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A Ludicrously Capacious Bag
...and a very timely playlist.
If you’re even faintly familiar with HBO’s Succession, then you know it follows the powerful and deceitful Roy family, billion-dollar magnates in a high-stakes game of patrimonial chess for the crown of Daddy’s approval — and his company. It is arguably what began the whole “quiet luxury” rumble a few years back, when Kendall Roy’s brandless Loro Piana ball caps became an IYKYK social signal to the masses.
One of the most entertaining things about watching the Roys is that they are deeply elitist snobs — overeducated, under-parented, tone-deaf, and terrible. Which makes the razor-sharp insults they lob at one another a ping-pong of writerly triumph. Sunday’s episode had one of the best insults I’ve ever heard on TV — all centered around an (objectively sad) Burberry tote.
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“So I hear you’ve made an enormous faux pas and everyone’s laughing up their sleeves about your date,” says Tom.
“What, why?” says Greg.
“She’s brought a ludicrously capacious bag.” He hisses. “What’s even in there? Flat shoes for the subway? Her lunch pail? Greg, it’s monstrous. It’s gargantuan. You can take it camping. You can slide it across the floor after a bank job.”
Fashion is a powerful plot device on Succession.wrote a great newsletter this week about how the show employs it. She writes:
“The offending bag was a boxy Burberry plaid affair with handles and (horror) a removable shoulder strap. It could either be one of those things you didn’t know Burberry still sold or a Canal Street counterfeit. Regardless, Tom is clear that to the people in that room, who never take public transit and have idling town cars instead of utilitarian handbags, it reeks of middle class desperation.
[Tom] continues, “She’s used all the display towels in the bathroom and now they’re sopping wet. She’s gabbling about herself and posting on social media. She’s asking people personal questions and she’s wolfing all the canapés like a famished warthog.”
When Greg says “people are overreacting” and “she brought a normal sort of handbag,” Tom replies, “You are a laughing stock in polite society. You will never go to the opera again.”
These writers are so damn good. That dialogue is so crisp you could put a slice of gruyère on it and eat it. Something Greg’s date surely did at that party.
On Succession, fashion is more than what designates the haves from the have-nots, it’s how one demonstrates — knowingly or not — that you belong, or you don’t.
The chicest character on the show is Naomi Pierce. Her key scene in the season premiere had her in a breezy Proenza look well-suited to her unbothered persona — not the first time she’s donned them, either. I seem to remember another key black and white Proenza look seasons back.
It reminded me how actually, real-life chic Annabelle-Dexter Jones, the actress who plays her is. From Vanity Fair:
Dexter-Jones comes from a creative family: Her parents are jewelry designer Ann Dexter-Jones (whose chain pieces Naomi wears in the show) and Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones, and among her siblings are music producer Mark Ronson, designer Charlotte Ronson, and DJ Samantha Ronson. “Not to get all Psych 101, but I think that my own personal life growing up was pretty chaotic,” Dexter-Jones says of the appeal of the aesthetic consistency she saw in her friends’ homes. As an adult, she occasionally channels that childhood fantasy into her personal style, but finds that she can’t fully commit to it. But, she says, “I get to really do that with Naomi.”
I loved Dexter-Jones’ red carpet look for the show’s season four premiere, which is the very reason why I sat down to write this issue in the first place. What especially stood out to me was the way she styled her look with a leather jacket over her shoulders — it looks like it could be by Khaite. The whole thing jogged my memory.
A little history break: back in ye olden days, this newsletter was a blog. A long-running one, in fact, with a magazine column and many accolades. And then I burned out and shut it down somewhere around 2018, only to re-emerge from the proverbial ashes two years ago with this, its current iteration on Substack. Some of you already know this, but the history is important here, given that I’m about to treat you to a deep pull from the archives.
Annabelle Dexter-Jones was a guest DJ for the OG Love List in 2013, a recurring feature where I asked my creative/girl crushes to make playlists for the blog. I thought it was timely to pull it back out since it’s still a fantastic song lineup.
Imagine Kendall Roy blaring it on his enormous headphones.
I think it’s time I brought this feature back, what do you think?