TUTTLE MODE

by James Tuttle | @TuttleMode

Gentle reader,

Aside from last week’s Christmas episode of Glee, which was on in the background as I was wrapping endless presents, there hasn’t been much time for TV in this hectic last week of work and shopping and cardio.  And I say “cardio” because the year I go home for Christmas and my mother doesn’t make a big deal about how horribly thin I am is the year I get liposuction.

Brazilians don't wear Santa hats. (Photos: Stewart Shining for Made in Brazil 4)

The shopping wasn’t too bad.  Scott was working so I singlehandedly braved the crowds at Los Angeles’ wildly popular shopping and entertainment epicenter The Grove on Sunday and got through almost my entire list in under two hours.  My tips on achieving this kind of shopping efficiency are:

1)   Have a detailed list and a pen to make notes;

2)   Leave the shopping cart behind for increased speed and mobility;

3)   Go with your gut;

4)   Specifically, if you think that little T-shirt with the Tasmanian Devil on it is right for your cousin’s four-year old even though they said they wanted action figures or trucks, just get it and move on.  You’re not in the action figures or trucks store right now and, besides, he probably just didn’t know he liked the Tasmanian Devil.

Chestnuts roasting on the set of "Glee": it was probably 85 degrees in LA when they shot this.

As for Glee, it’s always fun to watch twenty-six-year-old high-school students put on a show.  This week was no exception as they produced and starred in the annual Christmas production for their local television station.  I have to say that for the $800 budget they were given, it looked very slick.  I’m pretty sure the velvet blazer Kurt was wearing would normally cost more than $800, not to mention how much the flawless midcentury-modern set, which matched The Judy Garland Show’s 1963 Christmas special to a tee with perfect period furnishings, might’ve set them back.  It was Christmas-song overload, most definitely, and even campier than usual, but at least it looked nice.

"I'm asking Santa for an outfit just like yours, Judy."

Out in the real world, we’re reaching the end of a wild year of Arab Springs and killer tsunamis and ridiculous politicians, but let’s not worry about any of that right now.  There’s nothing we can really do about it and, more importantly, worrying is not a good look so let’s put it all aside and talk about the Top Fashion Happenings of 2011.

Let me begin by saying that this is a totally arbitrary list of stuff I remembered about the past year but I’ve got a lot going on so whatever makes the list must have been a big deal.  You might say, “James, you didn’t even mention Michelle Obama getting blasted for wearing Alexander McQueen in China in January!”  Well, that’s because I didn’t remember it.  If it’s so important to you, make your own fucking list.

In no particular order, here we go:

  • The Duchess of Cambridge, a.k.a. Kate Middleton:  From the fairytale Sarah Burton for McQueen wedding gown to the great ensembles she wore on her Los Angeles trip, this bitch had it going on this year.  My personal favorites were the long sleeved green Diane von Furstenberg dress at a Hancock Park reception and the pale lilac McQueen gown for the BAFTA dinner.  She may have caught some flak for being too skinny but if that’s what it takes to look great in pictures, you just have to suck it up.  I feel your pain, Kate.  It was probably just fat people complaining anyway.

•  Jessica Chastain at the Cannes Film Festival:  I’d never heard of Jessica Chastain before she appeared on the red carpet for the Terrence Malick film Tree of Life, of which our own James Killough was not a big fan and, as he described it in his review, I doubt I would have been either.  Miss Chastain, on the other hand, was a breath of fresh air, standing between Sean Penn and Brad Pitt in her lemon yellow Zac Posen gown.  Looking back, I seemed to be kind of on the fence about it in my article at the time but I’m still thinking about it seven months later so it must have been something special.

  • Alexander McQueen:  Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:  The late McQueen is all over this year’s recap in various guises but this seminal exhibit of his work, so meticulously researched and beautifully presented, was really quite breathtaking.  The fact that over half a million people were willing to wait in line for hours, many of them after travelling great distances, to see a bunch of damn clothes really says something about the way that fashion can touch us.  I still get teary-eyed reminiscing about it and I think about it often.  Good thing I don’t wear mascara.

