by James Tuttle
You know, I’d planned to share my thoughts about the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and its second season premiere this week because I’m geographically in the middle of all that shit. I frequently run into Lisa Vanderpump and her husband and I could probably offer a good perspective on it all, but it was just too weird. Reality shows should not come equipped with suicides so I’d really like us all to put on a smile and steer clear of the whole mess.
Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, on the other hand, was something I was able to dig into with a clear conscience. It may be silly and mindless but at least no one dies. It was also the only thing on in prime time over the weekend that wasn’t a horror movie or politics, which is lately becoming its own kind of horror movie. And don’t get me started on HGTV and their genius idea of putting House Hunters on an endless fucking loop. Who said that was okay?
The Say Yes to the Dress programs are on TLC, which stands for “The Learning Channel.” This may give one the impression that they run craft projects and history shows, but it’s actually the home of L.A. Ink and Jon and Kate Plus Eight. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of learning going on but maybe they’re trying to teach us to use birth control and stay away from neo-Nazi douchebags.
Say Yes is itself a harmless succession of brides whom the staff of Atlanta’s “Bridals by Lori” tries to squeeze into their respective dream gowns while soothing insecurities, quieting clucking mothers and fending off jealous bridesmaids. In my favorite episode of the weekend, one of the brides-to-be was a skinny white bitch who thought everything made her look fat. In her defense, she had recently lost 65 pounds and was having trouble picturing herself without the extra weight but I still have a limited patience for that stuff.
In the salon down the hall, the client was a big black girl who loved her plus-sized self and wanted a dress as big as her personality. The fiancé, who seemed a little light in the loafers if you ask me, wanted something more sleek and modern but she stood her ground and got her big ass princess dress. It was a nice lesson in self-acceptance and I ended up loving her, too.
Of course, the staff members are the main attraction. Tough-yet-tender owner Lori reminds me of Suze Orman, but it might just be the crazed smile and the haircut. I really like the perky blonde bridal manager Robin who radiates positivity and freely admits that her favorite brides are the ones with “lots of money.” The resident queen, Monte, is really a bit much as he swoops in to save the day, looking like a tanned old lesbian just back from Dinah Shore weekend. I don’t know much about the original New York-based location but the showroom in Atlanta looks like an old basement gym with bad fluorescent lighting and banquettes from Ikea. And how do the clients get past the fact that there are huge black industrial clamps hanging off the back of every dress they try? Can’t they use pins like everyone else?
In other fashion news, those bastards at Lanvin have done it again. A video from Steven Meisel’s campaign of the models dancing awkwardly like, um, a model to a song by Bulldog or Pitbull or someone has taken the internet by storm. I’m a little embarrassed for these beautiful girls as they flail about and that goes double for the stiff guys in their Amish gear, but when designer Alber Elbaz comes out in his silly big hat at the end to join in, it all suddenly seems like a fun, self-deprecating joke.
It’s perhaps, then, fitting that the Lanvin Fall 2011 collection also required a little warming up to. The Quaker hats, the prim capes and the ladylike shoes and bags seemed austere at first and much of the assortment was uncharacteristically dark. All that changes when you watch the clothes move. The black-on-black ensembles become studies in texture, and the details in the construction on the garments that initially seemed so simple reveal themselves beautifully.
There were a few mediocre dresses in the mix but, after a segment of black and white oversized floral patterns, the show blossoms into beautiful crimson, fuchsia and mango party dresses that provide such a welcome contrast to the stark heaviness of the daywear.
The runway presentation is really quite odd and spectacular. There is a huge, dark oak tree created by British set designer Shona Heath for a backdrop and the music is wonderfully bleak at times then ends with a Freddy Mercury ballad. You really have to see the show to get it, so watch it here:
No, really. Watch it. You’ll thank me later.