But if you want my real opinion, the feeling I’ve had for the last few years is that the fashion industry has finally disappeared firmly and irretrievably up its own arse. It ceaselessly churns out ugly shit for ugly people and righteously defends its decision to feature models six times thinner than the original stick insect, Twiggy, to the point that the only thing that distinguishes the models from Holocaust victims is that they are being well paid to starve to death. When I see the banners for MSFW that hang around the city, I get the impression that the ugly shit from the early 90s is coming back in — But was it ever that good in the first place? The Supermodels, back in the day — Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington et al — were undeniably gorgeous women, of classic beauty — they even have muscles. It’s actually the women themselves who make the clothes look good.
Naturally Mother will deny half of this story, claiming it’s all a Hollywood wash to make papa sound more appealing to American audiences, the same way Merle Oberon wasn’t really Tasmanian, and Rita Hayworth had her hairline raised so she wouldn’t look Spanish, and Ava Gardner spent years on elocution to get rid of the accents of a Tobbacco farm (tho she never kicked the cussing) and Jean Harlow liked people to believe she’d come up from the gutter, when really she’d slept under ermine duvets. “After all, nobody can ever be expected to believe that such a man would come out of Beeville,” she says. “In fact, I’d go so far as to say that nobody even lives in Beeville. On Bowie Street. That’s a joke surely. It’s one of those abandoned towns with improbable names that people only travel to because they want to take pictures of the roadsigns. Like Bugtussle. And Nameless. And Talking Jack Creek. There are a lotta stars who come from Nameless & go to Pot soon after. My sister Rosemary was one example. And I can assure you that if your grandmama Gladys has ever been to Beeville it’s because your papa put her on the train to get her out of town.”
Years later after they had been divorced for over 25 years he sent Mother a picture of the woman he said he was going to marry. She was a waitress at the Vegas hotel where he was living. How fleet cupid’s arrow had winged its way into his life when he had almost given up on happiness (he was 63 and she was 23) etc. etc. etc. I admit the note ran on a bit. There’s a lot she could have ripped into but Mother with remarkable composure only looked at the picture and sniffed, “Thick ankles.”