8 Cutting-Edge Fashions That Are Clearly Practical Jokes
If you ever need a quick pick-me-up, look no further than the fashion community. The fanciest designers consider themselves "avant garde," which is French for "What Would Bowie Wear?" The problem with this design philosophy is that the only person who can pull off David Bowie's clothes is David Bowie, and maybe Mick Jagger. So for every 10 cool Naomi Campbells or Kate Mosses walking down the runway, there is at least one poor person who is clearly the victim of a practical joke, completely oblivious to the fact that she (or he) is the punchline.
The good news for us is that there are lots of pictures to laugh at.
She Blinded Me With Fashion
If the eyes are the window to the soul, then avant garde designers are architects of atheist dungeons. Every one of them has come up with at least 10 ways to obstruct their models' eyesight. It's almost like they're in a secret Beautiful Blindness Olympics and their models are the contestants. It's not enough to just wrap a scarf around a woman's head like she's the Invisible Man trying to make a discreet getaway:
Any moron with a set of knitting needles and a disregard for human dignity can accomplish a complete head wrap. It takes imagination to only obscure the eyes in the most interesting way possible. For example, American designer Rick Owens used his model's own hair to create a reverse hair burka, or "hurka."
Apparently the designer ran with that moment when you're walking down the street and a hurricane hits you in the face. What ordinary humans would see as an awkward faux pas, fashion journalists saw as "compelling" and "otherworldly." So maybe the joke's on us because we place too high a premium on the gift of sight. Belgian designer Martin Margiela came up with multiple ways to prevent his models from seeing where they were walking. One was a rigging so cumbersome that it had to be rolled out onto the catwalk, and it featured a model who possessed either a backward head or the curse of hirsutism.
Every other model in the show looked like she was almost cast in The Ring but didn't quite make the cut. You know how some people laugh when they're scared? The audience at this fashion show could have been mistaken for a Def Comedy Jam crowd.
But even Margiela can't compare with Lutz Huelle's Fringe Attack of a Jacket. If it were possible for a blazer to drink hair tonic from a Bugs Bunny cartoon, this is what you'd get. Seconds after this picture was taken, the fringe consumed her, then took over the rest of the room before turning on itself.
Not only does the model look like an alternate reality's version of a sassy Western cowboy, but her point of view must have resembled a scene from The Shining. Would you want to make eye contact while your world is dripping with red fringe? Probably not.
The Completely Serious Hula Hoop Purse
Either this woman is straddling two worlds that are only accessible by a magical yet chic portal, or she is definitely carrying a purse made of hula hoops. I suspect the latter. Designer Karl Lagerfeld tried to play it off like a beach tote, complete with the sunglasses and bathing suit and strappy patent leather heels we all wear when going to the beach, but you and I know better. Hula hoops are heavy. Hula hoops plus towels plus an entire watermelon (another beach staple) would be impossible. I don't know what fantasy world you're living in, Mr. Lagerfeld, but in the real world, we make our beach bags out of old grocery bags and tiny, manageable portals to other worlds.
The best thing about this purse is picturing someone living her day-to-day life trying to use it. For example, what would it look like if a regular person used this purse while trying to send a fax at Staples?
Or trying to get into a car?
Or out of a car?
It's hard to be chic when your purse is sabotaging your graceful exits and entrances. And good luck finding your keys at the bottom of that thing, ladies. If, on the other hand, you get the urge to stop everything and do some old-fashioned hooping with a stick, this is probably the best purse to suit your needs. Just empty your bag out before you start.
The Dress That's a Plumber's Nightmare
Some fashion designers are all about complementing a woman's body. Others want to use the body as a canvas for art. Dutch designer Iris van Herpen is interested in neither prospect when it comes to making dresses. She asks herself questions like "Is this garment Bond-villainy enough?" and "What would it look like if you fell into a snake pit and then time froze and you were stuck like that?" and "Is it time for shellacked turds to get their own dress?" For Iris van Herpen and Bjork, it's always Turd Dress O'Clock.
If you've ever worried that your clothes will begin writhing up into your face and choke you, consider not buying this garment. If you take hallucinogenic drugs, this dress should be on your "no" list. If you've ever imagined yourself as Queen of the Giant Earthworms or wanted to wear Medusa's head for clothes, this is the dress for you. Bonus: The dress can also double as a walking maze.
And believe it or not, this is an exact scale model of the human digestive system.
The Pinata Poncho
Poor, poor stoic man-model. Surely when he signed up for modeling school, he had no idea that one day a Flemish designer would stuff him in an Easter egg pinata and make him walk in front of people. He was just a little boy in a model classroom, learning how to pout and avoid bread and wear silly clothes without crying. Now look at him. He's nothing more than a floating head presiding over a psychedelic mop orgy. The saddest part is that immediately after this show, the model wandered into a child's birthday party and met a grisly fate.
