Thursday, August 02, 2007

A proportional Jack Russell 2

The prose at the New York Times often seems to have been afflicted with an unfortunate house style--a kind of flattening of voice and leaching-out of humor. Stories written in ways that draw attention to themselves are rare, and often it's not in a good way that they do so (I'm thinking of the very purple opening paragraphs of that piece a few weeks ago about Columbia's Manhattanville expansion...). But now and again you do find something really lively (how did she get away with it?!?). It's the brilliant Cintra Wilson on the reopening of the Miu Miu store in Soho:
In a subversive spoof on Eastern Bloc sleaze, Miu Miu seems to be shouting “Krakow ’96!” out of one side of its naughty pink mouth. Gray suede slouch boots purr “Soviet Models Waiting to Talk to You. Visa, Mastercard!” in a come-hither Borat accent. Go-go boots are swingin’ in chrome-shiny patent leather; V-neck ankle boots gleam with waterproof luster. All are slick examples of a Joris Karl Huysmans-like scheme to make deceptively cheap-looking merchandise out of the finest materials.

This gambit is also evident in the bell shapes of fall coats, which join a sleek “Belle du Jour” to a defiantly dorky “Georgy Girl.” A three-quarter-length leather jacket in hot fuchsia has been tortured into the synthetic texture of wet-suit neoprene; a jacket in a smooth marbled gray leather they call “fuomo” brings to mind the finer sectional couches of Belarus.

It is not all silly: I coveted a $3,595 black patent jacket lined in black shearling that seemed both lurid and practical. A short bolero I nicknamed “the Planet of the Apes shrug” — shaggy black Persian lamb with what looks like gorilla-fur epaulets — has, at $3,575, already sold out in most sizes.

Reminds me of my "Last of the Flock" coat, handed down from my mom who purchased it in the mid-60s just before she moved from London to Philadelphia--old-school shearling, stiff enough to remind you that you're basically wearing a sheep on your back--after the Wordsworth poem, which I have always found irresistibly funny:
IN distant countries have I been,
And yet I have not often seen
A healthy man, a man full grown,
Weep in the public roads, alone.
But such a one, on English ground,
And in the broad highway, I met;
Along the broad highway he came,
His cheeks with tears were wet:
Sturdy he seemed, though he was sad;
And in his arms a Lamb he had.

He saw me, and he turned aside,
As if he wished himself to hide:
And with his coat did then essay
To wipe those briny tears away.
I followed him, and said, "My friend,
What ails you? wherefore weep you so?"
--"Shame on me, Sir! this lusty Lamb,
He makes my tears to flow.
To-day I fetched him from the rock;
He is the last of all my flock[.]

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