It might come as a surprise to some of you that I *love* modernism in dress. Clean lines, abstraction, angles, a palette of neutral colors … basically everything you never see on this blog. You mostly don't see them on this blog because all of that? Looks like hell on me. Pure, unadulterated, where's-Virgil-when-I-need-him, ooh-look-there-are-the-blasphemers Hell. I could handle the looking-like-hell part (I often look like hell now) but I couldn't handle the part where I FELT like hell — this stuff just isn't me.
And it not-being-me used to really bother me — I know, really, that I'm much more of a cardigans (ones with the usual number of sleeves) and bright-colors kind of person, but I still drool a bit over stuff like the dress in the picture above.
But instead of mooning helplessly over these things, or, worse yet, trying to remake myself into someone who looks good in an asymmetrical cream-colored wool ANYTHING, I've invented my dear friend Elke.
Elke, I've decided, looks FANTASTIC in this stuff. Slash of brightly colored eyeshadow? So Elke. Vertiginously high shoes with geometric heels? Elke's signature! Camel-colored anything? All Elke's cup of tea (and she even drinks chamomile, which I can't abide).
Elke can rock both the pixie cut and the long straight hair; Elke can carry a beautiful, elegant squared-off leather tote without being forced to lean to the other side to counterbalance it; Elke has even figured out how to wear those swimsuits with metal trim without it getting too hot in the sun. (And she has a sense of humor, too.)
The reason I've invented Elke is that I find it helpful to imagine SOMEONE loving those clothes and really enjoying them, even if it's not me. The models wearing them always look as if they'd rather be subjected to electric shocks than wear an exquisite dress, and when they're pictured on starlets or socialites those women only seem to be thinking "I really hope this doesn't show up on the DON'T page of Glamour".
Not Elke. She revels in this stuff! She wears it to the grocery store! Her friends all know that what she really wants for Christmas is jewelry made out of a single slab of something that's never been used for jewelry before, or a hat that's indistinguishable from a science-fiction movie prop.
So now, when I see something like this dress in the "editorial" of the fashion magazines, I can think "Ooh, that would look *GREAT* on Elke," and flip on by to the pages where they show the clothes I might actually wear. (If, in fact, they have any of those pages in that issue, which, usually, they don't.)
I highly recommend you get to know Elke — she always has time for her friends.