09 September 2006

The Same...But Different: What Ho, Fashion? or, Getting Medieval On Your Own Ass and Sundry Cares

Well, well, now, Ms. Kansas has certainly had a veritable blitzkrieg of style adventures and her head is still whirling. Since July she has staffed FASTEN's table at the East Side Open Market during their fashion show (the designers are unbelievably talented!); written a story about boutiques in Milwaukee for Undercurrentz, a new Milwaukee rag; gotten the rundown on what it takes to be a stylist from the Arlene Wilson Management; been hired to be a stylist for a show Redken's doing in Wisconsin (!) in November; not been hired as a merch assistant at Bon-Ton; and ended a brief interlude on wardrobe staff at Milwaukee Rep. Would someone please fetch Ms. Kansas her smelling salts and step lively about it?

Though, she found that running wardrobe and she were definitely not two tastes that go great together, Ms. Kansas is wildly enthused about having been around other clothing nerds. For that is what Ms. Kansas is, that is what the costume department is packed to its rafters with, and there is no use in denying either. No, she is not a fashionista. Her academic proclivities are undeniable. Another insight: it is virtue to make stuff. In the costume shop, Ms. Kansas got to make crafts. She could scarcely believe her luck at being paid to make belts, cut leather, hammer rivets, distress tabards, paint capes and hem up cowls. Kate Bailey, the Crafts Artisan Supervisor, could surely make cute shoes out of used chewing gum and denim scraps.

Last night was opening night of King Lear (Ms. Kansas highly recommends this production; Peter Silbert and Mark Corkins as imperfect fathers made her weep like a child during rehearsals)--and what food for the style hungry that is!! If you think not, Ms. Kansas pities your lack of imagination. Cowls, my dears, are the new little black dresses. A small joke from Ms. Kansas...

1. While walking down the street this afternoon, this insight: tuck full-leg pants into boots. The tight-pant-in-boot look is in right now, but Ms. Kansas was actually alive in the early 1980s; she's been there and done that. The full pants in boots make a smart medieval-cum-Cossack look. The men in the Lear cast rock this look dashingly. Go to, ladies. Somewhat related: spats. Any kind you can find, high or low. Kind of like legwarmers. Wear with shoes or boots. Ms. Kansas still kicks herself for turning her nose up at a World War I-era pair her mother found at a rummage sale as a snotty teenager in the early 1990s.

2. Cowls. Really. All manner of neo-medieval headgear: wraps, turbans, caps, scarves, hoods. Ms. Kansas has had a pash for this kind of thing since watching the Gerard Depardieu film The Return of Martin Guerre in history grad school. Also, hair in knots and braids--especially if it has any idea of waving, kinking or curling.

3. Medieval tailoring: that's why the peasant look is called the peasant look, bambini. Simple square and rectangular shapes. Ms. Kansas loves a dolman or batwing sleeve!! Smocking, pintucks, pleats, yokes. Tunics! Caftans! Heaven!!

Get out those history of costume books and get imaginative!!