A live reading of my last review, if indeed there was one, would probably have been delivered at full grate by Gilbert Gottfried. Angrily squawking like a molting city duck, the comedian’s nasal yell summoning all the urgency of a five alarm fire delivering the goods on Vetements. Pure rant. A hit. A stink piece. This edition, relatively, is a more gentle exploration. Less piss, less vinegar, more massage oil and lava cake. So melt down and tuck in, but rage on in the comments if you’ve gotta.
Read the full review after the jump!
Coming clean off the top, British designer Martine Rose’s Fall 2018 collection of pimped-out-poofter-pub-puppies really does it for me. From an early age I’d devour memoirs of the delinquent rent-boy-runaway variety so I’m primed for a look that rubs up on the hustle. John Rechy’s City of Night and Jim Carroll’s Basketball Diaries both had my rapt attention, I studied vintage sleaze in the hopes of throwing a little dirt into the fruit-bottomed yogurt cup that was my safe suburban upbringing.
I even phased in and out of experimenting with my own rent boy-inspired look. Dirty sneaks, a mesh tank, little sheepskin jacket, and tight jeans slung low enough to feature the high cut straps of a of a neon pink poly stripper thong. This look, when worn in daylight, prompted appropriate lines of questioning such as, “Would you happen to know where I can find a young man looking for extra work?” and, “How old are you?”.
Really ticking all of my boxes, Rose’s fall collection employs a stable of her recurring influences: Early ’90s rave culture, Jamaican dancehall, and UK subcultures from punk to acid house.
The press for her spring 2018 collection even cited Canadian photographer Trevor Hughes’ shots of eighties and nineties Toronto new wave kids and bike couriers as inspiration. Toronto being the exact location of Nug’s girlhood, Hughes’ early eighties portraits of a young Jane Siberry (Canada’s answer to Laurie Anderson) smoking on the beach hit close to home. Siberry and her girl gang are pictured above, kicking around Toronto’s yet-to-be developed dusty industrial wasteland shaded in slit-eyed mirrored sunglasses.
Moving on to the ’90s, Hughes documents a tribe of thrift-styled espresso-fuelled bike couriers, roaming toronto’s concrete and tinted glass grid, their multi-layered spandex and denim combinations proving a heady cocktail to the British designer.
Rose’s fall collection dwells in the after-hours. Boys for sale and pretty thugs wear a deft mix of rubber, faux fur, acid-washed denim, and python printed leather worn with terry cloth pub towel print sweaters and coaster key fobs. All this is wrapped around Rose’s selection of a gangly group of gap-toothed juvey scented models.
The Martine Rose guy (or non-gender conformer who wears her clothes since she endeavours to sell to everyone) is the wrong guy. A little off.
He’s gay-for-pay but totally free of charge. All slither, he recalls Catherine Deneuve’s pimp/lover Marcel in Belle de Jour donning shiny monk-strap shoes and slippery o-ring gathered shirts in lavender cloud and Shrek green. With a Kenneth Anger brand of eroticism, Rose offers a combination of panelled spandex cycling tights alongside patched trench coats and oily leather perfectos creating clothes that arouse both suspicion and desire.
Rose delivers her collection via collaborative photo essay (making use of the talents of 3 different photographers) owing more to zine making than glossy look book production. Not keen on showing on the fashion calendar or even at all if she’s not feeling it, Rose’s unruly spirit sets her boys free in a de-resed landscape, a space adjacent to the temporal.
Uninhabited industria. Between empty trade show floor and pre-install strip mall gallery. Accessorized with large gold hoop earrings and curly grandma wigs snatched from the Goodwill, her models have a louche-lite swagger. Equal parts Little Richard and little Lord Fauntleroy.
Queening, these hoop dreamers (by reference to Hoop Dreams the gay porn vid not to the award winning 1994 basket ball doc of the same name) hold court. They pose languidly in a simulation, an empty e-comm studio rendering. Buy what they’re selling, or don’t. In Rose’s transmuting timeline, they’ll continue to hustle, dance, and play into an endless night.
– Review by Nug Judy (@bahteepolitic)