Stormy Weather: The Best Women’s Coats of 2012

Salvatore Ferragamo FW 2012

Gentle reader,

We were spared that nasty hurricane here on the West Coast but it’s still been a social whirlwind since returning from Mexico.  Saturday found us at a birthday party for some guy we didn’t know at our friend Cheyenne’s swank WeHo digs where Scott and I were the only people wearing shirts.  This was the epicenter of Boys’ Town so I guess we should have expected as much a week either side of Halloween.

Steven Arnold

‘Triplets, 1990’, by Steven Arnold

Before all these skinny, semi-naked queens made me feel overdressed and kind of chunky, we had the wonderful honor of joining our friend Stephanie Farago at the opening soirée for Steven Arnold: Cabinet of Curiosities at ONE Archives Gallery & Museum on Robertson Boulevard.  Steven and I go way back, even though we never actually met.  He passed away the year I moved back to California but, through our mutual marvelous friend Margot, I came to know his brilliant circle that nurtured me through my wild first L.A. years with wisdom and patience.  Surrounded by his work and his friends, I was inspired by his vision and challenged by how fiercely he put his sexuality on display at a time when I was struggling with my own.

Fast-forward to 2012 when Steven’s surreal black and white photographs are being exhibited at the adorably bare bones ONE Gallery until 13 January 2013 alongside some of his erotic drawings, paintings and late 60s poster art.  It was an interestingly curated show and, though a few of my favorite photographs are absent, there are many that I hadn’t seen before.  On the way to the gallery, in fact, I texted Margot that I wished she were here and moments later was able to message a picture of her posed between two abstract buildings in one of Steven’s photographs.  I wrote, “I guess you are here after all.”  She replied that even she had never seen that picture before.  If you’re in the L.A. area, I suggest you go see it, too.

Steven Arnold: Cabinet of Curiosities
27 October 2012 – 13 January 2013
ONE Archives Gallery & Museum
626 N. Robertson Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Speaking of hurricanes, it’s crazy to think that much of lower Manhattan is under water right now.  Other parts of the country are experiencing blinding snowstorms, and it might actually get down to 70 degrees here in L.A. this week.  Brrrr!  That’s a blessing to those fashion savvy ladies who are ready to put away the bikinis and throw on a coat, and there are lots of amazing ones to choose from this season.

Michael Kors FW 2012

Michael Kors

You’ll never go wrong with a classic trench or a simple cashmere princess coat but there are some more intriguing interpretations of ongoing trends out there like the fur and fur-trimmed coats that were most noticeable on the runways in nearly every collection.  They went from crazy “Where The Wild Things Are” allover long hair at Mulberry to my personal favorite, a natural fox collar on a smashing red Michael Kors military coat.  PETA won’t be happy but you’ll look fabulous.

Those military inspirations have also come back in full force.  From the most literal of epaulettes and gold buttons at Salvatore Ferragamo to a more subtle use of olive drab in many collections like Hermes and MaxMara, this is a look that isn’t going anywhere for a while.

Bright colors were another big splash, with bold monochromatic looks at Kors and Haider Ackermann and paint splatters at Erdem, where a Peggy Guggenheim modern art theme gave a new feel to his ladylike aesthetic.  Also ladylike and almost retro were the lovely coats in Raf Simons’ last showing for Jil Sander.  I wonder if those helped him land the Christian Dior job, where the coats were already rather prim before he got there.  We’ll see what they look like a year from now.  Until then, stay warm my friends.

Much love,


[heading]Slideshow Best Fall 2012 Coats[/heading]

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all images courtesy


Comment: 1

  • MargotMontaigne November 5, 201210:06 pm

    Dearest James,
     What a LOVELY article!   Thanks so much for writing such touching words about Steven.  The photograph you showed is one of my favorites.  Its a triple exposure of Austin, a dear friend, who lived in the Studio for several years. He was the most beautiful and sweet boy, who died of AIDS around the same time as Steven.  Even though you never met Steven, I always felt he had his eye on you :-)
      Love the monkey-fur coat. I STILL have the REAL monkey-fur collar you gave me.  I guess I can wear it now and everyone will think its faux!
      Love you madly,

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