Addie’s Ashes?
September 18, 2009

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Brother, can you spare some diamante?  That might have been the refrain as Ralph Lauren showed his version of dust-bowl chic yesterday, complete with faded blue satin workshirts and factory jackets, thin little dresses right out of They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, and riffs on that legendary American piece of gothic iconography, the overall, in smooth renditions from satin to silver metallic.

225395And denim, a Ralph staple, was patched, torn, weathered and eventually shredded and distressed to a threadbare fare-thee-well and then completely overbeaded. My friend the New York Stylist wondered about the propriety of recycling one depression’s duds in the midst of another downturn.  I didn’t see that thought in any of the reviews I scanned – most gave Ralph the usual hurrah for his take on Americana (except in those seasons when he’s figuratively off to Ascot or Apthorp, of course). But I think it’s a valid point, especially when you compare it to the upoar that followed John Galliano in 2000 when he turned Les Clochards, the Parisian street-dwellers, into couture fodder. It might be just a talking point – I doubt we’ll see Lauren’s silvered overall gown or shredded beaded jeans outside the runway (and maybe it’s because I just read a profile of Christian Audijier, but I kind of have nightmares about how those jeans would be worn in real life in a “Real Housewives” world). In the end it brought me back to Addie Pray, the crafty con kid from Paper Moon, clad in her workaday overalls, ever trying to work the angles. But of course all she really wants is a little love.  Hey, maybe she could find a job on 7th Avenue.

Update: Somehow I missed Cathy Horyn’s salvo on her N.Y. Times blog.

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