When I came down the stairs this morning, my wife looked me up and down and, with an odd glint in her eyes, said, “Have we stopped trying?” She didn’t say it cruelly; there was genuine concern in her voice, as if my sweaty-sweats-and-sweats ensemble was a proxy for some deeper problem, like pteronophobia. Sensing this, I reassured her that it was just simple indolence, that the effort required to wrangle a shirt with buttons or pants without a drawstring was just too much.
That’s a long way of saying that, in my house, every week is Fashion Week. So you can imagine my disappointment when a combination of family and work responsibilities kept me from attending any of the just-concluded festivities in New York City. Great. How am I going to know what I won’t be wearing this fall? I might as well just join a burlap-sack cult, or Blue Man Group.
Fortunately, brand video came running to the rescue, like the dashing Affleck-era Batman it is. Cutting right to the chase, then, let me share the three clips that most vividly transported the magic from the runway to the wood-like surface upon which my computer rests.
“Tory Birch Fall/Winter 2016 Fashion Show: NYFW”: What impresses me most about this highlight reel from the Tory Burch presentation is the complete lack of effort that went into its assembly. It’s nearly eight minutes of models walking up and down the same two aisles, captured by maybe three cameras and soundtracked to a single unmemorable song. Minimalism! I love it! So very prêt-à-regarder!
I’m also charmed by the YouTube blurb that accompanies it, which I present in its entirety in the hope somebody can explain it to me: “Fall/Winter 2016 combines the nonchalance of street style — inspired by the café scene in Éric Rohmer’s 1972 film L’amour l’après-midi — with my childhood love of horseback riding. — Tory Burch.” The style maven in me sees “street style” and “horseback riding” and wonders why there aren’t any denim chaps; the literalist sees those same descriptors and wonders if fashion is an elaborate practical joke. Anyway, kudos to Ms. Burch and her people for keepin’ it realer than real.
“Burberry Velvet and Lace Make-up Tutorial”: This one rocked my world, because I own a Burberry coat and thus was expecting the video to include many coats, perhaps even ones with zippers. As it turns out, coats are but a teensy-weensy part of the Burberry empire, which has expanded to include fragrances, scarves, handbags and what appear to be inverted-backpack bras.
The clip bravely defies fashion-week trends by focusing on the makeup worn by its models during the Burberry show, as opposed to the clothes. To that end, it enlists the brand’s artistic make-up consultant to explain to viewers how they can achieve “nude polished skin embellished with a bold matte (sic? I honestly don’t know) lip.” There’s something to be said for the uniqueness of the appeal: In a week where all the focus is on the duds, why not pivot and plug a product that’s tangentially related? Plus the clip’s host totally sold me on attempting to conceal the dark circles and blemishes that dot my face. If I look a little orange the next time you see me, try to act surprised.
“Bella Hadid Is Real-Girl Sexy”:Vogue’s YouTube channel offers more and better recaps of the various shows than any other. They’re all briskly paced, too, with the longest clip lasting a mere 97 seconds. Them’s judicious editing.
And yet the one that stuck with me the longest, owing to the thorough absurdity of its central notion, was “Bella Hadid Is Real-Girl Sexy.” Bella Hadid, I have learned, is a 19-year-old model. She looks exactly how one would expect a 19-year-old model to look, all cheekbones and faraway-lighthouse stares. Barring a disfiguring accident or extensive use of prosthetics, it is not within the realm of possibility for Bella Hadid to be real-girl anything, not even in the context of an exclusive-for-Vogue arty romp. If Bella Hadid is “real-girl sexy,” then Larry Dobrow is “real-boy lumpy.” Let’s not undersell the extremes, okay?