Shostakovich in tight jeans


SCIENTISTS DON’T wear lab coats for protection. They wear them because no one wants to see the way nerds dress.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic didn’t understand this critical fact when it launched Casual Fridays -- hourlong concerts followed by a meet-the-musicians mixer -- to draw a younger crowd. The problem is that without their tuxedos and gowns, orchestra members are stripped to their high-school-band-geek essence. On stage, there have been fanny packs, sandals with socks, Hawaiian shirts, maternity clothes worn by the non-pregnant. Nobody is getting any after a date that involves Shostakovich played by dudes in sweatpants. And that’s the sole point of going to the symphony.

But, thanks to me, tonight’s performance will have fewer fashion casualties. I got a friend who’s a stylist to dress two violinists and a bassist at M. Fredric, the casual-clothing chain where Teri Hatcher, Heather Locklear and Tori Spelling shop. That’s a violin trio I’d go see. A catfight is taken to a whole new level when women are wielding Strads.


Lash Fary, who gets free clothes and jewelry for celebrities and dresses them for events, has M. Fredric as a client, so he was able to score the fashion makeovers. In return, the store gets the cavalcade of publicity that comes from dressing members of the L.A. Phil. This is the grease that keeps the sleazy world of classical music going.

Fary first went to work on David Allen Moore, the fourth-chair bass who recently lost 20 pounds and developed a complicated series of belts and shoulder shrugs to keep everything on. He showed up wearing crocs and socks. Looking down at his plastic ventilated shoes, he explained, “I never have drainage issues.”

Fary sent him to the changing room with jeans and a layered, long-sleeved T-shirt. After a few minutes, Moore yelled out, “I’m having trouble discerning the front.” Also, the straight-leg Monarchy jeans felt tighter than his pair from the Gap. “I feel like I’d have to decide not to have a family,” he said. Fary persuaded him to suffer. “Fashion is about looking your best, not feeling as comfortable as possible.” If bassists are this easy to bully, I’m pretty sure we could get the guy who plays the triangle to sport chaps and a leather vest. Tonight, Moore will also be wearing a Western-inspired shirt that’s white with a blue floral print. And hopefully, some sneakers.

Kristine Hedwall -- second violin, third chair -- sits in the front center of the stage, which, she explained, means absolutely no short skirts. Her larger problem is that half her closet consists of concert gowns and the rest is sweats, jeans and stuffy church attire. Last month, she forgot it was Casual Friday and wound up wearing some kind of deconstructed version of her formal gown which, I’m told, was not nearly as hot as it sounds.

Because Hedwall’s a size 0, everything looked good on her. Though I’ll never know about the short shorts I handed her through the dressing room curtain, saying, “Lash wants to see how these look on you.” I could have fooled a third violin, fourth chair with that.

Eventually, Hedwall settled on a chocolate crochet halter dress and some gold-glitter ballet flats. I think she also settled on avoiding me at the meet-and-greet after the concert tonight.


Associate concert master Bing Wang, the third most important person in the orchestra overall, is the one who, despite being super-skinny, once showed up in maternity wear. “It was velvety, so it didn’t look like maternity clothes,” she insisted. “It was a stretchy tank top. It looks sort of dressy.”

When Wang emerged from the dressing room in a blue print dress, her hands covered her mouth. “I’m shocking myself! Ha ha! The color contrast! Ha ha! I wouldn’t dare!” Fary’s friend, actress and radio host Jackie Guerra -- who is on today’s “Tyra Banks Show” talking about her weight loss and boob job -- lowered her sunglasses to look Wang over: “Can I just tell you how cute your butt looks? Good times, sister.” Wang decided to hold back a bit: She chose a black camisole (to hide any decolletage) under a leopard-print top with a braided leather empire-waist belt. She picked out black, cropped cargo pants with gold accents. And she looked so happy. “I feel sexy but not intimidated. I think they’re going to whistle,” she said. “I know I’ll blush.”

For a minute, I felt great. Then I realized I was just feeling the kind of shallow, faux-charity self-congratulations that Tyra trades in. Or, worse yet, I thought looking at Wang’s smile, maybe it actually is great.