I've always been a fan of Tavi and Rookie Mag - I remember when I discovered Style Rookie (and by "discovered" I mean "Emma alerted me to an internet phenom", as is standard) and spent a good chunk of my time paging through archives of this wunderkind's musings. Anyhow, my girl Kelly is an illustrator and designer for Rookie, and since her and Ben were in LA for a little visit over the weekend, we accompanied her to Prom Night - the closing party for the Strange Magic exhibition at Space 1520.
I went into this event not knowing what to expect, but in retrospect I'm not sure how I could have prepared myself. It was like a My Little Pony factory was invaded by Courtney Love. The work was a real-life version of Tavi's bedroom collections, a mashup of nineties grunge and sparkle, shades of pink and adolescent angst applied with a heavy hand. Likewise, the crowd was, as expected, mostly teen ladies, dolled up in their Tavi-inspired prom wear (read: semi-ironic tiaras and flower crowns paired with platform booties or Docs). They wore dresses like cotton candy, and floated around on their almost-too-high heels like deconstructed fairy princesses, snacking on pixie sticks and crunching over the rose petals, cigarette butts and mini-vodka bottles discarded by the bad girls. When the band started, they became a sea of bodies awkwardly bouncing, tossing aside uncomfortable footwear and lighting ricocheting off surrounding bodies moving to the music, one arm raised, iPhone in hand, to capture a shot of Bleached in action.
It was simultaneously nostalgic and uncomfortable. I remember being that age, dressing up and then spending the night slouched in my carefully selected outfit, but I was a world away from these girls. These girls were the cool kids, pretty girls flirting with punk, secure in a post-Freaks and Geeks landscape where they have become celebrated in the battle against the preppy Normals. And yet, within this crowd where so many on the outskirts came together to form a mass of homogenized originality, there were still the onlookers, coveting the hair, the outfits, or maybe just the confidence of those in the spotlight. We stayed in the middle of the throng, slightly out of place as the clear minority, age wise, and took in all the strange magic.