Into our hot little hands has arrived People magazine’s Fall 2003 Style Watch, and not a moment too soon: After all, before we buy anything, even a toothpick, for the new season, we want to know what Gwyneth and Renée and Demi are wearing—don’t you?
Even though it is an open secret that stars do not pay for their clothes, which is why you often see them with crocodile Birkins while you are schlepping a Strand books tote, fashion insiders insist that you contort your budget to accommodate facsimiles of the togs Cameron and Eve are photographed prancing around in. In this spirit, we armed ourselves with People‘s celeb-certified recommendations and hit the bricks, anxious to see just how near we could bring our wardrobes to star status.
Our first stop isn’t even at a store, it’s to a blanket overseen by a nice guy selling fake designer bags, including ersatz Burberry totes, outside Century 21. The stuff looks fine to us—the Burberry is a virtual clone of the beige plaid Lucy Liu sports in People—though the young lady haggling with the seller (they eventually agree on $25) says accusingly, “It’s not even leather!” (Of course the real ones are mostly fabric too.) Inside Century 21, we spot a faded denim fur-lined jacket by Blumarine, pretty close to the one J.Lo, apparently no PETA member, is wearing in People. This one is $350 and it’s even jauntier than Jen’s: The lining is spotted blue fur, unlike any animal on God’s green earth, but the label attests that it is indeed vero lapin.
It is for certain that Sharon Stone didn’t get the silver leather handbag People says she loves from Aldo, which is a shame, because their version is $29.99, and, really, who wants to spend more than that on a silver purse? In addition to metallics, People alleges that satin isn’t going away anytime soon—they have pics of Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman to prove it—so perhaps you should consider the $49 fuchsia satin corset top at Express, which has naughty hooks up the front and lacings up the back. (If satin is ideal for corset tops, it is less successfully employed in a pair of satin trousers at H&M rendered in lingerie pink.)
Those newsboy caps, which we hope will permanently dislodge trucker hats, are available in gray denim at Club Monaco; People says Petra Nemcova favors these, but we must confess we are less than impressed since we’ve never heard of Nemcova. Another person we’ve never heard of, an actress called Marley Shelton (what is wrong with us?), models mod revival clothes in the magazine.
Though this mod business struck us as an iffy proposition in a skittish economy when it debuted on the runway last spring, Zara has gone for it whole hog, with swirly black-and-white wool dresses ($89), tangerine minis ($29), and even pointy-toed white patent go-go boots ($99). On the other hand, perhaps for mod you should go vintage, in which case Past Out, at 238 East 6th Street, has a Carnaby Street-worthy pink Moschino shift decorated with orange flowers for $150. (As it turns out, this item is a relic of a previous mod revival—it’s from the ’80s.) Past Out also has go-go boots—they’re gold and they’re only $39—but as usual with vintage stores there is only one pair available.
We wanted to tell you about the newsboy caps and mod lingerie dresses at Urban Outfitters on Broadway at Bleecker, but we decided instead to make sure you are aware that this store’s owner, a guy named Richard Hayne, is a major contributor to the campaign of Rick Santorum, the homophobic Pennsylvania congressman who likened gays to people who practice bestiality. Just so you know.
We are thinking about creepy old Rick as we exit Urban and spot a young woman right outside selling Black Panther tanks and T-shirts that she makes herself. The shirts, featuring the famous panther logo atop the U.S. Constitution along with the legend “The Black Panther party, 1966-198?,” cost from $10 to $20 and are trimmed with little camo patches. “I dye them and put on the patches myself,” their creator, Ufuoma Whiteru says softly. How’d she get interested in the Panthers? “I saw Eyes on the Prize on Channel 13 when I was little. The Panthers were one of the few groups that fought back, and the FBI was threatened and destroyed them.” Though Whiteru says she is doing a brisk business, People magazine has yet to photograph anybody wearing one of her shirts.