Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to ...

Jean says: Invariably, when I am on my way to or from the subway or the bus, I have a strange encounter of the idiosyncratic kind... sometimes solo and sometimes with Valerie, my trusty partner in crime. Following are the results of some of my recent solo forays.* (Click on photos to enlarge.)

One September evening, after alighting from the subway, I walked east, turned the corner at Bleecker onto the Bowery and nearly collided with a beautiful young Asian woman dressed in black rusched tank top, black hot pants (OK, short shorts), with iPod and ear phones -- and black feathered wings! (Please keep in mind, dear reader, that Halloween was still over 7 weeks away at this point in time.) When I asked if I could take her picture, she smiled and said yes, but also added that "I usually like to dance like this," as she climbed up onto a 2 1/2' high parking stanchion and proceeded to groove to whatever was playing on her iPod, facing the Bowery Hotel. She was literally shimmying on a surface smaller than a dessert plate. When I asked her name, she said "Lawn, like the grass." When the song was apparently over and she finished dancing, she hopped down, turned and waved and continued walking north on Bowery. As her pony tail and wings disappeared in the distance into the crowd, I laughed out loud. She was an angel with an edge. I admired her verve, her choreography and her charm. Where else on the planet could such an outfit blend in so effortlessly?

About a week later, while strolling up First Avenue from Houston St., I came upon an amazing car. Every non-windowed or non-mirrored surface was covered with brightly colored plastic toys. Small plastic musical instruments (guitars, keyboards) and telephones mixed with small plastic discs, tiny action figures and 45 rpm vinyl records.

The effect was both startling and amusing, almost cartoonish. The amount of work involved was mind-boggling. The car's owner (visible in the third car photo) was dressed in an equally traffic-stopping outfit, from the Emmett Kelly school of haberdashery. In other words, his attire had a certain circus quality about it. The owner handed out flyers about an upcoming film at the Anthology Film Archives entitled "Automorphosis," in which his fabulous vehicle was featured.

(Apparently, there were more where that one came from.) I was quite moved by the fact that he was so visibly proud of his creation and so willing to share it with the rest of the world. When the movie premiered, many of the crazy automobiles were parked at the curb outside the theater, literally bringing art to the streets.

Who could resist a photo op, against the show-stopping backdrop of this jazzy roadster? As you can see from the photos, the wildly original car is quite a work of art. One can easily imagine Wile E. Coyote at the wheel, careening down the canyons in pursuit of the Road Runner, inevitably crashing the car in dramatic fashion. And if you look closely, you'll also note that I am actually wearing color! (Valerie says: OMG!)

On my way to the subway one morning in September, I ran into Jodi Head on Second Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets. A designer of rock star guitar straps, she is an East Village fixture.

This morning proved to be an extremely rare sighting of Mademoiselle Head without her constant canine companion, RJ Cash, a Yorkie. Needless to say, her little man is spoiled rotten, but, despite all of his royal treatment (outfits, toys, treats, rides in his mistress' bicycle basket, back stage passes to rock concerts), he is amazingly well behaved and people-savvy.

Although she was sans RJ, Jodi was, as ever, sporting tattoos and attitude in equal proportion. Check out those groovy purple-tinted shades that set off the long, feminine hair and masculine boots so well. Although she works harder and longer than just about anyone I know, she always has time for RJ and her 6 felines (yes, 6 cats!). Not the shy wallflower type, she knows how to work her outfits without masking her personality. Her look exudes strength and confidence and self-assurance. The French have a saying for it: "comfortable in your own skin."

One evening in late September, as I was walking to the subway down Fifth Avenue near St. Patrick's, I got sidetracked. (I have a serious case of fashion ADD) and ended up in Diesel. Although I do not own a pair of jeans, I inexplicably took a fancy to a jodhpur-like pair in the window. Once inside the store, however, I was thoroughly distracted by the presence of Dell, my bi-coastal saleswoman extraordinaire.

A strong personality, Dell possesses that lethal combination of a dry wit, quick mind and wicked sense of humor. Her tattoo collection is extensive and eclectic, to say the least. Her asymmetrical hair with bleached highlights and her piercings set off her tattoos quite nicely. Dell exudes a mellow West Coast surfer-chick vibe despite her somewhat "Road Warrior in the urban jungle" East Coast aesthetic. She sports black dog tags with poker chips around her neck. Her under-chin 4-jeweled diamond tat was a first in my book and she indulged me with a close-up shot.

(Oh, yes, about those jodhpur-jeans: I loved, loved, loved how they fit and hated, hated, hated how much they cost. Anything whose cost approaches $400 ought to include round-trip air fare to Europe or something equally fabulous. Any single article of clothing in that price range is an extravagance that neither my conscience nor my budget can justify. Ladies, repeat after me: Women of any age can be stylish without going broke.)

What all of the individuals in these photographs have in common is a strong personal sense of style and of how they wish to present themselves to the world. While such looks are not for the faint of heart, they suit their owners particularly well. This is not a easy task, as evidenced by their many counterparts who are not quite up to the challenge - yet.

In front of the crazy car, Jean is wearing an Issey Miyake Fete long black jacket and pea green skirt, Donna Karan black tunic, Dansko clogs, Lounge Fly bag, red skull ring from American Buffalo in the East Village, Gucci glasses and black Calvin Klein eyeglass chain. In Diesel, she is wearing her vintage black ziggurat hat, charm necklace, Kyodan jacket, Lilith skirt, Ice Pirates watch, Missoni glasses and the ever-present Dansko clogs.

*Because the time and space continuum occasionally prevents simultaneous joint outings by both IFs (Idiosyncratic Fashionistas, of course), we shall from time to time include entries on our solo expeditions. Fans of one or the other of us, please bear with us. In addition, however, it is very interesting to note that while one IF is sometimes intimidating or baffling, two IFs create a critical mass that is somehow much more approachable. While comments from passersby on solo jaunts do occur, they are not presented with the same frequency or urgency or air of shared intimacy as are reactions to our excursions in tandem.

1 comment:

  1. the angel blended in so effortlessly like the pirate getting into a cab on my blog.... but this was Halloween lol