Saturday, November 28, 2009

Barbarians at the BBQ

When reality TV "would-be characters" impose themselves into the White House and onto the world-wide stage, circumventing decorum, a lax inner staff of official gate keepers and a woefully irresponsible Secret Service detail, there is a problem. The events of the first State dinner of the Obama Presidency were so surreal that it boggles the mind and casts doubts as to what's real and what's television. The line between the two is as blurred as the vision of those supposedly in charge of order and security. It's particularly galling that an occasion as auspicious as this would be tainted with such low brow, vulgar high jinks. I am surprised, but then again, little surprises me anymore. I guess disappointment gets closer to my feeling about the unnecessary breach.

The interlopers, a myopic, bottle blonde and her good ole boy husband are campaigning for a spot on Housewives of D.C.. She, the definition of the ambitious actress and he is her feckless accomplice. Her Face Book page and 4000 friends tells her sordid tale on a daily basis. Their lives are designed around a relentless search for celebrity. Every action they take is informed by their desire to ascend one more rung of the ladder. Their names are unimportant. We can call them Legion, as they symbolize so many and so much that has gone off in our society. When researching their information which appears on the Internet, I was also not surprised to see that beyond their ambition they have a long list of civil suits against them still pending. According to today's New York Times, they are also heavily in debt due to their many charities, Polo playing and Virginia wine country promotions. Sounds like everyone else we see or know: broke, and like squirrels trying to get a nut.That in itself isn't so heinous in this day and age, but that they would manage to insinuate themselves into the dinner and have their pictures taken with everyone from Rahm Emanuel, Vice President Biden and the President, himself, is a little staggering. All of it is lovingly displayed on the FaceBook page for the 4000 of their dearest friends and the rest of the world to see.

Entering the White House is not that simple as I have first hand experience. I was invited for lunch during the Clinton administration. You have to show 2 forms of identification along with your invitation. Forget any of the 3 items and you simply don't get past the guard house. I found out an even tougher lesson when I left after the lunch, only to have forgotten my coat with all those necessary pieces of paper inside. It was an hour before the guards returned it. It was maddening, but there was no running back in to grab it. If the layers of security were that thick for lunch and a forgotten coat, you'd think a State dinner would be even more so. Maybe if I'd been a blonde on a mission I could have charmed my way past the sentries and dispensed with the tiresome proofs of identity, as well as, an invitation or any other explanation for that matter. Had it been others of a more unconventional appearance, would they be celebrities today on their way to Larry King Live? Or would they be spending their fourth night in the Big House, busy making new friends?

Where the fault lays in all of this is a mystery that certainly will end with a scapegoat. This office will point at that one which will be pointing back at it and another. In the end some one in the Secret Service will get his walkie-talkie recalled and be demoted to the White House Tour detail. If you consider that their initial attempt to enter by way of a limousine was thwarted, some alert Agent was on the ball. But when they were seen exiting the car, getting a last minute touch-up by their make-up person and all of this being captured with their very own camera crew, then walked up to take their places in the line of guests waiting to enter, someone in charge misplaced the official clip board. They were announced as they queued for the receiving line which normally calls for one to hand your official invitation to the handsome Marine standing at the entrance to the room where the President awaits. There are armies of people there to make sure all is in order, with the Social Secretary having the last and final word. Just the fact that this is the first Black President to take office, I wonder why there is such a loose attitude towards his protection. He had better security during his campaign. What happened to the concern? Where was Desiree Rogers? Was she distracted with other things to make sure the proper protocols were being followed? Maybe she forgot she was on the clock and thought she was another glamorous invited guest. She looked like it. I couldn't help thinking that the part of the White House Staff Handbook that says the Social Secretary has a responsibility to put her job first and keep her lowered profile second got lost in translation. She's been uncharacteristically quiet in all of this.

