I’m at this fashion show in the School of Art. Everybody is here, including this guy I sort of like, but because he makes me nervous I don’t talk to him right away. Instead, I survey the crowd, scanning as I always do for well-dressed people. I’m adventurous today: I’m wearing this black T-shirt, a shiny, high-collared black vest and these fire-engine red pants I bought in France. Judging by the way people react to the red hot pants, I decide not to re-wear them until I go to some hipster party on the Lower East Side.
When the show begins, I instantly take note of the first model, who I think is really beautiful, and I like the number she’s wearing. I also like how she works the catwalk. People are chattering. I admire another piece – this asymmetrical, shimmery gold apparatus that’s worn on top of what looks like a small black dress. Very Carrie Bradshaw. As the model comes down the runway, I’m saying, “Work, bitch! Work!!!!!” and hoping that no one else hears. I then start saying to myself that I like this look because it’s so fierce and over the top, unlike the others, which are just sort of bleh. So while the runway music played and the pieces continued to saunter down the catwalk, I couldn’t help but wonder: what’s the difference between being well-dressed and being fierce?
Oprah, Jessica Alba and Katie Holmes (do you hear me yawning?) are well-dressed, but Victoria Beckham (VB), who I’m obsessed with, and Mary Kate Olsen (MKO) are fierce — say what you will about them. Only a fierce woman frequently poses in her own home, like VB does. Only a fierce woman wears a canary yellow dress complete with bird feathers and matching pumps. Only a fierce woman, once part of a pop sensation, can stay famous just because she is fierce. Just think about it now — what has VB done of note since the Spice Girls?
As for MKO, I’ll never forget that time I saw a paparazzi photo of her leaving the grocery store with her fried blond hair, red sunglasses, a tiny leather jacket, skinny jeans, that $4,000 fringed Balenciaga bag and, gasp, red heels — all while pushing a shopping cart. It looked like a version of something I would wear.
So what makes these bitches fierce and not just well-dressed? It basically boils down to this: being well-dressed is easy. If you have a heartbeat, you can do it, too. Say you’re a guy and you wear just one piece (a pant, a button-up, a tie, a messenger bag) from Banana Republic, J.Press, Urban Outfitters or some comparable place along with nice shoes — sit back and watch yourself ease into well-dressed-ness. I’ve noticed a lot of guys around Yale wear their cool ties with their nifty v-neck sweaters. It’s all real neat, but it’s not fierce.
For me, fierce — and guys can be fierce — is when I get this overwhelming desire to applaud someone’s outfit, as you would a beautifully delivered monologue, or the end of the first movement of a standard three movement concerto. Everybody knows not to clap at the end of the first movement, but sometimes the performer is so fierce, you just gotta.
A fierce look is not just about being well put together, but about saying something while you do it. When I brought my friend Travis to the Yale Club for the first time, he pimped himself out in this suit with a sharp blue tie, and slicked his hair back. That’s right: he was basically Patrick Bateman.
Contrary to popular belief, the fiercest person in New Haven is not moi, but a certain drag queen/socialite called Levitra Champagne who works it out every Tuesday night at BAR. Talk about making an entrance! When this bitch enters the room, all heads turn and everybody wants to be a part of whatever fierceness she brings to the dance floor.
Levitra comes in, and it’s like, “Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, party over here!”
Here’s the scene: I’m at BAR on gay meat market night and I’m channeling Pete Doherty because I’ve got on this black fedora that’s not sitting directly on my head because it’s perched on the back. My friends and I wiggle to the music, wondering when Levitra will show up. When Levitra does come onto the dance floor, everybody does double-takes and swoops in because they want to talk to her. Tonight, she’s wearing this shiny gold dress, and this almost matching brownish-gold curly wig that’s teased out. It’s totally trashy, retro, chic. You can see photos on my Facebook album titled “Fierce!”
Every party/situation needs someone like Levitra to make a glamorous entrance, to get everybody riled up, interested and excited. I think every situation we’re in should be thought of as a party. If you’re well-dressed, you’re like a wallflower — not that there’s anything wrong with that. But if you’re fierce, you grab everyone’s attention, and make people want to be a part of whatever you are.
Let’s not all be wallflowers.
Most of the time I go to BAR specifically to see what outfit Levitra has concocted. What I like most about her, though, and her male alter-ego Brett, is that s/he just doesn’t take it too seriously, which allows for even more ridiculousness. For Levitra, drag is just an opportunity to be creative; she’s like a walking sculpture.
“Life is a runway, so I’m gonna walk it, okaaay?” Brett told me. “My favorite thing about Levitra is when I see people I know that I haven’t seen in a long time. ‘They’re like, Brett … is that you?’ and I’m like, ‘Yep! I’m fierce, and you’re fat.’ Wooork!”
The point is: you gotta see the fun in fashion. That’s what I think VB, MKO and drag queens have in common: the more their outfit doesn’t make sense, the better.
Embrace your own ridiculousness!
Madison Moore embraces his ridiculousness, and your ridiculousness, and the ridiculousness of all the people everywhere. He is the Jesus of fierce.