Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cultural Hijacking or Why I Love JC de CASTELBAJAC

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, while technically being a nobleman, is not what one would refer to as a 'serious man' at least not in terms of his fashion designs which teeter on representations of desexualized middle-aged women in Winnie the Pooh sweatshirts, novelty prints on PCP, and the recycling of cartoon iconography. One of the reasons why I admire Castelbajac, not only as a designer but as a smart cookie, is his thought process on the modern world and the way that he quite literally hijacks cultural images and appropriates them as grandiose illustrations that border on bat-shit crazy. The repetition of an image, primarily one that is in our own collective consciousness, is inherent to JC's work and creates an objectified whimsy that cannot help but transpose itself onto the wearer.
I look super pissed, but I wasn't... just concerned because my camera man was ill and I had broken out into chest hives 30 seconds earlier. I'm considering wearing this for my graduate school graduation in May, I figure it screams unadulterated professionalism. I paired it with a vintage tilt hat that I felt replicated Mickey ears and Louboutin 'Mondrian' wedges (which are all the rage at Bloodyminded shows) in order to get the full-on "Nicole has gone Waco" look. I mean Waco too, as in Texas, not wacko. That being said does one risk looking like an extra from 'Party Monster' while wearing Castelbajac's designs? In order to give my brain a break from writing about infant sexual abuse I wanted to play a little make believe game that's right in time for this holiday season entitled: "
"If I Had A Million Dollars and Paid Back My Student Loans These Are the Castelbajac Pieces I Would Buy My Friends"

Starting with Courtney who I figured was too dignified to wear a Muppet onesie like a broke-down middle-aged Betsey Johnson employee, I gift the crystal dream Castelbajac Eyeball Boom Box. Perfect for playing Riot Grrrl mixtapes from freshman year and the post modern sounds of Dead can almost hear the girls sings, "Across the Atlantic Ocean...". I imagine us in the summertime with crowns of flowers, old Lula magazines, and mini Sofia champagne dancing to Bratmobile.

Bryan is in charge of defending us all from attacks in foyers with the oversized JC sword and knight armor paired with a double-breasted Easton Ellis inspired blazer to defend us against girls who think they're movie critics. The sword also magically transports up to 4 people to Lincoln Square or Lincoln Park for Indian cuisine minus the hot sticky ball dessert. Please note that Bryan would never pair this gift with a light denim, but no one can help that the designer is an older Euro. So it goes.

I would very much like to buy this dress for my bestie, Bree, so that it gives her even more creative shouting power when acting like a 14 year old in the car. If calling Sarah Jessica Parker a "transvestite donkey witch" on cable tv doesn't give us loads of ideas then we'll stick with stand-bys such as, "BAD CREDIT" "PARENTS" and "CAUCASIANS". I was imaginatively torn between this dress and some of JC's leather pieces, but my best friend is classier than some a trixie wearing an ill-conceived Kim Cattrell Halloween costume. That being said, if Castelbajac ever does an Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees line I think we both know that we'd sell our bodies to the Mutter Museum in order to get in on that. Fo'real.

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit...Manny! A practical investment piece for challenging people to duels, chokeholding people at parties that I throw, and smacking hipster scumbags all the way from The Whistler back to Rodan! This insures that my friend will continue hold it down rock steady while staying warm. It's not cool to be cold.

My pal Emily is no stranger to the multitude of Internet links that I bombard her with mostly for items that seem to reference British boarding school pupil meets equestrian coupled with items from Anthropologie that were created through the use of PCP. One of the more recent links was a comparison of a Castelbajac horse sweater with one that had been "appropriated" by the above store, was similar in price, and looked like the dream fuzzy of a living 'Cathy' comic strip. I wouldn't get that for my friend. No way. Instead I'd fork out the dough for this sequin dress with real horsey hair waving in the wind while she spills whiskey over the teal satin. Bridesmaid dress anyone?

