So Chic, Very Chic: Chanel Ayan’s School for Glamorous Women

10 views 4:54 pm 0 Comments July 5, 2024

This is So Chic, Very Chic, PAPER’s examination of Bravo’s sprawling cohort of fashion obsessives. From haute couture to TJ Maxx, they’ve literally worn it all. Sometimes they stunt, sometimes they turn the look, and sometimes they burn holes in retinas my ophthalmologist says might never heal.

They told me there was something to celebrate this week and gave me the day off to prove that point. I don’t know what they’re all talking about though, as I was too busy watching Love Island.

The American season of the hit British heterosexual torture program premiered a few weeks ago, helmed by Vanderpump Rules’ very own Ariana Madix. It’s mostly more of the same, except she trots around in tiny little outfits and makes people cry around the fire pit once or twice a week. The men cheat, the women cheat back, everyone yells, falls in love, breaks up, does it all over again. Really, the only difference stateside from our monarchist forebears is that now I have to sit on my couch and know these men are my problem and not some woman’s problem from Stratford-upon-Hartford in Lancastershire-upon-Thames.

So there I sat yesterday, watching a man break the heart of a lovely little girl named Kaylor from Delco in my home state of Pennsylvania (greatest in the world), when a friend texted me.

“Do you have any plans today?”
“No, not really, because Love Island is on.”
“Do you want to go to a BBQ?”
“Why would there be a BBQ? Love Island is on.”
“Girl, it’s the Fourth of July.”
“Don’t know her and wouldn’t celebrate her if I did.”
“Ok, just get dressed.”
“What about ‘Love Island is on’ did you miss!”

My boss texted me this morning to ask if I had a nice time yesterday on this so-called Fourth of July and if this column is ready. I haven’t texted back yet because I’m working on it as we speak, and also because I didn’t have a nice time yesterday. Producers sent Kaylor from Delco a video of her man with a woman bouncing on his dick and she had a multi-stage breakdown. Horrible stuff, really, and I was up all night worrying about her.

Some other things happened this week too — some of which are the outfits we’ll talk about below. Shall we?

The Real Housewives of New Jersey

Marg Josephs

Well doesn’t Marg look festive in her little sequin getup! I quite like that it simultaneously looks like a bedazzled Adidas zip-up tracksuit for Jersey housewives and a jumpsuit for aging comedians with Vegas residencies. A good garment will always multitask. She’s also got the Charli XCX for Vogue eye makeup tutorial going, except she missed the part where Charlotte smudges the top lid for dramatic effect. Overall, the ensemble is reminiscent of that space challenge from RuPaul’s Drag Race season three, with Delta and Raja and Boobarella.

Danielle Cabral

Speaking of Jersey housewives, don’t you want to bottle Danielle’s essence and sell it back in a Britney Spears-shaped perfume bottle? There’s nothing quite like an actual track suit with a sequined bustier underneath and a spray tan dark enough to act as camouflage in a late-2000s Tuscan revival mansion out in Woodland Hills, California. Just imagine walking into Wawa off the Atlantic City Expressway, and that bustier blinds you while nabbing a pork roll and one of those disgusting drinks with the chunky fruit slices and crushed ice. You drop the pork roll and drink and slip on both, causing a chain reaction that ends with the new pizza machine exploding and the 47 pounds of hair in Danielle’s head igniting in a plume of toxic gasses. Elsewhere in the world, a butterfly lands on a leaf. Time and space and tracksuits and stoned bustiers: They really make you think, don’t they?

The Real Housewives of Dubai

Chanel Ayan

My queen stepped out in her best Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby fit to look at Caroline Stanbury’s new McMansion in Dubai. Caroline, for the occasion, put on an animal print polyester slip dress and readers, because her eyes aren’t so good anymore. All in, the dress is sublime because it is so comically out of place in the harsh Dubai sun at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday. The details are right, like the gloves, but I also appreciate the human touches, like the half-obscured pendant necklace that’s probably sentimental for her and that she wears everywhere.

Aside: I bet this is what it feels like when Disney World characters are backstage talking to their managers in their mom jeans and white tank bodysuits, nervously shifting around in a ballgown in a break room that faintly smells of mildew.

Sara Al Madani

I can never get a very good read on Sara, obscured as she is by Paolo Santo smoke and towers of crystals and incense and tarot cards and astrology charts and self-help books for girl boss entrepreneurs in the wellness-infused alcohol space. This episode, I managed to peak behind the clutter and see a very polished, gorgeous outfit with nice details, great styling and a color on a dress I can’t stop thinking about!

Chanel Ayan, Caroline Brooks and Saba Yussouf

Not much to say here except that everyone looked glamorous at this dinner, Sara and Chanel especially!

Caroline Brooks

Speaking of the RPDR season three space challenge, along came Brooks in her castaway Renaissance tour outfit (this season was filmed in early 2023). The look is so garish as to be unbelievable, tacky in the extreme, weird, off-putting and just plain disastrous. As such, I loved it completely. I mean, who else will show up to a luxury restaurant in Dubai in an Amazon costume quite like Caroline Brooks?

Chanel Ayan and Caroline Stanbury

Chanel wore this Pierpaolo Piccioli cast-off for a desert excursion, which again continues her trend of outrageous outfits in inappropriate places. Caroline, for her part, wore a sensible suit and top-knot, and together, they buried their differences on the rolling dunes of Dubai. If there’s shot of a show that’s quintessentially Real Housewives, it’s this one. Glamour and excess and sparkling wine in an ugly parking lot, or beautiful desert vista.

Okay, work’s done! Let’s go get drunk.

Photos courtesy of Bravo/ NBCUniversal Media, LLC


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