Friday, June 4, 2010

No Holds Barred

by Blair Sabol

Lately it seems as if high flying people and trends are dying harder and faster. Against the back drop of a plunging stock market there was last week's lowest rated "American Idol" finale matched only by Sex in the City 2 debuting over Memorial day weekend at a disappointing  third place. The later is somewhat surprising after a year's build up of ground breaking fashion promises (how?) and embellished middle eastern madness(why?). 

Bring the Damn Kidz.
It's no news that what goes up must come down. However lately it seems to be happening at record speed with bigger crash landings. I guess it also has to do with what the zen buddhists believe: "the bigger the front the bigger the back." Or maybe it has to do with the art of knowing when to get off the stage.

Some good shifts have happened. It's been reported that more Hollywood casting agents are going for a more "natural" look nowadays. Thus heralding the end of the plastic surgery epidemic. The normal face and boobs are making a "comeback" ... if just for an intermission. Plastic surgery, in general, is way down in my city of Phoenix (Then again we have bigger issues to deal with at the moment).

Actually, now you can get a "twofer" deal (both boobs done for the price of one?) and most face procedures are currently drastically discounted. Even with these cut rate offers the plastic surgery clinics are emptying out. Apparently the "liquid facelifts" (Juviderm injected) are also feeling the dent. So no face saving there either.
Even porn is becoming passe. Apparently our culture is so saturated with pole dancing and "Triple Input" (You figure out THAT theme) DVDs and Victoria Secret "7 Ways to Plunge" bra line that it's all become too mainstream. And after years of "porn chic" in fashion (mico mini skirts, pushup boobs, and stilettos) we now have the return of the "maxi " skirt and and overall elongated more covered silhouette (the sky high heels are staying on for dear life).

Serious fashion followers have always said with the sinking of the market so goes the hemlines. However we've been down the "maxi" path before and it was short lived. It remains to be seen.
Victoria Secret "7 Ways to Plunge" bra line
I was thinking about "changes" as I watched a majorly "hitting the wall" Pamela Anderson try to Cha Cha her win/lose placement in a recent "Dancing with the Stars" (which had more costume currency than Sex in the City 2).

She lost wearing a single peice of glossy floss and her chest and face looked like it was made from Madame Tussaud. With the press of my TV remote I witnessed Mick Jagger holding more than his own with Larry King.

Click to watch Pamela Anderson trying to Cha Cha her win/lose placement in a recent "Dancing with the Stars."
Patricia Field has gone from costume to fashion to cartoon.
He had nary a nip or a tuck but he looked current and present and terrifically in control. Even though Mick looks older than a dead Don Knotts you could sense his acceptance of his own face, talent and energy. Who knows when he will pull the plug on his forty years of "rooster walking" across the stage. I sense he will know the exact tasteful moment for himself. But right now he still maintains his magical sense of relevancy. That is truly a rare occurance and a gift.
On the "Pop" opposite side to Jagger we have the four Sex in the City 2 personalities. Charlotte (Kristin Day) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) survived visually intact. But Carrie's (Sarah Jessica Parker) sinewy body and kohl darkened eyes (enhancing the ravaged face) was far from "hot." And the charactor of Samantha (Kim Cattrall) has visually crashed and burned into yet another Bravo Housewife. Crass, boorish and vulgar. And THIS is considered hot also?

Two years ago the movie and the HBO series was "on trend" if not ahead. Appealing to young girls with a certain clothing and lifestyle obsession. Now the costume designer Patricia Field has gone from costume to fashion to cartoon. She should have put all the girls in classy berkas. Instead we are left wincing at their long crinoline skirts and boobs awkwardly smashed into their strapless tops ... and all this while they were souk shopping in Abu Dhabi. Is this really "fashion forward.” Or "Desparately Seeking?” (I am purposely not addressing the horrific script and terminal 2 and half hour length, since it is "the look" everyone wants from this franchise, not the story).

I kept wondering how this movie, and more specifically our culture, will look to the rest of the world once it goes into International release. Then again how have we ever looked to the world in the last ten years? What a message. What a mess. Talk about coming in third at the box office ... we already look like a third rate country.

Forget the aging of the actual characters in "Sex 2" most of their fan base has begun to disappear. The "Cosmo sipping cougars" have already been taken over by the Bravo Housewives and are becoming a cliche. The younger set have also found other outlets like Gossip Girls and regular fashion blogs written for and by VERY young girls for young girls. Sex in the City just didn’t age very well. Nor was it meant to. Too bad the cast and producers couldn’t figure that out.
So now that leaves us in uncharted waters with a giant dangerous oil leak. And ironically the week ended with the highest star (and I'm not talking about Ken Starr) taking the biggest, fastest fall of all. None other than our President Barack Obama. And as Carrie Bradshaw would say ... "And just like that ..." Indeed!
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