Girls is what’s known as an “expy,” Hollywood shorthand for “exported character.” In this case, the source material is Sex and the City. Every Girls cast member has her own SATC counterpart: Hannah (Carrie), Marnie (Miranda), Jessa (Samantha) and Shoshanna (Charlotte, but she thinks otherwise). The show’s creator, Lena Dunham, has done nothing to conceal this fictional trope. There will be no pretense that Girls is anything other than what it is: a younger, hipper, gloomier version of SATC. In many ways, it’s much better. Unlike Carrie Bradshaw’s shiny media world, Hannah Horvath’s Brooklyn terroir is dark and grimy. The sets and costumes are distressed, the dialogue is raw and the sex is invariably bad. Occasionally, though, specks of aspirational detritus surface onscreen like valentines in the gutter. They’re not obvious. Blink and you might miss them. Which only makes them all the more precious.
LV’s signature Speedy handbag is a direct descendent of the Keepall, first introduced by Georges Vuitton (son of Louis) back in 1930. Designed as an overnight bag for the Orient Express set, the Keepall has never gone out of style. It remains a luggage staple for faux-hemian globetrotters like Jessa Johansson. LV aficionados will notice this is the immense 60-cm model. It pops nicely on an iPad screen, but it won’t fit in the overhead bin on a NY-Lisbon flight. Fortunately, several smaller versions will.
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Shoshanna shows up at Jessa’s abortion appointment fully prepared to support her beloved friend in a time of need. This entails bringing compassion, empathy and unconditional love to the Planned Parenthood waiting room. Not to mention a large bag of expensive designer candy (Ms. Dylan is Ralph Lauren’s daughter) and the best screwball entrance line Dunham has ever written: “I’m so sorry I’m late. I stopped at Dylan’s and got some snacks because I don’t know how long these things take. When my sister had a baby, it was like hours, and I was starving.”
If there is one fashion takeaway from the first two seasons of Girls, it’s Jessa’s kimonos. Whether it’s the red “depression” kimono for the abortion clinic, or the floral print number for a stroll in the park, this is a major statement. To pull off the boho-geisha look requires fashion guts and accessory overload: gold spike necklace, dangly earrings, silver cuffs. And don’t forget the MAC Russian Red lipstick, preferably pilfered from your boss. (Fashion Don’t: wrapping the right side of the kimono over left indicates dressing the dead for burial.) Ichiroya in Osaka, Japan sells authentic kimonos from Japanese flea markets. Selection is vast, ranging from haori (short jacket) to furisode (flowing sleeve fancy kimono).
A licensing deal attached to a hit cable show about women having sex in New York City can be incredibly lucrative. Fact: the most-seized counterfeit product by U.S. Customs & Border Protection in 2011 was ersatz Sex and the City perfume. Hoping to emulate SATC’s marketing mojo, HBO is now hawking a line of Girls nail polish. The colors, designed by Condé Nast darling and “mega manicurist” Deborah Lippmann are: Hapless Hunter Green, Prim and Proper Pink, Virtuous Vivid Violet and Bohemian Burgundy. That’s almost as subtle as Shoshanna‘s purple peace sign Snuggie. Almost.
$45 at hbo.com
Fascinators — a cross between a hair accessory and a Mini-Me hat, typically festooned with plumage, beads or artificial flowers — are all the rage in the British fashion press. Young royals like Kate and Pippa Middleton adopted them in late 2011, as did Kate Winslett, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice. Emulating her fashion role models, Shoshanna jumped on the fascinator bandwagon when she showed up at a Brooklyn house party wearing what looks to be a DIY version made from one of her father’s black-tie yarmulkes. Not so successful. Not even Jessa could pull this off. But maybe you can!
$40 and up at samuelshats.com