Fellow lovers of glam, glitz and celeb couture faux pas, rejoice! E!’s weekly dish fest “Fashion Police” is back with a new host — comedian and LGBT rights supporter Kathy Griffin — and returning co-hosts Giuliana Rancic and Kelly Osbourne, along with newcomer Brad Goreski. Griffin took over as host after Joan Rivers died in September.
Why do I, a poet and lesbian, unlikely to ever afford Versace, Tom Ford or any other haute couture, enjoy FP? Because, I’m my mother’s daughter. Growing up in southern New Jersey, I learned that fashion, celebs and gossip were entertaining. My Mom and I would leaf through Vogue, admiring the perfect dress or wonder why a star on a TV awards show was wearing that gown. After my time in the wilderness of dreary flannel shirts and drab jeans, I returned to the fold. In a world filled with poverty, war, bigotry and other horrors, “Fashion Police” is fun.
You don’t need to know about fabrics, hems or necklines to be a “Fashion Police” fan. But a campy sense of humor is a must to relish the show’s no-holds-barred barbs on celebrity style choices. Take human rights attorney and George Clooney’s wife Amal Clooney. Griffin pounced on the gloves she wore at the Golden Globes.
“I thought it was weird she had those gloves that remind me of, like, a porn scene, where the guy goes home and there’s the naughty dishwasher and she only has the gloves,” she said of Clooney. “I’ve been a fashion don’t for years,” Griffin joked about herself.
The “Fashion Police” gang loved “Orange is the New Black” star Laverne Cox, but described the Johanna Johnson dress she wore at the SAG awards as a “fail.”
Sometimes, FP shows some un-snarky love. Joan Collins, 81, wowed them. Goreski told of once seeing Collins at a party. Wearing a cream suit, he said, Collins went into a car “which matched her dress.” And, Jennifer Aniston’s “real boobs in Gucci” were a hit.
Fashion is more than buzz and “boobs.” The clothes in our closets often trigger poignant memories of our lives and times. “Worn Stories” by Emily Spivak is a compilation of writers, artists and fashion moguls reflecting on their clothes from jackets to skirts. Barney’s creative ambassador-at-large Simon Doonan, a contributor to the volume, told NPR what the “mirror-printed, fluorescent Lycra bicycle shorts” that he wore in the early 1980s meant to him. “I used to wear them to Jane Fonda’s aerobics classes…when the AIDS epidemic was just really gathering terrifying momentum,” he said. “This piece of clothing holds both frivolity…and also an incredible reminder of this terrible dark period in the ‘80s.”
Celebs, “these living, walking sculptures,” don’t wear anything we’d ever shop for, Grace Cavalieri, host of the radio show “The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress,” emailed the Blade. “Clothes are an art form! They are works of the imagination,” Cavalieri, a “Fashion Police” fan, said. “Dreams spun into material … celebrities get to wear boxes on their heads and clothes made of soap bubbles.”
What do poets do on Mount Olympus? We obsess about love, sex, death and clothes. “I don’t wear brown and grey suits all the time/do, I?,” poet Frank O’Hara writes in his poem “My Heart,” “No. I wear workshirts to the opera/often.”
In her poem “What I Wore,” Cavalieri remembers a dress. “The sack dress was in style then/with a single strand of pearls … That’s why I wore it to my first poetry/contest in Philly.”
For the poetic 411 on hats, I turned to poet Clarinda Harriss. In her poem “The Tragedy of Hats,” she writes, “you can never see the one you’re wearing/no one believes the lies they tell/they grow to be more famous than you.”
Next week, I’ll be watching “Fashion Police,” wearing my tiara.
Kathi Wolfe, a writer and a poet, is a regular contributor to the Blade.