Vena Cava + Lena Dunham

Last year, Vena Cava did a series of portraits of friends and family, from acrobats to one of the designers' moms, wearing Vena Cava. Not only are the portraits yet another novel way of presenting their designs in lieu of a standard runway show, they reflect the point of view that the way clothes are worn is totally up for interpretation by the wearer.

Lena Dunham in Vena Cava
Actress in a canned wine campaign. Meant to look carefree but wondering why her boyfriend hasn’t called her back in almost thirteen hours.
Lena Dunham is featured in one of the most awesome installments, and since both Vena Cava and Ms. Dunham are unveiling their next episodes, Viva Vena!, a more affordable spin-off line, and Girls Season 2, respectively, I thought it deserved reviving. All captions and blocked text by Lena Dunham.

Lena Dunham in Vena Cava
Icelandic high school girl obsessed with Snoop Dogg, wearing her mom’s best jacket. She wants to be a rapper but is scared to write any raps. Right now is the time of year when it never gets dark and she’s been forced to stay inside most of the time to study so she won’t be held back. She’s posing for an art student who saw her at a record store and is doing a thesis photo project on youth culture.

My primary concern with clothing has never been that it be flattering. This was exemplified by my first major purchase, a Daryl K balloon dress with an African scrawl pattern that would have highlighted the key attributes of a waif but actually caused someone on the subway to offer up their seat to me. My pot belly or pale expanse of thigh can be valid accessories to certain looks, while some outfits require I twist my torso and pull my shoulders back in service of style. Even then, it’s not about beauty—I am much more anxious that it make me feel like a character I can get behind and check in with during the day.
That desire is what led me to wear a kilt, high-heeled sketchers with knee-high nylons and a red vinyl mini-backpack to the first day of fourth grade, a day that included aggressive dodge ball (during which I refused to remove the backpack, because WWCHD—what would Cher Horowitz do?)

Lena Dunham in Vena Cava
I’m a British model very concerned about something the photographer just told me. “Dolphins are going extinct? We have to do something! But first—do you have any coke?”
The biggest fight I ever had with my mother was because I wore a banana printed crop top and navy spandex leggings on a trip to the Vatican. As a Jew, I think she was worried about blending but I wanted to feel like a slutty Polish cleaning lady.
My nightgowns are purchased to cultivate a Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion self-imposed house-arrest vibe, while if a gentleman is coming over for tea I’ll switch into some shorts meant to summon Reese Witherspoon’s wistful Elvis-loving Southern teen in Man In The Moon (and then I spend the whole hang out session tugging the hem of said shorts, wishing they were pants but knowing that reappearing in a maxi-dress would only call more attention to the issue.)

Lena Dunham in Vena Cava
An open lesbian since age 17. Now 23, she never wears a dress, but she’s putting one on for her grandfather’s funeral because she knows it means a lot to her mom.

I bought my exercise sneakers from a small Latina girl who I now pretend to be when I exercise.
I recently drank some red wine on a school night, could feel it sloshing around in my stomach and reported to work the next morning in a men’s button-down, tapered sweats and a pair of house slippers. It took me a while to put my finger on it, but the look was very middle-aged accomplice girlfriend of a child molester.
It’s always nice when the clothes can reach a happy middle-ground—my mother is proud to leave the house with me but I’m privately summoning some other person to be. Vena Cava’s pieces help me feel like all the characters lurking within (this would be a great thing for them to write on promotional materials, especially if they are promoting at a home for schizophrenic women.)
Also, rest assured I don’t do different voices for these girls. They may all kiss differently though. Let’s test it out!
Lena Dunham in Vena Cava
Have you ever read William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury? I read half of it. So did this girl, and then she had sex with one of her cousins. She wouldn’t do it again but it doesn’t keep her up at night or anything. She was born in New Jersey but has relatives outside New Orleans who she really relates to. She acts like she’s very confident about that hat, even wears it inside at dinner, but she’s had her moments of doubt.

What I particularly love about Lena Dunham's musings on the characters she channels in Vena Cava is that they embody the idea of 'fashion akrasia' for me. To verge willingly towards the bad (at best unflattering and at worst offensive), in service of a desire to connect with or conjure a character is a take that makes fashion interesting. These aren't lifeless garments walking down a runway on a girl whose personality is never revealed to be more than that of a hanger — they're worn by someone interesting, inhabited, interpreted, mixed up with unrelated articles. They're unique, and they tell a story whose next chapters you're really excited to read.