Is there anything more jarring than a red poinsettia bursting forth from a pot wrapped in green foil? Red and green are an objectively gruesome combo. Oh, don’t get all dolly defensive! When was the last time you bought a red-and-green couch or a red-and-green floral pantsuit? Simply because it’s the holidays, we are drowning in shades of rouge and leprechaun. It’s time to rebel. Let’s take back the silent night.
To start with, stash all the red and green in the attic—give it a year off!—and festoon your abode with all manner of mod black-and-white party décor. For one-stop shopping, it’s hard to beat Stumps, America’s Prom and Party Favorite Since 1926. During my storied window dressing career—how many writers have any kind of window dressing career, never mind a storied one?—I had frequent recourse to the treasure trove that is the Stumps prom-planners’ catalog. The options are myriad. For starters, why not flank your festivities with some op-art swirly panels? Fill in any empty corners with clouds of black-and-white polka-dot helium balloons.
Now that the décor is headed in a groovy and graphic direction, let’s tackle the bigger problem: gifts. The dizzying amount of available product has turned gift-giving into a time-consuming and misery-engendering obligation. Good tidings: Applying that black-and-white theme will radically circumscribe the options, thereby simplifying the task. Let’s circumscribe them one step further. I decree that all of this year’s gifts shall be adorned with black-and-white vertical stripes. #slimming.
Do you secretly loathe your family and friends and, as a result, are you disinclined to splurge on them? Or maybe you are just cash-strapped. Or maybe you are just pathologically cheap. In any case, the bargain basement is the place for you. My pick for the black-and-white-striped bargain of this season is this Fierce Fabulous jumpsuit, reduced to $89. Fiercest of all, this little puppy goes all the way up to a Size 28.
What about something for the bargain-basement dude? Also coming in at $89 is a super-slimming Juventus soccer jersey. The iconic stripes of this storied Turin-based team—it’s almost as storied as my window dressing career—positively drip with European savoir-faire. Not dissimilar, but seriously lacking in European savoir-faire, I offer you an alternative: a simple $25 U.S. football referee jersey. If you go for the ref shirt, you will have saved so much money that it would be churlish not to throw in a $1.99 referee whistle.
Looking for a gender-neutral stripey bargain? For him or her—or, to use the non-gender-binary terms, ze or hir—you cannot beat that old standby, the classic black-and-white vertical-striped legging ($19.99). Great for the gal or transperson who is looking to shave a few pounds off her pins. Great for the dude—snag the XL—who wants to reconnect with his ’80s Twisted Sister, headbanger youth.
Bargain-bargain-basement: If you have zero shekels to spend and you live within shrieking distance of New York City, treat your pals to a tour of the strange and fabulous Baz Luhrmann-and-Catherine Martin–designed Barneys windows. As the former designer of these storied vignettes, I give Baz Dazzled a major thumbs up. Good work, cobbers!
If, on the other hand, you have cash to burn, why not give the gift of kunst? Call your art adviser (for the super-rich, the art adviser is the new personal trainer, the difference being you don’t end up having sex with your art adviser because they tend not to be hot) and tell him/her that you wish to shower your pals with black-and-white-striped art. Atop my personal list is a nifty William Klein still from his kooky movie Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo? A signed 16-by-20-inch print can be purchased for $4,000 from the Howard Greenberg Gallery. If you really want to drop some major coin, then tell your not-especially-attractive art adviser to scan the horizon for a Bridget Riley or a Barnett Newman.*
You can also help someone stripe up her bedroom. Headboards may not be the easiest things to giftwrap, but they make great gifts. Why? So many people—and by people, I do of course mean heterosexual people—do not have one. While the gays would not dream of getting into a bed without a tufty headboard, the straights doltishly slam their beds up against grim sheet-rock walls and lean agonizingly thereupon. Help a hetero this holiday: Give the gift of a squishy reclining surface.
Alright already with the cushy luxury and the stripey glamour. It’s time for a little yuletide caring and seasonal mindfulness. Not everybody is shrieking with mirth this Christmas/Hanukkah. Many people today are losing hope and struggling with the same hard-hitting question: Where, on this good Earth, shall I store my Quaaludes? Jonathan Adler—aka my husband—to the rescue.
Have a stripey holiday!
*Correction, Dec. 12, 2014: This article originally misspelled Barnett Newman’s first name. (Return.)