You have money but no style: Celebrity makeovers part 1

20 May


My mother always said that money can’t buy taste, yet she loves Versace.  That aside, it is true that you don’t need to be Daddy Warbucks to look a million bucks if you have a good eye and imagination.  But if you are fortunate enough to be part of the 15% that has the resources (or access to ample credit that will never be paid off) to look a cut above the high street and thrift shop wearing plebs like me, then milk it baby.

Angela Merkel

Sensible with economic policy, sensible with clothes.  Obviously the woman who is looking to save Europe from plummenting into financial apocalypse shouldn’t appear concerned with frivolous things such as fashion.  The cost of a Valentino Couture dress could go into building a hospital ward.  However, if I was the most powerful woman in the world, I would have a bit of fun with my appearance.  I know, I know, if she did make an effort to dress up it would bring unnecessary attention to her appearance over other important matters and Berlusconi would be daydreaming about sinking into her clevage.  Say we lived in a world where this wouldn’t happen (HAH).  I would want her  to dress like the most powerful woman in television history, Alexis Carrington.

She should have worn this to the G8 summit.  That’s boss.


Dressed to Pull

9 May


In my late teens my living situation changed from being a household of all women – my mother, sister and I – to having a live-in stepfather. This change, while being difficult to get used to at first, turned out to be enormously lucrative in the marketplace of my dealings with my mother. In the early years of my parents’ divorce my mother was incredibly strict. Whenever I wanted to wheedle a teenage night out I had no leverage, no chips, no stock. Sometimes I was allowed to go to birthday parties. But even if I had a party to go to on the weekend we always went to church first on a Saturday night. I must have been the only person at those parties who had received the Eucharist an hour before. One time, as a passive aggressive sort of rebellion, I wore a leather coat to church with no clothes underneath. To this day I don’t have the guts to defy my mother in any overt kind of way.

Everything changed when I got a stepfather. He is not a Catholic and soon church ceased as a weekly ritual. This was not a standover move on his part, I think religion just was no longer relevant to their life as a couple. Note to the kids: when I got a stepfather, I simultaneously got a lot more freedom. Stepfather guilt, so much more potent than divorce guilt alone, was like suddenly getting a 51 per cent stake in the family corporation. My mother started letting me go out at night. It didn’t even have to be someone’s birthday. My mother never neglected me, or stopped worrying about where I went. She just went from being hyper-vigilant to being a normal parent who could be duped with a fairly flimsy excuse.  So there I was, not yet legal, getting into clubs with the purloined license of a 26 year old who looked nothing like me. (Don’t know where the license came from, think a friend donated it).

Having been denied access to nightlife and coming from an all girl school, I relished the chance to mingle in a world of men and booze. In my day life I was a nerd, I wore 70s revival printed polyester shirts from op-shops that made you stink if the temperature went up without warning. The front of my favourite shoes bore the hand drawn silhouette of Sherlock Holmes embellished with glitter smoke. At night I became something different. I was the anti-dork. I don’t think Salt ‘n’ Pepa ever released a track about lady vampires, but if they did I would have been the perfect back up dancer. A lot of makeup and lycra went into the creation of nighttime me. Pale skin, batwing eyeliner, dry matte lips in colours like “mulled wine” or “intense cranberry”. The gothic-lite hooker look. I was a caricature of night living for females.

Everything was super tight, short, and low cut. Most of the time I was profoundly pissed. In a club serving two dollar drinks my friends and I were ordering doubles. We had competitions on how many guys we could kiss in one night. All of us were virgins then, but we thought we were big time temptresses with our chaste snogs.

Now I can’t really tell you whether my heavy makeup, boobs and tight clothes would have been an effective lure for men in everyday life. I can’t tell you this because I led a split existence. There was daytime me and nighttime me. Nighttime me, the try-hard Elvira, fared well in the world of club make outs. But in a darkened room serving cheapo drinks most people can get a leg over for a dry hump and some slag shuffling. I know I did. By three o’clock in the morning I might have been similarly prolific if I had dressed in a cat suit covered with duck feathers. If nighttime me and daytime me had been one, I would have been drunk and skimpily clad all the time. Career options would have been limited. Over the course of my life I have had a few relationships with people I met in bars. But they didn’t turn out to be very good ones. I had much more success with people I met during the day. This may not be the case for everybody but for me it is a personal formula.

At some point in my teens I internalised the message that tight sexy clothes = pick up. If I am going to be honest I should say that my nighttime clothing choices were also driven by insecurity, I thought I had to look sexy to get attention. Club/bar life can be brutal, people are drunk, they leer and flatter and take the piss in equal measure. What I wore at night I would never have worn in the day. As I aged and stopped going to clubs I stopped wearing the hyper-sexualised uniform that enabled me to move with a sort of paradoxical confidence in that world.

Here are a couple of unfair truths. Truth One:  If you go to a bar or nightclub, you are unlikely to see guys in hotpants trying to pick up women. In dedicated gay clubs as well, most guys are wearing pants and a shirt.  They aren’t revealing the delicate curve of their balls. Unless somebody asks. Truth Two: ‘Sexy dressing’ for women in clubs and bars is fairly proscribed and generic, and has been for some time. The basic formula is boobs, legs, tight clothes, makeup. This is unlikely to change and seems only to be getting more extreme. Pretty soon, women will be wearing swimwear in clubs.

Day life, or what I call day life to designate life away from clubs, is somewhat different. In day life people can communicate on a more complex plane. Tastes and interests and personal charm assume greater importance. Not that you don’t chat with people in clubs and bars, but the transactions are a bit more animalistic. Even with internet dating, where the profile pic is all important, banter assumes a heavier importance than it does with the initial first flirtation and gyration in a club. I can’t help but feel that if you meet a person wearing something that in any other context (including sobriety) would make you feel utterly uncomfortable and exposed, then that does not bode well for any potential relationship.

