Perhaps it’s no surprise that with X-Men about to hit theaters, comic-book-chic lightning bolts are striking the city. First, Miu Miu emblazoned them on sandals and bags; then silver zigzags were racing up the sides of customized pants from Filth Mart ($150 and up; 531 East 13th Street; 212-387-0650). Now downtown dudes are foraging for lightning-bolt T-shirts at the sci-fi superstore Forbidden Planet ($18; 840 Broadway, at 13th Street; 212-475-6161) while girls find matching halters ($20) and hair clips ($5) at Patricia Field (10 East 8th Street; 212-254-1699). Even if the fad fades, you might want to hold on to your bolt-bearing baubles – this might be that rare trend that strikes twice.
“You could call it a perversion of the ascot – a ‘fuck you’ to British society,” says a gangly, cowboy-booted hipster of his knotted neckwear. Once favored by stuffy English equestrians and Austin Powers lookalikes, the neckerchief has surfaced again. At Spa’s Wednesday-night new-wave dance party, rock-and-rollers are mixing and matching snug-fitting bandannas or loosely looped scraps of chiffon with slashed heavy-metal T-shirts, ripped sleeveless oxford shirts, and leather jackets. “It’s scumbag chic,” shouts a necktied reveler over Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ “Sex & Drugs & Rock ’n’ Roll,” before nonchalantly noting that the scarf’s appeal isn’t all form over function: It also makes a stylish concealer for those embarrassing hickeys.
In the early sixties, the Saint-Tropez bathing-suit barons at Vilebrequin invented boxer-cut swim shorts, liberating men’s privates from clingy trunks. Now the company has ensured the beach-bound mobility of those other highly prized masculine accoutrements: dollar bills and car keys. Vilebrequin’s watertight plastic wallets, which come with the shorts and are shaped to slip into the back pocket, have the Hamptons set buzzing around the East End store, and beach boys like Brad Pitt and Tim Jeffries are finding that the tropical suits ($109; 42 Jobs Lane; 631-204-1530) go nicely with their bien-aimées’ retro-print bikinis and headscarves.
As celebrities on the red carpet have to watch their backs for Elizabeth Hurley and Jennifer Lopez, competition for the sexiest dress has turned to competition for something even harder to pull off: the most preposterous wooden platform shoes. Jeffrey carries several architectural wonders from Sky, the L.A. line favored by Lauryn Hill (pictured, $105-$165). Janet Jackson and Courtney Love are fans of Vivienne Westwood’s $445 “invisible heel” sculptural wooden wedges. But now that worst-dressed-list winners Tori Spelling and Pamela Anderson Lee are teetering around on the silly soles, the shoes may be consigned to the same fate as the eerily similar chopines worn by seventeenth-century Venetians: gathering dust in museums.