Saturday, August 18, 2012

Keep Calm and Back Off

verb: to chillax
still life with Paul Smith undies

I've been chillaxing out here in East Hampton. Not full time but a string of elongated weekends with friends, Anton's niece in from Germany and soon my Mom, who arrives in a couple of days. My eye isn't off the ball, only focused on the two huge clear exercise balls floating in the pool. At night they look like drifting air bubbles on an illuminated pond. You don't have to say it, I know I'm lucky. I'm not complaining but this sequestered paradise makes coming up for air harder and harder. The best is it's way far away from the action in the center of town and light years away from the city. Other than going into town to get food, wrangling with the hordes of people who suffer from a perverse sense of entitlement, or heading to the far end of the beach beyond section G(ay), it's a quiet life. I read books, the paper and almost no magazines other than the New Yorker. I also have inordinate amounts of time to think. The big questions like: Where am I going? What am I doing? Why does the future feel so much like the past? What should I eat for dinner? Should I watch The Real Housewives or the new kiddie pageant reality show, "Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo Child"? Just day dreamy, simple minded questions. I timed a turtle crossing the lawn yesterday and that little guy got from one side to the other in about 10 minutes. I'm talking a distance of a good 1/4 acre. That was just one charming moment in my charmed day.

one way to look at things
 I've devoted the greater part of the summer to working on a memoir. Not easy. Sure, I've got tons of stories from my storied life, the question is which ones are worth sharing? Honestly, I don't know but I'm digging it up and out as best I can. Some weeks I fly and others find me sitting in a stupor staring at the wall. I hope to get it together and done one day soon. I read so many things (in fashion) that bring so much of it back. Reading a piece in this month's Vanity Fair on John Fairchild of Women's Wear Daily/W magazine fame brought up a lot and not all of it pleasant. Unpleasantness in the fashion business didn't start with him or end with the Anna's of the world. The legion of miscreants will just go on and on until the last show ends and the last intern quits but neither of those things is likely to happen in our lifetimes.

(ex)Model Moms
Hair and make-up at all times
Adrian and Anton at the Cupcake sale
When I do go into town I witness a civilization I barely recognize. Just navigating the aisle of Citarella to forage for foodstuffs can incite a race riot. Yesterday I was pushing my cart down the vegetable section ( I'm a healthy eater now thanks to Anton's rigidly strict Teutonic diet) when I encountered an abandoned cart parked smack in the middle of the tiny, one lane aisle. As I shifted it about 6" to the side, an East Hampton matron in a faded pink and lilac Lilly Pulitzer shift with ratted, greasy blond hair in a scrunchy that had seen much better days and flip flops with big shredded daises appeared from no where. "What do you think you're doing?" she barked. Before I could say a word she continued,"I can't believe you people...". She seemed to be going someplace with the "you people" and it didn't look like a good place. It didn't take long to do the math and I stopped her in her miserable tracks. "Lady, you don't want to finish what you're starting. Oh, and have a nice day!"The creature refused to back down and looked around for her absent posse for back-up as if the whole store would join her in her pathetic rant. People like her are the problem in this town, this city, this world. The greater problem is that there's an army of them out there. That army likes nothing better than to set up camp in places like East Hampton. They're so combat weary they view everyone and everything as the enemy.

 I overheard two very young girls in the local diner one morning at breakfast. With the Hampton Classic fast approaching at the end of the month, everything equestrian is in full swing. Kelly Klein is back up from Palm Beach to train her horses and squeeze in some parenting. The loyal circuit followers are back from London as well as most of the competitors who will participate in this all- important social, I mean competitive event. So these pre-teen girls, fresh from the barn, in their German breeches, Ralph monogrammed Polo shirts, custom-made boots and Hermes belts worn jauntily to the side, were lost in conversation. One complained to the other that her pony's bloodlines just weren't enough for the Classic. She lamented that she would be mortified to show him knowing full well that he just "didn't have it..." Her doppelganger did what any good doppelganger does and offered up her own experience, strength and hope: "I told my Mom just before she was leaving for the Parish Art
Sprocket and Ainsley
Museum benefit that she needs to do something about Sprocket. He's nice for someone who just wants to show but not if you expect me to ribbon. My trainer showed me a video of a much nicer one for $200K and he thinks you need to buy him now if I'm going to be ready in a month." She continued, "After all this isn't just about me but also about you. He says the Judges are looking at everything and my tack needs to be Hermes as well." It was all delivered so matter of factly that there was little left to question. They settled on stools at the counter and ordered their chocolate shakes and hamburgers. Life is that simple for some here. Even low-key events out here look cast and styled. I've never seen so many mothers with stylish looking little kids. The other day in Amagansett there was a face painting/cupcake sale on the green (quaint, so quaint) and half the moms looked like ex-models. That's probably because they are.....

