Saturday, April 26, 2008

untitled and unedited: Asian Invasion

The Orientation of fashion....with 6 you get egg roll! Remember that tired Doris Day movie, a yours ,mine and ours romp through homogenized southern california, where all is sweetness, success and light. The overall message was benign. That is the end when you distill the offerings of the Asian invasion in NYC fashion: Peter Som, Phillip Lim, Doo Ri, Andrew Gn,
NOT including Anna Sui or Vivienne Tam, those babes ROCK, but continuing the list of those who should be rolled, I can include Peter Som again for his role in the dumbing down of Bill Blass and finally, and last and also least....Kimorra LEE Simmons. She can play the Asian card when it suits and the black card for street cred. She's probably the most confused and successful of the pack. There is an Asian invasian in new york fashion. Peter Som is probably the most overrated and uninspired of the bunch. His collections these past 7 years or so(an eternity,not in a calvin klein compelling way, but in the long drawn out infomercial way) has been a point of interest simply because of it's mixed message. A collage of aesthetics are seemingly disconnected and untethered. A talent lurks under the surface, but never presents itself. He gets lost season after season caught in the bubbling quicksand of TRENDS. A lovely dress with a beauty in its simplicity paired with a tatty coat , a regrettable hand-knit sweater on top of all that and a waifs matted hair-do as a crown and presto : you have a truly forgettable look . Let's not forget that it was commented on in the NY Times that several of these LOOKS on the runway a couple of seasons ago were not complete without threads hanging and hems unfinished and uneven. These conceits I fear were not planned. That would be too clever and I don't think he's that quick. Despite this obvious genius, he's tapped as the new( new is the new OLD) face and designer of Bill Blass Collection. Someone over there, thought that his experience and the fact he'd once been an intern years ago made him uniquely qualified to pick up the reins of that whipped and heaving pony. That was baffling when you consider Blass as the last word in classic modern American luxury sport and couture . Those gifts were honed over a career that spanned 40 years. How could a 30-something tween with a career spanning all of less than 10 years take on that task and ALSO continue with his own collection. Only Confucius could wrap his brain around that one. A huge collection of the highest order complete with licensed divisions , multi seasons and pre-seasons to create and then add another collection on top and you get CONFUSION of the most mystifying sort. I do love the ad in Vogue with him ,TUXED,in a aged ballroom with a group of black kids dancing. He's seated at a grand piano with black super model Leeya Kabeede standing by in a signature evening dress that is confusingly an exact knock off of a dress by Oscar and Beene from about 18 years ago. Well, if it worked for them then why can't it work for Peter now....not much else is. In parting, I must commend him for his courage and ambition. Most would shy away from so daunting a task, but he has that Hari Kari inner resolve. If you go down, hopefully you get to eviscerate yourself before everyone else does.
Phillip Lim is another koi fish altogether. Before I go further, the references to these designers is not born of a racist attitude towards Asian people, I'd do a group piece on designers of color, mainly Black designers, but there are so few that have a presence or are allowed one....that's for another posting, or Latinos for that therefore, it's an Asian moment this morning.
So getting back to Phillip Lim. He has garnered so much press and early success. Barneys Julie Gilhart goes into a swoon over him. He's smart to produce cute and timely clothes at very affordable prices. He has a flagship store in MUST-BE chelsea and now thanks to his deep pocketed partners , also asian, he's opening stores across japan and china. That is definitely where the money is. This town and this country is BROKE. What doesn't pluck my shamazen or send me leaping is that the clothes are just simple and cute and hopelessly young. His Gap ad is so insipid . He stands with all these skinny blonde models in clothes for 20 bucks that look like they were designed for girls 15 and younger. All very nice, but the smokey eyed gaze directly at the cameras lens suggests something greater and more important than tween wear for women suffering from arrested development. But that hooded lidded gaze is the money shot. Every one
