Thursday, February 08, 2007

Strike a Pose

I took this photo from a subsection of the photo gallery of the Houston Chronicle, entitled "Fashion We Don't Understand."

So true.

I was looking at a fashion magazine that came into the house today. It did nothing for me except made me roll my eyes.

What kind of bizarre designs are these haute couture designers coming up with? For whom are they meant? Aliens, no doubt. 'Cause not too many earthlings can be seen in some of the wilder designs that are strutted on the world's most renowned fashion runways.

I always wonder to myself: Who is going to wear this? Where are they going to wear this? And to top off some of the more elaborate and flamoyant looks are the hair and the makeup. Okay, I guess NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD makes for a eye-catching look, and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN tresses help birds find places to nest, if necessary.

From some of the major fashion houses, we are getting designs that must require detailed handbooks on how to wear these clothes and where to wear them. I don't call them clothes, I'm sorry. I think they are costumes and should be referred to as such.

The designers are actually costume makers, wardrobe men and women. Some of the looks are fitting for a futuristic movie made in 1952, or for the circus, or simply for the garbage.

I can't help that I appreciate a classic, lasting look in my clothes designs... And I can't help but think that most of the models out there on runways and in fashion spreads and fashion advertorials are actually ugly. Their inner beauty and external beauty is marred by hideous teased hair, charcoal-outlined eyes that make these women and young girls look like those famous clown pictures that were so popular in the late sixties and early seventies, and just plain ugly clothes.

My mother owns a Victor Skrebneski pictorial book; he is the photographer of the Estee Lauder print campaigns, or was (not sure if he's still alive and still doing them). He captured classic beauties adorned in classic wear. His photos made me smile. Many of today's photos of models and what they represent are not worth a second look, except if one wants to see how "freakish" ought to be defined.

I prefer that you give me a simple and practical clothing design. Give me a design within my budget. And give that design a model who can strike a STRIKING pose while wearing it.

That is fashion at its finest.

Ain't This Post the Cat's Meow?!

I've directed you before to Quinn Cummings's blog, The QC Report.

Quinn is funny, and as precocious an adult as she was a child actor. Her writing leaves you very amused, and wanting to read more about her and her world.

We now interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to bring you this special post...written by Quinn, produced by Quinn.

Feel the burn.

When last we saw Lulabelle the cat, she was eating wet food and bringing sexy back with the external hard drive. I think even the most churlish among us would consider this a December well-spent, for a cat.

But, as many of us find out every year, winter calories don’t just go out with the molting brown Christmas tree sometime in January, to be picked up by the Fat Sanitation department, to be shredded into cellulite mulch which can be packed around Nicole Ritchie in order to keep her warm. No, winter fat is more like a gopher, wrecking the stability of your lawn of self-esteem, eating the tubers of your hope for wearing shorts this spring.

[Note to self: Read Sunset magazine only after writing blog.]

I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Lulabelle noticed she was grooming a few more inches of stomach than she had been last summer. Maybe she saw a candid snapshot from Christmas and mistook herself for an ottoman. Possibly some kind neighborhood cat clued her in to how our new nickname for her, “La gata gorda grande” did not, in fact, translate as “Walks the runway for Oscar de la Renta”. Whatever did it, by the first week of January, Lulabelle was clearly on an exercise regimen. I respected her discipline and maturity. She didn’t strap on a pair of running shoes and try for five miles the first morning, only to turn her delicate ankle and head back to the loving embrace of the hard drive. No, Lulabelle works out in a smart and measured way for forty-five minutes to an hour every day.

Oh, did I say day? I meant night.

It goes like this. Night falls, the humans read and watch a little television. Eventually, we turn out the lights and, inexplicably, attempt to sleep. The cat, on the other hand, fresh as a cat food-scented daisy from an entire day of sleeping, views the bedroom light going as the cue to start stretching out her hamstrings. Within minutes, she’s doing time-trials through the house in pursuit of her prey. And what is her prey, you might ask? Is it one of the literally dozens of toys which have been bought for no other purpose than to cause her feline delight?

Have you ever met a cat?

Her great pleasure is throwing, stalking, pouncing on and then killing Daughter’s fuzzy ponytail holders. Having had a few weeks of late nights to contemplate this new avocation, I think I’ve discovered their appeal. They are little enough to be thrown and then carried around after you kill them. The fuzziness means they hang on to your claws, seemingly mocking you by refusing to die. Best of all, their very smallness means no matter how hard Quinn looks, no matter how certain she might be that she’s found every rogue ponytail holder in the house, Lulabelle can always find one more for the 3:45 am “Stretch and Tone” class she has devised for herself.

What I don’t understand is how a cat who, even Super-sized, still weighs less than twelve pounds, can make so much noise. Wouldn’t you think an animal genetically wired to be a killing machine would skulk? Every night is the Running of the Bulls at Pamplona here, only with trash-talking. Because when one catches her intended prey of North American Pink-Breasted Ponytail Holder, one wishes to let everyone know. Since I speak basic Cat, not idiomatic Cat, I can only guess, but the yowls and yodels could probably be safely translated as “…who’s your kitty-daddy, chump?”

This leads effortlessly into an aria I like to call “All hair-holders bow down before me”. This is usually around the time I come staggering into the living room. Lulabelle, understandably frightened by the homunculus with closed eyes lurching towards her, grabs her kill and takes off, leaping over the couch, sliding under the dining-room table, streaking through the bedrooms across people's heads. This is the circuit-training portion of her workout.God help me if I try to lock the Workout Queen out of the bedrooms. Unbeknownst to me, I am her exercise buddy, and Lulabelle will be damned if she’s going through all this by herself. She stands by the outside of the bedroom door.


QUINN: Hush, Lu.

A second of silence, where we all contemplate what an incredibly stupid thing I said.



A paw slides under the door, trying to wiggle the door open. Sensing this won’t work, the paw slides back. A moment later, there is the sound of a cat’s body throwing itself against the door.


Over the sound of her hurling herself against the door, I can hear Daughter sleepily saying “…Mommy?” and feel Consort thrashing into wakefulness. I give up, leap from the bed, and open the door. The cat, mid door-hurl, skids into the room. We stare at each other in the half-light until the cat sees something under the bed. With a crow of triumph, she darts under the bed.

The amount of noise she generates would indicate she has either trapped a wolverine under there, or she found a ponytail holder. I slide under the bed and, in the dark, differentiate the precious toy from a rubber band and a dust bunny. I wriggle back out from under the bed, walk to the door, and throw it into the living room. The cat races after it, screaming in joy and blood-lust. I get back into bed and am just drifting off to sleep, so I don’t hear the sound of tiny well-exercised feet walking up to my side of the bed.


On the plus side, I think the shadows under my eyes make me look mysterious, and the cat’s wearing jeans she hasn’t worn in years.