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Bare Necessities: As the weather heats up, local fashion takes a very natural turn for the skimpier. Model Kaylan Kelson wears chandelier earrings ($245), Swarovski crystal necklace ($1,223) from Michal Negrin, Valley Fair, and Jungle Carpet Python from Reptile Ranch, San Jose.

The New Immodesty

Rejecting the politics of Janet Jackson's mammary

Photographs by Dina Scoppettone


Make-up: Thang Dao for DNM Cosmetics
Fashion Consultant: Camilla Barungi
Snakes: Reptile Ranch
Location: Legends Theatrical

ACCORDING TO the Old Testament, we can chalk fashion up to the apples and the snakes. Were it not for Eve's willingness to converse with the serpent, there would be no Gucci--and one feels sure that Eve must have foreseen the stiletto heel as she bit into that juicy foodstuff.

Since Adam and Eve's fortuitous eviction, however, humankind has debated just how much, where and to what effect a person should cover up. Any swath of skin, it seems, can be an erogenous zone, and what must be hidden from sight has changed according to the whims of history, climate and the piety of pundits. Fetishism, philosophers now tell us, is dead--victim of overexposure, mass production and the market's ability to commodify just about anything that is or isn't nailed down. Fetishists used to ascribe magical powers to inanimate objects; now, magic isn't good enough. We want convenience, and we want it cheap. Magic has given way to the mass market. Crowd logic rules.

Which perhaps explains the hullabaloo over Janet Jackson's intentional-or-not breast baring during this year's Super Bowl half-time concert. Never mind that the entire dance routine and song itself seemed to be celebrating some sort of rape fantasy (Justin Timberlake sang, "I'll get you naked by the end of this song," just before rending Jackson's costume, while backup dancers cavorted in pirate-themed fetish wear)--it was the breast itself that most offended the chattering classes.

In response, Hollywood tried to tell us that modesty was the new fetish, and that the less skin we showed the happier we'd be. Puh-lease: we recognize a foolish attempt at cat-walk trend-making when we see it. It's spring, after all. The weather is warm, summer looms and Silicon Valley is no place for the cardigan-sweater set.

Instead, come with us back to the garden, where fashion's whimsy is nature-inspired. There's one good thing about the valley's distance from Hollywood and its supposed distance from fashion: here, we're free to pick whatever fruit we want to.

Traci Vogel


Heat Wave: Kaylan brings glamour to the beach scene with Luli Fama's black 'Chinadoll' bikini bottom with gold-colored ring ($52 at Meme's Bikinis, 1645 Bascom Ave., Campbell, 408.369.1415) and Frescocouture's silk top with brocade collar (made to order; line found at Infinity, 120 W. Main St., Los Gatos, 408.399.7071).


Love Disrobe: Joshua contemplates temptation in a Calvin Klein seersucker blue and white robe ($49.95 at Mosher's Ltd., on the Paseo de San Antonio at the Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, 408.286.7065) and boxer briefs ($19.95, also at Mosher's Ltd.).


Muscling In: A ribbed tank from Calvin Klein ($15.95 at Mosher's Ltd., on the Paseo de San Antonio at the Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, 408.286.7065) defines classic cool--especially when paired with Diesel's X-Rotuck 772 men's jeans ($179 at Diesel, 378 Santana Row, Suite 1000, San Jose, 408.241.2355) and Forik leather belt ($49 at Diesel).


Flower Girl: Frescocouture's sari-inspired dress with leaf appliqués and brocade collar ($260 at Infinity, 120 W. Main St., Los Gatos, 408.399.7071) finds a natural match in Michal Negrin's nickel-free brass and Swarovski crystal chandelier earrings and flower ring ($245 for earrings, $70 for ring at Michal Negrin, Valley Fair, 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd., Store 1047, San Jose, 408.615.9974; jewelry by designer ranges from $15 for stud earrings on up).


Jean Therapy: Joshua surfs a sea of chic in Diesel's X-Rotuck 772 men's jeans ($179), Forik leather belt ($49) and Fondnea t-shirt ($49; all at Diesel, 378 Santana Row, Suite 1000, San Jose, 408.241.2355).


Frescocouture is designed by Thang Dao, an up-and-coming designer based in Los Gatos. He describes his summer collection as ''60s Pop influenced, fused with a Middle East twist, yet kept to the minimal.'


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From the April 28-May 4, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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