  • Daphne Guinness at the Met Ball:  Thinking of McQueen reminded me of my piece about PFC-favorite Guinness getting dressed for the Metropolitan Museum’s annual Costume Institute Gala in the window of Barney’s New York.  I think it was an amazing idea—people should get dressed in department store windows more often.  In the video they shot of the event she explains the concept of using fashion as armor, which also stayed with me, and she did look pretty fabulous at the ball in her feathered Alexander McQueen gown.

A delirious diva prepares.

  • The Dior succession:  After John Galliano’s idiotic drunken rant in a Paris café, in which he praised Hitler and wished death on the Jews, he was summarily fired from leading one of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses.  I’d say that was a fair penalty, but it also left a huge hole in the creative ozone layer that became evident with the disastrous Christian Dior Fall 2011 Couture show that you can relive, if you dare, with my review.  Bill Gaytten and his team redeemed themselves with a spring 2012 collection that stuck closely to Dior’s core aesthetic, but the headlines were still all about “Marc Jacobs: Will he or won’t he?”  It turns out that, in the end, he won’t.  That didn’t stop him from giving us a beautiful Dior-inspired Louis Vuitton collection for spring 2012 on a whirling carousel in a show that was one of the fashion triumphs of the season

    Marc Jacobs' Louis Vuitton extravaganza.

  • Missoni for Target:  Those two words sound weird in the same sentence, right?  Well, they should.  As I’m sure you remember from my ordeal, Target produced a shitload of Missoni-looking stuff that was advertised for months on TV and even in not exactly fashion-savvy magazines like People before it came out.  Some crazy hos waited in line for many hours that first morning, scooped up all the cheap zigzag-printed crap they could get into their carts, and put it up for sale on EBay before we were even done brushing our teeth.  Soon after, I saw a little girl in a Target/Missoni dress, coat and boots (at the same time!) a block away from the actual Missoni boutique on Rodeo.  I was thinking how that really took a lot of nerve when I looked up and realized that her mom was one of my clients, who had actually bought a chic and rather expensive leather dress from me a few days before.  How am I supposed to make sense of all that?  At least a lot of poor people now know about Missoni.
  • Ryan Gosling:  Okay, now you can forget about Kate Middleton or Princess Kate or whatever she’s calling herself these days, because this bitch doing it better.  Ryan Gosling has suddenly gone from being that quirky guy from The Notebook to being the dapper, suave sartorial role model from Crazy, Stupid, Love and all-around snappy dresser.  Aside from the flawless wardrobe he wears in the film, courtesy of costume designer Dayna Pink, he’s also made some daring choices on red carpets and personal appearances that earn him a spot on this list.  He also had a smokin’ hot six-pack, which earns him a spot on my other list.

  • My Christmas shopping outfit:  Finally, the understated-but-fashionable ensemble I donned to brave the crowds at The Grove the other day definitely deserves recognition, if those tourists with the old-fashioned cameras are to be trusted.  Instead of my usual peacoat, I wore a blue distressed velvet Armani jacket over a grey “Mental Head Circus” T-shirt with Zara skinny blue jeans ($49!).  The Emporio Armani lace-up boots that I just bought completed the outfit and, even though they may have dug a hole in the side of my ankle, they look fucking amazing!

Now, I know I’ve left a lot of great things off this list: Florence Welch, Carine Roitfeld leaving French Vogue, mixing prints, and Marc Jacobs’ polka dots were all incredibly newsworthy.  The fascinating Valentino Fall 2011 Couture show, hauntingly inspired by the last days of the Romanov dynasty, that my friend M. Fay of AmateurCouture.com put at the top of her list, is a must-see but I’m not going to steal it.  Luckily, there was enough happening in fashion this year for us all to have our own list and I’d bet that no two would be the same.

Have a wonderful Christmas or a happy Hanukkah.  Or both!

Much love,

xxJames