizzy-haired seventh-grader in love with fashion.
Then, a sample of my sartorial obsessions included Kylie Minogue’s Givenchy Grammy dress (the reminiscence of which was recently sparked for me by the Spring 2012 Balmain collection), Molly Ringwald’s wardrobe (princess bridesmaid dress included) in Sixteen Candles, and the costume designs for Padmè Amidala in the first two Star Wars prequel films (you had to assume I was a SW nerd as soon as you read the words “chubby” and “frizzy”).
Being in the early years of an eventual seven at a suburban Baltimore prep school, I also possessed the requisite passion among my classmates for popped collars in pastels and for the palm tree prints prominently displayed on their Lilly dresses. After all the spirit colors chosen by my graduating class were pink and lime green (something that I hated during my adolescent romance with punk rock and diy scenesters in high school, but now love).
As for designers, I held Chanel in the highest esteem then as I do now and, in fact, it was a coffee table book on the life of Coco housed in the baroque living room at my mother’s best friend’s columned home that really sparked my awareness of expression through personal style. I loved Zac Posen, Tracy Reese, Anna Sui, Betsey Johnson, Cynthia Rowley, and Sass and Bide (almost as much for the name as for the clothes). How I even became aware of that array of designers is lost on me, but I suspect the Style Network (back then in its Jerseylicious-less heyday) played a large role.
I’ve only recently started paying attention to some of those designers again and spent a good part of today looking at their latest outings on Style.com. I’m glad I did because I still find myself attracted to the collections that these designers are putting out.
Anna Sui is creating vibrant, lively clothing and her rockstar-hippie aesthetic still feels fresh and interesting. Tracy Reese is still producing the sartorial soundtrack for my dream trip to Cuba. And Cynthia Rowley’s sense of whimsical sophistication is as swell as ever. As for Sass and Bide, there simply aren’t words. I’m absolutely nuts about everything they’re doing.
I’m always a little surprised about what good taste 12 year old me had (that being within the slightly biased context of what 22 year old me now considers to be good taste, of course). But at the end of the day 12 year old me and 22 year old me also share a similar bank account balance, so I’ll just have to content myself with the obnoxiously mindless popping of all my collars and a movie ticket to obsess over how the Hunger Games costume designers decided to interpret Katniss Everdeen’s girl-on-fire outfit.