Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Shop It to Me: Brian Jones, Pretty in Pink

I’ve never been one to wear tons of pinks – being blonde, I always felt wearing the color would give off immediate Barbie connotations. I’ve always loved dark, earthy tones – deep reds, plums, emeralds … shades that evoke darkness, witchiness, general badassery. Wearing something soft and pink was always on the opposite end of the style spectrum for me. But this photo of Brian Jones might be enough to change it all for me.
This is one of my favorite photos of the Stones founder – I actually have a print hanging on the wall in my bedroom. He somehow makes a precious outfit look kind of super badass – I mean, who other than Brian could make a pink cable-knit sweater and boa look sexy? The man is such a mystery to me – yin-yang exemplified in human form: the darkness of his drug addition and womanizing and the lightness of his obsession with trains, storybooks and Winnie the Pooh. How could these extremes of innocence and cruelty ever be reconcilable in one person? But on a strict style basis, these two opposites came together for a really stellar look.
Granted, I don’t have the pageboy haircut to complete this look but I kind of want to give this outfit a try:

First, start with a pink cable-knit sweater like this one, which is currently on sale (all the better!). I went for a slightly darker shade of pink because I’m not sure if I’m quite up for the ballerina vibes I get from Brian’s super-pale sweater. Pair it with a feather boa – I LOVE this one from Groupie Couture so much (I even included it in my holiday gift round-up last year), I am constantly strategizing ways to wear it in outfits. Since most people don’t have many options for purple pants in their wardrobes (another cause of my great sadness for my generation), I suggest investing in a versatile pair of colored denim, like these True Religion skinnies. So at this point, this outfit is very girlish and sweet – but the accessories give the look a supreme edge worthy of a rock star. Brian is wearing some really amazing jewelry – I love his beaded tassel necklace, which I found a modern version of here, and his stone jewelry. I firmly believe big cuff bracelets and statement rings are absolute must-haves for anyone’s wardrobe. Obviously, he must have picked his goods on his travels, but I found a pretty groovy multi-colored cuff from ASOS. Finish off the look with a super sixties pair of round frame sunglasses and I swear, Anita Pallenberg would take one look at you and want to date you. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In Defense of Bebe Buell, 'Groupies' and Women in Music

I’ve been a bit touch-and-go with this site for a while now – a combination of moving to a new city, starting a job, trying to figure out how to live a life that makes me happy (all that super pleasant quarterlife crisis stuff!) – but my love for the women I write about and for the gorgeous dolls who read this site has never wavered. I keep your energy and passion with me always, mixing in my heart with everything I’ve loved and admired about the great muses of yesteryear. Because of this, I take it intensely personal when someone tries to slag off on someone I adore. I’m used to it to a certain extent – there are loads of people who criticize these women, calling them ‘groupies’ (as though that’s a bad thing!) and worthless, and basically throw some sort of moral assessment on them that ignores everything else about their amazing lives other than whose arm they were photographed on forty years ago.
I was looking through my comments feed today and found a comment left about a month ago on a post about Bebe Buell. Bebe is a bit of a controversial subject for many in the classic rock fandom. Many moons ago on this site, I mentioned that I liked I’m With the Band better than Rebel Heart purely because Miss Pamela was so forthcoming with the nerdiest facts of her life (I mean, the fart list anyone?) whereas Bebe, who was always a dreamer (something I admire and relate to her about immensely), also has this supreme self-confidence and assuredness in herself that intimidated me when first read her book when I was fourteen and thought I was the foulest creature to ever roam the planet. In my pubescent mind, Bebe was not only on a different level than myself – she was in a different plane of existence.
My little innocuous comment led to a GIANT blowup in the comments section. Bebe’s fans are passionately dedicated to her and will not stand for anyone speaking ill of her, but in that case I was mortified because I always considered myself one of her fans – but in someone else’s eyes I was the enemy!
In the time between that debacle and now, I’ve written about Bebe extensively. Most feedback I’ve seen on these posts are positive comments from people who admire her, love her music, find her infinitely sweet (and she is! She is one of the few people who loves to interact directly with her fans). But the comment I want to discuss came from a post I did over two years ago called “How to be like Bebe Buell.” This is one of my favorite types of posts to do – half serious, half fun, it allows me to indulge in my obsessive behavior about muses and icons. The comment that caught my eye this morning was only two lines and sent by an anonymous poster (what bravery it takes to comment anonymously on the internet!):
I was struck by the ludicrousness of this comment for multiple reasons. Firstly, I like that this person thought I had never heard the term ‘star-fucker’ before. Yes, in my many years being obsessed with groupies I had never once heard them dismissed in a derogatory way with this term. I am enlightened now! I can only imagine the anonymous commenter somehow being led to this site, leaving their snarky comment, and then being horrified by literally EVERY SINGLE OTHER POST on this blog.  
Secondly, the commenter ignores every other aspect of Bebe’s life that makes up her “great legacy” (which I use sarcasm-free). Apparently, a career as a top model, a writer and a recording artist as well as being a single mother and surviving an abusive marriage can be negated if you dated Jimmy Page for a few months when you were nineteen.
But what troubles me most is that this is yet another example of women being shamed for their sexual behavior. I am reminded of a recent piece on xoJane that discusses the public’s tendency to dismiss women due to their romantic pasts. In the article, the author cites the attacks against Mia and Dylan Farrow from defenders of Woody Allen as well as the recent treatment Joyce Maynard has experienced surrounding the release of the film adaptation of her novel Labor Day. For those who don’t know, Maynard had an eleven-month long relationship with J.D. Salinger when she was 18 and the author was 53, and that fact has been exploited by several critics to dismiss her work and her legitimacy as an artist in her own right.
I do not speak for Bebe, but I do speak for myself. For all that we have advanced in terms of a woman’s rights to her body, her sexuality and her identity, there is still a thriving pocket of humanity that thinks that a woman’s romantic choices are acceptable points of argument against her professional legitimacy. I cannot even articulate how troublesome this culture is to me. I feel like in recent months there has been a more open dialogue about female sexuality and the slut-shaming phenomenon – as well as the nature of feminism in general – and I am extremely thankful for that. I just hope that something comes of all this talk and people begin to change their minds and behavior.
I’d like to point out for the record that I know Bebe herself doesn’t consider herself a groupie – she has distanced herself from that term, especially in recent years, because of the loaded connotations of that tag. To close this post, I’ll include an excerpt of a quote from Bebe that was in Miss Pamela’s book Let's Spend the Night Together, from a conversation that revolved around the infamous G-word:
“I’m not upset about the actual word. I would be an idiot to say that I never hung around a rock band, didn’t date a rock star, or marry one, or see a lot of music in my life. Because it’s who I am, that’s part of me. But I’m not going to let somebody call me stupid, judgmental names either. […] Everybody’s a little bit of a groupie anyway. We’re all fans of something.” 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

the being known as wonder girl

It's an odd thing, mourning the loss of someone you never knew -- and yet so much of our culture revolves around it. We grieve for those whose worlds never intersected with our own, and yet our lives were touched by their very existence. Samantha Juste was one of the girls who really ignited within me a passion for the culture of the 1960s. Early on in my teenage years, I would pour over photographs of her and try to mimic her dolly eye makeup, in hopes of capturing some of her magic. I cannot even count the number of biographies I've read -- about countless musicians -- that mention Samantha, how she influenced the culture of the 1960s and how she cared for and protected artists. In her modeling photos, she had an infectious energy that elevated simple magazine editorials into a whole happening. She truly was "the being known as wonder girl."