Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Giving away: a bad-luck jacket

Posted By on 05.16.12 at 06:26 AM

FREE, to anyone who dares claim it:

One deep-purple, near-vintage, cotton summer jacket by legendarily inventive designer Issey Miyake.

Meticulously constructed, immensely comfortable and versatile, with top-stitched and embroidered seams, creative yoking, side pockets, and apparent curse.

Dear reader:

Might you want my jacket? And do you believe that clothes have karma?

I don’t, of course.

In spite of a long history that includes the coat of many colors, the glass slippers, the red shoes, the bridal garter, and, by extension, Excalibur, I’m pretty sure it’s all superstitious nonsense.

I did, however, once own a lucky blouse. Softly gathered, cream-colored silk, with a round collar and a row of delicate pearl buttons, it got me a chance to (among other things) cut my teeth as a reporter at one of the best papers in the country, though I had no journalism training and had never published a word.

This jacket, on the other hand, was on my back on the two worst days of my professional life.

I was wearing it over an orange tee, and sitting in the audience at the Mayne Stage on a summer afternoon in 2010, when the 18 student members of a Medill Innovation Project announced that after ten weeks of intense scrutiny, they’d determined that the best way to ensure the future of the Reader would be to drop my column.

It "doesn’t match the new voice we want establish" is how they put it in the printed version of their study.

As for the other—more recent—event, suffice it to say that when it was over I knew the jacket had to go. Loath to either give or throw it away for fear of passing disaster on to some other unwitting recipient, I'd begun to think about a backyard cremation. As in dancing around the fire pit while the thing went up in smoke.

But I’m still an admirer of its quirky gussets, its murky black-plum color, and the obsessive detailing that has hundreds of tiny iris, copper, and black embroidery knots marching along its seams.

And then there’s the uncanny way that its cotton lining can keep you comfortable in either heat or chill.

When Style Week came along, it occurred to me that there may be a brave soul out there who wants this enchanted rag and thinks she (or he) can turn its karma around. If that’s you, and you’re not a dealer or a flipper, drop me an e-mail (disaacs@chicagoreader.com) before midnight May 26, with "bad-luck jacket" in the subject heading and a phone number, and the jacket’s yours. If there’s more than one taker, we’ll have a drawing, winner announced here, June 1.

Be aware, however, that you’re taking this on at your own risk. If not only your job, but your entire industry is threatened with extinction while you’re wearing it, I’m in no way responsible.

And if that doesn’t turn you off, this might: since I wasn’t the first owner, it could be a knockoff.

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