In New York City, culture is currency. The more high art you collect in your mental library, the richer you are. It’s the same in fashion, but people seem to care a little less about where it comes from and how you get it. Naturally, and for obvious reasons, fashion’s version of art criticism tends to value form above all else – not because it’s ‘stupid’ necessarily, but because it’s looking for different things.
1978’s Eyes of Laura Mars staring Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, and Helmut Newton’s photographs is an excellent example of how fashion selects for its cultural canon. While it was a critical ‘meh’, it’s still an industry must-see owing to its glossy rendering of an exciting, glamorous, yet slightly campy time in style’s history (and probably, in some part, for the Barbara Streisand song on its soundtrack). If you work in fashion, it’s a good idea to add this to your Netflix queue if only to avoid condescension from those I call, ‘the aggressively cultured,’ to whom obscure art trivia is a blood sport. Woe betide the poor soul who enters a pre-production meeting and misses one of their references. Admitting that I hadn’t seen this very film meant totally losing the respect of a colleague on one of my photo shoots. Sure, he was a right bastard so it would have happened sooner or later anyway, but perhaps consider seeing this film to avoid your own unpleasant exchange- and to see some wild and wonderful 70’s fashion.
New Yorkers – Eyes of Laura Mars is screening tomorrow night at 7pm and 9:30pm at Chelsea Clearview Cinema (260 W 23rd St between Seventh and Eighth Ave). Tickets are $7.50. Drag queen, Hedda Lettuce, hosts the 7pm show.
Images and clip via Columbia Pictures’ Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)