by James Tuttle

Gentle reader,

Mob Wives?  Let me tell you, that is some serious shit.  I can’t believe I only caught the last fifteen minutes of the premiere episode.  Too many mimosas at brunch caused a glitch in my internal reality television clock that would normally alert me that it was on.  It was still long enough to know that these girls ain’t playin’.

The feral molls in fur from "Mob Wives" proudly rule the Staten Island boardwalk, while Lady Liberty quivers in the background.

When I tuned in, the ladies were in the midst of getting ready for Carla’s birthday party.  Though Renee looks a bit like a linebacker in an Anna May Wong wig, she informs us that she likes “getting dressed up, the glitz, the glamour, the high heels, the best of everything!”  We hear these words as she’s zipping up some black vinyl boots (two inch heels max!) and tying a big sparkly crystal necklace over what appears to be a purple sweatshirt from Wal-Mart.  I must say her eye shadow matches the sweatshirt perfectly.

Luckily, there are a couple of lookers in the mix, as well.  Drita, the sole kind-of-blonde, is Staten Island’s answer to Portia de Rossi.  Her husband is in the Big House (again) for bank robbery.  Carla, whose soon-to-be ex-husband went down for stock fraud is darkly pretty, though she looks about 46 at her alleged thirty-fifth birthday party.

When they finally get to the party and have about nine hundred shots of Patron, a verbal brawl ensues between the two linebackers, Renee in the vinyl boots and Rubenesque Karen, who has returned to Staten Island to write a book about her life as a former mafia princess whose dad turned state’s evidence.  Karen gives me the impression she’s out to start shit and she talks a lot about “bein’ gangsta,” which sounds more Coolio than Capone, but that fight with Renee was as ugly as her polyester imitation Donna Karan wrap dress.  I think they threatened to “whack” each other a couple of times, which is not as nice in Mob as it is in Gay, where whacking can be a rather pleasurable experience.  Just the looks on their faces would’ve been enough to put the kibosh on the most strident Real Housewife.  Even Miss NeNe Leakes of Atlanta would have politely asked where the Ladies’ Room was, quietly turned around and quit that bitch.

The fight was so spontaneous that I began to get that feeling that the show was a bit too manufactured.  You know, like when you just knew that Camille didn’t know the other Beverly Hills Housewives before they started filming?  So I asked my friend, Nick Oliva, Heartthrob of the Staten Island Ferry, if he thought it was a set-up.  He said, “Those are the types that remind me that I’m not just working on a ferry, I’m working on a floating zoo.”  Nick is such a poet.

“Those women take the Ferry?” I asked, incredulous that they’d venture onto public transport where they’d be most vulnerable.  Aren’t they afraid someone would “whack” them?

“Of course, they’re on the Ferry, James,” Nick answered, sounding disappointed by my ignorance.  “You think the subway stops at Staten Island?”  He does have a point there.

The ferrying kind: Staten Islands studliest, Nick Olivia, poses with non-mob fans on deck.

It’s thrilling to know that a new benchmark in unscripted programming has been reached, a show that combines the best of the Housewives franchise with the spice of Bad Girls Club:  wives and mothers who aren’t afraid to choke the shit out of each other!

So, just the other day, I paid my first visit to the new Lanvin boutique on Rodeo after spotting a great pair of trousers in their Spring 2011 men’s show.  The shop is really oddly configured and decorated with stacks of antique showcases here and there, reminding me of Philippe Starck’s design for The Bazaar at SLS Hotel.  Lanvin’s press agent explains that the décor is inspired by Old Hollywood but one of my friends was compelled to ask if it was their temporary location.  Ouch.

The new Lanvin boutique in Beverly Hills.

I didn’t find my trousers but there were lots of other things to look at.  The men’s collection is sharply divided into two looks.  On one long rail hangs a very crisp, preppy assortment of navy and white V-neck sweaters and the like that I assume is the Pre-Spring Collection.  I would definitely snap up a few pieces for when life required me to be the clichéd Prepster polo player, as opposed to the Bad Boy polo player that I try to be when I refuse to tuck in my jersey and yell “fuck!” when I miss the ball, which I frequently do.  On a nearby rail is the pretty spectacular, brooding runway collection that got me here in the first place.

If you can’t get to Lanvin any time soon, here’s a shortcut to one of their most standout moments this season.

We know that the Fashion World is mad for little Alber Elbaz’s work for Lanvin and loads him with accolades, but even I have to admit that, up close, the Spring 2011 collection is a great find for the L.A. woman.  Some of the exquisitely cut jersey pieces, like an emerald green plissé one-shouldered top or a peachy-beige sleeveless blouse, worn with a great flared jean would leave her feeling beautiful and entirely appropriate for lunch at the beach or drinks at Cleo.  It would look pretty wonderful on a couple of those Staten Island bitches, too, but it’s really not the look in which to be choking someone.  I doubt they’ve progressed to the flared jean yet, anyway.

Lanvin tops look as smashing with jeans in LA as they might with stilettos on Staten Island.

Here I should mention one of my most crucial L.A. Fashion Rules:

If you can’t wear it with jeans, do not buy it.

Occasionally, one of my clients will say, “Oh, James.  I never wear jeans,” to which I reply, “Who the fuck are you?  Anna Wintour?  This is L.A.  Of course, you wear jeans.”

In addition to those great tops, there are also some great long comfy dresses in beiges that Malibu moms would live in, some fun trench coats and the whimsical, easy environment making the collection feel like an L.A. hit.  Lanvin scores.  Damn, I hate jumping on the bandwagon.

In closing, your dog is not an accessory.

Much love,