What Is It?

Inside a bag dropped off at an undisclosed location by an enigmatic woman I will refer to as Ms Couture X – or, simply, X – was this mystifying garment. X has had the garment for a number of years and has never worn it – the tags are still dangling from the label. She hasn’t worn it, at least in part, because nobody can figure out how you wear the goddamn thing. Like the Alexander Wang shrug and the Blouson Noir dress I’ve whined about before, this small, beribboned piece should come with illustrated instructions, or at least a photograph of a comely model wearing it correctly. Or a DVD instructional video or robotic lady’s maid. It is of course crucial to the story that the piece was designed by Hussein Chalayan.

Hussein Chalayan graduated from Central Saint Martins, like everyone awesome, and his final show was titled, ‘The Tangent Flows’. Why it does, doesn’t it? Thank you, Hussein! He buried the garments in his backyard like kim chi or fish sauce, then dug them back up and slapped them on some models. Let’s have a close up of these undead garments!

It’s like Pet Cemetery for couture! The dress has returned, but there’s something . . . different about it.

Hussein has become super famous in part for taking the idea of architectural clothing to zany new heights, like this space age dress that becomes a table . . . or table that becomes a dress. Imagine wearing it with a pair of those shoes that become roller skates!

This crazy dress has panels that flip up so everyone can see your panties. And then flip back down again once you start feeling shy. Check out how the model’s legs are all oiled up like a stripper!

After joining Courtney Love and Willow Smith in the category of Rich Celebrities Who Can Wear The Originals But For Some Reason Choose To Wear Knock-Offs, Lady Gaga has been looking swell in Hussein after performing in a replica of his bubble dress. It looks like Gaga needs a bustier with movable panels so she doesn’t have to stand there clutching her bosom when she’s feeling shy! Here she is in Elle wearing amazing high-waisted slacks and a glamorous sun hat, with a cut out in the brim to defeat the purpose and give you face cancer. Want it.

. . . and in this month’s Vogue the Lady is shot looking quite sophisticated in a Chalayan motorcycle jacket.


And, what?

The Challenge: To try to figure out how the fuck to wear this thing. The Model: Deez Nutsian, maker of jewelry and blogger at DAMNGIRLfashiondiary. This is will be a challenge accepted by my fellow IBC’ers Michael von Braithewaite and Carrie Leilam Love, and as the first to tackle the tangle of ribbons I chose not to style it as a skirt, even though that’s what it most seemed like, with the strange hanging apron and it’s baffling amount of silky straps. There is a pocket on the apron-y part, which seems to again suggest a skirt, but it’s Hussein Chalayan, it quite frankly could be a pair of tights but I haven’t figured out how to activate it or something. I played Maypole with Deez, twirling confounding ribbon after confounding ribbon around her while she stood there with the good-natured patience of a professional model, not even flinching when I kept accidentally touching her boob. Here is the result. She made me that necklace for my 40th birthday, let’s take a peek:

I’m super into the dressing-down of crystals with some nice, old-fashioned rocks. They’re like the poor man’s crystals! And that top one has such a glean to it I be it’s chock full of mica, aka Hillbilly Eyeshadow! Rocks are to Crystals as Moths are to Butterflies as Comme de Garcon is to Chanel.

This is the part of the piece I really like, the criss-crossy ribbons around Deez’s collarbone. Pretty! Those earring are from Sword + Fern up in Portland. They’re like little sea glass tusks, I love them.

Here’s the piece from behind. I’m not going to lie – I was just tugging straps hither and yon, willy-nilly, trying to get them all yoked together in one location. Most of the straps are super long and then there is one strap that is infuriatingly short that you have no idea what to do with. Deez makes things look cute cause she’s cute, but really, doesn’t this sort of look like a room that has been half-assedly adorned with sagging streamers for someone’s sad birthday party?

I just had to capture the unraveling of the attempt, which was every bit as strenuous as its construction. I couldn’t even understand what I had done enough to un-do it! Thank god Deez is an avid watcher of America’s Next Top Model and knows to stand still and smize patiently.Deez is a really good smizer. Well, Hussein – you’ve confounded me! At the end of this challenge I am not at all confident as to what part of the body this strange little thing is meant for. Stay tuned for my comrades’ valient attempts. Good day!






About Michelle Tea

I chanted "I am a fashion magnet" in the shower and subsequently found a Gianni Versace - era Versace skirt at Buffalo Exchange for $17. Once I got a beyond-my-means Fendi purse for free and sat staring at it, crying. Also cried at Olivier Theyskens' last show for Nina Ricci in Paris. Other things that make me cry: a good lip synch; my emotions. I have stolen two Jeremy Scott swag items from two Jeremy Scott events I was not quite invited to. Sometimes I want to age into Patti Smith, sometimes Baby Jane Hudson. I frequently dream I am in a magic thrift store where I can have whatever I want. I regret not buying the Alexander Wang purse when it was half price at Barney's. Like a delusional guy at a strip club, I feel special when the people who work at Barney's remember me. Having a Leo rising gives me big hair and a need for attention. My favorite designers right now are Alexander Wang, Philip Lim, Proenza Schouler, Vivienne Westwood, Viktor Rolf, Rick Owens, Rodarte, Helmut Lang and Surface to Air. I was once shamed by an employee of a high-end department store for pronouncing 'Rodarte' incorrectly.


  1. michaelvonbraithwaite

    I’m next? I’m nervous!

  2. ng

    This reminds me of the donna karan sweater I got when I was a buyer at a used clothing store.
    It had four USABLE arms, one set in the normal place and one set around the waist.
    We were punk teenagers, so my friend Ali and I would wear it and walk back to back into establishments like faux conjoined twins.

  3. E

    You look GAYMAZING in those ocean swords,babe!

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