Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. -- Revelations 16:15

WELL, DARLINGS, this is it. Armageddon. All the signs are there, as glaringly obvious as fake Armani: wars, famine, plague and pestilence, and, of course, Old Navy. Would you think me horrid if I told you, right at the outset, that you're going straight to HELL? Well, you are. Don't get your Prada in a wada -- it's a compliment, love!

According to the authorities on such things -- the loonies who stand about the sidewalks (wearing, yes, off-the-rack and, yes, praying) and that mind-numbing little rag known as the Bible -- all the best people are Hellbound. Well, what did you expect? Have you ever READ the Bible? It's dreadful, darling -- damned if you do, damned if you don't. For instance: That gorgeous silk top you're wearing do I detect a wee smattering of rayon around the cuffs? And those trousers: a cotton/poly blend? You're going to Hell. (See Leviticus 19: 19.) Do you sport a smart little goatee, nicely sculpted and trimmed, or do you prefer a clean, scrumptious boy-next-door visage? Oops! Hell again! (See Leviticus 19: 26.) And what is that alluring scent you're wearing? Givenchy? Lovely! Hell. (See Exodus 30: 34-38.)

You see? It's simply unavoidable! Especially for those of us who spent lifetimes lurking around the Clinique counter and shopping at Barney's. Besides, even if you could manage it, would you really want to go to Heaven? Jesus may love the little children, but Satan has Baby Gap. And just imagine that, by some colossal cosmic "oops!" you do skirt past St. Peter. What luck -- until you look around and UGH! This season in Heaven it's all about togas and hair shirts. And there is only one season: Forever. And holy men aren't exactly famous for their hygiene, dear (rumor: Gandhi bathed about as often as he ate). And originality? Sin! And those BEARDS! Yes, a smattering of chin hair is de rigueur these days and oh-so-sexy, but in Biblical law it's forbidden for men to even trim their facial hair. Ever! So everyone in Heaven looks like Charles Manson at a frat party. And since perfume and makeup are big Biblical no-no's too well, Paradise looks a lot like Woodstock -- and smells just as bad. And there will surely be no Prada. Dismal.

So to Hell we go! At first, the idea of heading for Hades might be a little unnerving. I'm sure you've heard a host of dreadful rumors. Not to worry! Hell can't be any worse than a gay disco: crowded, smoky, and covered in flames. Besides, it's not really the heat -- it's the humidity. Your hair will probably go flatter than stock after a quarterly earnings report, but your skin will simply GLOW! Hell should be a walk in the park for those of us who spent lifetimes hopping between sauna and tanning bed. Like a facial for all eternity. Sublime! Also, try to bear in mind that Hell, like everything else, is what you make of it. Even for the damned, the first rule of fashion is "If you look good, you feel good." It's so important to keep a positive attitude, after all, and being damned is no reason you can't look your best or have a good time! So when the moon becomes as blood, and the sun as black as sack cloth, when the Four Horsemen ride abroad what are you going to wear? Let's not get caught unprepared when the clock strikes 12 on New Year's and the shit hits the cosmic fan. You will really want to shine, Shine, SHINE!

"But," you may ask, "what difference does it make what I'm wearing if I'm just going to get smitten by the Wrath of the Lamb?" First of all, it always matters what you're wearing. And second, whatever you have on when it's your turn to walk down the runway of the damned will be your signature look for eternity. According to Thessalonians 4:16-18, "The dead shall rise first, then we who are alive shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." So, we have corpses rising from their graves (ugh) and everyone is scooped to the afterlife en masse, Versace and all!

So, while "Does this outfit make me look fat?" might be the last thing on your mind (literally), it is still a valid question. To guarantee a glamorous hereafter, it is wise to be dressed to the nines when the Angel of the Lord comes to cash in your chips! First of all, the Rapture promises to be loud and tacky. But why should you have to dress the part! Your ensemble has to last a while, so I say go with the classics. (No bellbottoms, body glitter, or athletic shoes with little lights in the heels -- PLEASE!) "And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls" (Revelations 14:4). See? The Whore of Babylon has the right idea: Go out with a little class -- simply Dior! Sublime!

"And the first angel blew his trumpet and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood." A simply marvelous opportunity to bring back the hat! Hats are so elegant, aren't they, and a rain of fire and blood (again, UGH!) is the perfect excuse to don an original creation! Philip Treacy's spunky chapeaux are all the rage on the Continent, and what more appropriate way to meet your maker than sporting one of his surrealistic, wide-brimmed head-sculptures? Choose the black-feathered veiled number complete with Christmas tree lights. Striking and practical!

"And the fourth Angel blew his trumpet and a third of the day was kept from shining and darkness descended." Sounds like an ideal moment to make a dramatic entrance in semi-formal eveningwear! Vintage Vivienne Westwood (long sleeves, please -- there are rumors of locusts) or the asymmetrical and chunky full-length knits of Amer Kamal -- available in flame-retardant latex -- are your tickets to a dashing damnation. For the men, nothing says "Take me to my glory!" like a classic navy or charcoal double-breasted suit by Brooks Brothers or American designer Sal eserani -- clean lines, sharp cut, flattering and timeless. Avoid the temptation to go with the baggy Italian numbers that are so en vogue. Dreadful, shapeless things, really, that can't help but hold the heat. All eternity with sweat stains? Never!

"And the fifth angel sounded, and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as from great furnace and the dead littered the streets." Sounds like some good sturdy shoes are in order! Opt for monk strap, square-toed slip-ons by Aldo -- leather-soled, please, and the thicker the better. For women, the closed-toed "Deneuve" by Mezlan should have you high-stepping over the worst the Rapture has to dish out!

"And I saw another sign in Heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God." Honestly darling, I haven't a clue what that means -- but wouldn't a lovely timepiece by Joseph Abboud round out your ensemble flawlessly? There's no time like the end of time to accessorize with a princess watch trimmed in rhinestones for her, or a charming classic pocket watch for him!

And so, my darlings, this is how the world ends -- not with a bang, but with a fashion show. Bear in mind that the clothes make the damned, and no matter what our grumpy Grandpa in the Sky dishes out, remember: Being reunited with Gianni will make all the fuss worthwhile. Ahh sublime.

by Adrian Ryan

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