Of course, there are plenty of people who don’t feel uncomfortable about their flesh being exposed, drunk or sober, day or night. And good luck to them! Women or men should be able to dress in a sexy revealing way if that’s what they like. But they shouldn’t feel that revealing clothes are the only way to get attention. I would like to think that if a woman dresses according to the style which makes her feel comfortable and appeals to her own aesthetic, there will be like-minded people out there who will dig her look. This is maybe being overly idealistic. I am aware in the hetero game a lot of guys are put off by looks that are overly fashiony or eccentric (As documented in the great and popular website

But if you love high fashion or unusual dressing, or just comfortable and loose clothing, is it worth compromising to pick up? If you think it’s a bit unfair or even sexist that the woman always has to do excessive amounts of primping and revealing, shouldn’t you be able to eschew that whole process? Surely the man or woman who respects and understands your look is more your type anyway? I am not sure of the answers to these questions. I don’t think there really is a simple answer, it’s too easy to pontificate. Maybe if you are a really horny woman and in a sex drought you could go put a mainstream flirty feminine look out there to draw the greatest number of potential flies. But I wouldn’t advise dressing to pull all the time. It’s too boring. Also for me it’s started to feel like a costume, like I was always pretending to be something I wasn’t. Maybe the whole charade is kind of like The Crying Game. You dress like the sexy archetype to lure the man flesh. When he sees what you really like to wear in private he might feel a bit nauseous, but by then it’s too late. He’s hooked. *

* Possibly a bad example given that a penis is not necessarily something you wear, and also things really end badly in that film.


My older friends tell me that it all changes at 30.  I did not believe them until recently.

When I hit puberty my skin began to pump enough oil to satiate the global oil shortage.

Now, as I am approaching 30, my skin has shriveled up to sandpaper. The fine lines on my hands won’t disappear no matter how long I dunk them into a vat of coenzeyme Q10 and cocoa butter.  My ears now prick up whenever I hear ads which say “fight the 7 signs of aging.” But perhaps what is more terrifying is how much aging actually bothers me. All of my good friends are attractive women over 30 and none of them use walking sticks.  They tell me that your 30s are when you find confidence.  Unless I get a personality transplant, I don’t see this happening.  #Vain

I have been through both phases of being happily single to being unbearably jealous and intolerant of any couple who dares to even hold hands in my presence. My friends possibly think I’m asexual or in the closet as I’m often single but always in the company of a male friend or two.  Sure I’ve had exciting flings, but nothing more than that.  It also mostly boils down to an inhibiting lack of confidence, having less sex appeal than Rosie O’Donnell, being incredibly picky and not being fortunate enough to meet someone who I like who is single. The celebrity I get the most mistaken for is Ugly Betty. I don’t know any guy who lists her as their crush. Perhaps I’m aiming way out of my league and should settle for someone who is more of my physical match. In that case, this would be him. #NoSelfEsteem

I wonder if my bad luck has also brought about by the way I dress. People say women dress for other women but when I was 15 my entire closet was influenced by what I thought boys would like. One would think that obviously this means I dressed like a slapper. Wrong.


In the late 90s I was pretty much the only girl in my small Malaysian school who didn’t fall under the spell of boybands.  I listened to anything with a guitar and was particularly concerned with keeping the spirit of grunge alive by graffiting “grunge is not dead” and the Nirvana smiley face over every available surface.  I thought, to set me apart from the designer-clad girls with no interests other than shopping, I should dress in the same way that the guys I liked dressed so they could identify that I was just as cool as them.  As I was fond of the skaters and garage musicians this equated to a uniform of baggy pants and t-shirts. Plus, I was stuggling with a 20kg weight gain that happened in the space of a year, so I was only comfortable in clothes sized for Biggie Smalls. #ThanksPuberty

I naturally became friends with these guys but that was it.  They lusted after the skinny girls in tight midriff bearing t-shirts and mini skirts who were more concerned about debating the Versace vs Dolce & Gabanna than Eddie Vedder vs Kurt Cobain. They dated the girls who killed grunge.

(Note: if these girls were debating Tom Ford vs Marc Jacobs or Prada vs Marni I would have had more respect for them.  Though I dressed like a tomboy, Vogue was still my bible.)


The skater boys in high school evolved into bearded, mop-haired indie boys at uni who were either wannabe singer-singwriters, filmmakers or writers.  They wore second hand leather or tweed jackets and aspired to be Serge Gainsbourg or Jean-Luc Godard with a Jane Birkin, Anna Karina or Jean Seberg lookalike on their arm.  They wanted more than just a girlfriend – they wanted a muse.

Off to the vintage store I went to buy mod dresses, mini skirts, horizontally striped tops and trench coats.  I got a blunt fringe, wore liquid eyeliner and pulled my socks up to my knees.  When I posed I pointed my feet towards each other.  Perhaps I did look cute (baby-cute, not sexy-cute) but I had the womanly bodyshape of Marilyn Monroe as opposed to a pre-pubecent waifish body of a French New Wave ingenue.  I have yet to see one of these guys with a girlfriend who has a cup size bigger than B.  If they had an Asian girlfriend, she had to be of the immaculate Japanese or pretty half-Asian variety.  Perhaps intelligent guys aren’t attracted to curvy woman (or don’t express an attraction towards them) to show they are a step above the masses who think silicone is sexy.  Obviously what I am writing is nonsense and just reflective of my bitter experience, but show me evidence of a skinny intelligent man with a fat chick and I will believe you. #BitterToday

When it works

Since I have the least amount of luck in the world (for a healthy, able-bodied person) in making a man’s blood rise (#NoExaggeration) I have given up altogether in trying to figure out what to wear to attract them.  I don’t think it makes a difference for men anyway anyway – it’s all about the face and then confidence.  I could be styled by Grace Coddington but if Rachel Bilson was next to me wearing a tattered Snuggie that smelled of tuna and faeces she would be fighting off guys with a stick while I’ll be standing by the wall looking like a (well-dressed) clown in couture.  I just wear whatever suits my mood now.

I can pathetically count on one hand the number of times I’ve been picked up.  The two times this miraculously happened I was wearing one of my most ridiculous outfits: a yellow and blue 80s skort dress.  One would think this would be a Man Repeller but instead I attracted the attention of two very sexy men (who had beer goggles on as it was very late at night).  I can’t explain what it is about this outfit.  Maybe it’s the confidence that comes with wearing such a thing?  They say that it’s sexier when you show less skin, so is the fact that it’s actually shorts and not a dress make it more appealing because of the challenge involved in removing this one-piece outfit?

Happy Birthday Marc Jacobs

9 Apr

Dear Marc,

If someone had the nerve to break my heart, you would be at my doorstep with a strawberry cheesecake, a bottle of apple Bourbon, Clueless on DVD and Andre Leon Tally.  You are a better friend than Tom Ford because the last time my heart was broken, he took me to a “group therapy session” which turned out to be an orgy and gave me a shot of Botox while I was sleeping.

