I’m So Bored With The U.S.A.

And it’s not because instead of getting a full-spectacle Royal Wedding we get frat boy screaming USA! USA! outside the White House. I’ve become accustomed to our nation’s  lack of fairy tale glamour and preponderance of wet-brained choads . It’s more like, I’ve been reading a lot of European fashion magazines and enjoying the ads as much as the editorials, since they tend to be for brands that don’t market to the United States. I know what you’re thinking. What? There are businesses that don’t market to the United States? Do they want to fail or something? Anyway . . . Above we see 82-year old British model, Daphne Selfe, modeling for the German line Wunderkind. Mz. Selfe claims to not have gotten her big break til she was in her 70s. I love that. It’s like, you could have a whole other life that takes off when you’re seventy. What a relaxing thought.

This lesbo genderfucking Campari commercial I caught on Italian television while surfing back and forth between an amazing episode of Friends with Italian dubbing, and the Miss Italia pageant, which still features bathing suits and  takes the ‘talent’ portion embarrassingly seriously. I know that Italian liquor isn’t exactly fashion, but they do end up wearing it in this ad….

Lou Doillon in Vanessa Bruno ads. Lou is Jane Birkin’s other daughter (I’m sure that’s how she introduces herself), and Charlotte Gainsbourg’s half-sister. She bad-acts in the film atrocity Sisters, alongside Chloe Sevigny, so I was like, Yes! This is going to be so great!. But not even the significant primordial pleasure I get from looking at those two could make the movie bearable. Even Chloe stunk it up. Anyway, re: Vanessa Bruno, I don’t care so much for this outfit but, as mentioned earlier, I really like looking at Lou Doillon.

I like this white thing from the 2009 ad campaign better, and I like the orange background because orange is my power color – once, when I was getting sober and was very psychically fragile I stared at a Mark Rothko painting in MoMA and felt like it shifted me into an altered state of consciousness. Then I bothered to read the little blurb that went with the piece and it said that Rothko was trying to give people a spiritual experience with it! Well done, Rothko! So, yes – orange, white jacket-shirt-thing, pretty 70s lighting and I don’t care that Lou Doillon looks like some junkie man with rich parents who plays bass in a glamrock band that’ll never make it. That is precisely why I like her.

I should be happy that Sonia Rykiel doesn’t advertise in the United States so I’m not constantly reminded by how cute her clothes are and how much I would enjoy wearing them. Knit suspender pants? Yes, but can I have that sweet fitted dress with the awkward pleat for when I’m feeling more ladylike? Or corset and skirt or whatever the hell it is, would someone just give it me? Thank you.

An Hermes leather mask hand painted with fancy French people from a bygone era? This really goes with my current Hanna/Hunger Games/girl archer in the night forest I’m still obsessing on. Not that Hanna or Katness from Hunger Games would wear something so frivolous and impractical, but I sure would. By the way I just burned through Catching Fire, the second Hunger Games book, and have cracked into Mockingjay. What will I do when it all comes to an end? Sit tight and wait for Hollywood to soil it’s innocence with their film adaptation, of course.

Tsumori Chisato ads that don’t even bother showing you any actual clothing, it’s more about the Tsumori Chisato state of mind, a cute and dreamy lifestyle. Opening Ceremony carries Tsumori Chisato and I always try something on but due to my aversion to spending $500 on a shirt, I do not purchase. It’s also hard to think about spending a million dollars on a piece you will only feel whimsical enough to wear during a few good hormonal spikes throughout the year. Still, I did get obsessed with this here skirt last time I visited OC:

It was hard to know what exactly the skirt would look like on, and I wasn’t in the mood to exhaust myself trying on clothes I knew I wasn’t going to buy, so I am happy to see it here on the runway, looking very excellent. I spent a lot of time examining it, because in the same little room was the designer for Band of Outsiders, visiting and chatting with a salesboy about how fantastic their show at New York Fashion Week was, and I was stunned by the proximity to greatness and whether I should pounce on him and get an interview for IBC but I felt shy and creepy and so I just stood there eavesdropping, fondling the 3-D flowery ruffles on this amazing skirt.

Those glasses are too big for her head and that weird bondagey mock-turtleneck is, well, weird, and the whole thing looks like a clown costume and I was like, that’s ugs, and then I became obsessed with how ugly it was and had to keep looking at it and now I love it. This happens a lot.

It’s like when I was on pot brownie at Aardvark’s used clothes on Haight Street one fall, and I was standing before a rack of these amazing,  like, jumpsuits, and they were totally mesmerizing and I kept asking my friend, Are you supposed to wear these, like are these real clothes or are they costumes? and I had the sweaty feeling I get when a piece of clothing really blows me away and I want it so badly, and my friend was like, Michelle, those are clown costumes. For Halloween. And I was like, Okay, but can I wear one?

There are many more advertisements that we do not have, though the Europeans do. Sort of exactly like health care.  But I am going to stop now. I leave you with an image of the  former Miss  Umbria, Francesca Testasecca, as  she learns she just bagged the Miss Italia crown  despite having some magical orchids tattooed on her belly. Europe is so way tolerant.



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. don baird

    “And I was like, Okay, but can I wear one?” you are genius Michelle!

  2. Umm, so like…here’s a review I just wrote at StumbleUpon:

    I love Michelle Tea; I love Michelle Tea’s writing; I love the Ironing Board Collective. This blog entry alone is testament to the fact that fashion and history are inextricably linked–though it doesn’t do so in a self-conscious manner.

    In other words, through employment of the first-person narrative, Miss Tea reveals her ‘take’ on cultural differences between the States and Europe. Today–as in: the 7th of May, 2011–one could easily respond with a rhetorical cliché a lá “So What?” But here’s what, ‘So What’: ten years from now, twenty years from now, fifty years from now…everything from the lack of public health care to the political implications of certain corporations choosing to advertise in countries other than the United States, to the notion of advertising clothing without actually showing any of the clothing, to an individual’s career “taking off” in her seventies: it’s all here, dashed off mad cazh in a colloquial manner, which–guess what, stodgy academics with your myopic views of “good” versus “bad” writing–is also of great historical relevance. Read a poem Rochester wrote to/about the queen 400 years ago; then let’s talk about social mores and the evolution of language. What, the word “cunt” existed during the Restoration period? Yep, and “chode” does in 2011. Wait, women chose to wore corsets during the Victorian Era? Gee, I wonder if that had anything to do with the pervasive, constricting conservative views at the time–a time in which the word “ruined” was a euphemism for one who chose prostitution as a profession (see: Thomas Hardy’s “The Ruined Maid,” which contains both colloquial dialogue as well as the message of a hypocritical period in our timeline). What parallel might that have with the present day? Could it be the power of commerce and how it relates to morality? Could Michelle Tea’s blog entry reinforce the fact that ultimately we live in a global plutocracy? Or, I don’t know, is this merely superficial chatter about clothing? Because clothing doesn’t matter, right–hence writing about it also lacks depth and relevance?

    There are six quatrains in “The Ruined Maid.” Four of the six reference attire. One of the six addresses language and its social implications (“Your talking quite fits ‘ee for high comp-any!”)

    Short of the long? I dare anyone to re-read this blog and argue its lack of significance. Moreover, to do so and not enjoy the motifs Tea addresses.

    I. Dare. You.

IBC LOVES your brain, and we encourage thoughtful, lively discussion. We will, however, moderate comments that are abusive or disrespectful. Stay classy!

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