What might have been a magical night wasn't. Barbarians stormed the gates and our First Lady wore the creation of a designer from India, out of deference to the honored Prime Minister Singh and his wife. Michelle dressed like a guest and not like the wife of our President. Mistakes were made that on a scale of 1-10......well, you can do the math for yourselves. The decision is purely subjective. After all, who am I to make that judgment? I was only invited to lunch.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The (de)Evolution of Rodarte.

For those who don't know me from the New York Times blog, On The Runway, I'm brooksie and have been posting there for many moons...this is where I met my buddy Fluff Chance whom I encouraged to seriously blog. I'm also Joanshearer on various fashion Livejournals. Fluff, IMHO, is one of the most insightful and blunt voices on the fashion interweb today and since he and I have a very similar vision, I asked him if I could guest blog sometimes. I'm too lazy for my own blog! ;)

I've watched these young women, the Sisters Mulleavy of Rodarte, from the very beginning and I championed them when even Cathy Horyn viewed them with much skepticism. So skeptical was she initially, she refused to attend their shows until mid 07. I believed in their vision and their desire to make American fashion on a more artisinal level than we're used to seeing. America has always had a very small number of artisinal designers such as Ralph Rucci, James Galanos, Pauline Trigere, and Geoffrey Beene, to name a few.

As we all know, they DID get championed by Ms. Anna Wintour from nearly the start of their careers, so they got plenty of media attention and hence developed a following of sorts. However, as time has gone by, they have shown themselves to be "one trick ponies" more often than not. I'm intrigued by the notion that silk scarves sewn on to body stockings STILL seem to hold so much editorial appeal. This look was new and exciting 2-3 years ago, but where's the "juice"...the evolution beyond a student's vision? In fairness to The Sisters, their skill at executing the garments has dramatically increased with each season, but the vision remains quite static. When I initially championed them, I never expected that what I initially liked would keep coming down the runway several years later.

They put me in mind of the then super young Christian Francis Roth who became prominent in the late 80s-mid 90s. Mr. Roth was immediately championed by Vogue (US version) and had tons of editorial endorsement without much experience as a designer for others (apprenticeship) or any in business. He was truly avant garde for the day and his clothes were rightly thought to be new and exciting in look/concept (if not in wear). What separated him from the modern incarnation of the phenomena was that he had quite a number of tricks up his sleeve and his look evolved. The changing times and the economic pitfalls of the mid 90s took him out as a major name, but for those who remember him we dream of what he would be doing now if he'd stuck around. I'm sure he'd NOT be making Crayon dresses today. Actually, now he's making dresses for the contemporary, bridge market... but that's another story altogether.

So how does this relate to Rodarte, you ask? Will we in 5, 10, or 15 years from today see 30 runway looks...all Asia Extreme body stocking dresses w/ ripped leggings? If so, is that what we deserve? Even designers considered most avant garde and true to vision mix things up a bit, if you look at those who emerged from the 70s-90s. They also show that they have an understanding of basic garment construction and an understanding of the human form. Will this be the case for designers emerging in the 00s?

The editors of mainstream fashion mags seem to get stuck in a rut of encouraging young designers to make the same things over and over again, but trying to pass it off as "new" to the public. Some of us have longer memories than this. Where are the real critiques in fashion today and why are they lacking? I can understand it for a financial powerhouse such as Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, and the like....but for emerging designers, how is this useful? Besides, those designers EARNED the right to make the same thing over again, these younger ones need to show that they can make a proper pair of pants at least once. I do not blame this on the young designers as much as the editors that continue to reward creative fossilization.

