By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
I feel tough no matter what I‘m wearing. My fellow EpiLady Selena and I -- this is top secret, but I know I can trust you -- I think the look we’re going to do for the next function is that kind of ghetto look where our faces are really done, but we‘re wearing sweats and high-heeled shoes. It’s going to be bad.
Is there a particular movie star, time period or place that you would evoke?
Anything that is Japanese teenager is good. I guess my whole thing right now, maybe not the specifics, but the vibe of it, is if Lil‘ Kim and Britney Spears had a baby, and the baby was really into the ’80s. I see myself as a combination of tough, hard-ass bitch and kind of frilly girly girl. But there‘s a distinction -- I’m not into that girly girl in a demure way. Some of it has an association with cholas: I‘m going to kick your ass and cut you up, but I’m going to be wearing big ol‘ false eyelashes while I’m doing it.
Is there a person, male or female, you would like to be like?
I know it‘s an easy answer, but I can’t help it. Boy George.
Who was an early influence on your fashion development?
There was a friend of my aunt -- she had really dark skin, and blue contact lenses, bleached hair and really, really tight stretch acid-wash pants. And the really long nails done in fluorescent pink. The idea of mixing two looks -- it‘s more normal now, but at the time it was, like, a dark girl doing all the fashion tricks that blond girls in the magazines do. And the clash, the dark skin and big ass doing that white magazine-model look. It’s actually just the negative of Goth girls with really white skin dying their hair black. I really like that. I get my nails airbrushed at an indoor swapmeet on Slauson, and one day I saw this black woman, she had this makeup, I know she meant it to look natural, but it looked like Divine‘s. And she had this gigantic hairdo, and was getting these long nails painted gold with the rhinestones on them. Really glamorous, but she was still in her UPS outfit, shorts and top. It was so cool.
What would be the ultimate outfit?
I have this secret fantasy outfit. One day I want to have a big wedding, but no marriage. I want to be featured in a pretty dress at a party where I’m the center of attention. All my friends will come and give me presents, then I will leave for Paris. I want to do this big entrance, where I‘m on this big pedestal, in this thing that looks like a skirt but it’s nearly as large as a building. And then it rolls out and it opens up, and there‘s steps like those airplane steps, and I come walking down in my next dress, and I just keep stripping down to the final dress.
At Matheson’s request, Meesh designed four possible outfits, one of which they a decided on and reworked. We were off to International Silks and Woolens.
Matheson has been frequenting this Beverly Boulevard fabric store since she was a student at Otis Parsons in 1989. She refuses to be helped by anyone other than her main man, Bashir Khairzada. The walls are lined with autographed photos of every star from Chaka Khan to Zsa Zsa, and we asked Khairzada, who‘s worked here since he left Afghanistan 19 years ago, which famous customers came to mind. He said Joan Collins has very good taste, and I wouldn’t have thought that Gina Lollobrigida and Dolly Parton picked out their own fabrics, but apparently they do. Trailing after Matheson, we explored two levels and four wings of the shop. It specializes in vintage stock, and we looked at $12yard cotton and $600yard beaded fabric. At the cash register, I was shocked that the vintage polka dots we picked out was $89 a yard.
On Fairfax Avenue a few blocks north of Melrose, we pulled into Crown Cleaners & Tailor. Sue Chon was expecting us. She measured Meesh at 17 different points, yelling the measurements out in Korean to her assistant, a man sitting at a sewing machine. Over an hour in the fabric store, and only five minutes at the tailor‘s.
Three days later, we returned for a fitting. (Chon said when she’s not busy with other orders, she can make a dress from start to finish, same-day service.) The dress and coat were basted, with perfect darting and seams. Chon thrust hundreds of straight pins into the dress and coat for adjustments, calmly following Matheson‘s suggestions to take in here, shorten there. In two days’ time, Meesh would come in for the final fitting. I returned four hours later to pick up the finished dress and coat, with matching hat.
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