Diva bites dog

Whitney Houston takes on PETA, McDonald's serves nightcaps and New York Times readers inveigh against shoeless grooms.

Published June 25, 2001 7:41PM (EDT)

Poor PETA. Doesn't anybody take it seriously? Recently, the fashion-obsessed animal rights organization warned Whitney Houston to just leave fur out of it when she accepts her lifetime achievement award at this week's Black Entertainment Television Awards. According to Fashion Wire Daily, Houston decided instead on a preemptive strike against her own jacket. In an effort to avoid getting tagged on the red carpet, she will attend the ceremony in a waist-length mink designed by Paul Chan, artfully doused in blue, pink and purple spray paint. Somehow, it's the poor, dead critters that come out looking like the big losers in this particular standoff. It's one thing to die for fashion, it's another to go out looking like Cyndi Lauper.

So did PETA intend itself to be a sort of bathetic comedy act all along? Another one of its pranks recently backfired at the American Fashion Awards, when a projectile tofu cream pie intended for Karl Lagerfeld hit an unsuspecting Calvin Klein in the face as he prepared to receive his lifetime achievement award. The pie would have been funnier on Lagerfeld, no doubt, but we like the humorless animal-activist twist on the classic sight gag. Vegan humor is the best!

The New York Post reported soon afterward that Klein received a bouquet of flowers from the group the next day, along with a card reading, "We may not have the best aim, but we have the best intentions."

That's the thing. You belong to PETA, you don't necessarily want to be known as a good shot.

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As anti-American sentiment abroad heats up McDonald's makes incursion into other industry, nation.

Encouraged by "billions and billions" of customers, McDonald's has opened two hotels in Switzerland. Fashion Wire Daily reports that the chain opted against adapting its headache-inducing color scheme for the new "upmarket" hotel chain, though apparently it was not able to resist branding the business traveler's dreams. Every headboard in each of the 112 hotel rooms is lovingly rendered in the shape of the Golden Arches. Greasy dreams!

Aside from this foray into design horror, the hotels will be done in a (surprise!) neutral décor -- maple floors, leather furniture, pure, white linen -- popularized by today's leading McDesign chains. So McTasteful!

According to Fashion Wire Daily, the original concept included burger-shaped beds and french fry bed lamps. But all that remains of what would have been the most psychedelic, club-kid-friendly hotel chain in the world are the headboards and a little yellow "H" (for "hotels") embroidered on each of what will soon surely be "billions and billions" of pillows.

Oddly, the burger-flipping corporation opted not to include full bathrooms in the guest quarters, installing instead what it calls "wet areas" in the middle of each room. These areas, only partially enclosed, hold a shower and a "minitoilet." We have no idea what a minitoilet is or what good it does anyone -- though, as the designers told FWD, "this approach makes for 'immaculate hygiene.'" Is that like immaculate conception? Because we're not buying it.

Each hotel will have an Aroma coffee shop -- "an upmarket McDonald's acquisition," according to FWD -- as well as a McDonald's restaurant. Room service will not be provided, which makes us wonder, What, beyond that, is the point of spending the night at McDonald's?

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Recently, this youthful query appeared as a post in the Fashion and Style forum of the New York Times.

"Quick question ... I am getting married in July. The ceremony is at 5:30 ON the beach. What should I wear??? Any suggestions? I was thinking of a black suit or maybe a contemporary three-button tuxedo with a black or silver tie (NOT a bow tie). My bride and I were not going to wear any shoes. The wedding will be on the beach. Any suggestions?"

How about ... shoes? It turns out we weren't the only ones to conclude that the "wedding as performance art" fad has become a little irksome -- soon after posting this message, the blushing groom was pelted with insults. But the vitriol of the responses took even us by surprise.

"On the beach? In a tux with no shoes? Oh well, thank God you've at least nixed the bow tie. Yeah, with a bow tie it would look REALLY silly."

"You probably specified 'evening dress, no footwear' on the invitation, didn't you? Listen Bub, I help your aunts and Grandmas and Moms buy formal outfits every day, and they are REALLY displeased with these new forms of dress. It's hard enough for an older lady to know what to wear for a wedding -- hard enough finding a formal dress which is fashionable without being over-exposed -- without you charming Let's Make Our Wedding SPECIAL idiots and your dumb-ass plans. For once why don't you think of your guests' comfort and enjoyment?"

"And for music may I suggest James Taylor, Bob Denver and Karen Carpenter."

"Is this a betrothal between a man and a woman, a man and a man, a man and a dog or what?"

Amid the barrage of insults, a lone voice came to the young groom's defense:

"Remember, it is your wedding, intended to celebrate the union of two people in love. Therefore, it is your call whether the dress should be formal or informal ... Modern times dictate the breakdown of overly formal and outdated traditions, and people should be willing to adapt, even if it is only for a day. In answer to your question, I would suggest a black jacket and pants with a dark silvery blue shirt and tie, in the spirit of informality. Something by Armani perhaps?"

Et tu, Giorgio?

By Carina Chocano

Carina Chocano writes about TV for Salon. She is the author of "Do You Love Me or Am I Just Paranoid?" (Villard).

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