Tuesday, August 02, 2016

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ®

Pop Culture & Fashion Redux

Cats cast
Photo:The New York Times

What do Juicy Couture, Cats on Broadway, and Pokemon all have in common? They're all baaack from obscurity, reformulated and now front and center on the pop culture zeitgeist ready to please/annoy us. Perhaps it could even be said that the resurgence of those well known to us from our collective recent past extends to the current political choice of presidential nominees however, one has been repurposed, the other is the status quo.

Paris Hilton in Juicy Couture
Photo Wireimage

In the case of Juicy Couture, the tracksuit of yore with its J-zipper pull, which may have ushered in the era of athleisure is being reintroduced in a slightly updated version for fall 2016 in somewhat more subdued hues of navy and burgundy available at Bloomingdales or juicycouture.com #trackisback). I can't help remember guiltily purchasing these in candy colors -- not for my use however. These dubious designs were considered must-haves in my daughter's middle school class; the trend having filtered down from such style icons and BFF's as then ubiquitous Paris Hilton and still ubiquitous Kim Kardashian, among others.

For fear of arriving tardy to the party (many of the "cool" girls already owned several of the zip up hoodies) I felt compelled to help her "catch up" with various incarnations of the comfy ensembles in both terry cloth and velour.  I'm loathe to admit it but some of the offending outfits not previously given away are still languishing in boxes in my country house basement where they will stay until the end of days/ my next cleaning bout/'90s costume party, whichever comes first.

Vetements x Juicy Couture

A few years ago the tracksuits began their precipitous fall from grace sliding decidedly down market (they ended up at discount retailers) where all played out trends go to die. In June, designer Demna Gvasalia repurposed some Juicy velour (as he does) and sent them down the Paris runway, after reconfiguring them as evening dresses. ((See here) This past weekend model Hanne Gaby Odiele married Alexander Wang campaign-mate John Swiatek and featured JC tracksuits for the wedding party a la Britney and Kevin. (click here)   I just hope they stay together longer than that ill-fated couple.  (BTW check out the bride's attire: an Alexander Wang-designed Balenciaga wedding cape.) Note to spell check -- I meant wedding cape not cake!

Leona Lewis as Grizabella in Cats
Photo: The New York Times

As for "Cats," ("A New Life for A New Generation", proclaims the website) now at the Neil Simon Theater, I was never a fan of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical nor of the IRL feline creatures -- dander allergy may have something to do with it.  I've not seen the reupped version but somehow the casting seems odd. It's a bit of a travesty to have "X Factor" glamour puss pop star Leona Lewis singing "Memory" at the ripe old age of 31 as Grizabella, after Nicole Scherzinger left the role following her stint on the West End production. Of course this is the role that Elaine Paige originated and Betty Buckley made famous on Broadway.

Gillian Lynne
Photo: Eve Mackerell

Meanwhile, It seems the claws are out and the faux fur is flying --"Cats" original choreographer Gillian Lynne apparently would like to commit "murder" when she thinks of the new rendition featuring Tony award winning "Hamilton" choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler. "I did not feel it would be particularly cat-like," she told "The Stage" as she worried that someone with a background choreographing hip-hop, although "brilliant," would perhaps not be the best at instilling feline grace. Interestingly, I just read an article where Lewis admits to a sudden catatonic state in which she became suddenly aware of holding her hand like a paw when she was not on stage, so I guess some of that "cattiness" actually seeped in. Now, if Lewis, an animal activist suddenly realizes that she's coughing up faux furballs from licking that "paw" she will know she's done more than "scratched" the surface of the role.

Pikachu backpack

While my daughter collected the aforementioned Juicy Couture, my then grade school aged son collected Pokemon cards (also saved in the aforementioned country house) and Gameboy games ("Gotta collect them all"), giving the sudden arrival of Pokemon in phone app, a flashback to that time.     My son says he is sitting this one out citing Pokemon Go's addictive and habit forming properties.

Pokemon Subway Warning

While I think of Pokemon Go as having a positive effect much like Nintendo's Wii Fit -- a video game that at least gets couch potatoes off the couch, it's hard not to be aware of the game's "darker" side.  Game creator Niantic Labs (unbeknownst to a flood of investors Nintendo licensed Pokemon Go and therefore will not reap most of the substantial profits) has been urged to locate the Pokemon far from registered sex offenders. There are constant warnings for overly engrossed players -- be careful where you walk particularly when crossing the street. An animated sign while waiting for the L train, features a now-you-see-him-now-you-don't Pikachu standing on the tracks to warn Pokemon Go players not to lose sight of the end of the subway platform.


For some reason, I am actually loving revisiting Pikachu, the electric mouse (take that Cats)! While I remember many of the Pocket Monsters fondly, the yellow brand ambassador speaks to me, particularly since  accidentally discovering his song. The original Pokemon song is catchy but nothing approaches the earworm I've gotten from this! (Click here) Consider yourself warned -- and be thankful I didn't post the ten-hour version!



If you like your Pokemon to be fashionable you might enjoy the "Fashemon" on Stylight UK.This site features caricatures of noted fashion industry icons represented as their Pokemon spirit animal but I'm not sure I approve of Cara as Pikachu. (Check out the Minions version too if you enjoy the equally yellow, pill-shaped characters.) Just goes to show that a familiar face is not necessarily a bad thing if it is round and rosy cheeked with a cute, squeaky voice, not to mention an electric tail. Pikachu, I choose you!




- Laurel Marcus

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