Fashion Statements: hot look for a cold winter | Calendar | Chicago Reader

Fashion Statements: hot look for a cold winter 

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We met Logan Fenley riding north on the number 11. His wrapped, snapped, and capped getup blared warning for blustery blasts to give right-of-way. But our Fashion Chiefs, ever wary of the smoldering ember, wondered if the tough talk reduced to a mere smokescreen.

Fenley turns out in what fire fighters call turnout gear: charcoal fire jacket rescued from Belmont Army Surplus, safety snapped, vapor-barrier lined, and roomy enough to pocket the spare oxygen mask or stray cat.

Unbuckle the D-rings and two more pragmatic tiers--one Sears Roebuck sensible, the other checked-flannel warm--comfort and protect. from beneath the double-duty layers the perversely named Calvin, poster imp of the unruly and the irreverent, poses, his slingshot poised.

Fenley ties up the look with a Clan Stewart tartan (though he traces his own. Scottish roots to the Logans, Kerrs, and Farquharsons) knotted at the neck--sort of an impromptu glengarry, the soft brimless cap with trailing streamers worn by regiments of Scotch Highlanders. Equal parts tradition-bound and hippy-go-lucky, this scarf hat (its precursor debuted in the collections circa 1967) honors the fire fighter's ethic of duty and ingenuity.

Five-alarm grit gear, fronting for brazenly boyish bratliness, accessorized with matching gap-tooth smile and I-won't-grow-up Chuck Taylors, ignites an incendiary Fashion Statement: "Ready, Aim, Fire!"

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Yael Routtenberg.

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