Rodarte is not the only emerging label that seems to be suffering from this poverty of imagination, but to date they are the most glaring and oft-celebrated example. Someone needs to say that the emperor has no clothes....unless you factor in a bloody body stocking!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Tea Leaf Prophecy

The Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund awards were held the other night . This event has gone over my head in the past few years. This is it's 6th year and I feel that they're starting to get it right. The face of it is not necessarily the body of it. The criteria for what makes the candidates and eventual winner are mysterious. On the one hand, it's a huge honor and coup to be considered and go on to win. $200k and a year's mentoring are two incredibly valuable prizes to receive. They're invaluable especially in these times where the challenges and pitfalls for success are as plentiful as the opportunities. Past winners were Alexander Wang and the year before, Rodarte. These winners felt to me as being extremely insider-ish and not particularly relevant. It seems that they, like many CFDA winners were not so much people's choice winners but choices who appealed directly to the bodies who bestow the awards. Nevertheless, they've been catapulted into the sight lines of the public. Do they have greater relevance as a result? I'm not sure. Alexander Wang has certainly gone on to scale higher heights. Rodarte has also benefited greatly. The zeitgeist is synonymous with Wang's ascension. It's a tea leaf prophecy...

This winner this year is Sophie Theallet, an expatriate French designer. The other nominees which ranged from designers of womenswear, mens, shoes and jewellry were a very interesting group: George Esquivel, Waris Ahluwalia, Phillip Crangi, Monique Pean, Patrick Ervell, Simon Spurr, Wayne Lee, Gary Graham, and Flora Gill and Alexa Adams of Ohne Titel. When looking at all of their collections there was a strength and uniqueness that was more obvious than in the past. There was also a sense that these were consistently marketable designers which speaks volumes. After all, wearable, retail able clothes are criteria I find as important as BUZZ. There were a number of stages and elimination rounds that culled the larger group of designers down to the finalists.

Sophie designs wearable clothes, even beautiful in some cases. She is a mature designer with grown up taste. It's a breath of fresh air that she does not fall into the category I call the "Fetus-ization" of fashion designers. Lately, one needs to be not older than 25 to be considered a wunderkind, no matter if you can design or only master the art of the photo-op. Some would view that as a minus, I don't. These aren't tired,old lady offerings but elegant, sexy and deceptively simple. She feels like someone who will benefit from the financial and mentoring bump that this award bestows. My personal choice would be Ohne Titel for their real muscle, courageous individuality and aesthetic which is all their own. They are for me what Rodarte should have been. One pair are realists and the others are fantasists..... Ohne Titel will prevail in the long run, of that I have little doubt.

The only tiny, niggling gnat surrounding this choice is that she is a huge favorite of First Lady Michelle Obama, unlike any other designers on the list. I can't help but wonder what sort of influence that may or may not have had on the judging. When you consider Vogue/Anna Wintour and her new best girlfriend Desiree Rogers, the aesthetic alter ego of Mrs. Obama, I can't help but puzzle over the discussions they may have had regarding Sophie. This is not meant to take anything away from Sophie Theallet as being wholly and totally deserving..... but the question floats in the air. Politics is everything in this business and in the world. It's not who you know, as much as, who you dress.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What's this and who bought it?

This is the sort of story that I can't resist. Something so out in left field that I actually feel a pain in my guts to even go there, and feel even worse dragging you all with me.....that's maybe going too far, I need to have witnesses on this dark journey. I start to get that sentimental feeling that Seventh Avenue really isn't that bad and the things that are passed off as fashion are simply that. Then I read, see, hear, or in this case smell something so fetid and rank that I'm shaken from my momentary reverie and tasered back to reality. I'm talking about Peacock International Holdings, the company which now owns the rights to Bill Blass and their decision to relaunch the collection, oh, and the choice they've made for Creative Director.

At the risk of this rant coming off as a personal attack, I will address that now before I go any further. Any designer fortunate enough to land a coveted position such as this is very lucky and to be applauded. The competition is great and the opportunities are Nil. For that reason I must commend the person for their good fortune and wish them well. That said, when the writing on the wall is so large and the message so clear that to read between the lines is just pointless redundancy and that message is "Step away from the burning building", someone should heed the Siren's song.

