Hot air and smoke. Daring (faux) crystal chandeliers, discreet stage areas, velvet curtains, dyed-blond bartenders nibbling on ice cubes.
(Faux) brick walls, flashing lights, loud music drowning the occasional touch of solitude. Youth in sepia. Love and death? No: sex and abandonment. Temper the madness. Taste the disturbance in the air.
Hopefuls walking about, stealing glances. Dark hair, long, like algae washed ashore. No tension. No luxe looks either. No cashmere, no silk, no mohair dreams light as a parakeet’s feather. No skousers — skirt and trousers in a passionate embrace. No fluidity of movement — silk tanks, silver necklaces, seductively draped cotton dusters — none of that.
No Gaultier laser perforations, no fabrics with a positive role model, no musty vintage feel. Nothing worn with drama. Precision, maybe. The bold contours of the perfect body: thin, adventurous, unapologetic.
Beautiful girls. No visible emotion. No frosty scarves, no velvet crushed between the sweaty palms of yesterday’s lover. Small talk: "Oh, really?" "Imagine that." "Yes, yes, I know." Fashion. "The civilized code of perfect illusions," said Monsieur Barthes. Of course he knew what he was talking about: he was both French and gay.
Laughter. The smoke of a long, dark cigarette blown through finely chiseled nostrils. Head thrown back, mouth open, savoring the joke. The hopefuls walk in pairs now. The photographer’s eye selects them from the restless crowd. They follow him attentively, ready to lend themselves to the social game, ready to mark an absence — the moment immediately after the flash of the camera, a split second of imaginary blindness when all colors bleed white and the world disappears behind eyes wide shut. (Monsieur Kubrick, wherever he is, won’t mind).
We need air and fearlessness. Something like Oscar Wilde walking down the streets of London with a sunflower in his buttonhole. Comforting rebellion. Death to the creepy crawlers of conservatism. "It’ll come," the photographer assures me. "It’s still early."
Around us the look is practical. Teasingly so: short — really short, heart-attack short — skirts with bold slits; peek-a-boo cut-outs; loafers; sportswear in camouflage colors; high leather boots. Is this radioactive attitude a fad of the new millennium — the death of Fashion as we know it?
If so, when did she die? On a Friday night at Motor in Hamtramck? Killed with a knife, a candlestick, a rope, a gun? In the lounge, the ballroom, the conservatory? As for the suspects ... Professor Plum’s son is the first on my list. Look at him posing for the unforgiving eye of the camera in his plaid hat and shirt ensemble! Head tilted and eyes shadowed by the soft brim, he grins. The world’s his oyster — bar — and he’s on top of it.
Or maybe it’s Miss Scarlet and her friend Miss Peacock. Or young Mr. Green slashing the air with his Antonio Banderas look. Or Colonel Mustard’s nephew, the one in dark purple chiffon shirt and striped pants, striking a pose with his head down. Whodunit? Who’s winning? The room gets darker and we soon forget. Dayana Stetco is a contributor to the Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org