“They can pull anything together and it just works”: British model Ricki Hall regards the homeless as fashion inspiration.
“They can pull anything together and it just works”: British model Ricki Hall regards the homeless as fashion inspiration. Photo: Samir Hussein / Getty Images
There is a moment in Zoolander when evil fashion mogul Mugatu announces a new brand, Derelicte. “It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique,” says the maniacal designer, played with customary comic strength by Will Ferrell.
Life’s tendency to imitate art was confirmed at the weekend when a British model made the critical mistake of giving an interview.
Ricki Hall appeared in the “Life in the Day” section of The Sunday Times Magazine, a diary-esque page at the back of the magazine in which celebrities are given reign to educate readers in their daily routine.
Hall – whose Twitter bio informs that in a previous life he was known as “Ricki F***in Hall” – told his interlocutor of his exercise regimen, which involved a contemplative morning jog.
“I use this time to think about my day, maybe my next fashion statement,” he said. “I take style tips from everything. Even kids and homeless people. They can put anything together and it just works.”
The remark earned Hall the ire of social media, including the inevitable comparisons to Derek Zoolander – the idiot fashion model Mugatu tasks with assassinating the Malaysian prime minister.
Criticism generally echoed the sentiment that homelessness was a sad affliction that destroyed lives, rather than an aesthetic to be mulled over by models.
Of course, “haute homeless” was actually adopted by outlandish and controversial designer John Galliano, on whom Ferrell’s Mugatu was based. The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd reported in 2000 that Galliano’s spring-summer collection boasted rake-thin Dior models who “posed as starving”.
“They came down the runway raggedy and baggy, some swathed in newspapers, with torn linings and inside-out labels, accessorised with empty little green J&B whiskey bottles,” she wrote.
Galliano defended the collection and denounced critics as “bigoted”.
Fast forward to London, 2015, and the appropriation of misfortune for fashion has few fans. Critics on Twitter variously described Hall as a twat, narcissist and insufferable hipster.