Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
“Men would pay $200 for me, and here you are turning down a freebie. You could get a perfectly good dishwasher for that” scowls Jane Fonda in her superb Oscar-winning performance as call girl Bree Daniels, in the 1971 psychological crime Klute. Bree’s smoky voice and her lewd advice purr down the line, from a time when phone calls still went by wire, as a background for Ashish Gupta’s foxy winter show: with an invitation looking enough like a credit card that someone saw it fit to write down a note “You need to know / This is not a real credit card” as it came in the mail, a narrative of sex and money, or lack thereof, could be guessed before the first model even walked in. Although as she did, in a hooded patchwork of faux fur, lacy knickers and tight-high lipstick-slick red boots, perfect to walk on anyone so inclined, there were still a few gasps at how literally Ashish chose to perform his theme. Forget the teases, hints and innuendos of fashion past: female sexual freedom, in 2015, allows women to dress up as provocatively as they please. And with SEX spelled in large-scale pearls, and sequinned lingerie worn on its own under camouflage parkas, it’s clear that according to Ashish at least, they please to do so very much indeed. It’s the kind of look your neighbours would be shocked by – although it would be worth it, if only for you to address them as Bree does: “Tell me, Klute. Did we get you a little? Huh? Just a little bit? Us city folk? The sin, the glitter, the wickedness? Huh?”.