Swimming in the bay
This sort of chatter is everywhere coming from the most unlikely mouths. I try to ignore it and amuse myself with my own pursuits. But being the creature that I am, who tends to find it almost impossible to ignore life's details, it's tough to block out the noise. One thing that makes it all so dull is that all the money flowing through this area brings nothing that even closely resembles style. It's a sartorial wasteland. A great book, progress at the gym ( I did 12 pull-ups 3 times the other day (where was Marc Jacobs when I was making history?), or some new discovery are the stuff that makes my little boat float. A new discovery for me is Italy's Francesco Scognamiglio. His Resort collection made my temperature rise. Not so his Fall 2012, but if Resort is an indication of what or where he's going, he's worth watching. No matter how glorious or ghoulish the clothes, Karlie Kloss is impossible to ignore. That girl can sell a dress. Hell, I'm tempted to buy it. She's Old School in the very best sense of the phrase. Back to school needs to shift to Old School. It's time for models and design to take a cue from the way it used to be done. Some substance to back up the attitude. Character and individuality was never so needed and novel as now. Clothes that say," Keep Calm and F$#&@g Buy This." Models who don't just grab your attention but DEMAND it.We need experiences in fashion that change our thinking and people who write about it who actually enlighten rather than confuse and irritate us.


Anonymous said...

You are a fine writer and master observer. Can't wait for the memoirs!

spirou said...

Sunday morning, drinking coffee, looking out at the endless desert, it will be 116 again today, but you wrote a " billet " so inspiring to me that I do not mind locking myself up again all day, in full blast AC while I read your missive over and over again. I come from a time where letters where cherished and reread endlessly and then saved in a box. Letters brought always new thoughts and news from a far away place. We were the happiest when we had nothing but our books, our thoughts, the wheat fields, the berries on the hedges,butterflies everywhere and story telling forever. Your writing comes close to that spirit of a truthful time, (not simpler time as the media says, it was always complicated) and for that I am very grateful to you. You have a great talent for discernment passed on to you by your family obviously and you cherish it and share it with us and we always come to you for a discussion on our new reality. You always had more to say than what happens in the fashion world, you have a gift and it is precious. Although what happened to the fashion world is what happened to our food here in the US : engineered to look good, for fast mass production, but really bad for you.
Heavy summer :Gore Vidal passed on and I am devastated, he could be seen as mean but he was not, he had very little patience for fools... La Piaggi passed on too, another great poet....And now Helen Gurley Brown, she was part of the N.Y.C machine but a supporter of people's rights, she was pleasant, she knew, she had been a ' GIRL" she worked hard.....
Having your own style, a signature, a depth, a story was what those girls struggled for...Having very little money to do with was a blessing, makes you work and think harder, that is where the intelligence comes in. You dig deep and remember what you saw or read a long time ago, you learn to translate.
Going to Paris soon, leaving my desert for a forthnight, already designers are jumping ship, that 75% tax from Mr. Holland is scaring the big corporations away. Rick Owens among many others is moving: him to Venice, not that Italy is doing any better but the the Italian government is known to look the other way, until they cannot.... So one's wallet dictates one's allegiance, good bye Proust, hello Fellini.
Then there is Romney's face, social unrests abroad,complications in China,rocky road for us all except for the Hamptons'girls riding horses maybe...NYTimes is writing about Cornellia Guest today and who the @#$#@ cares ?
You know, blogging is a good thing, you can bind your billets in a book once in a while, like Proust did with his letters and then we can keep on reading you more often as YOU will have to write more often. "Memoires" brings a sense of" IT is behind me " but it is not at all, now you get to pass on trough your writings and teaching what you now , you have started already....I'll fly in for the book signing !!!!!!

spirou said...

Part deux : Francesco Scognamiglio
It is a very good crisp at time, some Thierry Mugler with some Courrege and early Ter et Bantine 1972, with some Cacharel and Daniel Hechter 1968, should stay away from prints. Very Vicky Tiel at time !
#2,5, 7,11 (YSL 1982, I have it still) 20,22,17,24, 26,31,32,33,34. Not bad at all, you are right the girl can sell, but the he should watch out for the pink fairy frilly a bit....But yes, there is something going on ...

Anonymous said...

I thought all of the ugly people were in the Midwest or Texas (ok a little humor). Sorry about ugly behaviour in the grocery store!

Glad you are having a wonderful summer. Let us hope that fall is just as good.