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Style Stop returns … starting with a visit to Hampshire College

  • “The Champion jacket was an impulse buy on eBay,” says Will Franzosa, entering class of 2014. CAROL LOLLIS/GAZETTE STAFF

  • “The Champion jacket was an impulse buy on eBay,” says Will Franzosa, entering class of 2014. CAROL LOLLIS/GAZETTE STAFF

  • “This is a typical outfit I wear to class,” says 20-year-old Brooke Wallis, entering class of 2016, who’s studying studio arts at Hampshire College. She’s originally from Essex, Conn. CAROL LOLLIS/GAZETTE STAFF

  • “The shoes are vegan Docs that my grandpa bought me,” says Maya Ramirez, entering class of 2016. Why the shoelace as a belt? “Because it’s aesthetically pleasing to me.” CAROL LOLLIS/GAZETTE STAFF

  • “The shirt is from my mom, who used to work for [designer] Koos van den Akker,” says Quinn Thomashow, entering class of 2016, who studies film. “She always let me dress in crazy patterns when I was little. I view clothing as a piece of artwork.”  CAROL LOLLIS/GAZETTE STAFF

  • “The shirt is from my mom, who used to work for [designer] Koos van den Akker,” says Quinn Thomashow, entering class of 2016, who studies film. “She always let me dress in crazy patterns when I was little. I view clothing as a piece of artwork.”  CAROL LOLLIS/GAZETTE STAFF

  • Mike D’Aquila, entering class of 2014, studies human-centered design. Why all the holes in his sweater? “I wear it in the metal shop,” he says. CAROL LOLLIS/GAZETTE STAFF

  • Daisy von Furth. CAROL LOLLIS/GAZETTE STAFF

  • “Kim [Gordon] and me being interviewed for MTV’s ‘House of Style.’ I’m wearing an X-Girl golf jacket and miniskirt. Kim’s wearing a puffer jacket — we were really into puffers.” Photo courtesy Daisy von Furth

  • “This is me circa ’92 wearing a deadstock Puma tank and Pro-Keds,” says Daisy von Furth. “The look was kind of ‘Welcome Back, Kotter.’ ” 



For the Gazette/Hampshire Life
Friday, April 06, 2018

 

There I was, last June, enjoying my Hampshire Life Magazine, a brief, old-timey respite in my otherwise depressingly digital day. Oh, they have a new editor, I registered, that’s interesting. Skimming the listings, I had already circled in my mind a few lectures that I was interested in, glanced at the “Outside Activities” — another salamander event was happening — breezed over the main article, and perused the movie times. 

Now it was time for the big payoff for picking up the Friday magazine — the Zen experience of “Style Stop,” a single page featuring a photo and a few words. You know what I’m talking about, right? The picture the magazine ran almost every week of somebody they’d stopped and then interviewed about what they were wearing. So easy to digest! We, the readers, were invited to look these strangers up and down without appearing rude, and they would tell us what they were all about, through a few choice sentences about their outfits. 

But wait, what? It wasn’t there. And it wasn’t there the next week, either. Instead, there was a one-page interview with an interesting community member, responding thoughtfully to bespoke questions. Not to be confused with the old “ID” column, Hamp Life’s version of Vanity Fair’s “Proust Questionnaire,” which I also loved. The responses in this piece were several sentences long and specific. Was this part of the trend of “slow” things  —  “slow food” and “slow parenting”? I already had a stack of unread issues of The Atlantic and The New Yorker under my bed to fill that category. 

I did something I had never done before (and something I think you have to be over 45 to do). I wrote an angry letter — OK, an email, I’m not that cool —  to the editor. I bemoaned the demise of “Style Stop” and also pointed out  gaps in the movie coverage (grr). To my delighted surprise, I actually got a response and a follow-up phone call from the new editor, Brooke Hauser. She’d Googled me and seen that I had a bit of fashion background, and so she turned the tables on me and said, “If you miss Style Stop so much, why don’t you put your money where you mouth is, and you do it!” Gulp. 

Well, it took several months for me and Carol Lollis, the Gazette’s photo editor extraordinaire, to coordinate our schedules. You know that “Happy Valley” ritual of running into somebody and saying you are going to get together, but it never happening? We were in that zone. Finally, a few weeks ago, the stars aligned, and the weather was nice, so we headed over to Hampshire College. I knew there would be interesting fashion subjects over there — I’d seen my share of culotte-clad Hampshire babysitters and hordes of impossibly skinny Hampshire boys, wearing impossibly worn-out flannels, when I still went to the occasional rock show. 

Our brief foray onto campus didn’t disappoint, as you can see from the pictures. When we got there, the first people we approached were a bunch of ultimate frisbee kids hanging out under the stairs of the student center. They’re kind of like Hampshire’s version of jocks: clean-cut, wholesome hippies. While many of the responses from the kids were along the lines of, “I don’t know where I got this,” you can clearly see that there is nothing accidental in their sartorial choices. It’s really pretty awesome that they dress up, considering it’s a tiny school in the middle of nowhere. They should be wearing snowsuits or the more typically collegiate uniform of Patagonia and skinny jeans (a no-brainer). But they don’t, instead displaying the thoughtful, independent spirit that the school is known for. Their clothes are their canvas. 

Since it was my first time at the rodeo, I got a little overexcited. Don’t worry — a one-subject Style Stop format is coming on a monthly basis. Sorry, it was a little harder than I thought!

Brooke wanted to me to mention my fashion bonafides. Well, they are from a long time ago, but I guess since everything ’90s is in again, that makes me very qualified for the fashion moment. Basically, I interned at some neat magazines, including Sassy, and started doing styling (mostly music videos, such as “Cannonball” by The Breeders, “Big Gay Heart” by The Lemonheads, “Sugar Kane” by Sonic Youth) with the help of my husband, Rob von Furth. That led to a street-clothing line with my friend Kim Gordon (of Sonic Youth fame) that we called X-Girl, the sister line to the Beastie Boys’ label X-Large. We essentially took vintage clothes and skaterwear and gave it our hipster spin. We were trying to get away from the baggy early ’90s look and make clothes that fit us. It was a hit with the kids, and we had stores in Los Angeles, New York and Japan. A baby or two later (we have three kids, now ages 15 to 22 — they are so old!), we sold to the Japanese, and the brand continues, in some form or another, to this day. 

Back in the ’90s, you might have found me wearing a Lacoste shirt (ironically) with a vinyl miniskirt and orthopedic shoes from France. Now, I dress mostly around my figure and have adopted a uniform of black jeans and a T-shirt, switching to jean skirts and midi dresses in the summer, with an occasional jumpsuit thrown in. One of the nicest things about living in Northampton is you only have to dress nice if you want to.