MON., DEC. 18, 2006
If Abercrombie and Fitch wanted to really be controversial, they would put up a huge billboard next to I-35 featuring Santa’s shirtless, unripped, extruded pink torso in some red denim hip huggers with the fly unzipped…just enough to expose his snowy white treasure trailhead, but not enough to free the salty Cyclops, as it were. That, would be controversial. That would be a billboard worth getting rear-ended under (pause here, meditate on your compulsive need to pop off with some sort of anal sex bon mot). Instead, this holiday season A&F has taken the high road, pushing well-defined, shirtless torsos; taut, hairless, bas relief renditions of the type of fundamental abdominal musculature we all possess, albeit under several inches of luxurious adipose insulation. Kudos to A&F for focusing on what’s really important: our similarities. Instead of adopting a divisive “we-are-all-snowflakes” marketing mentality like other companies, A&F is saying, “Regardless of all the cellulite, hair, stretchmarks, moles, and poorly thought out tattoos, deep inside we’re all the same … we’re all ripped.” Genius. Ralph Lauren must be suicidal for not thinking of it first. Just because you almost never see a shirtless, svelte twentysomething pimping an unzipped parka, doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. This is Austin. We may be a little light on parkas, but any town where Matthew McConaughey routinely parks his trailer is ripe for shirtlessness. Give A&F some credit: they could have gone for some slick, CGI animation of bare, bloody musculature, but instead they went classy and used only slightly photoshopped models with smooth bronzed skin, smoldering, steely eyed gazes and perfectly round, tiny brown nipples. If you can’t see yourself in an A&F model, maybe you aren’t looking hard enough, or maybe you need to look somewhere else entirely. How about the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar? Anywhere you go shopping during the holidays you’re going to encounter a disturbing cross-section of humanity, but the Bazaar boasts a disturbing cross section of old Austin hippie humanity, which though wrinkly and long-winded is at least colorfully noncorporate. Plus you get the classic Austin reach-around of live music. Christmas Eve features Django’s Moustache, a Hot Greezy Gonzo Reunion, and the Texana Dames. Admit it, you weren’t planning on doing your shopping until then anyway, were you?