Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Magnolia... What???

Yesterday I was sent reeling. I was introduced to something that I just can't seem to wrap my mind around: Magnolia Pearl.*

I was shooting video for my buddy, Clover Carroll, out at Marburger Farm at Round Top yesterday for a web show he's putting together when we stumbled across a booth that was just buzzing with activity - Magnolia Pearl. There were women in what I would describe as various states of undress and disheveldness pouring through racks and shelves of what I thought were feed sacks.  It turns out the feed sacks were clothes.  And they were seriously lapping them up with gusto.
The interior design blogger we were filming, Holly Mathis, was well familiar with the brand, as was Rachel, Clover's wife (and co-host of the show).  They both loved Magnolia Pearl.

To me, Clover and our sound guy, it looked like... well, just old tattered crap.  As we were sitting around at lunch talking about it, Clover summed it up pretty well.  He said it looked like they should've broken out in a chorus of "It's a Hard Knock Life" at any moment.   My thoughts were a little more raw and less poetic, as usual.  I thought the clothes looked like what old west hookers would wear when they were hanging around the whorehouse during the day.

I've been thinking about it some more.  If I had to describe Magnolia Pearl I would say it's "Sharecropper Shabby Chic."  I happen to like the Shabby Chic look (I got to meet Rachel Ashwell while we were there, too... and couldn't help but wonder if she hangs around in Magnolia Pearl - I doubt it, but who knows?)

When I got home and mentioned Magnolia Pearl to Kristi, she, too, said she loooooved their stuff.

Say what??!!?

How could I not know that the woman that I love - the mother of my children - has a secret desire to dress like she's straight out of the Industrial Revolution? It's bad enough that we're poor enough to BE sharecroppers, but does she really want to look like one, too?

I was truly shocked.  How is it that all these ladies not only were totally in tune with this brand, but also looooooved them some Magnolia Pearl, and none of us guys had ever even heard of such a thing?

Shocked.  Just shocked.  I'm not shocked that something like Magnolia Pearl exists - I'm floored that ladies absolutely love it.

I get the irony of it all - it looks old and tattered and cheap, but it's actually new and expensive ($250 for a pair of bloomers).  I guess I can't see people actually wearing this stuff out anywhere - to the mall or to church or to the movies.  The ladies I saw walking around Round Top looked, well, ridiculous to my eye.  Maybe it's just a "working around the house (or around the farm?) kinda thing.  I guess that's one thing.  Maybe that's Magnolia Pearl's niche - "what to wear around the house to be comfortable when your furs are out being cleaned..." People would think I was nuts if I bought a pair of $250 ripped up and worn out sweat pants.

I make fun because I still just can't understand it. But then, I'm a jeans and t-shirt kinda guy.  I've never claimed to understand women's high fashion.

*Note: if anyone from Magnolia Pearl ever actually reads this, three notes about your website:
1. it's buggy in Chrome and Safari and scrolls very, very quickly by itself so that you can't actually see the images.  Could've been a Flash player error, but that's actually worse because your low-bandwidth site gives a 400 bad request error. In fact, almost every page other than the front page on your store gave me a 404 error.  You might want to look in to getting that fixed.
3. Try as I might (in three different browsers) I couldn't seem to add white bloomers or a white dress to a shopping cart.  Rose bloomers?  No problems there. But I had loooots of problems with your shopping cart. Seems like a kind of important thing to have working properly, no?  
3. Please, for the love of all this holy, make it easier to turn off the music on your site.  Sites that begin playing music by themselves are the worst things.  Ever.  Sites that play music and have no easy way to turn it off are even worse and are on par with those websites you go to where there are fifteen animated ads all flashing at you at the same time.


Anonymous said...

A. I've never had one single problem with the Magnolia Pearl site.
B. You're not supposed to "get it". You're a guy. You only care about women's clothes with regard to how well they show off T and A.
C. You have a volume control/mute feature on your computer. Learn to use it. I'm guessing you aren't very computer saavy, which is why you had such trouble with the website. Your computer is probably not up for the job or is jammed full of crap that is slowing it down, and you probably don't know how to fix that.

James Pharaon said...

Dear "anonymous..."

Well, aren't you brave - anonymously posting a bunch of hateful suppositions. You obviously know nothing about me or you'd know that everything you wrote is wrong (except for the part about being a guy. That I am.)

But thanks for stopping in and pissing on my lawn.

Chenoa Desiree Albert said...

I'm a WOMAN and sure as hell don't get it! And neither does my husband. I'm pretty sure I could purchase a set of bed sheets, from Walmart, and create the same look. A woman's body is a beautiful work of art, and these clothes ( in particular ) seem to want to totally eclipse that. But my 60 year old mother likes them. Guess that might be the demographic that chose to target.

Jamie Sue said...

HAHA! Guess how I found this blog post? I typed "who actually wears magnolia pearl" in my browser. I totally don't get it. My mother-in-law introduced me to this clothing line, and browsing through their site just confused me. My mother-in-law owns a shop that is "shabby chic" at it's finest, and even she doesn't get it. Apparently it's part of a whole style of dressing called lagenlook. Robin "Magnolia Pearl" Brown just took it to the country, rubbed it in dirt, added some lace, and bits of old feed sacks, and called it a $350 dress. yikes! Thanks for the post!

Jaye Porter said...

LOL! I also found this by posting "who actually wears Magnolia Pearl" and I'm also female. I think the website is lovely in a dreamy, romantic, western hooker hanging out at the ranch-esque look but I have never seen anyone wearing this stuff. Except at vintage & antique shows, and even then not often. When she came out with her line of feedsack clothing I nearly choked down my coffee laughing. I think she's laughing all the way to the bank.

awal.ny said...

I just visited a shop that sells Magnolia Pearl clothing and the prices just blow me away. I could buy a whole outfit for one pair of pants. I never have seen anyone in the Buffalo area wearing this kind of clothing except the shop keeper and her friends. Not my style.

Violet said...

I get the appeal of Magnolia Pearl. I love lagenlook... and, yes, I am a 57 year old woman. But, I would never buy this stuff. I think, back in the day when Robin Brown was starting out, her clothing was pretty; but, lately it looks really bad. Moth eaten wool men's dress pants that looks like the model is carrying a load of crap in, topped with a see through nightie? The makeup and hair on the models looks terrible. I don't get why women want to look like dissipated and diseased western whores on opium.

Anonymous said...

Not only is their stuff crazy expensive, it's also gotten more butt-ugly as the years have gone by. The new stuff is supposed to be edgy, but it's just mostly ridiculous. The jersey style T-shirts which have that moth eaten look are $100. It's a weird cult that loves this stuff. They seem to buying more into the whole Magnolia Pearl expeience than the actual clothing itself. I actually love Lagenlook fashion, but the MP stuff is by far the ugliest and least flattering of all of that genre of attire.

Anonymous said...

Is there a Magnolia Pearl recovery group?
the first step is admitting you have a problem...
I do thanks to your humorous awakening sort of realistic man-view.
I love love love the look.
But can I have just one dress?

Queen Rose said...

Ugliest ridiculous looking clothes I’ve ever seen. Magnolia Pearl must be laughing all the way to the bank is right!! Embarrassing.