A night on the town
Spirit of events given a lift by dressing for the occasion
On one side of town Andy Warhol wannabes, in a variety of backcombed blonde wigs, mingled with a parade of women in Edie Sedgwickinspired 1960s shift dresses and a cross-section of the city’s arts community.
On another side of town a few hundred women lined up outside SilverCity theatres — teetering on stiletto heels or cosmopolitan martinis — to see a movie.
The simultaneous openings of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s Andy Warhol: Larger than Life exhibit and the Sex and the City movie — and my determination to attend both last Thursday night — revealed some interesting things about the state of fashion in this city.
While there are a lot of fashionable people in Victoria, we’re still a bit “small-town” when it comes to going out in style.
The Warhol opening is a prime example of an event that people should dress up for. It hosts some of the most famous art work ever created, by a man who defined a generation through his obsession with fashion, celebrity and pop culture.
Warhol started his career as a fashion illustrator and through his art and associations went on to make style idols of everyone from bohemian hobos and famous athletes to movie stars and socialites — not to mention himself.
“His whimsical drawings of shoes for I. Miller revitalized a sinking ship and made him the most sought-after illustrator in New York,” said Helen Delacretaz, curator of the touring exhibit. “He took banal subjects and made them into icons ... many generations completely identify with his work.”
Plenty of those who attended the Warhol event embraced its spirit, whether they were hipsters wearing extra skinny jeans, seniors in flamboyant florals, metalheads wearing facial piercings and heavy eyeliner, or fans clad in Warhol wigs and vintage bombshell style.
“When we were picking our scents we had to ask, ‘What would Andy wear?’ ” Rene Linares told me at the opening. He wore a black-and-white geometric shirt and tie, that matched his date, Emily Smith — one of the stars in filmmaker Althea Thauberger’s Chelsea Girls, a contemporary remake of Warhol’s classic film, but shot at the Chelsea Apartments on View Street.
“We thought definitely Galiano over Armani,” Linares said.
What was unforgivable about the gala — or at least what I think Andy would have found unforgivable — were the number of folks who shlepped in wearing T-shirts, Gore-Tex and ratty sneakers.
Talk about a mood-killer in the presence of great art and fabulous company.
In contrast, the lineup for the Sex and the City movie premiere showed off some of the best style I’ve seen in this city — from cocktail dresses and designer totes to shoes, shoes, shoes. The few guys in attendance got duded up in suits and hair gel for the occasion.
Even though the occasion was a mostly non-social, dry (for some) Hollywood movie, it was the kind of fashion frenzy we need to see more of in this town — but in art galleries and live theatres, not in mall parking lot lineups.
Warhol devotees will get a chance to strut their style again at the art gallery’s popular Urbanite mixer July 11 – where martinis, music and a performance by Atomic Vaudeville will be served.