- Jackie Mallon |
Fifty years ago Truman Capote threw his legendary black and white ball in the grand ballroom of New York City's Plaza Hotel to which only society’s most incandescent members were invited and those who weren’t fell into despair. Maybe we can’t aspire to such an haut monde affair this weekend but we can channel every bit of the glamour, the spotlight, the fanfare as we begin to brew up our spicy Halloween alter egos. Hubble bubble toil and trouble, who will I be tonight..?
Capote once reflected, “I aspire...I like the ambiguity––do I aspire to heaven or hell?”
Because the Night
It’s a valid question as we approach the time of year when we are permitted entry to that wild, most hedonistic circle of The Beautiful and The Damned. The spirit is epitomized by Kate Moss’s panda-eyed nightprowler stalking NYC in the late 90s in black lingerie and top hat on the arm of a velvet-clad escort. There’s a frisson of recklessness to offset the elegance that’s the magic potion for All Hallow’s Eve costuming. So when sales of fishnet stockings soar, elevate your sights even higher and eschew the banal sexy nurse costume that comes pre-packed from Ricky’s.
Instead let your freak flag fly, your rebel out of its everyday shackles to plunder history and popular culture. Explore humor, gender fluidity, Merchant Ivory drama. Revel in blatant exhibitionism while exploring hidden fetishisms. Consider it a maximalist excursion from your uncluttered shoebox life; your own red carpet moment.
I have a Comme Des Garçons tailcoat with ruffles spilling like entrails from the seams that I realize has only ever had an outing at Halloween. In recognition of this travesty I hereby vow to keep the spirit of halloween going all through winter and humbly offer some suggestions in the vein of Diana Vreeland’s decadent pronouncements that began with the three words Why Don’t You..
Paint your eyes. Visit the millinary department. Encrust gloves with rhinestones. Play with marabou. Strain under the weight of costume jewelry. Niftily employ adhesive tape. Strip the windows of their velvet drapes and the table of its gingham. Try an eighteenth century coiffure. Pose as though Beaton were drawing you or Avedon photographing you. Stop nowhere short of excess.
All Fashion’s Eve
Halloween has never been more fashionable and the fashionable are running around town doppelganging each other: Kate Moss has been Cara Delevingne, Cindy Crawford has been Cher, Roberto Cavalli has been Karl Lagerfeld (as has Kendall Jenner), Dita Von Tees has been Marlene Dietrich, and Anna Dello Russo has been...Anna Dello Russo. Get in on the act and upstage the stars and your everyday self.
And one last thing: be the last to arrive but never the last to leave.
There’s a trick to the treat.
By contributing guest editor Jackie Mallon, who is on the teaching faculty of several NYC fashion programmes and is the author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.
Photo credits: AFP and Jackie Mallon