is seduced by that, by him that it will sell. Seems everyone wants what they can't have and will never be. Well you can afford this and you can ape a Lolita look. Maybe he makes it possible to disprove that fact.....just take a coldly objective look into that mirror before you hand it over. No one wants to be pointed at . That's too tricky a gesture to decode.
Doo Ri , the silk jersey Queen, with the impressive credentials of having been the assistant to Geoffrey Beene up to the end of his life and career, has been a big fish in this standing pool of ny fashion. When she burst onto the scene , the editors figured she would display the brilliance of her departed boss. Just working for someone brilliant doesn't make you in turn brilliant. It's nice for the resume but the rest is up to you. Her collections were beautifully draped jersey...abstract and unique. The palette was grim, which was the first indication that all was not soaked up at Beene, but still everyone piled onto that too fragile cart and claimed her a visionary. Vogue threw money at her, the CFDA nominated her a few times and a career was hatched. It helped that mom and dad had a dry cleaning business. That detail was just too charming. A Korean restaurant would have been just as effective, but the clothes would have smelled of cooking and kimchi which could have been a slight impediment.
So with the cultural brass ring of an indigenous background, and the fact that she toiled in the basement of the family establishment warmed the hearts of all the politically correct mags, editors and stores sent her to the head of the class. As of late, she has fallen from the radar.She's selling , but without the fanfare of seasons past. I fear her fortune cookie said: Next.
Andrew Gn , another early success story has the most obvious talent. Having worked for various high powered designers, Ungaro and Balmain when Oscar de la Fantastique was driving the bus, he has come along with a clear and unique,personal style. He's cool and of the moment with an eye that is international and intelligent. So I'm biased, yes me...FLUFF, but he's got that thing that keeps you interested and feeling good in his clothes. They are clean, modern clothes ,well thought out, and beautifully made.They have a maturity that only comes from exposure to the fashion world at large. His sense of color is complicated and artful, he understands the fine line between too much and not enough. Lots of graphic elements are a common vein in these collections. Imagery, stripes,graphic elements all work together , in a young and yet all age encompassing way that make the overall vision one of discernment and that hard to find element:TASTE., Sportswear that works , and remains on this side of hip, not classic and dull. What impresses one the most is that though he 's yet another darling, he delivers. He takes more time in the studio working and less time at parties and grabbing the photo op. His commitment appears to be focused on the work and not desperate self promotion.
That is clearly not the case for Kimorra Lee Simmons. The empress of PHAT. Asian /Black/pseudo-Celeb/poor mans' Imelda Jones.....she makes the hair stand up on this hair free body of mine. I do have a few short hairs but they're situated in a place that shall remain private. She of the reality show stardom, ex-wife to Russell Simmons , and replacement red carpet critic......How she could critique style when hers is so thin it's absolutely transparent is way past me. Fabulosity is her catchword, and that is exactly what she doesn't possess in SPADES. Baby Phat started as a pitiful mish mash of clothes masquerading as fashion, but has come a long way over the past few years. It's a collection now with a particular taste level. I'd say, it's a rather low level taste ,but there's something there for the vulgar, uneducated, steaming , and ferociously acquisitive, stinking herd. Whenever one of her runway shows starts I sit back and take in it's sublime VULGARITY. Her approach is like a starving child let loose in Dean and Deluca. She's stuffing her purse, pockets and too tight clothes with every and anything she can get out the door. Yes, a style shoplifter. You'd think a woman with her means would grow some taste , having worked as a model at Chanel, girlfriends with Andre leon Talley and every stylist that can be bought, she remains a spoiled demanding oversized( bordering on truly large) wanna be. I can't say enough about how little there is there. To flip to blackspeak that she is fluent in: Girlfriend, you deserve a triple SNAP for pulling the cashmere over the eyes of the too easily led consumer.
Move over and go back to school. Stop pretending to be a designer, when your REALITY show gives you and your total absence of talent away. It's like fortune cookies after too heavy a meal. Forget the doggy bag......I feel queasy.
This DISH has too few ingredients and way too much MSG.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

