From Paris: You Have to Earn The Right to Be Tacky

Amelia reviews Nina Ricci and Vivienne Westwood


I love things that are tacky. Good-tacky, like the pink dress (same hue as the ear of a stuffed Easter Rabbit) with a thick, Dolly Parton belt and keyhole-shaped chest cutout on Guillaume Henry’s runway for Nina Ricci, or the peach-colored fuzz coat and set of two, giant, navy shoulders from the same lineup — parts of a collection that was, in whole, so elegant and far from garish that these bits of bubblegum were treats.

Bless this man for the way he thinks: “We’re going to need a checked mustard suit. Fat yellow stars — but only for a couple of looks.” [Either he or his assistant is scribbling furiously.] “One model will wear head-to-toe blue! Light denim from collar to foot and a turquoise coat over with leather lapels…and then pink. We’ll end on pink.” It’s as though he exposed a few smatterings of guilty pleasures in his head but hardly felt guilty about any of them. There’s an art to this balance.

You have to earn the Good Tacky seal. The same way painters who put eyeballs where arms belong earned their stripes years before by sketching realistic still lifes, designers who do strange things and get away with it long ago proved that they’ve got what it takes to make clothes people either want to buy or want to worship — like Vivienne Westwood. She’s an icon in her own right, mother designer for punk rockers who are likely now themselves mothers. At her show, she not only walked in a look (I mean, she sauntered), she did it twice. Watch a young New York designer do this then scan the room for wide eyes. Vivienne Westwood’s collection was exactly what you want it to be: wacky, wild, conceptual (literal trash worked into the hair-dos), unwearable for most people…but if you buy Vivienne Westwood, you don’t want to be most people, do you? Same thing with that Nina Ricci pink dress: not everyone’s cup of tea, sewn for the bare and brave-hearted.

Photos via Vogue Runway; feature image by Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho via Getty Images.


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  • I try not to read reviews before watching the show, as it’s almost like putting someone else’s opinion before my own…But I enjoyed reading this!
    Thanks Amelia x

  • Jessica Jefferson

    Dear Leandra,

    I really respect your work and I would love to work for you on your blog. I think that you do great work and that you really do know your fashion. I am a die hard fashion lover myself and adore everything high fashion.

     I did fashion design as my topic of choice in art and I did very well. When I was in my last year of school at Multinational School and still lived in Riyadh, I went to Saks Fifth Avenue in Kingdom Mall. I talked to one of the main people who worked at Saks and she was very impressed with my vast knowledge of fashion.

     How I knew about most of Tom Ford for Gucci’s collections, how I know different names of handbags like the Saffiano by Prada, the 2.55 by Chanel, the Birkin by Hermés, the Antigona by Givenchy and so on. I know different names of magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, W, V magazine and so on. I know the names of big fashion editors like Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Glenda Bailey, André Leon Talley, Suzy Menkes and so on. I know different names of fabrics like silk, cashmere, chiffon, denim, brocade, rayon, cotton, leather, mink, ostrich feathers, polyester, chinchilla, silk gazar, satin and so on. I know how to put outfits together and I am very stylish. I know the names of big luxury department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Harvey Nichols, Printemps, Galleries Lafayete, Holt Renfrew, Bloomingdale’s and so on. I always look at sites like Net a Porter, 1stdibs, The Outnet, Yoogi’s Closet, Lollipuff and so on for a leisure activity. I am hooked!! I know clothes from different periods, too! I love the models Kirsty Hume, Naomi Campbell, Giselle Bundchen, Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, Carolyn Murphy, Natalia Vodinova, Stella Tennant anf many more!

    Because she was so impressed with me, she let me go up on the woman’s floor in Saks Fifth Avenue when it was prayer time and the matowa (Saudi religious police) would not be in the store. She warned the female customers beforehand. I looked at all of the beautiful dresses in awe! There were also little bags to put your dogs in and designer abayas (the religious covering for women in Saudi Arabia.) At the end, she asked me if I wanted an internship at Saks on the accesoires floor. Unfortunately I declined, so my heart was so set on being a model at the time. But now I am kicking myself for that missed opportunity.

    I used to be dressed in head to toe designer clothes by my parents when I lived as a boy and before they disowned me for my need to live as the real me and be a woman.

    I feel that I can bring a lot to your blog and I am a very hard worker and determined person. I never give up until something is done and I have a real drive. My ideas are fresh and different and I have an appreciation for a well made garment, down to the tiniest stiches, how the buttons are placed and the tiniest details. I can tell a fake from the real thing a mile away and I am incredibly meticulous!

    I hope that you consider me and thank you for listening.

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