I have an uncomfortable feeling that eyes, ears, noses and brains are all on vacation. Nobody appears to be home and no one is checking the computer or answering machines for messages. It looks to me like full steam ahead. Scott Patti, the president of the company which does a lot of mens wear, shirts and private label stuff for chains looks and sounds like a guy with some business acumen. He also sounds like a man with an unchecked ego, just like Michael Groveman, the last man who tried to run Blass and drove it straight into an iron wall. Hearing that Steven Chai turned it down, as did any number of others, and Charles Chang Lima was considered but not offered the position is just part of the tangle of threads. Some others tossed their hats in the ring only to be summarily ignored. The biggest downside to the position is that Peter Som and a string of other hopefuls effectively squeezed whatever life remained in the label until it no longer showed any pulse. That said, even Peter has more get up and go than this guy. Ouch, was that hard to say.....

I am showing selections from the last 2 seasons of the designer who will most likely take charge.You can judge for yourselves the gifts that have obviously eluded him. A picture says a thousand words. Now, who knows, maybe Ikram, Michelle Obama and Desiree will call it brilliance and Thakoon and Jason will have another prodigy nipping at their heels.If that happens I may have to stop this blog and go back to Massachusetts and pick apples.

When someone or something dies it is gone. It lives on in our hearts and memories but that's it. Trying to revive it never works. Changing it and giving it a new life is possible, but that has evaded all who have tried at Blass. Halston, Jil Sander, Ungaro, Givenchy, YSL, and countless other companies have been unsuccessful in reviving or giving new life to these grand old houses. The public barely responds, the press eviscerates the collections (the intelligent press, at least) and it's only the owners who fail to wake up and smell the crack.

Jeffrey Monteiro is his name. He was the Design Director at Derek Lam before going out on his own and these images are from his Resort and Fall collections. One gown was all I saw in Resort and the rest of the images speak for themselves. Perhaps the plan for Blass has nothing to do with its DNA, but then why are they calling it "Collection"?

I'm confused. Are you?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gathering Clouds

As much as I'd like to switch gears and look on the bright side, the clouds continue to gather and the the darkening skies refuse to clear. I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of this constant rain. The light shines bright in some corners and refuses to cast it's glow on way too many others. That doesn't mean that good things don't come from trying situations and people under siege. It just starts to feel like the wrong people are getting caught in the under tow while others with less weight and solidity stand fast and gain in strength. Many who have succumbed to the vicissitudes of the grim, reaping economy should have been on higher ground. But that's not the way life operates and certainly not the way the cards are stacked.

Today I was reading about the downsizing of yet more design houses. Zac Posen and Gucci came onto the radar screen and I was surprised to read about one and less so about the other. Zac has been keeping a lower profile the last 2 seasons. I speculated shortly before the collections that he seemed to be straddling a fence that wasn't there before. At that time it was announced he would present his collection in a more intimate venue than the tents. That's always a red flag when you're known as a high flying, high roller. Today's announcement stated that his CEO was let go, not to be replaced . Mother Posen and Zac's PR director are slated to take the helm. That in itself is probably good, but I would be uncomfortable answering to Mommy and relying on a PR agent to do truly substantive heavy lifting, but hey.....what do I know of the dynamics there?

What puzzles me most is the decision to cut vital staff when you've been given a considerable investment by someone like Sean Combs, the artist also known as Puffy, P.Diddy, Diddy and Daddy. Zac received something in the neighborhood of 2 million dollars plus. Though the money was said to be coming from P.Daddy, the source was more correctly, Ron Burkle, a billionaire grocery store chain owner. My mind wanders wondering why things have come to this. Two million dollars, nowadays, is chump change to many, but it's still a considerable amount of money to most of us. I'd like to think they are conserving funds for a spate of rainy days. The possibility is that the funding is gone or has been withdrawn. Whatever the reasons, the facts are that another very talented young designer is faced with challenges that he'll hopefully master and overcome.I've not always been that much of a fan of Zac's work, it is the sort of bravura aesthetic I've found to be somewhat cloying in it's cleverness and his penchant for all things 1940's-ish, but his skill, eye and attention to the finest points of the craft have always been impressive.