green is the new black

have you noticed that suddenly everything is green? even if it's pink or brown or white ,its now called GREEN. this whole idea of the greening of the planet is so tired and so done and boring. to write about it is even boring, but today i'm bored, even in sunny palm beach i'm so bored i can't stop thinking about green. when ever life gets so fucked up, everybody starts cleaning house or putting their underwear in order. the whole messed up world is going to hell in a tatty , nasty marc jacobs handbag. if it were hermes , believe me we'd be going someplace great, surely not to hell. but in marc jacobs, the bus doesn't make any's the express and the only stop is HELL. it's an election year,that alone signals big problems being traded for new big problems , only being ignored by someone new. So all this confusion and anxiety makes everyone nuts . hence; greening. this time it's a little more pronounced. we used to be satisfied with toilet paper that would disappear before it was even disposed of. then it was gas that was passed as just tinted air, touted as being good for the atmosphere. black lung could be green! now it's everything. cleaning fluids, soaps, shoes, clothes, preservatives, name it i just don't see the point. i want to wear my clothes, not smoke them. i don't like burn marks on my couture. hemp was an ok idea for rope , it's a bad idea for fashion. smoke it or tie something up with it, but for god's sake don't wear it.planting trees everywhere is a lovely idea, ridding the planet of unpleasant gas emissions is another. I think it's silly to wear cashmere from sheep raised on real grass and turn the air conditioner down to 68 degrees as you cruise along in your new suv. we might all consider wearing marc's obama t-shirt made from reconstituted condoms for 250. I tried kitty litter made from shredded tires, but it just wasn't particularly absorbent, not to mention it created a odour that made having guests over a bit dicey. there are a few other things we could do that might lend this crippled planet a hand. For one, all those annoying people on the street and subways that insist on toting and slugging from oversized bottled waters which have been flown and trucked in from all sorts of inconvenient and distant places.... well try drinking from something as novel as a faucet. They just dump those bottles in overstuffed trash cans and on the ground in the park and gyms they abuse. You could choose tap over bottled when your waiter/server asks at the restaurant. Try taking the bus to west, east, south, or bridgehampton instead of the private plane. Maybe consider buying a hybrid car to cruise around in once you get there. Grill your meals the old fashioned way....use wood and lay off the gas. Takes a little longer, but it tastes better. lady bird johnson used to talk about how we all need to plant a tree, flower or shrub. that was her big contribution , an attempt to beautify the country. it was a nice enough legacy but even then there were people all over the place with zilch. those people still live here. instead of putting so much energy into another fad let's take this whole zany idea of GREEN an turn it into real green... MONEY. Then we could use that for something totally self serving and irresponsible like giving it to people who need it . that would be the greening of america . Now we could all pack a weekender, take the shuttle to pluto and let earth detox. pluto could be the next st. barts or turks and caycos. everybody and their nannies would come running.
green could be the new black.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

shoes or not?

Unless its an open toe flat mule, I don't give a rat's ass about it. Comfortable, practical, elegant and wearable. Well I'm pitifully alone in my thinking, with the exception of people with foot issues, too short mates, or the extreme religious right. So these Prada Hobbit's heels, the new heel that looks like it broke and she can't be bothered fixing it and now wears it as an extension of the sole, or the cantilevered heel with missing supports all boggle my too small mind. As you see, I rub my brow too much over the vagaries of fashion and style.
So what's up wit Dat?
First , the Prada Hobbit Heel : Besides looking like the GREENEST shoe in the patch, it is so DEEPLY organic , you're forced to build a wardrobe around them or wear them alone with a thatched shift. It's not easy being GREEN. But on the other hand, they have a humor to them that's in such short supply, so go on....Elfin -Chic is sweet.
The Cantilevered Heel is Fashion catapulting itself into the future. But Fashion and Future are a contradiction in terms which cancel each other out. So enough said on that.
My favorite one is the Broke DOWN Mountain shoe. This one, though already so last week, in fact so last 2 or 3 seasons ago, has percolated to the surface and is now leading as a shoe of the moment. A heel that is prone as opposed to standing and supporting the shoe. That style is a metaphor for the life and times of the here and now. If it's BROKE don't Fix it, just SHUFFLE on down the road. Good luck and GOD help you. There is SURREALISM and there's SILLYISM.
You decide.....I'm too over it.
The last thing to mention on these directional shoes are the prices. HOBBIT hooves, FUTUREPAST and BROKE DOWN brogans cost as much as feeding a family of 4 for a month or more. I understand the idea of value and the price of the NEW, but 5,6,7oo bucks for a shoe is really bordering on the concept of INVESTING. So an investment is usually for things that have a future attached to them, something one wants to have for the long run that possibly increase in value over time and can be kept/utilized...or if not, then sold for a profit , or perhaps passed on to a future generation. These shoes don't really fit any of those criteria.If you're a collector then ok, but otherwise NOT ok. Why not just look at them on the page and just turn to the next? I did and I don't have any regrets ...and I even missed out on the BUYER'S REMORSE. Rent is coming up soon, and at this late date I couldn't afford the REMORSE!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


What is IT? Who has IT? How can I get IT?

