I’m just going to come out and say it bluntly: today I’m recommending you glean inspiration for your holiday looks from the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky. I can’t think of… anything more incongruous than that mildly heinous old man (I am not a Jodorowsky apologist, separating art from artist etc.) and the dulcet tones of “All I Want For Christmas is You,” but there are some essential similarities in the aesthetics of his films, especially Santa Sangre which has maintained its status as one of my favorite films of all time over 6 years and 30+ viewings, and the vibes I think it is best to project at a holiday shindig.
The sweet spot in holiday attire rests at the midpoint of the sacred and the profane, somewhere on the continuum from camp to transcendence. If the sacred and transcendent exist on their own, the look loses all levity and one might begin to look like a child forced to dress up for a joyless mass or service at the synagogue, but too profane and campy and one might start to look like a character from The Office (or worse, someone who’d corner you at a party and attempt to make you laugh with lines straight from The Office). Jodorowsky’s films situate themselves so deftly in the crossbows of these dichotomies that, if you have no idea what I’m talking about right now, watch 20 minutes of Santa Sangre and you’ll get it.
The balance of sacred/transcendent and profane/campy is essential in pretty much any fit but especially pertinent at a time of year so saturated with both theistic pomp and unrelenting capitalistic aesthetics. The material touchstones of this balance are widely advised in pop magazines but often in ways that veer too far to one side of the paradigm, rendering them stuffy, tacky, or–worst of all–banal. These manifestations of the wintry ST/PC paradigm include: lace, tulle, puffiness, horizontality and verticality, flowiness, sparkle, grandeur, velvet, fluff, gothic aesthetics, precious metals, fringe, and anthropomorphism, to name quite a few.
Here are some suggestions on biting off the J-man’s costume MO to serve your holiday frolicking. I’ve only seen his other films once or twice each, and Santa Sangre is, in my opinion, the richest text to pull from, so I’ll focus on that film.
If you have ever been a 13-year-old girl, or someone with access to a 13-year-old girl’s cache of magazines, it’s likely that Seventeen or some such illustrious publication once advised you, prudently, that sparkles are the go-to embellishment for a holiday fit. Unfortunately, most of their recommendations involved garments shaped such that the wearer appears to have no sense of levity, and camp minus levity = an earnestness that’s almost too raw to witness. Not ideal for a party look.
Tolita Figueroa, the genius behind SS’s costumery, subverted this by dressing Orgo and his mini-me son, Fenix, in costumes both bespangled and hypermasculine. I tragically could not find any non-bespoke clothing that fully fit this bill (nor boots that come anywhere CLOSE to the glory of the ones above), but the key is to choose garments that are tightly bedazzled with sequins on the larger side (more sparse or tiny bedazzling tends to look chintzy and flimsy) and boxily structured. I find that silver works better than any other color for this effect. Fringe is a similarly festive effect that is similarly best when tightly packed and adorning more masculine-fitting garments. White is the way to go to up the transcendence quotient on these looks.
I have spent HOURS doing recon on a tulle-sleeved leotard to mimic the one worn by the GOAT of the film, the mime Alma, and could only find one option for adults. It is wildly expensive and I would wear it in a fraction of a heartbeat. The black keeps it from veering iredeemably into clown town, but it definitely takes a little pit stop there, to incredible effect. I would pair this with loose but tailored black trousers, puffy quilted or athletic pants, or a midi bubble skirt depending on what the vibe of the occasion was. This is my favorite singular garment I’ve turned up for this blog and it pains me that it is not gracing my torso right this second. It is NOT “too much,” it is JUST ENOUGH, I promise.
Would not necessarily recommend showing up to a holiday party in a fringed bra and bejeweled undies set (if it’s a fetish party, please do, there are PLENTY of such sets sold by ex-ravers on Poshmark) but what we can take away from the elephant funeral, one of the most perfectly executed scenes I’ve ever seen on screen, is the necessity of capes in leather or lace. Worn over a skimpy outfit to chill it out or over a tailored suit to juj (zhuzz? jeuge?) it up, a cape is the perfect accessory to add drama and wintery vibes to whatever look you have on underneath. Pair with a thick choker or an epic black headpiece and you are ready for anything from throwing a dead animal into a ditch to talking to drunk coworkers about their awful relationships.
This look that Fenix and his mother, Concha (no spoilers) rock when he is acting as her arms and hands after her unceremonious amputation, is holiday-party-bait. You can literally show up wearing pajamas and the feathers will justify everything. Match with a friend you’re codependent upon for bonus points.
Bet ol’ Jodo would never have thought his grand work of art would become fodder for a holiday party outfits listicle, but here we are! Have you seen SS? If not, I highly recommend you do and let me know what you think of it. As always, head over to instagram @humanrepeller to DM me suggestions as to what you want to see on this blog next. Have a sacred, transcendent, campy, and profane day!