The chemistry that brought P.Diddy, Ron Burkle and Zac together is a very interesting question. Zac's obvious gifts aren't what I question, but why did Ron Burkle, the backer of Sean John to the tune of 10's of millions of dollars, add him to his stable? The press made out that Sean Combs was the deep pockets behind Zac. He was more beard than anything else. Zac certainly added luster and a degree of cachet to a company and it's owner who remains neck deep in over the top spending, conspicuous grand standing and desperate attention getting. Maybe Burkle saw the species of moths circling Zac's flame and wanted to cozy up to their nubile loveliness. The is a simplified answer but certainly a plausible one. So why the mounting storm? Simple, everything is a mess.

Perhaps, women are not only cooling it on designer clothing, but are also putting their families on diets. Who needs to fill a shopping cart when you can lock, load and hunt? When Jason Wu starts designing a collection for Tse Cashmere in addition to his collection which is marginal at best, there appear to be glaring inequities at play. Talent has taken a back seat to popularity. The strange thing is that Zac has a powerful PR machine behind him, in addition to the ultimate stage mother and has maintained a very visible presence up until recently. An Inaugural bump is a very powerful kick. More power to Jason and others like Thakoon Panichgul. The world is their oyster. I'm saddened to see how the field has thinned. It doesn't feel right. But that's the way things are now. It will all shake out in the near future, but at present there are too many people at the table. Musical chairs is the game of choice.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some Things Lost, Others Gained.

Imagine an International magazine store that sells absolutely everything from everywhere under the sun. From obscure, brilliant "books" like Paradies 5 (suggested to me in passing by a very sharp fashion editor), to Dressage Today, a must read for anyone with an interest in the art of riding and its greatest trainers and riders,to Vogue magazines in every language, and so on. It is a feast for the eyes and mind. One can get almost every point of view and actually subject them all to one's own litmus test . In the end , one's opinions are more substantiated just by virtue of having placed them against so many other educated and absolutely inane ones. I make regular pilgrimages to one in the Village on west 12th street and Hudson as well as another on East 23rd street between 5th and 6th . They are incredible hotbeds of information and images.

Two things caught my eye last week. One was the cover of British Vogue adorned with an actual model, Lara Stone and the other were a couple of magazines all focused on the fate of the House of Versace and Donatella in particular. Lara Stone, a beautiful young woman was such a refreshing change to the world of weary celebrities who have usurped the place of the cover model. In this instance, one is the Beauty and the latter is more Beastly. As I'm a visual creature first and foremost, I was initially caught by the loveliness of Lara, her gown and the clean, unfussiness of the magazine's cover. It actually exuded a feeling of freshness, even hope. In contrast, Donatella's picture held my eye for totally different reasons. I remembered her looking like a tawdry South Beach Euro tart. Looking at her that day I saw a face that spoke volumes. She actually resembles the Grinch in drag with a platinum weave with extensions. The face, mouth and eyes scream "Grinch". I'm fascinated by all things high and low.

It wasn't until getting home that I realised both characters in both magazines shared the same story: Rehab. It is a tired story for so many of us who are aware of so many who enter and never recover. Places like Promises in Malibu which is the Rehab Spa of choice for the over privileged and over indulged. Very few who enter stay longer than it takes to get a fresh tan and some much needed down time. The concept of a 12-Step program seems a gross imposition on the quality time they've signed up for. This is not about sobriety but more about a good P.R. maneuver and first-class room service.

Lara Stone's story was inspiring in its seeming honesty. I don't pretend to know her, how she feels or what makes her tick. I don't think Alexander Wang has any better sense, despite their best-girlfriend status. That is anathema to a life lived at interminable parties. It would be a bummer to actually face life and death situations, let alone talk about them at length. So Lara's rehab journey struck me for its blunt honesty.