You get better with age darling.  Leave the surgery to Donatella and get a nice tattoo instead.



(P.S.) I wish I looked as hot as you in a bra and short shorts.  No wonder all my boyfriends turn gay.

Haircuts (or, our experiences with “The Rachel”)

30 Mar

So no one told you your hair was gonna be this way
Your bob’s a joke, you’re broke, your split ends are D.O.A,
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear,
When you haven’t had a good hair day for a week, a month, or even a year…


I have shed more tears than hair at the hairdressing salon.  My hair is so thick and straight it could be the next Republican presidential candidate.  One would think that it would be really easy to cut but it only provides a more exciting canvas for hairdressers.

The Pixie Cut

I was only 9 when I exploded into my first post-haircut tantrum which would have made Naomi Campbell cower in fear.  My mum took me to an illegal salon in the kitchen of a Chinese woman’s house in Nunawading.  I think she took me there just so she could play mah-jong.  The long hair which I had for most of my life was chopped off into what my mum said was a Linda Evangelista haircut, but I screamed that I looked like a boy.  I think my mum made the hairdresser cut it that short because was sick of me not brushing my hair.  To make things worse, the next day I was forced to sit for an illustrated portrait in Caribbean Gardens market.  When my friend came over she asked who the boy in the portrait was.  I ripped it apart.

The Rachel

I might hold the record for the most number of visits to a hairdresser in a day.  While on holiday in Kuala Lumpur in 1996, my aunt took me to a dodgy salon in the back of some woman’s house (notice a pattern).  The hairdresser didn’t speak English so my aunt had to communicate what I wanted – The Rachel.  Obviously this woman didn’t watch Friends and gave me The Carol instead.  As in Carol Brady.  When my aunt saw tears streaming down my face as I was getting the last few whisps put in my hair, she told the hairdresser to put the scissors down.  We went to another salon (this time not in someone’s house) to fix my hair, but they turned The Carol into The Ellen Degeneres.  Finally, third time a charm, we tried an upscale salon.  The hairdresser, Kevin, spoke English and knew exactly what The Rachel was.  He also kept saying how pretty I was, which made me  I immediately like him.  I loved my haircut.  I tried to replicate it throughout my teenage years but unfortunately no one was ever as good as Kevin.

The Mullet

I had no style direction in my early 20s.  Due to my lack of self confience and judgement I would say to hairdressers “Do whatever you think looks good.”  I was subject to an assortment of experimental short haircuts that the gamine Mia Farrow could pull off, but would not suit someone who often gets mistaken for Ugly Betty.  I only went to upscale salons, trusting that they knew what they were doing.  I think mullets were coming back in vogue (but only ironically) in 2005.  One young hairdresser unfortunately failed to see the irony and gave me this haircut because I said I wanted something different and trendy.  All of the hairdressers in the salon swarmed around me and cooed how good I looked.   I thought I was so avant garde.  I knew that I made a mistake when my always complimentary aunt could only comment that my new haircut was really…short.


I came into a haircut that completely works for me 2 years ago, but that only happened because I was too broke to get a haircut for a year so I finally let it grow out.  Prior to that, I would break out in hives the moment my hair grew past my shoulders as I thought it didn’t look good.  If only a hairdresser was honest enough to say to me “Hold it there, you have a double chin – you shouldn’t have short hair.  Let your hair grow out for a bit and come back in a few months,” it probably would have saved me years of grief.


Hair: The great makeover promise

Hair. It’s always the last step in the makeover, isn’t it? Of all the steps that go into creating any superficial metamorphosis, hair cutting and styling is the most dramatic and definitive change of the lot.

The cinema reflects the truism that hair makes or breaks. In Sabrina (1954), Audrey’s girlish and unchic ponytail was snipped and trimmed so that she could become a modern woman. In Working Girl (1988), Melanie Griffith’s poodle pouf-fant perm was also tamed so that she could be taken seriously in the corporate world. And in Pretty Woman (1990), the hooker shag and the Carol Channing wig both had to go before Julia was ready to celebrate the annual ‘stomping of the divots’ with rich WASPs at a polo match. Without a hair change, these great cinema makeovers would have lacked integration, focus, and (in the spirit of makeover vernacular) “wow”.

The same is true of Makeover TV. The hair is always kept til the last big “reveal”.
We know pretty much what the wardrobe will be because we have seen the outfits being sobbed over and debated between stylist and putz in a protracted and repetitive lead up.  It is only hair (and to a lesser extent makeup) that has the potential to really surprise in those shows where tragic personal style is extended the kindly fist of total humiliation. Even in the case of Extreme Makeover, hair comes after the removal of bloodied gauze and the gentle fading of blackened eyes.

Yeah people are pretty into hair and what it can signify: health, status, tribal belonging, sexual allure. Long hair on a woman is particularly prized in cultures around the world. Put long hair on a women’s mag and it sells more copies than a shorter style. I was once told by some Chinese people that long hair in China is a symbol of patience. They could have been having me on, but it makes sense.

My Bad Hair Years

For a long period of my life I hated haircuts. Not because I am patient like the ideal Chinese lady of my friends’ tale. (As an aside, and Lee can attest to this, I am quite the try-hard Chinese in many other respects, just call me Stevana Segall).

I hated getting my hair cut for ages because it always looked shit afterwards. And I had paid to make it look shit, which was even more infuriating. My resentment was probably made worse because all through my childhood and teens my hairdresser cousin cut my hair for free. She was good, her cuts were minimal and well suited to my thick hanging hair. But my cousin got knee trouble and had to give up the cutting caper for good. I was then left to the scissors of strangers. It is weird to start going to a salon in your early twenties, a bit like going to uni after having been home schooled all your life in the country.

All through my twenties hairdressers everywhere were mad on short layers and razor cutting. It was the Friends effect. After years of being asked for “the Rachel” most hairdressers had forgotten to cut any other way. Everywhere I went, although I was emphatic that I didn’t want short layers, I always ended up with these wisps that bounced up at the crown and made my long face look even longer. Note to long face ladies like me: We need hair that’s not longer than shoulder length, with weight at the bottom, not at the top. For other face shapes, sorry gals I haven’t put any research into your ideal hair template.

