Today my beautiful bunny sister and I went shopping in the rain for her wedding dress and amidst the traffic and rain-fuzzed hair and encounter with a couturier named Shane we talked a lot about presentation and its importance, particularly on one’s Big Day. Was it important to spend the price of a used car on a garment that one wore for a few short hours and then tucked away in a box Forever?
Félix would think so.
The Love and I met Félix at the Kenzo resortwear fashion show after-party which we had somehow managed to sneak our way into as it was The Love’s birthday and we were looking particularly fetching that night. The Love was wearing the deep black velvet jacket recently purchased in Barcelona and I had the Special Skirt on with the little patterns on it that Gabriella had stolen for me on a dare from a snobby High St shop. We were nursing cosmopolitans in little tumblers with palm trees painted on them and marvelling at all the sexy people and the dummies featuring sexy clothes and giggling a bit at the men’s floral shirt designs wondering who would wear such a thing.
And then a man sashayed up to us and interrupted our now slightly drunken conversation.
“I like your pose,” he said to The Love, who was standing, normal as can be, with his usual awkward loveliness, hand in one pocket, drink in the other.
“I’m not posing,” replied The Love.
“Of course you are,” said the man.
We all stood in silence pondering this for a moment. Then the man introduced himself as Félix and shook The Love’s hand and kissed me on both cheeks. He was a vision. To start from the top and work down, Félix had a quiff that reached about the same height as his whole head again, styled with so much gel it was like a figurine he had just stuck on there. It was beautiful. His face was lovely with an elegant Algerian aquiline nose and chiselled cheekbones and immaculately clipped sideburns, beard and pencil moustache. His skin read mid-twenties and it turned out he was just turned 21 and lived at his parents’ house in the banlieue, coming in to Paris every day to study and work in fashion. The age/style ratio was gob-smacking. A flash of my bro back home splayed out on the couch in Rip Curl hoodie and thongs. Flash back to Félix. His collar was one of those Dior-type ones that ‘never move’ – so sharp and high it reached up to the sky Count Dracula-like and around his neck was a gold chain with a real cassette tape attached to it. The shirt was black under a finely tailored white jacket which led comfortably down to a pair of immaculate black jeans and pointy black shoes. It hurt to look at him he was so devastatingly, wildly, poetically drawn.
“What’s on the tape?” I asked as he lit my cigarette, taking one for himself.
“A mix,” he said.
“You look incredible,” I said and we launched into a conversation about fashion and its importance, which I would have normally thought was superficial, but this guy was a thrilling cultural anthropologist who spent his days studying every aspect of fashion and history and observing the kids at Les Halles and their constantly changing wardrobes.
“To watch the kids tells me so much,” he said, eyes passionate and manicured nails flashing as he gesticulated. “This month glamour has come back. I see them suddenly wearing high heels and pretty colours and make-up. Only last month it was all baggy jeans and t-shirts and converse. The grungy clothes were suddenly gone. Now it is all mimi chichi lala Paris Hilton. It fascinates me. It says so much about what’s happening culturally, about this era, about everything.”
The Love went for refills and Félix smiled at me.
“I like the skirt,” he said. “Vintage but new. Different from anything I see here.”
“Thank-you,” I said, swishing it. “It’s stolen goods.”
“I like,” he repeated. “With the cashmere it is like… Ed Wood.”
I took it as a compliment and The Love came back and Félix continued.
“There are no icons these days for us,” he said. “You think – back in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s… there were real icons… real Hollywood stars and glamour, Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Madonna…. Now there is nothing. The kids, they are lost for icons. There is nothing to dream about, to aspire to. That is what I notice.”
The Love and I nodded.
“The way we look is a reflection of ourselves and of society. It is serious. People think it is frivolous, but it’s not. It is everything.”
And as the Sister and I weave our way through racks of bridal trash, trying to forget the magnificence of the insanely expensive gown she tried on that morn with Shane, I can’t help but think: perhaps this is Everything.