Last night I attended a panel discussion on Pedro Almodóvar and fashion. Unfortunately it turned out to be one of the worst panels I’ve been to– with speakers who only spoke to the moderator and never looked at the audience, and all but the Professor who brought slides, came completely unprepared to talk on the subject. But, putting all of this aside, what I got out of it was that Pedro Almodóvar loves using high fashion for character construction and identity depiction. Which is an interesting concept because in movies the fashioning of ones self, the mapping and creation of ones identity onto the body is so deliberate and intentional. Cinema has to be able to convey through dress who a character is, what their class and marital status are, what they do, their age, interests etc.
And in life, although I feel like I’m on set every day, the majority thinks of their fashion choices as happenstance and not indicative of who they are. If I get up and throw on black skinny jeans and a white tee, am I really communicating to the world how fabulous, 25, intelligent, single and worldy I am?
Yes, and let me tell you a story… Last year I met a guy at a club, I was drunk and thought he was cute, he was drunk and knew I was gorgeous and the rest is history. Until I made the rookie mistake of trying to hang out again. sober. And what happened, well, you’ll see… I opened the door to my cute little apartment and there it was: man jeans, flat fronted black shoes, athletic tee shirt and oversized fleece. I died on the spot, told him I wasn’t feeling well (I mean after an outfit like that who would be?) and excused myself. No way that was coming inside my sanctuary…
And I was totally bummed out. Because it wasn’t just that he came to my apartment thinking he could look like shit on a stick, it was that this person whom I was totally smitten with for 48 whole hours was not my type on the inside. In that millisecond, I could tell the hideous display in my doorway did not have my taste in music, or any taste for that matter and has very likely never even been to a live show. Sick. He didn’t have a corporate job with other chic men, or was remotely creative. He didn’t live in Manhattan proper or know how to party, or have any gay friends and he certainly didn’t care about my feelings. No thanks.
His external style communicated his internal landscape loud and clear, and it was not chic. However “expensive” or “designer” his clothes were it didn’t matter, they were fug and he was a dud. Style is what counts, inside and out– or rather whats inside shown on the outs! And don’t tell me you can lead a horse to Dior. You can’t make them drink, nor make them feel at homme in a buttery leather jacket and utility boots any more than you can force them to like Chet Baker, foreign films and fried Milkways. Style- the personification of ones self, like the heart is usually on ones’ sleeve. This is a good thing though, you don’t have to look very hard for insight into a soul. Our clothes are a couple of chatty school girl bitches I’d say… What would they?
“I just got in from Paris for a shoot. Move.” “I shop at Trader Joes and I roll my own cigarettes- with lavender. My shirt, oh that’s vegan flannel.”"On my way to Soulcycle. OMG, did you hear Jake goes to the one in Union Square???” ”I’m Russian.” “I’m rich. Okay fine, he’s rich.” “So what I’m from Jersay?” ”I saw Cady Heron wearing army pants and flip flops. So I bought army pants and flip flops…”
For Vera, the Jean Paul Gaultier skin suit she wears for most of The Skin I Live In, is the protestant fashion of her oppression, while the Dolce & Gabbana floral dress she dons at the end speaks to both the characters in the film and the audience watching, the salvatory language of her freedom. If you haven’t seen The Skin I Live In, La Piel Que Habito- I mean there’s not much to say, other than you suck, but I’m pretty sure your jeans already told me.
Images courtesy of Imdb.com