This bad hair period stretched on through the noughties, (see the noughties were shit). Chairman Mao would have been impressed by the ubiquity and uniformity of the Rachel in this decade. Even when J-Aniston was well shot of it, I still kept getting that damned Rachel inflicted on me. Although I was completely disloyal and kept having one night stands with many hairdressers, all of them had the same crappy technique.

How I Got Better Hair: The Bottom Line

In despair and having turned 30 I decided to do something I don’t usually do. I threw money at the problem. Now I am usually quite a bargain hunter when it comes to matters of personal appearance.  Most of my life I have bought second hand or sample clothes. I don’t buy expensive makeup because I know it all comes out of the same factories anyway and you’d be a mug to think otherwise. I might not be super frugal (I like clothes) but I am pretty canny. As for hair in my bad period I never went to a salon next to a supermarket but I never went for the boutique salons on the flash side of town where newsreaders and celebrities go either.

I decided, not one day but probably over a number of days filled with indefinite musings, that I was sick of bad hair. I needed to get rid of it for good.  To kill off my bad hair and replace it with something that didn’t piss me off I would go to the best hairdresser I could find. I researched one that had won a bucket-load of awards. I found the head stylist, a celeb type hairdresser. One that looks like you might have seen him on some fashiony show about next top models or something. When I rang up I felt intimidated by the breezy slick speaking voice of the receptionist and the sound of heavy blow drying in the background. Waiting for my appointment, I felt out of place around all the clients with real bags and fake tans and big blonde hair. I felt like a fraud being asked if I wanted a coffee or a glass of champagne. “Na I’m right thanks” I squeaked in my westie accent. I wondered if my hairdresser would be a self-important dickhead.

It turns out my celeb hairdresser is really nice. I suppose it’s like the old cliche about how people at the top of their game are much more down to earth than mid rung climbers who have something to be pretentious about. My hairdresser is friendly but not overly chatty, and he does what I say. He asks questions and he has that wonderful quality of follow-through. Most importantly, he doesn’t make me look like a Rachel try-hard from ’94 through to ’04. And the thing is, a cut is not even obscenely expensive with him. It’s not cheap, but it’s cheaper than getting your hair coloured in most salons, and I colour my hair at home. So that’s how I justify it anyway. I went from years of getting hair cuts for free to high end coiffure. I think of it  as a levy for years of not paying. And yes, I am as horrified as you that I just wrote a piece where the moral probably is “spend more”. Actually it doesn’t matter what you spend, just work out what cut suits you and make sure your hairdresser listens. Be firm. Don’t put up with the layers from hell.

Our Favourite Designers

20 Mar


Marc Jacobs is a hot mess. I think we are soulmates for the following reasons:

1. He is a New Yorker

I am not a New Yorker but have maintained a lifelong long distance relationship with the city since I was 3.  The love affair was triggered by the most New York of all children’s shows, Sesame Street.  I was particularly enamoured by the Sesame Street short of a girl taking her pet llama to the dentist.  The show made it seem like kids could do whatever they wanted in the city (within safety boundaries) and everybody was friends with each other (apart from Oscar the Grouch). My fantasy of living in New York was kept alive through various sources throughout my childhood and teenage years: Home Alone 2, Beaches, Baby Sitters Club Super Special: New York! New York!, Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, The Nanny, Woody Allen films, Felicity, and Sex and the City.

Marc epitomises New York.  He was raised by his grandmother on the Upper West Side and went to Parsons School of Design. From the age of 15, he partied at infamous 70s and 80s clubs such as Studio 54, Mudd, Hurrah and Area. He came of age in the gritty New York of Downtown 81 and Smithereens. When the Lower East Side looked like it was hit by a bomb. When Jim Jarmusch sacrificed food for Super 8. When Times Square wasn’t a family restaurant destination for tourists but a place where you would go to see tits in the flesh and blood on screen. Yes, I highly romanticise this era. Would I go back in time to live there? Probably not. I couldn’t put up with the lack of hygiene and absence of Wholefoods.

The man practically owns Bleecker St.

A sign in front of the Marc Jacobs store on Bleecker St circa October 2008. Yeah, this was the only photo I took on Bleecker St.

2. He has a wacky sense of humour and irony

If I could only go to one party a year it would be Marc’s Halloween party just so I could see his costume (or, one better, be a part of his costume). His Camel Toe moment from 2007 was my favourite.

This is the runner up: dressing as the Louis Vuitton customer.

I’d like to believe that Marc realises absurdity of logomania and the application of his brand name across everything from Silly Bandz to condoms is done with complete irony, though I can’t figure out if he doing this to take advantage of people stupid enough to buy anything with his name on it or if he genuinely takes pride in forming a global MJ cult. I look forward to the Marc Jacobs pregnancy test. If the Marc Jacobs logo appears on the stick after you pee on it, it means that you are either going to be preganant with a future design prodigy or body builder. If the Louis Vuitton logo appears, you’re going to have to find a way to make a whack of money to bring up this child.

Jacobs is the only man who can wear a Spongebob tattoo without looking like an overgrown late 90s raver.

Another personal favourite amongst his collection of over 30 tattoos is the one on his upper left arm of Elizabeth Taylor from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf…wearing 3D glasses.

And when a celebrity gives you free publicity by shoplifting your clothes and wears them to court, what do you do but put her in an ad.

3. He has a varied circle of friends

Marc is a loyal friend and isn’t one to discriminate. He seems like the type of guy who flitted between tables at the school cafeteria. The one who helped the cheerleaders pick their homecoming outfits and told them they weren’t fat. The one who stayed up all night making costumes and sets with the drama kids for the school play. The one who smoked joints behind the shed with the skaters. He knows how to play the game and may enjoy it at times, yet doesn’t quite feel like he totally fits in any group. He mostly feels comfortable with the quiet, bookish loner girl who deconstructs instruments to make experimental music.

The queens of the cool gaze, Sofia Coppola and Kim Gordon, are permanent front row fixtures at his runway shows. As is fellow Parsons alumnus Anna Sui. I wonder what they make of his pop diva friends Little Kim, Victoria Beckham and Lady Gaga.

Here is a video of Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui reminicing about the good old days of the 80s New York.

This looks like the most comfortable spot in the whole entire world. If I was in this photo I would never want to leave. Although, given Marc’s addictive personality, he would probably hop out of bed after 5 minutes to get an alcohol/drug/exercise/art purchase/tattoo hit.

