Chloe Sevigny’s latest collab for Opening Ceremony didn’t knock my socks off – it looked a lot like the stuff I find all the time on the sale rack at Urban’s – but her collection of T-shirts and half-shirts bearing Robert Mapplethorpe images gave me that anxious, excited feeling I get when I want something. Alas, they are almost $200, so I just went out to my back porch and smoked a cigarette, like so many people with frustrated desires. Here, let’s look at what we can’t have:
Anyway, the ts got me thinking about ts. Mostly t shirts are horrible, right, because of Urban Outfitters probably. We’re all sick of everyone speaking their mind on a t shirt. I really don’t care about how most people feel about anything, or what their life preferences are, etc. But it is just this prevalence of crappy t shirts that makes finding a genuinely interesting t shirt feel like winning fifty bucks on a scratcher. Here are some gems:
Blood is the New Black made that excellent YSL RIP t after Mr. Saint-Laurent kicked the bucket. They have produced like a bazillion t shirts and I truly like about a quarter million of them, especially the ones with darker, druggie or Satanic themes:
Blood is the New Black also make less evil t shirts:
This makes me think of these two total anarchist crusty girls I was on Muni with last week. They had homemade punk rock BEYONCE patches stitched onto the back of their crappy jackets. I loved them.
I love literary t-shirts! I’m wearing my Closet Case She Wolf Virginia Wolf shirt right now! Here’s another good bookish shirt, from Sophomore, some t shirt designers from New Orleans:
Yes! Here’s another from them, a super-goth riff on the fake band Big Fun’s hit from the film Heathers, which I just revisited this Thanksgiving and it really stands the test of time:
I wish someone would make a Cookie Mueller t shirt, or a t shirt of any of Nan Goldin’s photos, or from David Wojnarowicz’s Rimbaud in New York series.
Okay, Worn Free is amazing – they find pictures of cultural icons wearing some long-ago t shirt and then they remake the shirt. I just love this so much, I mean conceptually. And bunches of the shirts are fantastic! Here is groupie/muse/punk rock fashion plate Bebe Buell wearing an Oscar Wilde shirt! And now you can wear it, too! But you can’t have an gnarly love affair with Stiv Bators, because he’s dead. STV RIP!
If anyone loves me they will buy me this for my birthday.
Hype Means Nothing made these excellent shirts for the unfathomably cool boutique Colette in Paris. They’re really into making t shirts of celebrities putting their fingers around their eyes. Whatever floats your boat, man. I like these two pieces a lot.
Marc Jacobs made the gay marriage fight a little less, um, well . . . you know, with this t shirt! It sure beats legalize gay. Mr. Jacobs has used t shirts to express his political beliefs before, like:
Showing support for his bestie Lil Kim when she was sent off to the big house, with this t shirt featuring the songbird jailbird looking so innocent! She’s hugging a teddy bear for god’s sake! Does this woman look like a criminal to you?!
I’m sort of bummed that I didn’t know he made this t shirt of my favorite magazine, but then again I probably don’t want to wear a t shirt with a picture of Sting’s daughter on it.
Marc Jacob’s t shirt collaboration with Maripol, the downtown stylist and photographer that got Madonna (and you) wearing rubber bracelets in the 80s, is actually pretty lousy. Why didn’t they just slap a bunch of her awesome photos on some shirts, I’da bought a bunch of them! Unlike Chloe Sevigny, Marc’s ts are pretty affordable. Anyway, I do really like this zebra is in, leopard is out pronouncement. It makes me think of Raymond Pettibon, another person I wish someone would make a t shirt series about.
Like a hippie tarot deck I once had said, You gotta have an ego to go on a trip. If I was on the cover of Interview magazine I’d make a t shirt out of it, too.
I saw this t shirt by New Zealand’s Clothesline in a shop in Provincetown and have been sad for a year that I didn’t get it.
The Seventh Heart in San Francisco has a bunch of excellent t-shirts. Check it:
I don’t know who made these. Probably Banksy. Hilarious! Reminds me of the moment in the 90s when I wanted to make Nobody Knows I’m JT Leroy t shirts. And, speaking of –
Original Plumbing magazine’s Nobody Knows I’m a Transsexual is the most genius Nobody Knows t shirt since ACT-UP NYC’s anti-Basic Instinct Nobody Knows I’m a Lesbian Serial Killer. Which was actually confusing, since it sort of sounded like maybe you were a serial killer who targeted lesbians. And Catherine was a bisexual serial killer, anyway. Everybody Thinks I’m A Lesbian Serial Killer But I’m Really a Bisexual Serial Killer. Much better. Represent!
No discussion of t shirts would be complete without a shout out to Henry Holland’s House of Holland ts which salute designers and models with cheeky rhymes and bold graphics.
His newer line of ts sticks to designer homages with cute scrawly portraits, and sticks to his main muse, Agyness Deyn to show them off.
And I will end this excursion into high end t shirts with Vivienne Westwood‘s infamous Cambridge Rapist t shirt, sold in Malcolm McLaren’s equally infamous Sex boutique in London during the infamous punk years. Obviously the shirt is fucking creepy, and I never really understood it until I toured the UK with Sister Spit and saw the way British tabloids exploit rape on their front pages, sort of right there next to naked chicks with giant, fake bazoongas. And by bazoongas I mean tits. It gets so sensationalized that it starts looking like a joke, a piece of dark camp, and it’s really hard to know what to make of it. A t shirt seems about right. And I’m out.