Fresh Blood Needed
High fashion feeds off the streets

If the streets were empty the fashion scene would wrinkle like a used condom. The world of fashion always feeds on fresh blood. Years ago, Vogue photographers used to scour New York's Lower East Side to photograph the domestic strangers known as hippies. Now their victims are the real strangers who come from every intelligent corner of the world. Most Eastern Europeans, "etrash," are intelligent and, often, beautiful. The moneyed vampires who arbitrate world taste are not intelligent: They feed off the streets.

See also...
... by Andrei Codrescu
... in the Dirt section
... from August 11, 1999

My friend Milena, a Czech girl who should be a fashion model if she wasn't a chef, was walking down St. Mark's place with her girlfriend Frieda, who is a fashion model but should be a kindergarten teacher because she's so kind, when a surveyor from a Trend-Watching Corporation stopped to ask them what they foresee coming up.

"My dinner," said Milena, who'd just had dinner at tony Boulay on a stolen credit card, and thought her own cooking far superior.

The surveyor persisted, so Milena said: "Wearable technology is what's coming up. Thin computers, transparent, thin cell phones, fingerprint ATMs." She knew wherefrom she spoke: Around her left ankle Milena wears a clock bracelet of hard blue plastic. She has a PalmPilot III and a credit-card sized cell phone in her see-through vinyl shoulder bag. Her legs are so long that I keep trying to imagine other technology to wrap around them. I actually have a good idea of the technology she occasionally wraps them around because I spied the electric-blue dildo on her kitchen counter. (It's not like she believes in segregated areas for sex or cooking!)

Milena had once explained to me the new phenomenon of long Czech legs. "When the lid of communism came off the Czech people, the legs of the Praguenas shot upward."

"And the skirts got shorter the longer the legs," I said.

"Precisely," said Milena. "And then I moved to New York."

The surveyor hadn't been privy to that conversation, but he was definitely in love with Milena, legs and soul. He kept asking for details of the techno-wear. It made Frieda jealous. She is East German, an ex-commie like myself. She still loves surveys and samples free in the mail. She not only looks like Claudia Schiffer, their last names rhyme.

"You know what I think?" Frieda said, "In the future people will be very nice to other people because they will be wearing electronic bracelets to monitor their aggression levels. Whenever you feel like saying, 'fuck you!' you get, like, zapped."


"I foresee," I told the surveyor, "some long-legged chefs from Kosovo putting you out of business in a couple of months."

"Sure," he said.

At $6 an hour what else could he say? He wasn't privy, like I am, to a future fashioned by the long-legged armies of ex-commies landing in New York at the rate of ten per minute.

Andrei Codrescu was born in Transylvania and lives in New Orleans. His latest books are Messi@h, a novel (Simon and Schuster) and Ay, Cuba!: A Socio-Erotic Journey (St. Martin's Press).