4. Yet he isn’t afraid to talk about his insecurities, depression and loneliness

My best friends are neurotic. They realise their imperfections and aren’t afraid to talk about them. The conversations I enjoy the most are like mutually beneficial therapy sessions – a Freud and Jung mental ping pong match in which we can dig 20 levels deep into analysing why we are both fucked. We’re there for each other when our emotions go from estatic to suicidal in the space of a day. I don’t trust people who put up a happy appearance all the time. Nice people never have anything interesting to say.

Jacobs is not afraid to blurt it all out in interviews. We might know a bit too much about his psyche but for me, it plays a huge part in bringing his collections to life and it definitely has an effect on the unpredictability of each season. Diane Von Furstenberg will always be reliable for pretty office-to-after work dresses. Gucci will always be reliable for DTF clothes. On the other hand, Jacobs can go from being restrained and muted one season and hyper-coloured and oranately detailed the next. His signature ability to do a complete 180 from one collection to another is clearly the result of a man who can just as easily flip to either side of the emotional scale. The unpredictability is what makes me eagerly anticipate each collection more than any other designer, especially since I am the type of person who can never stick to one look. Last week I was moody post punk factory worker but this week I’m rocking a “if Courtney Love became a kindergarten teacher” look. I love that his cultural influences for each collection are just as extreme as his moods, as they have ranged from fashion writer Lynne Yaeger to Jody Foster in Taxi Driver.

Kim Gordon aptly described Jacobs’ relationship between creative output and emotions in this New York Magazine interview:

“It’s very hard to really be authentic or make deep creative products if your foremost thing is being really cool. You have to have a full range of emotion, and Marc has that.”

Before he underwent a makeover, Jacobs often talked about wanting to be part “cool kids”. In the same interview he says:

“I’ve never been cool, but I’ve felt cool. I’ve been in the cool place, but I wasn’t really cool—I was trying to pass for hip or cool.”

Before his makeover in 2007 he never felt good about his looks or even gave them much attention. He used to compare himself to the always polished Tom Ford, whose obviously sexy clothes were the antithesis to his dorkier aesthetic. Ford would never have dressed as a pig for Halloween (he seems so humourless that he probably thinks dressing up in costume is beneath him).

Jacobs claims to have more confidence since his physical transformation but at heart is still “terribly insecure”. No amount of chest presses at the gym will remove the overly analytical nature of his brain.

Compare the PR, celebrity factory trained Jacobs of today to the shy guy in 1987:

5. He is close with Sonic Youth

I have mentioned Kim Gordon twice in this article now. She is the woman I would like to be: creative, intelligent, stylish, cool (or should I say “kool”) and level-headed (with a fantastic body for someone over 50). Sonic Youth is one of my favourite bands. Though their music will never play on commercial radio they blow my mind when infiltrate the mainstream, such as appearing on Gossip Girl and The Gilmore Girls. Their fascination with both avant garde and pop culture is what they have in common with Jacobs.

Their collaboration goes back to 1993 when Jacobs was designing at Perry Ellis. His career defining grunge collection was featured in Sonic Youth’s Sugar Kane video, which starred a young Chloe Sevigny in her first ever film appearance. Read about it more in this Kim Gordon interview by Richard Kern.

Gordon was the first celebrity to appear in his signature Juergen Teller ads in 1998. When she rocks his dresses on stage and does her go-go dance she looks like she’s in her 20s.

Kim Gordon Marc Jacobs ad
From Marc Jacobs Advertising 1998-2009 by Juergen Teller published by Steidl.

This is her other Marc Jacobs ad, featuring husband at the time Thurston Moore their daughter Coco (the blonde one – not sure who the brunette is). This ad makes me sad because of their recent divorce after nearly 30 years of marriage. If she and Thurston can’t stay together than no one can. It pretty much also marked the end of Sonic Youth.

Sonic Youth performed at his Fall 2008 runway show. They hardly ever play “Kool Thing” at gigs (in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them play it live out of the four times I’ve seen them) but it was quite apt to do so at a fashion show. Jacobs’ goodie bags were printed with the Goo album cover. Selma Blair appeared as daft as her character in Cruel Intentions when she said that she didn’t know who they were.

more cool people

The album cover for their 2004 album Sonic Nurse was designed by Richard Prince, whose nurses also provided an influence for Marc Jacobs in his Spring 2008 Louis Vuitton collection.

6. He is low brow and high brow

The abovementioned Louis Vuitton collection was also influenced by SpongeBob.

7. I am the girl he describes and the muse he hasn’t met

Taken from the same New York Magazine interview:

“I don’t have any problem with what people refer to as sexy clothes,” Jacobs says. “I mean, everybody likes sex. The world would be a better place if people just engaged in sex and didn’t worry about it. But what I prefer is that even if someone feels hedonistic, they don’t look it. Curiosity about sex is much more interesting to me than domination. Like, Britney and Paris and Pamela might be someone’s definition of sexy, but they’re not mine. My clothes are not hot. Never. Never.

What I find more interesting is someone who is more introverted or mysterious…

I like romantic allusions to the past: what the babysitter wore, what the art teacher wore, what I wore during my experimental days in fashion when I was going to the Mudd Club and wanted to be a New Wave kid or a punk kid but was really a poseur. It’s the awkwardness of posing and feeling like I was in, but I never was in. Awkwardness gives me great comfort….

The Marc Jacobs “girl” (and they always say “girl”) “is not going to suffer. She’s like, ‘I bought a nice dress, and I’m going to wear it tonight.’ She’s the awkward little sister.”

“I often feel uncomfortable,” Jacobs says. “I have this feeling like this is only going to be good as long as it’s good.”


For me and doubtless for many others, Yves Saint Laurent is the greatest fashion designer ever. Better than Chanel (who he adored), better than Dior, Givenchy, Valentino or Lagerfeld. I’m not snarking on the others for stating this preference. To be second or third to Yves is still to have achieved greatness. Yves Saint Laurent is just nonpareil, that’s all. Sniff.

Yves Saint Laurent began his fashion apprenticeship working for Dior in Paris at age 17. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. Lazy no-gooder, what was he doing from 12 to 16? Well he was living in Algeria making clothes for his mother by hand, so I bet you feel bad  now. Yves started off at Dior decorating the salon and designing accessories. The job was considered fairly entry level at the time. If a similar position were offered now the laboratories of Dior skincare could construct a whole new anti-aging serum using the pledged body organs of eager hopefuls.