Sorry, that's not correct. The saddest part of this outfit is what he's wearing underneath it. (More mops -- but the ones that clean up the toddler bathroom stalls in preschools.)
The Tampon Wedding Dress
There are a lot of ways a wedding dress can go wrong: feathers, stickers, baby bumps, being on Pamela Anderson, etc. But I'm only going to identify my top two ways to ruin a wedding dress:
A. Use wool.
B. Make it look like a phallus or unused tampon.
And that's about it for me. In 1965, designer Yves Saint Laurent crocheted a wedding dress that was inspired by Russian nesting dolls. If you squint so hard that you look like Gilbert Gottfried after emerging from a month in a cave, then, yeah, you can kind of see the resemblance.
But imagining your way into appreciating this nightmare of a dress takes far too much work for a casual wedding attendee, especially when the groom passed out from the shock of mistaking his bride for a walking dildo and the bride passed out from the heat of wearing the equivalent of 30 sweaters. Even if you manage to endure the spectacle of seeing a Stormtrooper bride, you've still got to greet the woman whose hands are crocheted into a praying position. How? How do you keep a straight face when you're shaking hands with a giant tampon? Don't plan on hugging her unless you happen to be of the stumpy-armed variety, in which case this wedding dress is the least of your problems.
"You look ... beautiful?"
Plus, what will this woman look like on her wedding night? Wool is hot and itchy, and she's got it covering everything but her face. Would you want to spend your honeymoon with the personification of a WebMD rash picture? Don't answer that, weirdo sex freaks.
She's Hungry Like the Wolf
For once, this model's wolfish gaze isn't because she just ate a celery and air pizza. (I acknowledge that the sweater isn't a wolf face but a fox face, but I couldn't resist a Duran Duran joke. Could you in the same situation? Are you sure?) Considering that the designer is the same guy who came up with the jacket made of Kermit puppets, this sweater is actually pretty tame.
In this case, designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac called his runway show "Foxy Lady" and stuck a giant knitted fox on someone's chest, because why bother with subtlety when you can PUT A GIANT FOX ON A WOMAN'S CHEST and call it fashion? If the model's boobs were trick-or-treating, this fox face would be their mask. Best scenario of all, imagine that this is a tiny woman with a stunted torso riding a giant fox. It's easier if you pretend her hands are legs and are probably wearing tiny stirrups just out of the shot.
While every other outfit on this list is like a train wreck that you can't look away from, this one is mesmerizing. It's like the designer fell in love with The Fantastic Mr. Fox and couldn't move forward until he gave the world his own grotesque spin on the movie. Don't look too long into the fox's eyes, though. You'll fall asleep and never wake up.
The Scarf That Someone Forgot to Finish
You know how it goes. One minute you're preparing for a menswear show in Milan, the next minute your Euro/techno/house/trance/banjo/spoken word intro music starts up and it's time to send your models down the runway. It's not until Klaude-Michaele is halfway down the catwalk that you realize you FORGOT TO CAST OFF your knitwear! Even more embarrassing, you accidentally used comically GIANT KNITTING NEEDLES! The kind they use for teaching preschoolers and amputees! You're about to be the laughingstock of Milan! Again!
"Screw it," you hiss in Italian. "Let's-a pretend-a we meant to not-a finish knitting all along-a." (You switched to English for that part.) And so it was that the Frankie Morello brand sent an unfinished scarf down the runway for the fall 2011 collection and no one laughed or pointed. In other words, everyone fell for it. No one was even bothered by the "click click click click" sound that accompanies a set of pacing knitting needles. Plus, the designers behind this aborted arts and craft project made double sure no one mistook their accident for an actual accident by jamming two separate knitting needles into an altogether different hat:
Have you ever seen a man try so hard to not look at the sharp pointy thing dangling near his head? Evolution primed us to avoid this exact situation. This guy must be on the next level of humanity -- the one where we don't mind knitting needles right up next to our cool, fierce eyeballs. Or balls balls, if you're the guy wearing the scarf above.
Before I say anything else about what you see above, I want to make a point about how ridiculous the fashion world is. What you're looking at is American designer Thom Browne's line of monster-inspired menswear, which debuted in January 2012. In January 2013, the exact same guy designed Michelle Obama's Inauguration Day coat.
Most normal people would take one look at this guy's design aesthetic and run for the hills, literally, because he made his models look like monsters. Or a cross between monsters and football players from the 1920s -- scary, fast guys in either case.
But Thom Browne isn't some recent fashion school grad trying to get the grown-ups to notice him. He's famous. The prettiest people in the world are wearing his clothes right now, including the most fashion-conscious first lady since Bess Truman. Michelle Obama wore Thom Browne's coat AFTER he had the nerve to send the world's saddest jailbird/businessman out on the runway.
So I can joke and laugh and point and mock all I want, but I obviously don't know the first thing about fashion, thank goodness.