The keen-eyed sharp dresser, James Tuttle


by James Tuttle

Please welcome a new contributor to PFC, James Tuttle.  He will be dropping in from time to time with a few bons mots and opinions about fashion and lifestyle.

Gentle reader,

I’m taking a short break from watching a riveting episode of Bad Girls Club to share a thought with you.  Well, perhaps a few thoughts.

The most immediate is to dissuade as many as possible from using BGC, as this charming and occasionally violent women’s empowerment show is known to its devotees, as any type of fashion reference. You see, I’ve been in the fashion industry for many years and nearly all of those years have been spent with top designers. Whenever I see a young lady veer toward a selection that is embarrassingly (for her or for me?) too short, too tight or too low and hear her declare that it’s “okay because it’s for the clubs,” I suggest that she go topless and write “SLUT” on her forehead.  How’s that for a declaration?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for “sexy” but that can be better accomplished with a bare back in a high-necked, long sleeved gown.  It doesn’t have to involve every possible inch of skin, even if the young lady is in exquisite physical condition.  Unfortunately, they rarely are, even in L.A.  I should also mention that my morning commute often takes me past an array of Santa Monica Boulevard’s black trannie hookers before I reach Beverly Hills, and I find that they really give me a sense of perspective on the whole matter of just how much is too much.

On the left: Kate Hudson's back. Seriously sexy. On the right: Jennavacia from BGC's front. Seriously something else.

But enough about me.  First, Galliano’s supremely stupid pro-Hitler gaffe (in the Marais of all places!) landed him rightfully in the global Dog House. This fall from grace was especially hard to watch after his couture collection for Dior, based on the work of French fashion illustrator René Gruau, brought tears to my eyes and made me fall in love with the drama of it all a little bit more.  Where are we to draw the line between the artist and his work?  Hitchcock was a sadistic prick and I still love his films.  Picasso was a serial womanizer and a sadistic prick and people still pay millions for his paintings.

In related Paris Fashion Week news, designer Cristophe Decarnin did a no-show at the Balmain défilé.  Rumors have been swirling about his nervous breakdown and that he’s passed Go by skipping rehab and going straight into a mental ward.

I really didn’t think much more about it until I opened my drawer to an assortment of Balmain T-shirts that, just between you and me, needed a Woolite intervention because they’re covered with tiny holes in just the right places, as though they’ve been lovingly brushed with a chainsaw and, if I handed them over to the enormously efficient and Clorox-loving housekeeper, Esperanza, I’ll be lucky if I got so much as a string of yarn back.

At $40 a hole, there's no way Esperanza's getting her hands on my Balmain tees.

The realization struck like a heart attack: What the fuck am I going to wear now? I’ve based my whole look on Decarnin’s Balmain Homme for the last few seasons because it struck such a chord with me about how I could dress fashionably and, at the same time, not feel stupid in L.A.  You see, dressing fashionably in L.A. makes you stand out like an eight point buck in a henhouse. To know that one is well dressed gives one the confidence and ease of the ruler of the glen, whereas dressing for a henhouse makes one dress like a chicken. I have no idea what that means but you get my point.

I don’t dress head to toe in Balmain because $1,400 is a bit silly to pay for a pair of jeans when there are so many other pressures on my bank balance. The last time I checked, those gay polo ponies aren’t paying for themselves.  I did buy a selection of Balmain tee-shirts, however, and rounded out the rest of the look with things I already had—Emporio Armani leather jackets and duffle coats, Cesare Paciotti boots. Then I found skinny Zara jeans for $39 and the pulled the whole Decarnin look together for less than the cost of an economy car.  Luckily, the Balmain look hasn’t changed much from season to season, to the dismay of many quick-change fashionistas, but I’m able to keep those horses in hay so something’s going right.

Much as I would love to afford Balmain, it's easier if I just pull it together myself and keep the ponies in hay. The real look is lower right.

I hope that poor Christophe gets out soon, or that he can slip sketches out to his assistants or something before it’s too late for next season. A stint in the Looney Bin is probably a bit longer than the standard twenty-eight days in rehab.  And Galliano will be back someday, most likely dressing less like a gay pirate and more like someone asking our forgiveness and working very hard. Regardless of how much ugliness he might have tucked away, he has much beauty, too.  I suppose we all do.

In conclusion, never lose weight when you have a huge head.

Much love,