I love going to the American Apparel store on Lower Broadway.
Sure, great cotton basics in fun colors are a huge draw for me. But, even when I’m not shopping for myself, I like to drop by the store just to see what the sales staff is wearing.
They always look so cool — and they’re fun to talk fashion with.
During one of my AA expeditions about a month ago, I started chatting with a dark-haired beauty behind the counter named Aria. It didn’t take us long to discover that we have a bit in common.
In addition to our shared passion for the look of London in the late ‘60s and New York in the early ‘80s, we are both former New Yorkers and veterans of the fashion industry there. We even have a few mutual friends.
I liked Aria immediately. She’s kind and intelligent, and passionate about being creative in all aspects of her life.
Since then, we’ve kept in touch. We met for brunch that weekend (she was carrying a leopard print Betsey Johnson bag and wearing vintage Maud Frizon shoes that were to die for) and have exchanged several e-mails. I have my ears open for prospective styling opportunities for her; she’s promised to keep me in the loop regarding the debut of A Perfectly Good Waste of Paper, the local fashion/art/lifestyle ‘zine she and some buddies are creating.
I asked Aria to take the Arbitrarian Questionnaire — the Style Arbiter’s recurring Q&A series inspired by the ones famously taken by Marcel Proust — because I am intrigued by the eclectic mix of people, places and ideas that inspire her fashion collection (her line is called Parlour); her music (I was floored by the gorgeous voice I heard coming out of my computer when I clicked on Aria’s Myspace page) and her lovely haute, bohemian way of dressing.
Read on and I’m sure you’ll agree.
THE ARBITARIAN QUESTIONNAIRE
Name: Aria Cavaliere
What’s your signature style? Avant cowgirl.
What look do you like to see most worn by a man? Jeans tucked into boots.
What look do you like to see most worn by a woman? Confidence and high heels.
To which “fashion tribe” do you belong? Charity Shop Chic.
What’s the worst trend you’ve ever bought into? Asymmetric hair.
What Nashville stores do you enjoy shopping the most? Estelle’s Consignment, Betsey Johnson, Katy K’s Ranch Dressing.
What’s your dream outfit? Anything that Bowie wore during his Ziggy Stardust era.
What’s your least favorite piece of clothing to see worn by others? Uggs. Ugh!
What are your favorite non-Nashville cities and stores to shop? New York (Anna Sui, Beacon’s Closet, The Good The Bad and the Ugly) and London (Topshop, Kokon To Zai).
What is your favorite color? Purple.
What is your favorite local hangout or restaurant? The library.
What’s your Nashville spot to people watch? International Market.
Who are your favorite writers? Anais Nin, John Irving, Beatrix Potter.
Who are your favorite fashion icons? Betsey Johnson, Marianne Faithful, Keith
Richards, Penelope Tree, Anita Pallenberg and The GTOs.
What kind of music do you enjoy? Fifties rockabilly, Sixties soul and psychedelic rock, and Eighties pop and New Wave.
Who are your favorite musical artists? Brenda Lee, The Sonics, Prince — the list goes on.
Who are other Nashvillians whose styles you appreciate? The kids in the band Jypsi!
What recent fashion trend do you dislike most? Louis Vuitton handbag overkill
What look would you never wear but love seeing on others? Bettie Page bangs.
What do you want to be buried in? An Ossie Clark gown and Biba platform shoes.
What do you have on right now? A kimono.
What items of clothing do you find yourself buying over and over again? Second hand dresses and YSL sunglasses!
What’s been your biggest fashion splurge? A vintage Chloe dress.
What’s your style motto? Never be afraid to be daring: life is too short.