American Apparel’s ass-less tights
It’s been a rough year for American Apparel. In fact, it seems like every week brings a new horseman of their retail apocalypse. And yet, they still tried to sell us ridiculously impractical garments that Dov Charney probably thought looked hot on ladies but that no lady would actually want to wear. The ballsiest of these were the ass-less tights: because even once comfort is out the window, we don’t tend to think of automatic wedgies as sexy.
Like most of M.I.A.’s recent political messages (see also: her “Born Free” video), the reasons behind her Spike TV Scream Awards outfit came through a little muddled. What does it mean, exactly, to wear a brightly colored burqa decorated with your own lyrics and paired with stiletto sandals? Could we perhaps be conflating marketing with Middle East conflict with feminism and complex feelings on women’s sexuality?
Johnny Weir’s Olympic short program costume
The world’s most flamboyant figure skater — and that is truly saying a lot — didn’t hold back in choosing his costume for this winter’s Vancouver Olympics. It’s hard to find a truly macho men’s skating costume (even Weir’s virile teammate, gold medalist Evan Lysacek wore a bedazzled snake around his neck), but this short-program get-up really hit all the bases: pink, corset, tassel, ruffles, crystals, a largely exposed torso. While we actually love Weir’s chutzpah and are proud of him for being true to himself, some commentators speculate that prejudiced judges underrated him because they didn’t appreciate his fey appearance and demeanor.
Natalie Portman’s Black Swan eyes
Is that really America’s foremost Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door under all that makeup? The look is, as intended, absolutely otherworldly: the red contacts, the white face powder, the wine-stained lips, and most of all, the glittery, glossy, black eyes that give the illusion of both feathers and a bird-shaped face. We expect to see this one inspiring 2011’s most out-there runway faces.
Pete Wentz’s straitjacket
The only thing scarier than Pete Wentz having a successful music career is Pete Wentz launching a clothing line — and yet, that is exactly what the former Fall Out Boy did this winter. Unsurprisingly, it was bad. Even worse was Wentz’s arrival on the runway to take credit for his awful show. Yes, the photo you see is two poorly dressed models wheeling him onto the stage in a straitjacket of his own design. And that mask. And some scrub pants that appear to be poop-stained. I believe this is what the folks in marketing will refer to as “edgy.”
Taylor Momsen’s Revolver cover
All year, Momsen has been wearing corsets and flashing her boobs at performances, so it’s not like this magazine cover didn’t have a precedent. Still, many people found it mighty distasteful that whoever handles the 17-year-old actress/singer (and edits the magazine) decided it was OK for her to appear on the front of Revolver in underpants, thigh highs, a garter belt, sky-high platforms, and brandishing a pair of guns.
Lady Gaga’s meat dress
What can we say about the meat dress that hasn’t been said before? If the goal was to derail MTV’s VMAs to the extent that all anyone can remember from the event is Our Lady of Gaga covered in raw beef, then mission accomplished. Ditto if the aim was to piss off PETA. But let us not forget that Gaga is far from the first artist to think of meat as clothing.
Kanye’s giant necklace
Nothing but the biggest, the best, and the weirdest jewelry for one of the biggest, best, and weirdest rappers in the business. Kanye’s Horus pendant is most recognizable from the “moving painting” video for his single “Power” — and it certainly does a good job of conveying the track’s swaggering majesty. But in the past several months, it’s become a staple of Yeezy’s wardrobe: he’s worn the huge piece in tons of performances and also, fittingly, showed up in it to see an exhibit on King Tut.
Katy Perry’s whipped cream bra
Let us first say that Katy Perry’s boobs gave us a lot of material to choose from this year. But since we can’t really classify fireworks shooting out of her chest as “fashion,” we’re picking this whipped cream bra. Never has a single undergarment been so emphatically phallic while also showing off its wearer’s most celebrated lady part.
James Franco on the cover of Candy
Over the course of 2010, Franco has brought us many notable moments, some wonderful and other WTF. This one, which found him posing in drag for “the first fashion magazine ever completely dedicated to celebrating transvestism, transexuality, cross dressing and androgyny, in all its manifestations” was a little bit of both. Was it a bit of a publicity stunt, both for the magazine and for Franco? Sure. Did we love it anyway? Of course we did.