Early on in the apprenticeship Yves was bold enough to start submitting couture sketches for Dior’s consideration. Christian Dior (the man, not the corporation) was generous to Yves and included more of his designs for the couture collections each year. By 1957, when Yves turned 21, Dior went to visit Yves’ mother to inform her that the young protege would one day be his successor. It must have been a moment made for the cinema: the great master anointing the gifted pupil. Or else it really boring and they all talked some stilted Gallic crap for an hour over tea and profiteroles, who knows? Madame Saint Laurent thought the whole thing was a bit strange because Dior was only 52 at the time. Somewhat eerily, Christian Dior died later in the same year from a massive heart attack, leaving Yves Saint Laurent to take over the house.

What followed was a mildly trying time where Yves was lauded for one season, sacked the next, drafted to the army, bullied to the point of a mental breakdown, and given psychoactive drugs and shock therapy in an  institution. He came out of it OK though, and set up his own house in 1962 with the help of industrialist and all round savvy businessman Pierre Berge. At the time Berge was both YSL’s lover and business partner, but they split in 1976. Although from this point they were no longer romantic in the typical sense, they remained married in business and in life.

It is popularly understood that Berge provided the corporate grunt and commonsense to Yves’ wild aesthetic dreamland. Who knows if this is true. Just going off interviews it seems to me that Yves Saint Laurent was the kind of guy who was “crazy like a fox” as they say, and he would have known exactly what was going on about everything.

Often bios and obits of Yves Saint Laurent focus on how he changed the modern woman’s wardrobe with his iconic looks: trousers, le smoking tuxedo suits, graphic print shift dresses (inspired by Mondrian) and relaxed safari style. Women readers might think that dressing like David

Attenborough in the wild (or at the Oscars) is not exactly their thing. But have you gals ever owned anything khaki or utilitarian looking? Ever owned a smart black pant or a fitted black jacket? Yeah, thought so, best to show some respect.

These iconic modern looks are so identifiable that they tend to overshadow some of Yves Saint Laurent’s other design achievements. It is true that a lot of what the magazines call “modern classics” today can be attributed to Yves Saint Laurent. But to me what was more impressive about Yves Saint Laurent was his openness to international ideas. He was a global sampler, a lover of what is often termed from a Eurocentric lens “the exotic”. He went beyond the world of Paris fashion for inspiration and was consistently able to convert his impressions into covetable designs.

Consider this trajectory. You become an apprentice designer for the major French couture house at 17. From the time you become head designer at 21, the jobs of many people rest on the public reception to your creative output. Couture is a matter of great socio-political significance in the country where you live. It is a marker of national identity and prestige. A year after starting at your new job, you are sacked and disgraced. You have to find the confidence to start over. From this point you spend your entire career, almost your whole life, doing the hard graft of pumping out collection after collection from your Paris offices, year after year. If there was ever a set of circumstances that would inculcate repetition, conservatism and creative stasis, his were it.

Instead Yves went outside the French bourgeois style of polite dressing dictated by the tastes of people who could afford couture. He registered the significance of youth rebellion in the 60s and understood that haute couture was beginning to be seen as stuffy, elitist and exclusive…in a bad way. YSL was the first design house to create a ready-to-wear line, Rive Gauche, in 1966. Yves chose to display aesthetic and cultural referents from all over the world, particularly Africa and Asia. Bright colours, clashing prints, bolero jackets, peasant blouses, smocks, Chinoiserie and Japonisme, these were just some of his recurring looks.

Maybe he was inspired by his early years in Algeria. Or his travels to Morocco. Or maybe he was just the kind of guy who likes to fantasise and imagine life beyond his own little patch of land and time. YSL reinterpreted silhouettes from the 20s, 30s and 40s, and was a forerunner of retro dressing. YSL was the first design house to use “ethnic” (an ethnocentric term if ever there was one) models, by that I mean non-white ones. Yves once declared that Iman was his “dream woman”. This sort of seems unimpressively facile considering her undeniable gorgeousness but must have been a touch radical back in the days when no fashion houses employed black models.

Iman for YSL Rive Gauche. Paris Vogue, February 1980

Now I’m not saying that Yves Saint Laurent deserves a retrospective Nobel Peace prize for contributions to combating racism. Or that Marxists should worship him for creating socialist clothing workshops with Rive Gauche. It is equally possible to read Yves Saint Laurent’s curation of the exotic “Other” in fashion as continuing the exploitation and fetishisation of disempowered cultural groups. In this kind of reading Yves is the great coloniser. Similarly ready-to-wear can be read as a not so much a great contribution to democratising fashion but rather a canny way of getting
more people to buy more stuff while being seen as hip at the same time. I can see the theses piling up.

I think it is true that Yves Saint Laurent was part of a big business, and he knew how to represent social movements such as the boom in international travel and globalisation through clothes. At the same time I believe that Yves Saint Laurent was motivated by what he thought was beautiful. And that his concept of beauty was often more expansive and influential than his contemporaries. He was predictive enough to appreciate that fashion wasn’t going to be about designing a new hemline and silhouette each season anymore. Instead fashion was going to be more about allowing individuals to create their own look drawing on influences from around the world. It seems dead obvious now but it would have been contrary to his whole training. This receptiveness and intuition is why Yves Saint Laurent was a great designer and my favourite of all time.

Style Stalking

10 Mar


Marieke Hardy

I blame Marieke Hardy for my 6 year-long fruitless search for the perfect pair of brown boots.  For the uninitiated, Marieke Hardy is an Australian writer, radio and TV personality.  She is a poster child for leftie bookish types.  Her sharp wit and passion for the written word makes me think that I would be a more interesting person if I used my spare time to read instead of browsing photos of plus-sized models to compare how fat or skinny they to me.

I never saw Hardy without brown boots, whether while walking her dog around our neighbourhood, Brunswick, or ripping into crimes against literature on the First Tuesday Book Club.  As I am a practical dresser, her boots appealed to me because they matched all of her outfits.  Her aesthetic is a cross between rockabilly pin-up, country and a J.H Lynch model.  During the height of my crush in the mid-2000s, her look was red lipstick, pigtails and a big red orchid in her hair, and effortlessly pulled this off without appearing too prissy or manicured.  She mostly wore 1940s & 50s style printed Wheels & Dollbaby dresses and on the odd occasion, a pair of black shorts.  I don’t think she owns a pair of jeans.

