It’s like the gift that keeps on giving. ‘Tiger King,’ the kooky Netflix series which has gripped the globe, was back to its insane best last night with a special addendum, ‘The Tiger King and I.’ The 40-minute special, which was previously unplanned but considering the show’s immense success seemed all but inevitable, featured interviews with the show’s cast. Hosted by charming funnyman Joel McHale from his Los Angeles home, eight of the central protagonists (and antagonists) of ‘Tiger King’ were interviewed via video and visible AirPods: Erik Cowie, Jeff and Lauren Lowe, John Reinke, Kelci “Saff” Saffery, Joshua Dial, John Finlay and Rick Kirkham. Questions and answers ranged from Jeff Lowe’s leather jacket collection to whether Carole Baskin really did murder her husband and feed him to the tigers, and while it wasn’t bombshell-type stuff, some secrets – and indeed truthful sentiments – were revealed.
As for the self-proclaimed Tiger King himself, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, well he was a notable yet expected exception, currently holed up in his own cage in prison, serving 22 years for crimes including murder-for-hire and wildlife violations. As torturous and wicked as Joe Exotic was, perhaps the only winner to come out his outrageous tale was his equally outrageous style. Arguably the least criminal part of him (although that too is debatable), Joe Exotic’s eccentric style is strangely fascinating. At a time when bad taste is all the rage (ugly footwear, Muumuu-inspired silhouette, bad nineties memories you’d thought had all but been buried), Exotic’s outlandish, truly-terrible-but-kind-of-amazing fashion sense has never been more relevant.
While his signature skinny jean, leather jacket and cap are all Exotic style staples, the loud printed shirt was really the backbone of his look, fashioned in every kind of print and texture under the sun and always worn undone to reveal a generous patch of tattooed chest.
Unlike arch nemesis Carole Baskin, who favored an all-kitty wardrobe (you can see our Carole Baskin-inspired animal edit here), Joe Exotic played around with other prints, too. There were sequins, tie-dye, checks, embroidery, psychedelia – basically anything and everything that would draw even more attention to the larger-than-life myth that was Joe Exotic, his shirts serving as the ultimate extension of his outrageous persona (or the one he so cleverly orchestrated).
Lucky for him, loud shirts are having a moment, with fashion casting afresh kitschy cabana wear and tacky tourist shirts. So there’s no better time to try out a tawdry, maybe trashy, but truly terrific Joe Exotic-worthy shirt.
The louder the better we say.
shop the look
‘CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN BEVERAGE’ CABANA SHIRT, Tombolo, $128. shop now
View from the Balcony interior-print silk shirt, Casablanca, $975. shop now
Heart-print silk shirt, CHARLES JEFFREY LOVERBOY, $645. shop now