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Thursday, September 2, 2010

New York Times Prints Hallucinogenic Paean to Mission Hipster Chicks

Posted By on Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 4:59 PM

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If you thumbed through yesterday's edition of The New York Times, you may have chanced across a 1,500-word essay on the fashion of San Francisco. It's always fun and a little maddening to see what the Gray Lady makes of Bay Area culture, and this latest offering is worth a read -- if for no other reason than to see what a more literate version of Michael Kors might write after downing a bag of psilocybin mushrooms purchased in the Panhandle.

The putative theme of the article is an examination of the fashion "tribes" clustered in different sections of the city -- the Haight, the Mission, the Castro, and so on. Times writer Guy Trebay is particularly enthralled by the hipster chicks who swarm the Mission, writing in elegiac terms of a waitress he observes riding her bike in a "gingham onesie."

Girls like her are all over the Mission. You see them flying down Valencia Street on Vespas, their wildly improvised get-ups composed of, say, rags scavenged from the Bay Area's fabled thrift shops... You see them particularly on a stretch of 18th Street, where Dolores Park vies for landmark status with Tartine, the upscale pizza joint Delfina and Bi-Rite grocery, a kind of foodie Vatican.

Marcel Proust, meet the daughter who ran off to Academy of Art University with your platinum credit card.

Some other choice bits:

... it is true that on a Friday night at Nopa the communal table can sometimes seem populated by men dressed to mow your lawn.

Yet look closer and beneath the loose-fitting, layered garments can be detected an easy athleticism that helped make California sportswear the most influential American contribution to global fashion, bar none. "It's much more about being fit than fashionable, per se," said Mr. Deegan, whose vintage Qiana shirt was stretched taut over a torso kept fit by bare-hand climbing.

Or this:
"It's that people here don't want to show what they have in their closets," said Mr. Lopez, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, who opened Sui Generis three years ago with a partner to offer a style alternative to a population whose last important contribution to fashion amounted to the sanded crotch jeans and white T-shirt uniform of so-called gay clones.

Lopez also offers this slightly enigmatic observation of San Franciscans: "They have the clothes, but they wear them in private."

But our favorite bit, hands-down, has to be Trebay's salute to "the intrepid kite surfers catching air at Crissy Field, their harnesses and zippers and neoprene gear uncannily like Nicolas Ghesquiere's designs for Balenciaga."

Wow. And here we thought the NYT had outdone itself when it dubbed Sixth Street's skid row the city's next "gourmet ghetto."

Image   |   stevendepolo

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Peter Jamison


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