On the occasion of this weekend’s premiere of the Steve Jobs biopic, jOBS, at Sundance, we are ever reminded of his iconic allegiance to the turtleneck. (Ashton Kutcher seems to have done a fine job of pulling it off himself.)
In fact, ever since we told the menswear-osphere to stop fearing the turtleneck, we’ve been noticing dapperly swaddled necks popping up everywhere—we won’t take full credit for the garment’s renaissance—on runways, in magazines, at tradeshows and even in our favorite menswear shops.
The Sundance Film Festival is one of the few places it’s considered fashionable to dress like a ski bunny (perhaps also the long weekend of alpine-chic-ness in March known as Aspen Fashion Week). Take James Franco, here, walking the red carpet wearing a grin that calls into question his sobriety—and in a winter sweater from Dockers.
Matthew McConaughey showed up a few minutes later, wearing a puffer jacket with his lift pass still attached. Anywhere else, they’d be lambasted for walking a red carpet in anything less than a blazer, but in Park City, UT, skiwear is the new formalwear. Sure, it’s a small window of opportunity, but when the majority of your life is spent running the press gauntlet, not having to change between a screening and a day on the slopes is one worth capitalizing on.
There are lots of reasons to stay away from the L.A. denim world—for one, we just plain don’t like distressed clothes—but if you get past any lingering style reservations, it can be a pretty fascinating scene. Particularly if you’ve got a camera handy.
Sundance recently took a trek into the dark heart of Ed Hardy-ness and came away with Dirty Denim, a 15-minute series of web shorts that convince us it’s worse than we ever imagined. Small labels scramble over distressing techniques, play hardball with buyers, and try to keep their styles safe from the eight other labels they share a washhouse with—and just about everyone's scrapping.
Of course, the real horror is what they do to the jeans. Potassium sprays, paint splatters and rotary grinders are all turned against defenseless raw denim with little to no remorse. The rest isn’t too different from the mind-boggling hustle of the rest of Hollywood—but it should give pause to anyone who’s day-dreamed about starting up their own denim line.
One of the wonderful things about web culture is how well it accommodates the idiosyncratic and the strange. With a low budget and a dedicated audience, there’s no telling how far out you’ll go. And we'd say the sex lives of limpets is pretty far out.
The series started by detailing the mating habits of house flies and honey bees, but now they’re onto sea creatures like limpets, starfish and whales. There are still plenty of hermaphroditic invertebrates, but the sets are a whole lot more involved, and the new mood is more mournful than scientific.
In other words, it’s pretty offbeat stuff—even for the geeked-out world of nature documentary. Even with the help of the Sundance Channel, it’s hard to imagine this kind of project making it to television without a long string of miracles.