This blog entry started out very different in my head. I've been sitting on a picture for a month, and I keep returning to it whenever I feel blue. There's something about it which is hysterical and that is the gentleman's face. Observe. LOOK at that fuckin' face! He's like a cartoon dog butler! A snooty cater waiter! A forlorn sadsack, a rumpled fish-man. Look at him again! Are you laughing? Are you at least smiling quietly to yourself? LOOK AGAIN! Is it funny because it contrasts to a beaming, unaware Gwyneth Paltrow? Because he's at a high fashion event looking like he's sooo over it? I don't know, but I found this picture over 36 days ago (I tweeted it, that's how I'll remember it forever), and it burrows in my brain like a worm.
My Original Dream: Find out the identity of this hilarious Mystery Man.
Mr Original Goal: Achievable. If one is in a picture with Gwyneth Paltrow (even if one is unaware the picture is being taken), one must have a modicum of fame and therefore be easily Googleable.
My Original Plan: Was to scour the internet until I found out this man's name and occupation. Well it was nearly impossible! I knew this picture was taken at the Met Ball, a big gala thrown by the Met in New York City and Vogue Magazine, and every big mucky-muck shows up. Some people look daring, some people look stupid, some people make their outfit from a couch.
Anyway, I Googled, "Who was with Gwyneth Paltrow at the Met Ball?" "Cartoon Dog Butler at the Met Ball", "Best Photo Ever Taken" and found nothing. Frustratingly, any press Gwyneth received referring to the fact that she didn't pose with her husband, who was also attending the event. Palty, I don't care about your husband, neither! Finally, I scoured Paltrow's own website, and found a brief mention of her Met Ball preparations, and then I discovered him.
The man in the picture is Pierpaolo Piccioli. He, along with Maria Grazia Chiuri, is the Creative Director of Valentino, one of the most prestigious fashion houses in the world. And here I was, snarkin' away, ready to turn him into a meme like some kind of asshole. The more I researched Mr. Piccioli, the more I understood how wicked cool he was. He jetsets around the globe, he dresses the world's most beautiful women, and he rakes in so much cash I could puke. Other than that, though, we're not so different. We both have droopy eyes and flimsy hair and kind of a "duh duh" face . If Pierpaolo Piccioli is so similar to me in so many respects, why shouldn't I take it as a sign to be just like him?
Dream: Be the Creative Director of a fashion house.
Dream: Be the Creative Director of a fashion house.
Goal: Achievable. Look, no one has to hand over the reigns of Armani to me or anything, but give me Lady Walmart or Zellers Chubkids or something. All I need is one shot to turn the flagging fashion industry around.
Plan: Outline all I know about fashion in the hopes that an enterprising CEO will headhunt me for some clothes-makin'. For instance, did you know that the term couture, as it refers to the wares of a runway show, means handmade? Nothing on those catwalk models ever touched a sewing machine. Every seam, button, and trim was handsewn by some poor, emaciated seamstress onto some rich, emaciated model. Therefore, to decrease costs in both parts and labour, I'd make outfits from: paper, garbage bags, rice noodles, heavy cream, silly string, old VHS tapes.
Beyond technique and design, it's important to know the rules of looking good and dressing your best. Here's what I know of those rules:
Don't dress for the job that you have, dress for the job that you want. This why middle-managers are decked out like CEOs and pornstars dress up like pizza delivery personnel.
Wear what makes you feel comfortable. Maybe you wear your t-shirts one size too big every Friday to let your pizza gut breathe. Maybe you put a hole in your Spanx so urination is as easy as 1, 2, Pee. Who am I to tell you that's weird? (That is a little weird, though)
Jean fits should correspond to you the person who wears them. Are you skinny? Try skinny jeans! Do you take a more relaxed approach to life? Try relaxed fit! Did you once cut a homeless man with a boot? Try the bootcut!
Don't wear a tie the same colour as your shirt. Maybe if it's black, but even then guys. Come on.
Always dress to accentuate the least flattering part of yourself. Have a big tummy? Go with a low rise pant and a crop top. A sweet muffin top? Wear shirts with the sides cut out. If you can't laugh at yourself, how do you expect others to laugh at you?
Must have items for Fall: A black peacoat, a slim, dark denim, my insulin.
The most important rule of fashion is that no one cares. Do you ever see those fancy outfits on a runway show or in a magazine on an actual person? The industry is a fascinating one as it appears to be commerce in no way catered to its consumer. What we buy into when we flip through magazine, gaze reverently at store displays, and shell out just a bit more for a brand name is hardly the garments, but the lifestyle.
The lifestyle of Pierpaolo Piccioli is an enviable one, but there is surely a dark side to a life dependent on style over substance. How superficial is your worldview if months of your life go into designing one frock that one actress will never wear again? How hardened do you become when your every effort is pounced on by critics, when every picture of you becomes fodder for some dumb kid on the Canadian prairie? What does that do to your soul, and your spirit? I bet you come out looking something like this.