My girl, Victoria could run around town sliding like a drunk penguin on Marni wedges with the best of cultural recycling...Union Jack + Dead Icon= Too soon for the upcoming royal wedding! I'd pay for her to get a Chelsea cut and then stock her with the best Hasidic wigs that my coin could buy. The dress exemplifies sincerity as does Victoria...imagine if this was a Jeremy Scott...there would be a reverse silk-screen of the car accident guaranteed. Not Castelbajac. The leather skeleton gloves hint at the slightest bit of morbidity and echo the air of everyones favorite royal.

For Michelle I'd invest in a dress from the classic "Lego" print collection which would provide a secret decoding of how much she means to all the people that love her and think that she's the top drawer.

When faux-buying items for your boyfriend's friend whom you've only actually me once it pays to reference their work as a composer, so in turn I gift this to you Nat. In my fantasy you sit in your home with the windows slightly fogged from the drizzling rain writing your lovely compositions wearing this sweater that now has cat fur permanently interwoven into the fabric. You wash home-grown vegetables while humming the tune that will catapult your genius into the collective consciousness.

Finally, to my main squeeze, my one and only, Mister Pinguino, Meow Meow...I've foolishly spent my last imagined penny on an appropriated image of a Native American on what I'm assuming is a cashmere pullover. That is, it better be for the sake of my fantasy. I know that you'll truly appreciate the irony of the appropriated stolen appropriated then stolen then recycled then put through the post-modern machine into fibers upon which you listen to Rage Against the Machine's "Evil Empire" while rolling down Rodeo.
Well that was fun! In the end that's exactly why I adore JC/DC's work, in that, it is a literal interpretation of a side smirk...tongue-in-cheek...completely bonkers. Here is a man who consciously decided to make creations for the world that are filled with joyfulness and the happiness that comes from the memories of familiar childhood cartoons, toys, and brightness of being. There's this lovely quote that he once said, "I think the icons for today are too much just an image. You have a duty as an icon, the duty is to give, the duty is generosity", and that is exactly what he has given all of us...the opportunity to express ourselves as playful and light, and to inspire smiles on the on-lookers as a sequined Snoopy passes by.


  1. did you know that I spilled whiskey on myself two nights ago?

  2. firstly i need to say how cool ur new header is it seems more like your kind of thing: out there, intrepid and really funny and so awesomely 80's robert palmer simply irresistible. I still remember dance class when i was like 7 and our end of year production was to simply irresistible and we were doing 'body rolls' and other tacky 80's moves but made cute by the fact that we were only 7 hahahaha so wrong.....
    my dear you are genius and I loved reading about ur imaginary gifts :) I would love to see my hubby in that cashmere top because its tight and i love skinny guys in tight tops. i totally love your donald dress with matching wedges again perfectly going with ur tatts I totally think u should wear it to graduation especially if ur final paper is on infant sexual abuse it's like completely perfect!!
    again i say u r a legend

  3. holy shit girl, you are hilarious and very insightful... You know what I love? when someone makes me completely change my mind about something I'd "never" wear. And I never thought EVER I'd want to wear a bridesmaid dress, but if it were the horse dress?! I'd wear it to shreds.
    I think you look great in the photo, your taste is really wonderful, you're a witty one for sure

  4. The South Park dress and gloves should be worn together! And maybe add the shoes you're wearing as well. Ahh, you've got my juices flowing (whatever that actually means).
    I love when designers use pop culture references in their work, like designing a garment covered in Sesame Street that a six year old would never actually wear. Brilliant. :)

  5. Emily- Giiiirrrrlllll...I hear things..from other people. Gossip mainly. I love you!

    Emma- Thank you so very much. Somehow I don't think the irony of the extreme anorexic model from the old header really translated. I mean, I love that kind of macabre junk, but it can be off putting.

    Melinda- I really appreciate your kind words! Believe me if I ever get hitched I'm not going to make my pals wear some monstrosity! They already know my devastatingly danger obsession with novelty prints!

    Flow- I know, right? It makes me wonder if Castelbajac sells to anyone besides Katy Perry and Gaga..oh, and me. Only on sale though!! I'm trying to be less constrictive with the things I own because I love them all and I don't know what I'm so afraid of! Fuck sideways looks from people!