Sunday, September 27, 2009
A.P. Social Studies: The Vogue Clack
No season is complete without Vogue Clack-watching. This season was was no less interesting than others except for it's slightly splintered quality. The players on the leader board are slightly altered. Those who used to sit at the right arm of the Mother Superior, Sister Mary Anna, have changed. Gone, for the most part is Monsignor Talley. He's been replaced by Sister Mary Grace, Father Hamish and a Novitiate, soon to be a full fledged nun, Novice Sister Mary Alexandra. Sister Mary Tonne was almost always in attendance.
Like the first three years of Catholic school that I attended, Saint Mary's, this movable convent was to the naked eye very strict, humorless and sober. They all conducted themselves as though they were the examples and we, the pagan masses, were to be educated by their stern example. As someone always interested in self-improvement, I watched closely to glean some tips on how to better myself. In doing so ,I learned a few valuable lessons on what to do and what not.
At the small handful of shows that the group appeared all together, they had a way of drifting in on what appeared to be a celestial cloud. Anna, the Mother Superior was often first, but never alone. She was either accompanied by Sister Mary Grace of the untamed long wild Red hair or with her body guard. Yes, a body guard who stood directly in front of her doing the body block. He'd move aside if someone important or a member of the press came up for a word. He'd move a foot or so to the left or right , but never strayed. He was the most unsubtle body guard I've ever watched. He was big on talking into his cuff and looking deadly serious when scanning the clueless and addled crowd. Sister Mary Anna sat staring straight ahead in her big dark shades at Secret Agent Doe's crotch. That's where her gaze seemed leveled. In dark glasses, you can never tell where one is looking.
Her expression was always dead with a few exceptions. If she passed a comment to here left or right to the members of her convent , they were passed without expression or animation. At Donna Karan she appeared almost angry, until I realized that it was the day of the Federer finals match at the U.S.Open., where she obviously would rather be. Before the last girl exited at the shows end, she was AWOL. Gone, gone , gone.
At Isaac Mizrahi, she was a lot more animated, actually happy-seeming and engaged, at least before the show. I can't say the same once the show began. When everyone was storming in, photogs were shooting her and her gaggle of anointed brothers and sisters. The body guard was smack in front talking to his sleeve or was it the heel of her shoe, I'm not sure. At one point Bill Cunningham tripped over this slab that was sitting in the middle of the runway to talk with her. There ensued a very animated exchange complete with laughs and hand holding, arms waving and general bon homie. It was kind of cool. I've never seen her so alive and cheerful. This happened with Bill a couple of times before the start of the show. Each time the exchange ended, the body guard stepped back into position.
Sister Mary Grace was most definitely the star of the group. People all around wee totally captivated by her. Some were cheering at her presence outside the venues as they would arrive and leave. But a lot of eyes stayed glued to her. She seemed very natural in view of the attention and unfazed throughout. What I loved most about Grace was as the show progressed she sketched the looks she liked from beginning to end. Her pencil never paused and I was close enough to see that he was drawing and not note-taking. She's passionate, truly engaged and passionate about her calling. In contrast, Mother Superior sat like a bored lump. Bored and unamused. Father Hamish looked to be in full chat with Alexandra and also sketching. I was puzzled by his sketching, but hey, at least he was engaged. His sartorial choices were impressive. The world according to Hamish Bowles is one to dress for. Everyday is a reason to wear your most extravagant Bespoke ,suit, shirt and tie. Finish it all of with an arresting Coat and hand-made shoes. I learned that one way to command attention and respect is to dress to Overwhelm. His wardrobe is staggering. He is certainly an example of a man having as much fun as a woman playing dress-up. He did a much better job than most women in attendance.
I think a poker face is a good thing to master at the shows. Looking bored, offended or dead do nothing but give people like me fodder to write about. Whatever happened to charm and good sportsmanship? Grace looks intrigued whether she is or isn't. Anna looks like she's got indigestion or an inflamed hammer toe. When the rain machine came on directly over that slab which almost sent Bill Cunningham flying headfirst onto Anna's lap, she recoiled in horror. It was inconveniently positioned just feet in front of her. Perhaps the water was splashing onto her bare legs. She recoiled and then looked up at the water works as though she could will the thing to stop. That seemed to take the joy out of the experience. Grace appeared to be amused by it. I certainly was. It was interesting watching her discomfort and the body guard, now seated on the ground to her immediate left, madly talking into his armpit.
The final insult came when Isaac sent out a golf cart with a model in the passenger seat and parked it right in front of Anna. I think it was Isaac's passive aggression getting the better of him. If he blocked her in the parking lot, maybe she couldn't bolt when the show came to an end. No matter, his well intended ploy slowed her for about 30 seconds. When the models came to take their final turn and Isaac walked the length of his considerable runway to acknowledge the audience's applause, Sister Mary Anna got up and tore down the runway towards the exit. There was no warning to anyone from her team, certainly not the body guard, who was forced to sprint after her. Granted, she had another engagement, it just didn't look good to watch the editor of Vogue magazine running as fast as possible from your show.
Walk quickly, but don't run. You may accidentally step on Rachel Zoe who's slithering under foot.