The “Very Unusual” Fashion Show at the Heart of True Stories

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Nov 28, 2018


It’s not every day that you see duds like these. One of the boldest splashes of local color in David Byrne’s True Stories—a genre-defying odyssey to the weird and wonderful world of north-central Texas—comes midway through, during a fashion show at an area mall. As the models take to the catwalk, and the emcee breaks out in song, the clothes get more and more outlandish: adult evening wear on pint-sized kids, floral headdresses that seem to fill the atrium, oversize garments patterned after brick walls, lawns, and wedding cakes.

Among the supplements on our new edition of True Stories is a making-of documentary that touches on this surreal pageant, whose off-the-wall outfits were the brainchild of artist Adelle Lutz. In the above clip, Byrne describes his desire to pay tribute to the kind of “vernacular creativity” on display at masquerade balls and cotillions all over the country, while Lutz talks about the wide-ranging influences—from the turf-covered suits of performance artist Gene Pool to the exhaustive Sears Roebuck catalog—that inspired the sequence’s heightened reality.