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· Fashion Notes: Rebel Yell

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Fashion Notes: Rebel Yell
by The Kindly One


While flipping through a preview of Harper's Bazaar Fabulous at Every Age recently, I ran across an interesting point. Under the section for evening dressing, there was a picture of Lou Doillon as above, dressed for the Costume Institute Gala in 2008. Doillon's picture was used as an example of "rebel" dressing, and the accompanying soundbite urged readers to stay true to their style, even when dressing for night. This rang true for me. I know what it's like to try to dress for evening when all the styles for sale are ultra-feminine, super-girly, or just sexy-unto-skanky. It is hell. There is very little out there that is suitable for someone who doesn't want to dress like a cookie cutter image of a starlet, a porn star, or even a style blogger. Unlike regular people, who take their style inspirations from Sex and the City, starlets, and their morals and who only look upon Balenciaga and Givenchy as freaky aspirational wear (you know, the sane), I don't have the option of running to the store and finding something to wear. In order to stay true to my own look, I have to improvise and come up with something that is entirely my own. Though the eccentrics are small in number, we are not alone. Here are a few evening looks that I consider ideal.


I have loved this outfit on Daria Werbowy since I saw first saw it two or three years ago. She could have easily tarted up this Versace dress (it is not exactly quiet or modest). It's the addition of the jacket and the tights that take this from tacky to wearable, at least as defined by my scale of relativity. It's these personal touches that also transform this from a showstopper dress into an outfit. This outfit is an example of what can be done with evening wear and clothing in general - make it your own, add your own touch of what you think is right, and you look like an original, and it's this original approach that makes Daria stand out more in this dress than would JLo, Beyonce, and whoever else would place their more literal stamp on it.


This is another outfit burned into my brain. Worn to the 2000 Oscars, I was totally and completely taken with this Jean-Paul Gaultier look worn by Cate Blanchett. This is the ideal evening look for me: dramatic, minimal (just a plain black dress with a train), with jewelry acting as integral accessories to the look rather than show pieces in themselves. This look offers the showstopping, look-at-me qualities seen in other red carpet looks without the swagger of, say, a more blinged-out Versace number (see above). Despite the drama, the dress doesn't scream at you, and with the front kept plain, it still draws attention to the wearer rather than itself. I secretly hope to have an opportunity to wear this someday.


I can see how this Mary-Kate Olsen ensemble (front) could be considered obnoxious, but I get this on a very deep level. Nothing about this outfit goes together, not the black belt with the brown fur, not the transparency of the dress with the formality, and certainly not the hose with the wedge heel sandals. Somehow, though, where this would fall apart under other hands, these combinations seem to work together and flow under Mary-Kate's supervision. This is her specific vision of what she likes and how she thinks things go together, and it can be equally applied to both day and night. This is what separates the individual and particular from the merely pretty or conventional.

What I love most about this outfit, even more than the synthesis of its disparate Gothic elements, are the hose with the shoes. This is such a singularly eccentric element and looks so much like something I would wear myself.

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1/11/2010 [1]

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