Aug 22nd, 2006

Starry, Starry Night

Or, an Apologia for Vincent

Let me begin by saying that I like Vincent*, I understand his point of reference in most of the work he's done. I don't necessarily like everything that he's made, but I do recognize his departure point. What I don't understand is the intense loathing for him in the forums and fan groups of Project Runway.

Granted, this past week has seen that loathing come to a frenzied point, since he got to stay on when everyone's favorite little blonde unicorns and fairies girl Alison was auf'ed. But I think people would have been peeved even if it was BlahblahblahBobby who left the runway for good.
The universal dislike and disdain started the very first week, when he sent a perfectly respectable little frock out accessorized with a wicker fruit basket doing duty as a hat. It was totally awful, and made worse by the accompanying oversized sun glasses and the addition of dangling chains.


And yet...I saw echoes of the maestro Rudi Gernreich and the 2001 Space Odyssey fly girls.


In Episode 2, it was his green evening gown with the Jetsons-esque cap sleeves that had the internets twitching with distaste, but Miss USA liked the dress itself, and so did Miss Vera Wang. Except for the very couture element of the unwearable sleeve cap, the dress itself was simple, elegant and very, very wearable. Maybe if he'd let Angela stick her "signature fleurchons" on the straps instead, they would have won?


Episode 3, Doing it Doggie Style, saw Vincent doing another awful hat and a simple frock. He was derided for using knee-length leggings, but take a look at any fashion rag on the stands today, and you'll see that leggings are back. With a vengence. Also? The dog ensemble was a hoot.

OK. Here's where we need to address the real issue about Vincent. The guy is a total whack job. OK? The giggles and shits over the dog's little hat and coat were over the top, even for me, but Vincent amuses himself, and really not an anyone else's expense (AHEM, JEFFREY).

Vincent is a whack job, but not a nut case. Vincent, in his early interviews and bios acknowledged that New York and the fashion industry almost killed him. After watching six weeks of him, I can honestly tell you that it wasn't the pressure and New York that did for him, it was the 80s. It was sex and drugs and rock and roll. It was cocaine and quaaludes and way too much tequilla.

If David Crosby has said about the 60s that if you remembered them, then you weren't there, I say if you don't have some serious scars from the 80s, then you weren't THERE. I was, and let me tell you, I can recognize a fellow-traveller when I see one. You don't get Vincent's kind of crazy from smoking a little too much pot, or having a genetic propensity for mental instability. You can get Vincent's kind of crazy from too much LSD, but then, you generally spend the rest of your life puttering around in your sanitarium's garden, and producing no work whatsoever. **

Vincent's kind of crazy takes a lot of work, most of it in the form of little white lines, little white pills, way too little sleep and a lot, a fucking lot, of hard living. Been there, done that, never was indicted.

The last thing that I want to say that I like about Vincent is that he believes in his own vision. He may be batshit crazy and dead wrong, but he stands in the spotlight on the runway, looks Diane Von Furstenberg in the eye (thereby defying her attempt to turn him into stone with a single stare) and says, you don't have to like it, you don't have to see where I'm coming from, but I do. I know what I wanted to make, and I made it. Period. Love me. Hate me. Recognize.***

* Yeah, and I also just adore(d) Daniel Franco. Proceed with the proverbial salt grain.

** Example: Syd Barrett

*** He's a sistah soljah, from the belly of the beast, recognize! But even Vincent isn't as delusional and batshit crazy as Jade from last season's ANTM. See also the entry below, where I put a side by side of his "work of art" and a Miro.