We live in a world where fashion credits for the court appearances of misbehaving reality stars are baseline entertainment — or commonplace fashion marketing tools. The "Bling Ring" featured in Vanity Fair's expose just takes its cues from it.
A loose gang of mostly middle and upper-middle class teenagers in and around Los Angeles burglarizing the homes of the rich and famous seems primed for optioning as a movie. The twist would be that it would probably star some of the second and third tier celebrities that were victimized, against a good girls-gone-bad soundtrack. And that the life of one of the alleged perpetrators is already being filmed for E!. And that the reporter who wrote the VF piece says she is reluctantly in the reality show footage. Is your head spinning yet?
With the possible exception of Orlando Bloom (who seems to have scraped in by virtue of dating a Victoria's Secret model whose clothing was coveted), the targets of the "Bling Ring" are all within a well-established stable of people created in the past decade, whose fame comprises of simply existing: Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, Audrina Patridge.
Why'd they do it? Ask Audrina Patridge.
"They took bags and bags of stuff," Patridge said. "They took my great-grandma's jewelry, my passport, my laptop, jeans made to fit my body to my perfect shape." The estimated value of her stolen property was $43,000. Patridge said she believes the thieves were motivated by her fame. "Rachel Lee was a big fan of me. I was her target," she said she'd heard from cops. "She's a little obsessed girl, I gotta tell you. She's going to get what she deserves."
...Officer Goodkin, who took over the case from detectives when Prugo's lawyer approached him with his client's confession... said he was also struck by the "stalkerish" aspect of the crimes. "It may be a stretch, but is wanting to wear somebody's clothes that different from wanting to wrap yourself up in their skin, like that guy in The Silence of the Lambs?
What did the kids do with the stuff they stole, a large part of which was luxury clothing and accessories? Some of it they sold. But mostly they wore it and pretended to be just like them. It's the logic one of the alleged perpetrators herself uses to describe another:
"Nick really liked the life we had," Alexis said. "He wanted to live like us. He wanted to tag along with us to the clubs we went to, like Apple, Guys & Dolls, Teddy's, Ecco. It was known that we were out hanging out with Emile Hirsch and Leonardo DiCaprio-just, like, typical Young Hollywood."
Wearing the clothes is in fact one of the ways they got caught, according to the story.
It doesn't hurt, of course, that even as the story doesn't at all endorse any of this behavior, the facts conveniently suggest the irresistible value of the very luxury goods — brands of stolen objects in the piece include Marc Jacobs Grey Goose, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Rolex — that pay Nancy Jo Sales' way to all of these kids' lawyers' homes.
According to Vanity Fair, the kids planned their robberies by using sites like TMZ to track the celebrities' absences and find their addresses. And then they moved in — just buying what the every iteration of the celebrity press is selling. No one ever said you were allowed to steal it. But can you blame them for being confused when everyone else is skipping steps?
Update: One of the burglars, Rachel Lee, has just pled not guilty.
The Suspects Wore Louboutins [VF]
Celebrity burglary suspect pleads not guilty in LA [Yahoo! News]