nogoodforme Superlatives: Favorite fashion-centric videos
Madonna, “Justify My Love” / PJ Harvey, “A Perfect Day Elise”
My favorite fashion-centric videos center around a sub-genre of YouTube that I henceforth christen “ladies going kind of batshit in strange hotels.” It’s proof that the perfect setting can elevate the most mundane outfit into something iconic, and what can be more perfect than a hotel room as a backdrop? It speaks of intrigue, sexuality, mystery, solitude and private indiscretion all at once. Plus, the second-best accessory for a lady of independence and singularity is a suitcase. (The first would be a guitar or camera or some other sturdy instrument of creativity.)
To this end, I therefore pick two genuine icons occupying different poles of the music spectrum to represent my favorite fashion-inspiration vids: PJ Harvey’s “A Perfect Day Elise” (1998) and Madonna’s “Justify My Love” (1990). The differences between the two women and videos are easy to parse and I leave that work up to you, dear reader. But I love how the two videos bookend the 1990s: there’s the Fellini-couture influence of Dolce & Gabbana in the Madonna video (not to mention a spot-on “Night Porter” reference), which segues nicely into the vintage-flavored shapes and dilapidated grunge touches in “Perfect Day” that remind me so much of the heyday of such labels as Voyage and Blumarine. (This video is one of my favorite Polly looks, by the way. No one really talks about Peej as a style chameleon, don’t you think? Someone should get on that. Perhaps I will…) Either way you have it, both videos make me want to pack all my best clothes into a battered suitcase and stay in some grandly disintegrating hotel where weird people float around and involve you in vaguely suggestive exploits. (And both videos feature really cool necklaces.) And yes, every time I watch the Madonna video, I still hear Garth’s voice from “Wayne’s World” in my head exclaiming, “Look at the unit on that guy!” Because, yeah: LOOK AT THE UNIT ON THAT GUY! (Kat)
Highlights from The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus:
According to pop folklore, the Rolling Stones vaulted the madcap festivities of their 1968 psychedelistravaganza,The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus, for forty long, cold and torturous years because their performances were so lackluster that they felt like losers about it (for freaking once in their dandy, fabulous little Rolling Stoner lives!) I have watched The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus enough times to have officially deduced that this is most likely true. The Rolling Stones are upstaged by absolutely everyone else involved, including the Druid-costumed audience, and Jethro freaking Tull for crying out loud.
Oh well, Mick- at least you looked sexy. You’ll always have sexiness.
Here are three mind-blowingly good videos from the Circus. And when I say “good,” I mean, ” decidedly better than the Rolling Stones.”
1. Marianne Faithfull, “Something Better” (than the Rolling Stones)
It’s rare that you get to see footage of somebody this totally messed up on heroin, but let’s be honest and/or vapid for a second here- Marianne totally works it. I tend to really feel Marianne Faithfull, and no, it’s not because we’re both abnormally breathtakingly gorgeous human beings. It’s because we’re both often misconstrued as being frail little angels when really we are gritty old souls deep down. Poor us. The low point of this video is that they don’t show enough of Marianne Faithfull’s outfit, but she’s doing a pretty fabulous pre-Klute, vaguely Liza Minnelli cabaret-prostitute-chic thing, and her necklace looks like Christopher Kane for Swarovski.
2. The Dirty Mac, “Whole Lotta Yoko”
At least Keith Richards got to weasel his dirty little junkie-monkey paws into this filthy explosion of extreme awesome. “The Dirty Mac,” a band name which may or not be an ill-intentioned dig at Paul McCartney, was a one-night-only supergroup consisting of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Keith, Eric Clapton, some unfamous drummer named Mitch Mitchell (okay, whatevs, he was Jimi Hendrix’s drummer, but I live on a sunshiney Anglo-centric cloud where Jimi never existed, so that’s fine), and Ivry Gitlis, apparently the punkest violinist who ever lived. Sometimes I am at a loss for words when it comes to explaining the arrant coolness of John & Yoko to the world; this is one of those times. Just watch it, and then spend the rest of your day mooning over how you’ll never be cool like them, which you won’t. I promise. Not even close.
3. The Who, “A Quick One (While He’s Away)”
Well, really, all I have to say about this bad boy is that it is the best live performance of any song ever, ever, forever, and that watching it is exactly equivalent to snorting fifty-five lines of cocaine, freebasing thirteen pounds of speed, shooting Jolt cola into your eyeballs, and then shotgunning a can of sugar-free Red Bull, just for fun. And also, I think that if I had a twin brother, he would be Keith Moon. We’d run our wee impish selves around the world, engaging in screwball antics such as tying one another to train tracks and seeing who’d wet him or herself first and/or ingesting boxes of sugarcubes and then racing homemade go-karts. And then the Universe would explode from the sheer damn scrappiness of it all, but it would have been worth it. (Laura)
ZZ Top, “Legs”
This came out when I was about six; I remember watching it afterschool in my grandparents’ living room and thinking that adulthood meant getting to hang around the heavily biker-populated strip-mall burger joint all day everyday. If only! I’d love to spend my weekdays at the biker burger joint, even with the rampant harassment. Anyway, the fashion here is mostly bad/dated as all get-out, but I’m a sucker for a shopping spree. Especially when it’s all about empowerment! Those magical strutty/bouncy girls in the red car really know how to get shit done. Maybe that’s what happens when you walk around with your hands on your hips all the time.
So, while I don’t really lust after any of the Strip-Mall Cinderella Girl’s stuff – especially those god-awful widdle-gurl ruffly ankle socks – I do really dig the white-fur-covered guitars and maybe also the mean girl’s sleeveless sweatshirt and scarf. But really the look I’m most into is the proto-grunge dreamboat fry boy’s: He’s so my type. I’m on the fence about that sweatshirt hoodie vest thing, but I think he makes it work with the plaid button-down and blue jeans. If we were going out I’d borrow the shirt all the time, roll up the sleeves to the elbows, and we’d be good to go. (Liz)