Tuesday, 20 July 2010

MUSE Sharon Tate, Part Two.

To me, Sharon Tate is the personification of an extinct kind of beauty; regal, fresh, and doomed to be a personal sacrifice to herald the end of the Summer of Love. She can only ever be doomed, because we can see her with nothing but hindsight, and we know how it ended.

Sharon's last meal was at El Coyote in Los Angeles. El Coyote and I go way back. It's my favourite place to eat in LA even though it's a particularly dire restaurant in a number of ways. It reminds me of something out of a David Lynch movie, moody, sordid and secretive, it feels like an extra character joining every party, sitting shadowy at the table with you. A dark place, velvety, with pokey booth-filled dining rooms where weary seeming serving women swish around in giant skirts, carrying aloft the giant cheesy platters of food. It was the first place I ate when I moved to LA, my room-mate Mike drove me directly there from the airport, and I went regularly after that, usually dragging friends along who couldn't see the appeal in the place, but would humour me anyway. The restaurant seems to gently fold over you, consuming you slowly in a chill way as though the sun has passed behind a cloud.

I didn't know Sharon had her last meal there until much later, and it doesn't really enhance the sense of the place which is nebulously sad, cooling it's heels in the LA heat, shading its clientele in near pitch dark in the middle of the day, with the greasy smell of corn chips in the air. The best margaritas can be had at El Coyote. I know I haven't written a stellar review of the place but if you're like me, and enjoy perverse places with personality and a bit of a story, then you might like it. I have to wonder if it was a nicer place when Sharon went, did they give the keys to the valet? Was it a genuinely pleasant place where ordinary people went? Chic people went? Or did they enjoy the melancholy camp as I do? I wish I could go back and tell her not to go home.

The dress I'm working on is about the way I want to feel in the summer time, inspired by the essence of Sharon Tate: a breezy, leggy A-line mini dress in gorgeous Liberty floral, a way of hinting at the hippy aesthetic without the danger of detouring into gauche prints or synthetic fabrics. Wear it with sandals and pad along elegantly without a care. A summer dress, for a nearly barefoot summer beauty. The sort of dappled soft sun of a summer afternoon, before slipping into a darkened room. The El Coyote dress.

Sharon liked best of all to be barefoot. She wasn't allowed to go to clubs and restaurants barefoot, so she laced leather thonging around her toes and ankles to look as though she was wearing sandals and out she went.

Take a look inside Sharon's wardrobe.

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