Friday, May 13, 2011

And speaking of hair.....

And speaking of hair (see post below), I'd like to see a mano-a-mano between billionaire zealot douchebag Donald Trump's hairstylist and the aesthetic god/goddess who styles Cameroon's First Lady Chantal Biya. That would be EPIC.

I was once snuck into the Costume Institute "Goddess" themed dinner party for the dessert/entertainment course. This was easier to do since people were standing, mingling, and walking around by this point. As I sashayed in rocking a black cashmere tank top and floor-length satin skirt, hair in a bun making me look like Imelda rather than my aspiration - Audrey Hepburn - with a silk Manton de Manila purchased in Seville, trying to "blend in," I practically bumped into Donald Trump. Just then a hush fell in the room - and Diana Ross came on stage in a massive Afro wig. At that point, I almost fainted and began to cry softly, I love her so much. Once I came to, I began to notice my surroundings (Iman, Diane von Fursternberg, various heroin-chic models that I should recognize, but didn't) and was face-to-face with a 3/4 view of Trump's head -inches from me. Now, as a sufferer of academentia, who focuses on visual culture, I am trained to conduct detailed analysis of what I see. Yet even I was left with insufficient tools to understand what I was seeing. After a life-time spent obsessing on my bad hair and others' I cannot explain the alchemy/chemistry/engineering/mala leche behind his coiffure.

For more insight into the Bermuda Triangle of the male hairstyle that is Trump's coif, check out this BRILLIANT analysis from Vanity Fair where they use terms like "double comb-over" and "demi-mullet."

RIP Mirta de Perales

Source: (link below)

I was saddened a few days ago to learn about the passing of beauty icon, Mirta de Perales. The Cuban cosmetics guru was admired by all of us when I was a child. Everyone aspired to be a "Chica Mirta' which required straight, bouncy, manageable, shiny hair. Unlike the lucky girl above, being groomed by the Capillary Maestra herself at the Miss Piel Canela Pageant (what could be better than a Miss Nutmeg Colored Skin Pageant?), my hair was not manageable, stick straight or bouncy. It is heavy, coarse, inconsistently wavy, static-y, and prone to expansion like a loofah sponge under water.

Intimidating to dozens of hair stylists, my hair elicited gasps and cries of "What will I do with this?" Or, as one woman in Spain told me "tu tienes pelo de negra," which my current styling goddess, who finally "gets" my texture and style goals (basically, to look like a woman in a Christian Schad painting or better yet, Isabella Blow), calls it "a cross between black hair and Asian hair." Yeeessss.

Pathologized as a beauty defect by my severe grandmother, who was obsessed with looking European, and as light as possible, my hair and I were subjected to strict discipline. Not requiring the dreaded lye, my hair could be "tamed" at home. Which in a way made it even more "shameful" - they couldn't even take me to "el biuti" (beauty parlor) to handle the situation. They had to take care of it at home, on the DL. The hair required hot coconut oil mixed with eggs massaged into my scalp, followed by vigorous pulling at the hair from various sides at once by a couple of aunts, who twirling the clumps into a big round brush applied 20000-degree heat temperature blow driers to it. Ouch.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

RIP Isabella Blow 19.11.58 - 07.05.07

Isabella Blow died four years ago today, of complications following a suicide attempt. It's weird because I was raving about her and how important she was for fashion and art in England and world-wide, telling a friend excitedly about how amazing she was, what a genius. I was wondering if her pivotal role in McQueen's career had been noted in the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty show that opened at the Met a few days ago. My friend had not heard of her, which is what worries me. Of course, the fashion people and I think people interested in contemporary art in England know who she was. Also, McQueen's own suicide brought renewed attention to their personal and creative relationship and the tragic parallels found in their deaths. Thankfully there are 3 recent books about her life and work (see link below for more info).

I remember reading her widow Detmar Blow's moving and riveting biography and wincing at passages describing Isabella Blow's insecurities about her appearance, how she created an elaborate persona through fashion, and how she described her use of it and lipstick - her signature cosmetic - to disguise what she viewed as her flaws. I identified with this theatrical strategy but I can never aspire to her aesthetic originality!!!!
Worn Through blog features reviews of a series of books about her life and work, as well as other helpful information, here:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Isabel Preysler sin Photoshop

I may need to start wearing turbans......

I am obsessed with Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missne's look. And I am clearly not the only one, as even a cursory Google search will prove. Of course, I first came to know her fashion diva style via my Bible, HOLA magazine which has now added her to their roster of international royalty. With her signature turbans topping off a Nefertiti-like visage of indeterminate age, her severe haute couture gowns altered to modestly disguise arms and legs while brazenly highlighting her 1940s-50s movie star hourglass figure, she has captivated many. I believe it was the silver siren gown ensemble that first introduced her to me, and that Cartier snake choker literally made me swoon. Here, in a sly riposte to Orientalism and misogyny, she appropriates Cleopatra's asp and Eve's snake, transforming it into an emblem of her sartorial charisma.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how one exits a car.

This look absolutely mesmerized me. Although dangerously close to resembling a hard-boiled egg/Conehead/mummy, somehow she works it.

Her 1940s/50s suit jacket long skirt combos are to-die-for, in her typical monochrome. So severe and so hot hot hot!

Even international fashion icons are human, and in Spain she tripped and momentarily lost her stiletto. We still worship you, Sheikha!

For more on the Sheikha, see this article:

Royal Wedding Fashion: I need a Fascinator

I am in love with Miriam Gonzalez and her Fascinator

Although I had planned to boycott the Royal Wedding, since technically I am a Republican (NOT in the United States meaning of the term), I could not resist the fashion spectacle. I found much of the clothing DULL. The hats are always fun but after a while all of those cocked feather/flower combos perilously perched on high white foreheads or miraculously affixed to thin flaxen locks began to blend together. (Speaking of the incessant "monotone outfit with severe Treacy topper look" as my catty friend observed, Posh looked like a Qatar Airlines flight attendant).

Because of this overwhelming monotony, one guest stood out as exquisite, daring, elegant, sexy and super DIVA divine: Miriam Gonzalez, the glamorous exotic Spanish wife of Nick Clegg. My Spanish friend who is a fashion stylist told me that the dress, hat and shoes were all by Spanish designers, which filled me with pride, particularly when apparently the only milliner in the UK is Philip Treacy to judge by the credits. I also learned a new term for the turban/flower combo: FASCINATOR. Could there be a better term for this accessory? I think not! Coming on the heels of my new infatuation with the fabulously severe turban-wearing Sheikha of Qatar, this could not have come at a better time.

As I struggled to gracefully get out of a taxi schlepping a huge tote bag (Michael Kors snakeskin) and distinctly unglamorous backpack (the price I pay for ACADEMENTIA) in a tube skirt and heels, I tried my best to emulate this goddess' motion to exit her chauffeured limo. I cannot for the life of me imagine how she did this, but thank god I do Pilates so someday I will surely acquire the dexterity to rotate my hip and legs in this manner.

For more on Miriam Gonzalez's look, see
The Queen. I know that she is eight thousand years old and I should be merciful. But she looks like fucking PEEP!

This is an atrocity. I really cannot articulate the words because every time I look at the photo my gag reflex takes over. The beige ensemble that heightens the pallor topped with that Osiris headed to the Valley of the Dead fascinator is particularly unfortunate.