"FASHION IS THE ARMOR TO SURVIVE THE REALITY OF EVERYDAY LIFE"
Recently, legendary New York Times street style/fashion photographer Bill Cunningham passed away at 87 and it shocked the fashion world. Bill was a genius and as sweet as candy pie, a true artist. His photographs are fast, sharp and exquisite. He inspired me to be cool, he reminded me to be kind, and I will miss him; I had the honor to meet him during NYC Fashion Week in 1996 at a coffee truck. Cunningham understood what fashion is and can be, how it heals and lifts us up out of the mire of the mundane. It is what art should always be. Brilliant. Eternal. Sublime.
Style is what you do with this shining fire called fashion. Style is unique and pure and cannot be taught or bought. Style is rare and you'll never find it at North Face. OK … mebbe if you rock it with a slash of old-skool sea-punk dipped in chaos magic, perhaps? Yes, I dare you! Make North Face avant and style forward. I double dare you!!
This is the only way to exact style out of the ether. You don't need to know or even understand fashion to have amazing style. It's happening right now globally in very poor countries (check out books like (un)Fashion by Tibor and Maira Kalman). It's happening in very rough ghettos and upper crust prep schools. You don't need anything but passion—and bonus—passion is free! That beautiful snowflake of uniqueness that got squashed out of you cuz life got hard or you had kids or forgot your dreams or lost all your cha-chinga? Be here now, baby. Not in 5 pounds or when your hair grows out. N-O-W!
You don't need to be rich to look like a super fine bitch! I wear a $4 dress I got at Buffalo Exchange in Albuquerque and bop around town and get a billion compliments on said frock. No one knows the price. OK, now you do, but SHHH! It's the multicolored schmatta with the plunging butt action: GENIUS!
If you give even a microscopic shit what the world thinks of you, you are pretty much sunk in the Style department. Actually, in every department Santa Fe is a bubbling cornucopia of unpicked genius style at every turn, from the flea markets to the second-hand stores to sales at Bodhi Bazaar (DeVargas Center, 564 N Guadalupe St., 982-3880), Spirit (109 W San Francisco St., 982-2677) and Santa Fe Dry Goods (53 Old Santa Fe Trail, 992-8083). We have juicy pickings from incredible talents like Isabel Marant to vintage London brand Ghost at consignment shops like Ooh La La (518 Old Santa Fe Trail, 820-6433) and the Marfa hipster meets Parisian chic at eclectic gen, La Boheme (663 Canyon Road, 992-8043). It's a wild giddy treasure hunt! Style is ageless, timeless and ruleless. It's vintage rich hippy draped in dime store beads. It's your fave sweatshirt with pale glitter dusted stilettos. It's pocket squares and norm-core with dreadlocks. It's what makes you you—the best version of you.
Even that weirdo North Face you insist on wearing? If it's you and makes you feel wicked-ass rad then, voila! It's your style. I may not dig it but so what? You don't care, right? Right. Right. Friggin'. ON! So, on cool Santa Fe nights under our sapphires skies with a smile more brilliant than all the stars scattered throughout the cosmos, wear what makes you you. Be true and know you are home and we are rich.
GLOBAL: Finnish Up
I am gagaloo for AALTO, the Finnish brand created in Paris by Tuomas Merikoski. Homeboy has also collabo'ed with LV and Givenchy. His SS 2016 Resort collection Endless Sun is brilliant! Day-glo ink-splattered sweatshirts and dull grey slouchy pants with a very Euro-dipped, "I don't care!" 'tude dolloped on top. Quite scrumptious!
GLOBAL RUNNER-UP: All Gucci for the Last Three Seasons
Rumpled dandy/bad boy Alessandro Michele has taken the brand by the balls and squeezed hard. Everything is delish, albeit campy and trampy and day-glo flouncy and lacy—and that's just the menswear. It's perfect for a stroll through Best Buy on Cerrillos Road. LOCAL: Monica Watson's Afterlife Alchemy Jewelry
Beauty and true-style fiend Monica Watson has created some of the most dazzling piece in her Afterlife Alchemy line. From totally mundane to precious to insane objects: a ruby kyanite bullet necklace? Porcupine quills, glittery butterfly wings and emerald shimmer-dipped beetles as earrings?! Oh, yes please! My own purchase of Rasta spray-painted puzzle piece earrings? A true delight. And quite a deal dontcha know. Find her work at Meow Wolf (1352 Rufina Circle, 395-6369) and Mira (101 W Marcy St., 988-3585).