The Personal Style Issue

Originally posted January 5, 2010

Just before Christmas, or maybe it was just after (hard to tell, as my head was a little full of sugar plums), I saw a picture online of Marc Jacobs and his man friend, Lorenzo Martone—who is very, um, manly—wearing Speedos and very little else. Their sartorial choices were skimpy, tacky and unappealing on so many levels.

Marc has a collection of tattoos that are best described as random (SpongeBob, a couch and the little girl from Poltergeist). They could be described as hideous, but I’m trying to be nicer in 2010 than I was in 2009. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll never be nice. They are seriously the worst tattoos I’ve ever seen.

In another photo someone sent me in retaliation for sending him this one, they were both carrying women’s purses as beach totes. Marc had a Birkin bag (those retail for around $8,000), and Lorenzo was holding a Louis Vuitton/Richard Prince bag—all the better to, I suppose, keep the money in the family coffers. Boys, you are on a beach. There is a lot of sand. Have you ever gotten sand in your Birkin? It’s a bitch to get out.

This lack of clothing (and taste) on the beaches of St. Barths got me thinking. Do I really want a designer dressing me who can’t dress himself?

I make no bones about my feelings for Mr. Jacobs. I think he gets a free pass each season because people are desperate to think an American is on the same level as John Galliano, Alexander McQueen or Nicolas Ghesquiére. This particular American is not, but don’t tell the press. They lurve him.

But what about other designers and their personal style?

Galliano usually looks like an orange pirate. Except for that one time he dressed like an astronaut. That was awesome. Somehow, I think he’s doing it for the theater of the moment. Call me naive.

McQueen looks kind of like a soccer hooligan. This I like, even if it has nothing to do with what he sends down the runway. (I have a David Beckham weakness, too, but I’ll save that for another post.)

Ghesquiére looks handsome in his quasi-uniform of a motorcycle jacket, basketball sneakers and jeans. He and his blue eyes are very good sales tools for Balenciaga’s tough chic.

The Mulleavy sisters (Laura and Kate) don’t bother with the goth trappings of their Rodarte line, though I sometimes wish they would. They wear jeans, sweaters and some ballet flats, like a friend you know who really just can’t give a flying f–k to get dressed or brush their really, shiny pretty hair. This makes them cooler to me in some reverse-chic snobbery I find refreshing in a world of those who try too hard.

Miuccia Prada does a really good job of taking the Sicilian-dowager styling cues from her own line and making them work. She usually looks like she has on something that’s vaguely Prada but maybe not from this season. I guess she has the archives to flip through whenever she needs to belt a cardigan over a full skirt.

DVF is always wearing one of those horrible wrap-dress thingies that made her famous twice over. Seeing her in those makes me sure I’ll never, ever buy one or wear one even on a dare.

Carolina Herrera looks like she is always going to a party where there will be many Argentine polo players present, and I so want to come along for the ride even if I will secretly be plotting all night long to cut off her maxiskirt.

Michael Kors and his fake orange tan are perfect for the ladies who think they lunch and who are boring enough to buy his faux-jet-set clothes.

Rick Owens looks like the runway version of Rick Owens. That is to say, he dresses the part to a beat-up tee. And that is kind of what I want a designer to do—you know, if they are trying to get you to buy it, don’t you think they should be able to wear it themselves, head held high?

This, of course, is just a partial list of who comes to mind when I think of designers whose personal style either matches what they sell or falls far short of it. And to be really honest (a good resolution—hello, 2010!), I was mostly just looking for a way to take some cheap shots at Marc Jacobs and the couch he rode in on.


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