Thursday, December 28, 2006
Well, possums, now that Christmas and Boxing Day are over, the lumps of coal are rainin' down a-plenty. In other words, it's time once again for our regular scholarly exegesis of Padma Lakshmi's fashion choices on the latest episode.
Quickfire Challenge Outfit
We admit, possums, that we had high hopes for Padma on the basis of the preview shown the week before the show aired. Cannily, the preview showed only Padma's outfit for the Quickfire Challenge, and only the upper portion at that. We saw a fleeting vision of a black chiffon-looking blouse with what appeared to be ruching, and Padma's hair pulled back into a ponytail. Elegant, classy, restrained...could it be?
As you can see from the photo, it wasn't quite that, but, really, there's not much for us to get worked up about. No, she didn't pair the top with a pencil skirt, as we had hoped, but at least she didn't trot out the Girl Scout shorts. And yes, the top isn't as elegant as it seemed to be, and if you look quickly, it rathers looks like the standard black, Saturday-night muscle-shirt-turned-disco-shirt you might find in Chelsea or West Hollywood. But at least it's not denim, and she's not sporting Farrah hair and a fireman's badge. We do, however, have an issue with the top being open at the midriff. Without wishing to be ungallant, and conceding ab initio that we're no ab initiates (we've always suspected there's a reason "abstinence" begins with "abs"), it does appear (as we have seen from other photographs) that Padma has issues with a little stomach pooch, and so perhaps it might not be wise to expose it like that. Now, now, we're not calling her fat or pointing out any muffin-tops; we're just seeking to spare her unpleasant reminders from people cattier than we (we've been told such people do actually exist).
So, overall, not a wonderful outfit, but not bad either. A fairly good effort, we say. Well-done, Padma, luv; it's a step in the right direction.
Elimination Challenge Outfit
Now, the Elimination Challenge is another story entirely. It's positively whorendous.
Let's start with the obvious. We've got nothing against yellow. It's one of our favorite colors, and it can certainly look festive and elegant (see Michelle Williams in Vera Wang and Cate Blanchett in Valentino at the Academy Awards). But Jesus, Padma, that dress is the color of mustard from a hot dog that fell on your white shirt during lunch and that only now, when it is five o' clock and the stain has dried and stiffened, you are realizing is there. Miss XaXa, being Southern and thus given to more colorful and straightforward invective, put it somewhat less delicately: "She looks like a baby shit smear on stilts."
A color that's all wrong for her skin tone was not the only problem with the dress. In principle, we have nothing against appliqué patterns, and they don't look awful on the skirt, but they're simply too heavy and stiffen the skirt in an unflattering way, preventing it from hanging and skimming in that bouncy 60s style that was no doubt the intention. The stiffness also makes the length seem wrong. The cleavage is appropriate, but ill-fitting. And the sleeves, oy, the sleeves. Was this some kind of Renaissance allusion? Is there some Da Vinci Code message hidden in the pattern? All in all, badly done, Padma, badly done.
Now, in principle, we have no quarrel with Padma's footwear here. Yes, shiny, knee-high boots are a little whorish, a mixture of hussar and hussy, but let us not forget that this is supposed to be a holiday party, and that Christmas derives from the Roman celebration of Saturnalia. And if you can't be a little whorish in an atmosphere of copious alcohol, butter, flour, cream, nutmeg, seasonal affective disorder, loneliness, and mistletoe, where can you strut your "Puss in Boots" stuff? Besides, how objectionable can the boots be if even a gap-toothed, ivory-tickling, butch-femme lesbian Secretary of State can wear them to Germany of all places? Talk about Sourpuss in Boots.
However, all of that being said, we do have an objection to Padma's boots, and it's this. They make her legs look like Mia Gaines-Alt's handrolls in the sushi challenge.