Martha Thomases: Fashion Police
Perhaps you are not a follower of mens fashions. Perhaps you don’t care. The relative width of a jacket’s lapels is not as hot a topic as the relative length of a woman’s skirt. In New York, however, it’s a big business. We have a Fashion District, which is not a place where models live, but rather where designers and manufacturers have their offices. We have a segment of our calendar devoted to various seasonal Fashion Weeks. The trends are part of our regular media coverage.
Foremost among these is Fashions of The Times, recently refurbished as T. This supplement to The New York Times occasionally augments the Sunday magazine section. The women’s issue is thick and glossy, full of teenage models wearing outfits that cost more than my first car, and jewelry that cost more than my apartment. The men’s issue may be just as unrealistic, but I can enjoy it more because it’s not aimed at me. And the models are cute guys who are there to be stared at.
Anyway, this is a long and roundabout way to explain why, last Sunday morning, I was paging through the men’s fall fashion issue of T when I was flabbergasted to see Jamie Hewlett, one of the creators of Tank Girl, in an ad for Alfred Dunhill, the posh menswear company. It was a two-page ad. The glorious John Hurt was on the other side.
It’s a full-on campaign. Here he is on YouTube, in a beautifully photographed interview about his creative process. It’s in elegant black-and-white, as if to emphasize what a serious artist he is, an important cultural touchstone. While I was on YouTube, I discovered that Jamie had previously been previously interviewed for Absolut Vodka.
When did this happen? I mean, I love Tank Girl and the Gorillaz idea is really fun. I think Jamie is adorable. I own some of his art. But a fashionista? Someone with a look other men should strive to emulate?
I guess I shouldn’t complain. When I worked at DC in the 1990s I tried to establish our talent as artists of interest, to be taken as seriously as novelists or filmmakers. I hired my friend, Stephanie Chernikkowski, a noted rock photographer whose work has been shown in the Museum of Modern Art and around the world, to take pictures (you can see her pics of Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, and Kyle Baker at the above link, and she also shot Garth Ennis, Paul Pope and Peter Milligan before I ran out of budget).
At no time did I make any suggestions as to their wardrobe. The photographs were commissions for promotional purposes, but we were promoting the work, not the style. It would never occur to me that anyone would want to dress like a comic book pro.
Paul Pope, maybe. He’s designed clothes for a few major fashion companies. And he’s really really cute. He looks like a model.
It’s another step on the road to Nerd Cultural Domination. I eagerly await the Azzedine Alaia collection starring Gail Simone.
SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman and the Baltimore Bliss