Year end reviews are tiresome. And 2022 was just that. Other than the Ukraine, the Queen’s death, abortion reform resulting in the midterm election outcome — what do we really have here?
And don’t look at any style as a standout. That hasn’t happened in five years. Sure, we are getting headlines of more “gender fluid” fashion hitting the mainstream markets. We already have Brad Pitt showing up in skirts and most women have chosen menswear (remember unisex?) as a major option.
The pandemic uniform of sweats and hoodies and sneakers has been transformed into luxe athleisure. But is that fashion? Hoodies will never look classy, and clogs will always be Crocs and sneakers will always be sneakers no matter how many platform soles you add. In the end we dress in a uniform of choice.
Then there is schlub chic; stretched out t-shirts, loose cargo shorts and the hoodie. Take a look at Sam Bankman-Fried — even Mark Zuckerberg and dare I say Steve Jobs all started this Silicon Style — “I don’t care about the visual” is the statement. It was alternative till it wasn’t.
Now we have slip-on sneakers with fake laces, so you don’t have to bend down to tie anything. Of course, they look as sloppy as wearing giant Kleenex boxes on your feet. Howard Hughes supposedly did that at the end of his life, but he was a germaphobe and crazy and in hiding.
And now look at the biggest schlub of all — Senator John Fetterman — who just made the New York Times’ “93 Most Stylish People of 2022. I trust THE Times did this in mockery as their sub lead line was “when anthropologists look back on this year, they’ll be glad to have the list.” For what and why exactly?
Interesting they chose 93 people. Why not 10? But were there even 10 to feature? “Love them or hate them, they all have at least one thing in common: at some point they made us talk about how we dress, how we live, and how we choose to express ourselves.” But did a pregnant Rihanna in a see-through gown make us talk or think about myself? Did Bad Bunny, Lizzo, Los Espooky’s lead actors Emma Corrin, Jobu Tupaki, Doja Cat, or Willow Pill? It made me think how little I know of Tik Tok and rap stars or listen to podcasters. I have no social media trigger scroll finger to know who these style celebrities are.
I did recognize Martha Stewart but didn’t catch her Instagram porn appearance wearing just an apron. Nor do I consider Heidi Klum wearing her Halloween worm costume a fashion statement. Most of these were social media grabs for attention. Not style mavens. Not even fashion victims.
In fact, most of the names (if not all) were dressed by stylists; Jeremy Allen White and Ebon Moss-Bachrack in The Bear, Deborah Vance in Hacks, Pearl in Pearl, Cate Blanchett dressed in chic suits in Tár, Jennifer Coolidge in White Lotus (actually, the actresses playing the hookers stole the style spotlight there). Thank God the Queen and Princess Anne rounded the list — people I know!! And no doubt the Queen had a “dresser” who changed her drab color palette to bright at the end of her life.
But the Queen insisted herself she “wanted to be seen in a crowd.” Who the NYT left off said more about the real people with style. Where was Nancy Pelosi in her impeccable matching masks, suits, and stilettos? What happened to Ukraine’s Zelensky and his insignia olive drab t-shirt? At least we didn’t have to see a steroidal Jeff Bezos with his boobs and lip enhanced gal pal who seems to be constantly photographed campaigning for any glamor title. Or what about Princess Kate who is dressed to Daily Mail perfection at every hour?
Or if the Times was really serious about visuals as messages, why not consider the Canadian “trans” high school teacher – Kayla Lemieux ↓ with her giant blonde wig and her Z cup breasts. She made headlines standing in front of her classrooms.
I get the popularity of TikTok and the social media churn. But it makes me miss Bill Cunningham even more. He always celebrated the diversity of the street, but he had an eye and a sense for the real deal. He celebrated the transgenders and all the tattoos and piercings. But Bill knew the difference between style and showboating. And now that TikTok is more influential than Vogue, outrageous performance art is style. I get it. But to say a lot of those people affect how we dress and think of ourselves? Look at the tanking of red carpets everywhere from award shows to the Met Gala. It has all become a drag race or a clown show. And keep doing it enough and we all become immune fast to that weirdness. Then what?
By the way, none of these “style-ish” people influence what is sold or bought in the actual stores. Retail is a whole other tricky story.
I read a lot of the great reader comments on the NYT list, and they all brought up the fact that the list should have been just the current stylists who clearly make a living by dressing these people. Stylists are unsung and hardworking. It’s time to recognize them even if it is draping Lady Gaga in nothing but raw meat. Who thought and executed that? Give them some props. As somebody wrote: “these celebrities aren’t stylish, they are styled.” For better or worse, the stylists should have a spotlight.
I remember the good old days of “Mr. Blackwell’s List of Worst Dressed.” Johnny Carson used to have him on, and it became a major BIT. It made the news. Somewhere I remember him saying something like, “Looking at someone of real style (like a Babe Paley or Jackie O) made you want to BE like them.” You envied and were intrigued by their choice of clothing. Yes, major designers were assisting them, but never insisting. Blackwell’s choices had “It.” Who has “It” anymore? Bravo Housewives?
Sad to say I think we have lost our ability to actually recognize style in all the desperate competition for attention. Last week a video popped up of the Queen putting on her crown; watching her examine it and holding it and remarking on the importance of wearing it right … not to mention the actual weight of it all.
Elizabeth was NO attention whore. She wore “It” perfectly. In the end, I envied her crown and her pin and her power.
Now, THAT’S style.
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