VPL: Only Human (Hair)

Perhaps it’s that people don’t want to pay their heating bills, but Fall/Winter 2009 is hunting season, and to many designers, fur is looking like a sound investment. British-born designer Victoria Bartlett (VPL) did any number of New Yorkers in a fur frenzy one better, going PETA-proof by “sourcing from her own species”—trimming the standout pieces in her “Exquisite Corpse” collection with (fake) human hair. She said after the show that the decision to “let her hair down” was a natural, logical extension of the “body-conscious, anatomically progressive” theme of her latest collection. “After all, hair is a part of the human body,” she said. “We might as well use it!” Shoplifter & EDDA, an artist and frequent VPL collaborator, helped create the hoary statement pieces through high quality synthetics. The lanky cuffs had a surprisingly graceful sweep, and the long black mane of a mid-show capelet (that mimicked Mongolian fur) was strangely elegant, but, of course, it was the bizarrely primal closing look that really turned our heads: a swishy “vest” entirely comprised of flaxen locks, worn over nothing but a nude bodysuit. For those unnerved, have no fear: that final look is a runway exclusive you will likely never encounter in stores. But for those morbidly intrigued, we offer you a gentle tip: Victoria tells us there will be “one, and only one, on sale at Dover Street Market!” later this year. (Photo courtesy VPL)