I just emerged from the other side of a 150 page strategic document. I've been writing and writing and writing some pretty heady, serious stuff with lots of graphs and analytics to support my super heavy arguments. Ugh. Lots of writing. So, when I peek out from under my strategy rock (it's really not that bad) I do what every strategist does, I grab a fashion magazine to unwind.
But, of course, because I'm still analyzing the hell out of every word, I can't just simply enjoy the fact that red lips are back, I have to bring meaning to the trend. I put down the magazine. I glance up
to see the reflection of my paltry lips in the bookcase glass across from me. I pick the magazine back up. Reading on.
There's a lot of reference to the British in fashion. I see pages of rock-star thin, charcoal eyed-18 year-olds leering back at me, trying desperately to channel Sid Vicious. Page 42 features Union-Jack-themed handbags, while page 88 honors the Tudor look.
I look around my house and I realize it's a shrine to the British. In front of me on the coffee table is a tome honoring The Stones and catalogs from Boden, a British apparel company I love for its bold colors and quirky designs. My hallway boasts a London platform poster from WWII era, my living room shelves hold a clock also from a London train station -- maybe it knew the poster in my hallway. A picture of this Union Jack rug I've been lusting after hangs in my bedroom. I often look at that mod piece of genius and imagine Hugh Grant giddily sipping a glass of champagne on it (don't ask). My kitchen boasts a tea collection any Brit would be jealous of and a Wedgwood commemorative plate from LONDON! And I've never even been to London. Shit. What happened while I was writing that strategy document?!?
I start flipping through my fashion look-book wish book (the girls know what I'm talking about, we all have some form of this -- guys, just skip to the next paragraph-- torn out sheets of looks we love from magazines, mine are arranged neatly in a binder). To my surprise inside is a veritable shrine to the British, their fashion prowess and expertly designed flag: Chanel's Union Jack bag, Alexander McQueen's "God Save McQueen" sweater and other London Gothic McQueen beauty, Fall 2009 Tudor-inspired shirts galore.
I wonder if in London there is a strategist reading British Vogue wondering why there are so many references to America and American-influenced fashion. Is she longing for a cowboy hat and jeans the way I long for that young, London punk look? Is she standing on an American flag rug looking at a picture of John Wayne in her hallway and eating hamburgers on an Obama commemorative plate in her kitchen?
My husband announced one night he was going to get a tattoo of Mick Jagger on a cross like Jesus across his back. At Mick's feet would be his tragically beautiful bandmates bowing in disciple-like servitude. I'm pretty certain his southern mother would disown him faster than you can say "Brown Sugar" and
he would be shunned permanently from the Bible Belt and all its surrounding regions. But of all the tattoos in the world, this is the one he would want. The Brits are God to him. Or at least the British rockers.
Sorry, Prime Minister.
What's going on? Are we feeling guilty here in America because we left the Motherland? Are we all suffering from maternal guilt? Thinking some charcoal eyeliner and a "Save the Queen" canvas tote will make up for the misstep? Uh-oh. Obama has got some bigger problems then he realized. Maybe I should send him a couple fashion magazines for field research.
In all honesty, I blame Mary Poppins.
Mick Jagger photo credit: pierodemarchi