T is for Toothpick

©Collage / Julia Zierer

At long last, the industry is subvertly encouraging us to eat our hearts out this summer? Really? Well … at least I’m proclaiming it The End of the Toothpick Era (TEOTTE).  Yesterday, I read a story in the The New York Times about a British prosecutor (sorry, the word is “regulator”) who wants to remove a Gucci ad because of a model that is toothpick thin. My question is: why single out only that one model when there are at least four others in the same video who look like they could use a good veggie burger or two? 

At any rate, last night at a cocktail party for Tobias Rehberger and his new designs for MCM in the lush offices of BLAU Magazin (Irina Kromayer is an interior-design goddess), I was talking with Leyla Piedayesh from lala Berlin about the ad – and she said that as a designer she doesn’t want to design for the opposite effect, the overweight crowd. It’s just as unhealthy. True. Maybe I’m just trying to come to terms with my permanent post-baby belly state, which I am thinking of giving a name: Muffin-top Millicent. Millicent and I are happy about TEOTTE, even if it is a pipe dream. (The great thing about watching the Paris fashion shows from afar is that you get to shove bonbons in your mouth while in a daze of glotzen, the glassy gaze of X-ray view, again: less is bore!) A few things learned via slideshows and live videos from Vogue.com:

The oversize thing won’t be too difficult to pull off, unless we’re talking about the Gogmagog proportions of Jacquemus. He makes the stop-making-sense David Byrne look like he is making sense!

Left: David Byrne, 1984. Right: Jacquemus, Fall 2016

But if it’s something more modestly oversized you’re looking for, just plunder your mum’s closet. If you’re lucky she didn’t spring-clean away those late-70s angora sweaters à la leg-of-mutton.

All fall 2016: Gucci left, Dior center, Lemaire right

Speaking of mutton, I’m always hungry. And she who is hungry need not fear patterns. They make you look bigger anyway and it’s patterns galore that I’ve been searching for, mix-and-match magic chaos, like the work of a good DJ at Berghain in Berlin. Bored with the floral variety, I’ve gone in search of … vegetables. While Marie Antoinette proclaimed “Let them eat cake,” the good green fairy proclaims, “Eat your greens,” even if that means puree-ing the shit out of them for breakfast. Do it. Your skin will thank you for it.

Somehow I doubt kale is ever going to make it onto a pleated midi-skirt, maxi-skirt or asymmetrical show-your-twat mini, but hey, lady, I mean, woman, I could be wrong. Meanwhile, I give you the world’s most loved vegetable (turnips, what else?) from Stella Jean Spring 2016, combined with radishes, carrots and I don’t know what else gracing the bottom of that dress.   

Stella Jean SS 2016 and SS 2015

Tell me this is not Stella Jean’s riff on a liver-cleansing artichoke?

(Apropos turnips: recently in London, positively ravished and in a frenzy of ordering à la carte at a sushi restaurant, we asked the waitress what the “boiled turnip” appetizer was like and she answered tautologically, “like a boiled turnip.” What befuddles me is that we responded in all enthusiasm that we’d take one of those too then, please.)

And what’s that I see sneaking out of a loose corset at Prada? Each peach, pear, plum, right, sure, we’ve seen a lot of those (especially at the risk of looking like a tablecloth at Dolce & Gabbana). Prada’s paired her fruity print with argyle-sock peep toes. And I swear to you: that’s tarty Cleopatra locking lips with someone who is not Anthony and not Caesar coupled with a pair of sweet potatoes under a starry sky. Potatoes, yes, and not just any tuber but with everyone’s favorite tuber, sweet potato! And suddenly, looking closer, I have my doubts. Maybe it’s just a biologically enhanced turnip. (I’d have to ask Christophe Chemin, the Berlin-based artist who came up with the print, whose viewpoint I wholeheartedly share about Prada. In a recent interview with i-D magazine, he said: “I find [Prada’s] work much more interesting than most of the so-called artists I see on the market.”)

Prada Fall 2016
Bernhard Willhelm Fall 2016

Bernhard Willhelm made the potato print the subject of his entire fall line. Bravo, TEOTTE! With those kimono arms, I’m saying no to chaturanga dandasana, hello child’s pose!

And while there weren’t any vegetables at Fendi, I’m calling it Karl’s “potato-head” way of thinking, the chaos magic in making an impossibly sadistic-laden latex look romantic after the king waved his magic wand.  No fear of spilling your creamy potage on your boots here. (Indeed, those shoes might have been conjured up by Cremaster Matthew Barney.)

Fendi Fall 2016

How about pairing up two excellently clashing patterned pants, for example, or the green leopard print shoes with golden brocade. That’s what Dries Van Noten conjured up with his latest collection, inspired by the snake-wearing Marchesa Luisa Casati. Apparently, when she wasn’t dining with her (steady lover) D’Annunzio, she had wax mannequins accompanying her at the dinner table (wearing what, I wonder?) and was served by near-naked servants donning gold leaf, guaranteeing that surely she never dined alone.

Fall 2016, Dries Van Noten left, Sonia Rykiel right
Balenciaga Fall 2016

It’s exciting that the oversized safety pin earrings of Balenciaga could double as a shish kebab for grilled physalis, at the very least. The first collection by Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia articulates a means exaggerated punk, to be sure; “punk,” that is, in quotation marks, but also less ideologically a lust for summer – totally palpable.

Shopping Inspiration

April von Stauffenberg is an American writer who moved to Berlin in 1998. As a journalist, she has written about art, architecture, and fashion (under her maiden name April Elizabeth Lamm) for artforum.com, frieze, Weltkunst, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Sleek, and the German edition of Vanity Fair. She has curated shows at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt and the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin, among others, and is currently working on her art-world novel, The Collector.

Portrait: Semra Sevin