Image courtesy of Esther Erlich

Like me, Hardy is a petite woman with big boobs.  Unlike me, she probably didn’t spend her teens saving money for breast reduction surgery.  I didn’t have a great deal of busty role models to look up to when I was growing up, unless I wanted to follow the lead of Pamela Anderson, Anna Nicole Smith, and page 3 girls.  I compressed my boobs with minimiser bras and held books to my chest to offset any impression that an an increase in bra size leads to a decrease in IQ.  On the other hand, all of the dresses I saw Hardy in were low-cut, cleavage confidently on display.  It was inspiring to see that she was proud of her chest and dressed in a way that was sexy but not tarty, feminine but not too girly.  It was a look that could be carried through from reading under a shady tree in a park to slamming down shots with dirty musicians at a dive bar.

Thank you Marieke for helping me to come to terms with my body.


In 2006 I worked with a middle aged woman who called everyone “Lovie” out of genuine affection and not so she didn’t have to remember everyone’s name.   To this date I have not come across such a character at work.  She had manic eyes and acted like she drank too much red cordial.  I knew that she was my floor when I heard her piercing, cackling laugh.

In 1991 she looked in the mirror, hands on her hips and said to herself “It’s not going to get any better than this Lovie” so decided to stick with a look that even Anna Wintour could not perfect.  Lovie’s short blonde hair was like that of the woman in Roxette, Annie Lennox and Rick Astley.  If I was a better writer I could try to describe in detail how she combed her hair with lots of gel but I can’t say anything other than that she formed a ducktail with the back of her hair.

Lovie is so hipster that she wore early 90s clothes in the mid-2000s before anyone else did.  She would not have looked out of place in a Cobra Snake photo with her daily outfit of an oversized t-shirt, stirrup pants and white hi-top sneakers.  I think Dom Charney has a photo of Lovie up on his office wall.

Romo Roto

I joked that I moved to Toronto to stalk actors from the original Degrassi Junior High.  Over the 3 years that I lived there I met Spike, Caitlin, Liz, Snake and Lucy.  Meeting them was more exciting than any of the bigger celebrities I came across through work.  My hands trembled, my voice warbled, my face went red and I inevitably ran away jumping up and down shrieking with joy like a woman who just grazed Joey McIntyre’s hand at a NKOTB concert.

Image courtesy of Connie TsangA regular on the Toronto gig circuit was a hyperactive drum punk band called Romo Roto.   One half of the band was a girl who probably wasn’t even born when Degrassi first aired.  She dressed like a cross between Liz, Rick, Spike, Lucy and Joey Jeremiah – i.e all the punk kids on the show.  She was Degrassi come to life, IN TORONTO.

Her uniform was ripped denim shorts, torn coloured tights, patched and/or embellished denim vest or jacket, tattered t-shirt, a madly printed scarf, granny glasses.  She looked like she wouldn’t have been out of place at CBGBs or the Mudd Club in early 80s New York, slumming it in abandoned Lower East Side lofts, sacrificing food for instruments and Super 8.  Forget about the fact that I have a really interesting job in the creative industry – I felt about as radical as a suited auditor from  Ernst & Young standing next to her.

Here is a video of them going nuts.  This is how everyone under 25 act:


I seem to have been stalking people my whole life. Sometimes girls, sometimes boys. Not illegally, or even in the vicinity of their homes. More just following them when the opportunity arose and stealing parts of their style in an attempt to absorb some of their identity into mine. These are just two stalking episodes from my early years.

Dennis the Dieter

When I was in primary school I stalked a boy named Dennis (not really). He had a floppy golden fringe and dressed like Angus Young (because he had to). I thought he was cute and that one day we would wed. Observing him closely, I noticed that Dennis only took half a sandwich to school for lunch every day. Having been raised to eat for the Olympics, I thought Dennis was so chic and exotic for starving himself. He was the Hedi Slimane of Grade 3. I wanted to be like him but I had an Italian mother on my back. I needed to hide half my sandwich in the mornings. So I threw them behind the dresser in my bedroom. This worked well for a while until a fetid aroma began to waft from the mound of decaying half-sandwiches. The game was up, my Mum found the filthy hidden pile.  She lashed out violently. I recall the word “rats” being invoked among the beatings. In these days of nutritional fascism Dennis’ parents would get a talking to and a visit from Jamie for sending him to school with measly rations. I wonder now if I would be taller than 5’3″ if not for emulating Dennis.

Nadine Goddess

In my first year of secondary school I had a mad crush on a girl named Nadine (not her real name but close). Nadine’s surname was Goddess. Well it almost was, if not for a couple of displaced letters (seriously, not just being a try-hard Nabokov). It was a fitting title. Nadine looked like a young medieval queen. She was tall, pale, with a straight sheet of true red hair parted through the middle. The features of Nadine’s face were neat and almost plain but for a dramatic sensual mouth. If Dante Gabriel Rossetti had seen her in the street he would have been like “eh, lady, want a job?”    Where other girls had school dresses that they hitched into their underpants for leg flashing effect Nadine was always elegant and restrained in her proportions. Her clothes were not tight, or dorky and oversized, they were just perfect. I had a school blazer that my mother bought from the clothes exchange that was so huge it made me look like a quarterback. The hope was that it would take me to Year 12. It could have taken me to the third trimester of my pregnancy at age 30. Nadine had a blazer that looked like it had been cut by Martin Grant.

All through high school I was in the mirror smearing some beige coloured medicated spack on something that had popped up in the last hour. Nadine never had to wear makeup and always seemed possessed of an effortless cleanliness. People like me who seem forever to have a stain, or a zit, or a stray dog hair hanging somewhere can only stare in wonder at a girl like Nadine. She looked like an immaculate prefect, but with one twist. Instead of regulation school shoes she wore a pair of cherry red Doc Martens. Of course I begged my father to get me some from the Army disposal store. The effect wasn’t quite the same.

I had plenty of chances to stalk Nadine because all the homerooms in the school were built so that they faced a common area, like a panopticon, but square instead of round. One day I followed Nadine all the way to the library basement. The library is such a fine place for stalking while looking occupied with some bibliophilic activity. While faux-perusing some books on natural disasters I watched Nadine’s head drooping over her homework as she sat alone at a partitioned desk. Then I noticed her shoulders shaking. She was crying. I never knew why.