In the article she discussed her fear of the future after modeling. She worried that modeling was her only talent and had no aspirations to act or design. Can you believe it? A model who, for once, looks in the mirror instead of just standing in front of one. She talked about her difficulty to connect with men, basically due to the inequities of the arrangement when one is a beautiful model and the sorts of men who gravitate towards them. Lara mentioned not wanting to end up a desperate addict acting as sex toy to get stoned. Her candor was both unvarnished and gritty. Still, having maintained /saved her career is something a lot of people struggling with addictions of all sorts can look at and draw some strength. Like many who suffer from addictions there are some things lost and others gained. The ability she had to walk into a VIP section of a party and send someone scrambling to bring her a bottle of Vodka seems to have lost its appeal. Starving herself for the camera and runway has also lost its appeal. What a novel approach to this business. My feeling was that this woman actually likes herself. That toxic self loathing so many of us have suffered at different times is the gorilla she seems to be battling and gaining the upper hand.

Donatella has done time in rehab as well. I got the feeling that her experience of addiction was much more harrowing. Multiple substance addictions coupled with huge responsibilities and their accompanying pressures make her experience different. Wife, mother, Designer and head of a global fashion house make for a rather large ticking bomb. Toss pounds and pounds of cocaine into the mix and the chances of something good coming from it all are decidedly slim.
Rehab for Donatella is a thing of the recent past. Her intervention and rehabilitation took place about 5 years ago. The most that anyone or Donatella would share on the subject were her mood swings and inability to effectively steer the company and its ever shifting design message. She seemed to enjoy her private dinner parties alone in her marble bathroom the entire evening as the guests enjoyed another sort of party on their own.

With the announcement of the Versace house having laid off a quarter of its work force and the shuttering of all its Japanese boutiques is a clear signal that somethings do get lost. The restructuring will hopefully come in time to save what was a global giant. It's such a metaphor for the fashion business today, versus, when Gianni Versace was at the helm. Big, brutal business and a society bent on disposable values adds up to a heaping, steaming pile of waste. Perhaps the job is not worth the price of a life.

Ego is as devastating and addictive a drug as any flute of champagne, or bump of coke even if it rests on a diamond and ruby encrusted silver tablespoon.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Desiree Rogers suffers from acute Hubris.

For days now I've been gripped with a gnawing sense of fear and loathing at the thought of our First Family's Social Secretary. Desiree Rogers is too evident, too grasping and too ambitious for me to ignore her any more.

It started with appearances and lengthy stories on her in the Wall Street Journal, Vogue and countless smaller rags, all celebrating her brilliance(MBA from Harvard), accomplishments (heading an oil/power concern in Illinois) and the crowning glory on her pin head of being best girlfriends with Michelle Obama. Her ambitious, power-brokering got her the plumb job of the official Social Secretary to the Obamas. I guess having played a similar role for a utility company makes her uniquely suited. It's her incredible self regard that is her most valuable credential. Desiree is the ultimate example of one who thinks her gas is a luxe scent blended just for her. Well a fart is a fart by any name and she has a cloud that's growing around her daily.

You might think that a tasteless and unwarranted jab, but I have reasons for my low opinion of the White House Social Secretary. Her shameless self promotion is not an asset for the First Family. It looks like they don't know better than to choose a power junkie instead of someone powerful working behind the scenes for them.Perhaps, she got the job with the help of Grandma who was a Voodoo Priestess. I have the feeling that Desiree feels on equal footing with our First Lady. That is a clerical error as I see it. She is not the First Lady. She shows up at the collections as a stand-in for a Michelle Obama. I've always respected Michelle's priorities as being an astute and successful Lawyer, wife, mother and not someone desperate to attend the opening of every tawdry collection and colostomy bag in and out of town. Perhaps out of politeness Michelle delegated those appearances to Desiree in order to have a representative for herself and the White House. It was certainly necessary with the Fashion Industry having anointed the First Lady as the Savior of our industry simply because she wore a string of mid range and low end designers to all sorts of events. Do the math: If a First Lady can meet the Queen of England in Gap and Jason Wu, she's GOT to be a Fashionista!. So the job was taken up with unseemly glee by the secretary (very Eve Harrington in my book) and she's only gotten more and more comfortable with it.

