Wednesday, March 30, 2011
This ultimate reality show looks to have tons of pathos, strangely passive designers and a wildly gesticulating host. Joe Zee's hand gestures are clear proof of his expert credentials as an editor of consequence. Even the way he holds his Blackberry or tips a champagne flute at a meeting between his pet designers and a team of Barneys Co-op buyers and a few king making freelance fashion writers drives home his unquestioned authority. At one point he hammers away at the importance of a hanger's aesthetic appeal, I think. The design company Radenroro, a struggling pair of designers whose names I didn't catch, seem to be suffering a certain malaise. Joe swings his arms alot and they stare dumbly, smile sweetly and weep (silently) throughout the show. They even design what will be a winning collection in under 3 minutes on scrap paper, without any fabrics and also waste more precious time repeating these sad sketches on state of the art computer screens with Joe looking on in grave seriousness. Can't he see the waste of energy if energy is the right word? What about thought? Imagination? Skill? Fashion design has worked its way down, down, down the evolutionary ladder at break neck speed.
The clothes look random and the quality, fabric and concept are mysteriously lacking in substance. The only unifying element is an inexpensively made over sized label haphazardly tacked on by a surly sewer who clearly hates her job. Joe's mission statement is to guide, cajole, educate and basically wipe the butts of these clueless savants so they're ready for their close-ups. He looks to be the only one on screen who's ready, I think.
The endgame is a meeting with the fashion director of Nordstrom's. These poorly constructed, ill-fitting and ill-conceived clothes are trotted out to their unwitting audience complete with an army of dressers, a sea of shoes and tables of accessories. The same bad stuff that is definitely the worse for wear-ing gets the nod and we see in the credits that Radenroro will be available at Nordstrom's this spring. I'm happy for them but can't help feeling I missed something, I think.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Dear Friends, Followers and Fashionmaniacs,
I'm sorry that I've been so absent from the scene. So much mayhem and fabulosity has been bubbling on a second by second basis and I feel awful to have been so woefully preoccupied elsewhere. My father's health has been failing since Christmas and on Friday very early in the morning he died. So I'm here in Massachusetts at my mother's house along with my big sister Pam helping to prepare his funeral and all the other attendant details that go along with dying. I have to admit I would give anything to be focused on the trivialities of the fashion scene with its all important shifts. Sooner or later real life intrudes and I'm forced to face the bigger music. I should let you know that he was an amazing man who devoted his life to music. He taught music, was a gifted tenor with his own choral group, the Leonard Gaskins Chorale and performed sacred music programs from the moment I was born til very recently. He lived to 82 years and was a passionate golfer, so much so that his will stipulates that his ashes "be scattered over the nearest golf course." I got my determination and love for all things aesthetic from him.I'll say now that I appreciate all of your sympathy and well wishes and thank you for my mother, known as Mommie and Pam and my twin sister Donna. I'm ok, a little sad and trying to get used to the idea, but all in all ok. I'm glad that Daddy didn't suffer and look forward to getting back to life and really living it. I'm more aware now how precious it is and all of the people and family and friends that make it so rich. You all have made mine so much sweeter by sharing in my gallows humor and reverence for a profession and art form that has made my adult life so interesting. Have a great day and week to come. Don't forget to enjoy getting dressed and put your best foot forward. I'll do my best to do the same. I'll be back in touch very soon.
My best to you all,
Eric, Fluff and Folks
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
John Galliano's art is greater than the man behind itBrian Sewell
4 Mar 2011
I don't like drunks - loud, boorish, unpredictable. Still less do I care for alcoholics of whom, among my friends, there have been three, all eroding friendship with their cheating, blatant lies and wheedling excuses, until affection has withered into hapless responsibility to which there seems no end. I have seen enough of both the drunkard and the addict to know that the loosened tongue of abuse does not speak the truth - Pliny, two thousand years ago, was wrong with his "in vino veritas".
The alcoholic, in loathing himself, expresses it by turning it on others, even the very friends who care for him. It does not matter that the object of the frustrated rage within is not Jewish, Chinese or Liverpudlian, he seizes on the dark distinctions of perceived difference, labels them and employs them for abuse - and if we thought these ancient prejudices were bred out of us, we should consider how easily our unguarded first response is of denial. "I am not a Jew," we plead, "I am not Chinese, I am not from Liverpool."
They prompt only one question, and that is for his employers, Dior, and his friends. Where were you with your concern and friendship when the first of these irrational outpourings occurred?
Did none of you notice that he had reached a stage at which he urgently needed help before the first of these self-destructive episodes? Did you not see how much alcohol, how many drugs, he was consuming? Were you blind to all the signs? Was it not obvious that you should see him to the door of the Parisian equivalent of The Priory?
Galliano's abuse - the dirty Jew, the gas chamber, the "I love Hitler" stuff - was abhorrent, and I perfectly understand the Jewish response to it, so raw is the memory of the Holocaust, but the hypocritical Pilatism of Dior, the handwashing for sacking him for anti-Semitism, is repugnant.
This man was their employee and their duty of care obliged them to protect him from himself. Instead, they let disaster happen and then, realising that they might lose every one of their Jewish clients, dismissed him, and in so doing, utterly failed to save face but quite certainly destroyed him.
Galliano will never, as Galliano, design again. If designing women's clothes is an art, then Dior has destroyed an artist.
Should we refuse to perform Wagner's operas because he is perceived to have been anti-Semitic? - even in Israel now, it is at last possible to play some of his less triumphal music. Should all Emil Nolde's great paintings be hidden in cupboards because he was for some years Hitler's supporter? Should Wyndham Lewis for ever be unmentionable and invisible because he too, at one stage, thought highly of Hitler's politics?
No, art that is not in itself political - and Galliano's is not - is greater than the man who creates it, and society does a cruel mischief when, in dispatching him as a scapegoat into the wilderness, it ends his life and influence as a creator.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Zac Posen showing his collection in Paris is just as misguided. Both artists are on an ego trip to never, never land. The opening images on Fashionologie seemed promising as the black silk gown had a wonderful shape infused with a quiet drama and subtle detail. It was a few exits farther out that I started to think I was looking at the equivalent of a wax museum of greatest looks of deceased and/or retired designers. I have nothing against homages except when they are little more than plagiarized editions by way of cliff notes.
Luxe croc was cut to resemble McQueen shapes with Mugler proportions a timely impact. Bias-cut charmeuse gowns looked like Galliano creations from his early days prior to Dior and still other looks resembled Rochas, Mugler, Balenciaga and Nina Ricci. Color appears to be one area where his imagination is challenged. Throughout the collection color was flat, dull and depressing which may have been a deliberate choice. Still the styling did little to lift the pall which settled over the presentation.
That is all fine as fashion is an excercise in reinterpretation but to show a collection that followed those lines so closely seemed unwise in the very city that gave birth to them. Overall, there is a feeling of lifeless, rote design that is meant to command the attention of the press and an international audience. Instead, like Charlie, Posen is merely winning his own game of solitaire. Like Charlie, Zac's mantra is "Defeat is not an option".