Years later when I had finished school I saw Nadine working behind the check-out at the supermarket. She had become more voluptuous and her hair was pulled into a low bun. Her expression was more cynical and tired but her face was still beautiful. The extra weight made her look even more like a gorgeous pre-Raphaelite muse. I just thought Zeus you tricker, what are you doing putting Nadine here among the baby food and the cigarettes and the thousand quotidian items that make up the supermarket? I was Humbert Humbert going to visit the pregnant, married Lolita and still wanting her. When Nadine served me I swear I thought she knew me. It was like being a kid watching someone on stage and feeling convinced that they just looked straight at you.

Oscars red carpet wrap up

28 Feb


Trends: bridal, nude, black, sea foam, Special K red, embroidery, ginger hair, urns.

– Clooney found Stacey Kiebler in a Cadbury Roses box. What flavour is she inside? Her flavour is Beard.

– Rose Byrne’s ring and clutch look heavier than her.

– Maya Rudolph – She always plays one part of a smug happy couple (Away We Go, Bridesmaids, Friends With Kids) so therefore she’s annoying.

– Shailene Woodley – Missing the Princess Leia buns.

– Louise Roe – Oh there are the Princess Leia buns.  If middle school kids were given a construction project to come up with a dress that represents the Victorian era and Art Deco.

– Milla J – Can never do wrong in my eyes since we have the same birthday.

– James Cromwell – Makes me want to rewatch Six Feet Under.

– Kelly Osborne – This is how most women on the Dalston Junction platform look each morning. Also, losing weight didn’t change anything about her face.

–  Zachary Quinto – A straight version of him would be my dream man, but I don’t like his reverse navy and black jacket. Doesn’t coming out of the closet also mean knowing how to pick from one?

– Jane Seymour – Special K ad styled  by a drag queen.

– Christopher Plummer & wife – Aaawwww. Like the velvet blazer, but not with those pants.

– Jessica Chastain – All hail McQueen.

– Ellie Kemper – With a bindi, a few gold bangles, a henna tattoo and Indian man on her arm her outfit would be complete.

– Judy Greer – Wow ginger is really the hair colour of the season. I love her as she always plays the cynical bitch. Didn’t like the dress at first but it’s growing on me, even though I feel compelled to ride my bike on it.

– Missy Pyle – Good on her for wearing a sustainable gown. If by sustainable you mean recycling hospital shower curtains from the 1960s.

– Slater seems to look younger every year. Must be those burgers from The Max.

– Tony Bennett & Pharrell have exactly the same cheekbones.  Is Tony Pharrell’s dad?!?

– Viola Davis – Even she is going with the ginger trend. Her boobs look like they’re being attacked by a carnivorous plant. The skirt of her dress makes me think: whale fin, shark attack, water fountain.

– Michelle Williams – Trying to rival Zooey D for the crown of Twee Indie Queen with her preference for bows on dresses. Also, tangerine and pink clash. I wouldn’t be surprised if her clutch had Hello Kitty on it.

– An Asian woman who I thought was Vera Wang is wearing black and white…like the panda the woman next to her is holding. Way to represent.

– Matthew Lillard – Stick your tongue out! Also, I think you came to the wrong place. You need to step in a time machine to go to the MTV Movie Awards in 1997.

– Rooney Mara – Another bride on the red carpet. This dress is actually pretty cool and I love her Sean Young-esque hair and makeup. On related but different note, today I met Mark Zuckerberg’s doppelganger.

– Virgina Madsen – not sure if any actress over size 6 can get away with wearing a big purple dress without comparisons to Grimace. Emerald earrings are nice though.

– Glenn Close – lives up to expectations of being a constant red carpet fail but her hair looks great.  Look, the outfit isn’t too bad for someone her age but I never thought algae was a nice colour.

– Diddy & J Lo – Him and J Lo should get back together to recreate that classic Grammys red carpet moment from 2000 when she wore an ultra low cut sheer palm print Versace dress.

– Melissa Leo – Is that a split in her dress or is it actually a jumpsuit? Looks like this dress took inspiration from either a Hasidic Jewish bridesmaid dress or indie girls circa 2006 who wore t-shirts under strapless dresses.

– Michel Hazanavicius – wearing the smug look of a man who knows he is going to win thanks to his fairy godfather Harvey Weinstein.

– It’s a good thing The Artist was B&W. Look at her hair colour.

– Nate Berkus…is with a woman.

– GARY OLDMAN & GF FTW.  Definitely the best dressed man.

– Sasha Baron Cohen – I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.  That urn makes you look really fit.


– Anna Faris – Perhaps this dress would look stunning in person but it’s not been taken at the best angle. Black isn’t the best on her. Also, why is she here? The Razzies were last week weren’t they?

– Nat Portman – as much as I love red and black polka dots it looks too casual for a fancy gown and the diamonds don’t go with it either.

– Leslie Mann looks like she’s got a scarf wrapped around her hips because of a period stain on the back.

– GOOP – Despite my thoughts about her I love the cape and wrap. Another woman gets an idea for her wedding dress. Imagine if they stayed together.

– But then he would have missed out on this:

– Penelope Cruz – This was my favourite colour when I was 4. Dress doesn’t really have a wow factor. It’s a bit like a flamenco or pirate’s wife dress dipped in violet.  I wonder if she has swords strapped to her legs.

– Emma Stone – Gorgeous but Andrew Garfield as an accessory would have perfected her look.

– Wendi Deng – Where is your husband? Is he on a newspaper run giving out copies of The Sun on Sunday or is he busy Tweeting?  Are you wearing an armour plate because you’re scared someone is going to throw a pie at you?

– Paul Feig, Busy Philipps, Jason Seagal – Freaks & Geeks reunion please.

– They’re letting a record amount of us into the Oscars this year (who are not Lucy Liu, animators, classical musicians or auditors).

Eduardo Saverin: It’s not that guys like me are generally attracted to Asian girls. It’s that Asian girls are generally attracted to guys like me.
Dustin Moskovitz: I’m developing an algorithm to define the connection between Jewish guys and Asian girls.
Eduardo Saverin: I don’t think it’s that complicated. They’re hot, they’re smart, they’re not Jewish and they can’t dance.

-Helena Bonham Carter, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Sevigny – Being too cool for the Oscars this year, I am sure they are wearing awesome “Don’t give a fuck what you think” outfits wherever they are tonight.