Desiree is photogenic, a handsome woman who's clearly had some very good work done to enhance her loveliness, not that there's anything wrong with a little chopping and sanding. She's mad for clothes and wears many of the greats all the time. She can swing from Carolina Herrera to Calvin to Viktor and Rolf to Jil Sander and back to Oscar de la Rental. Now she can't be buying it because she's changing too often in a day. In the WSJ story there were 4-5 shots of her busy at her job and she managed to change clothes for each and every too. So I infer that she's a bit of a product placement Pro. I have the uncomfortable feeling she's playing the favor game and getting racks of clothes in the bargain.

" Never a borrower or a lender be."

That is a rule that certainly applies to a person in that position. Desiree can't be bothered with rules. She makes them, she's too busy "BRANDING" the First Family to follow them. That's how she sees her job. I see it as a 2-way street. She arranges the public's access to the First Family, be it literal or virtual. State dinner invitations, events, national and international engagements that cast the magic of their Administration far and wide are all responsibilities that I would expect from her. With that job done you get the satisfaction of serving something greater than yourself and your own ambitions and not private lunches bi-weekly with Anna Wintour and spreads in Vogue for herself and her 18 year old daughter. Not going as a duet to fashion shows and constant mugging for every Instamatic within 100 feet. Not playing the quick change fashion show junkie wearing the clothes of the designer to his/her show like so many other dumb asses in the front rows of too many regrettable shows. You don't see Anna doing it. I forget how much a rookie Des is and then I'm reminded.

So with the appointment of Anna to the President's Arts Council I can't help but think Desiree is behind the scenes waving her twisted wand. Ms. Wintour is vaguely acquainted with the arts, literature, both Fine and Applied, but she's really about Sales and the neutering of a whole industry. What does that have to do with the National Council for the Arts? Why not Toni Morrison, Tabatha from Salon Makeover,Aretha Franklin, who generously serenaded their Inauguration,Aerin Lauder, and let's not forget Wendy Williams. They at least do something besides pose. Hell, I'm sure Oprah or Kathy Griffin are available.What has Sarah Jessica Parker done lately that qualifies her? Hair color and rancid perfume?

If Desiree spent more time behind her desk instead of standing front and center for the cameras, maybe she'd get more done. I don't want to see spreads on what sits on her desk: the Hermes notebooks, one large black one for work and a smaller orange one for personal, fresh flowers everyday, a Presidential stamp on her Styrofoam coffee cup, and on and on. How about a slightly less styled desk where real work happens. Thank god she has some focused assistants that keep her in the job. Someone has to be doing the heavy lifting, but it's not her. How could she when a huge chunk of her time is spent holed up in a suite at the St.Regis waiting for Anna to summon her to some glittering gathering. I could care less about our tax dollars being spent on the big guys doing their thing, but I don't like the idea that I'm paying for this silver -plated wannabe to play dress up. Is it so bad to be a secretary? There are so many out of work secretaries who are better qualified and dying for a chance to actually work for the Leader of the Free World and his Family.

My advice to her is put away those American Spirit cigarettes or whatever it is she's smoking, and pick up that pad and pen and start taking dictation. Good secretaries remind their bosses of commitments they've committed themselves to. She could remind the President that he promised to do something for the gigantic block of Gay voters who helped him get into office and the small businesses who were supposed to get a piece of the pie to help weather this shit storm. Those items keep getting put off for another day. Well with Fashion shows, photo-ops and fittings there just aren't enough hours in the day for Desiree Rogers to do everything.
Her mantra is:"A girl has to take time for herself".... and she does that with real zeal.