Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Story of O

Last night's Yeah Yeah Yeahs show was, to borrow a word from an ambitious guy who recently accosted a very cute friend of mine on the subway, electric. (The poor bloke had no idea how close he was to making a genuine impression until he told my friend that he found her smile "electric." So close, dude. So close.) There were certainly no near misses for Karen O last night. Her vocals were the perfect mix of melodious raunch, at once sweetly pop-y and ear drum-piercingly screechy. In short, just what a Yeah Yeah Yeahs fan signs up for. But as the reigning queen of cool, O was on the hook for her costumes as much as her performance. And once again, she was, ahem, electric.

As my friend (different girl, equally cute) who had recently attended a Beyoncé concert said to me last night, O demonstrated exactly how to do over-the-top outrageous concert wear right. Unlike the Douche of Dereon, O's intrinsic hipness allows her to pull off such ostentatious separates as a red plastic prom skirt, a multi-hued catsuit, a graphic kimono and tiger-printed tights. Paired with her signature Sassoon-perfect jet black bowl cut and rocker red lips she's this generation's Ziggy Stardust. She's a show woman in every sense of the word. And I applaud her commitment to the theatricality and the star spangled-ness of rock 'n' roll. In some very dramatic moments during the concert, as a song reached its climax, the stage would erupt in a cloud of shiny ticker tape, which I later realized were cut in the shape of the letter "Y"; and just before the encore a large greyish balloon sitting behind the drummer was flipped around to reveal an eye. There was something so honest and pure and Peter Frampton-y about it all. There were no overly stylized digital images, no choreographed dance moves, no surprise guest performances and no bizarre renditions of hallowed hymns. Just a cute girl in crazy cool clothes showing us what it means to own up to genuine art and the weirdness that comes along with it. And yeah, she was actually singing.

Not to detract from Beyoncé (apologies for the Douche of Dereon comment but, c'mon! It's kinda good, no?) who I've admittedly never seen in concert. I did, however, recently see an old episode of SNL where she was quite honestly performing her bootylicious ass off and I was mighty impressed. The woman can buh-ring it. But let's call a spade a spade, shall we? She can't dress her way out of a sequin-appliquéd metallic brocade bag and it's becoming a problem. I would like to act as a part time consulting stylist to Beyoncé, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Pink (excuse me, P!nk) and, oh hell, let's throw Lady Gaga in there too. I'll just swoop in a few weeks before their world tours are meant to kick off and edit the wardrobe. Subtracting, rather than adding, is crucial at that stage. One less lamé bodysuit, houndstooth unitard or crinolined ball gown can make all the sartorial difference.

Or perhaps I could just sit down with their full time concert stylists and share with them the words of my Maker, Coco Chanel: "Before leaving the house, a lady should stop, look in the mirror and remove one piece of jewellery." Of course, in the case of Mlle. Gaga, she should stop, look in the mirror and put on one pair of trousers.

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