You know that's a question not so easy to answer. You figure that over a lifetime perhaps some of the fortunate few figure it out. Well, I'm going into my 7th or 8th life,I've lost count, and I'm just starting to get an inkling of what IT is. In this suffocating little world of fashion ,style, status, cool, wow-ness, IT is the holy GRAIL issue. The search is on. Treasure maps can be bought on the news stands from 25 cents to an easy$100. Those maps are printed daily and monthly and so many of us snatch them up in the search for IT. The clever ones think that making a b-line to the nearest luxury emporium and paying a premium gets them IT earlier and faster than the OTHERS.
Others go and try to buy IT wholesale, the really savvy treasure hunters. Still others think IT is merely a pose one affects, giving everyone who's looking the look and feel of having IT. The saddest ones are the itsy bitsy group who think they were born with IT and have exclusive rights to IT, due to pedigree. Well they rarely if ever have ,know, or see IT, when IT's staring them in the face.
So many of us moved to New York to find,have or BECOME IT. We traded lives and values for something greater...something that would buy us IT. We didn't think of what IT would cost.
Most people think that IT is a thing; something to be worn or carried. Others think IT is a pose, a way of acting or carrying ones self. And others think IT is an envied bloodline, shared by a misguided few. I've come to think It as something intangible, but wholly available to every one on the planet with or without money, means ,or mobility. IT can't be bought or sold, borrowed or stolen, bartered or saved.
A lot of In- the -GROOVE people think IT is a style, an ATTITUDE of the NOW. A certain aloofness and cool, as in remote, icy, Self referential, in short ; SNOTTINESS.

Well, IT ain't.

A too highly regarded group of fashion and social critics believe IT to be their dictates set down monthly .The wearing of a certain brand of clothing, a tight set of choices with little room to stray leaves little room for individuality. But by doing so, wearing so , and so and so, they believe one can possess IT.

IT, I've come to realize can not be seen, held or heard. From what I can gather, this thing called IT is a thing that's inside...not out. IT has to do with knowing ones self and finding a cozy place inside. IT's the actions and choices one makes in how to get through life, keeping in mind that we are only here a very short time. IT appears to manifest IT'S self in ones capacity to treat others with respect and compassion. Not simple or easy. Not even considered cool .

IT could be one's ability to give freely, without exacting a price. To be willing to take the good with the bad and not wasting everyone's time BITCHING about having been CHEATED.
IT is not keeping score. Maybe, IT'S allowing YOURSELF and the rest of us to just BE.

That's IT........I think.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Real Deal......Fashion that keeps the Shops Alive.

I'm always Reading, Choking, Heaving, Hissing and Spitting over those considered to be THE IMPORTANT DESIGNERS. At first I thought it was a HAIR BALL until my therapist finally got through to me.The leaders of the pack are selling the MASSES their particular BRAND of MYSTERY MEAT. Well, there is a scant bit of truth in it, but way more NOXIOUS GAS and CRACKED MIRRORS . The FACTS of LIFE are this: (sit down and listen closely to FLUFF, because I would never lie to you or try to frighten you....this HURTS ME more than it will HURT YOU)......Fashion MAGAZINES are CLUELESS. They don't mean to be but they can't help it. None of them wants to be out of step. It's cold and scary out there alone.
So we're told that SO and SO this and YADDA-YADDA that, are the CAT'S MEOW.These are the designers who are supposedly the life force of the INDUSTRY. If you look closely at the ZINES, then go to an actual STORE,what you'll find are windows full of these PERPS WORK but actual departments filled with other merchandise.
The shop in shops display their WEARS peopled with a smattering of shoppers, usually more when there is a 70% OFF SALE. The EDGIEST of the MOMENT SHOPPER( suckers for a 15 minute thrill) will help to fuel this Myth, but BUY in LARGE, the action is happening off stage and slightly to the left.
The BEDROCK of the luxury business is rather a large group of DESIGNERS who are rarely talked or written about. They are often crammed onto a rack by color and almost never by name. The same can be said for sportswear designers. But still the EVENING clothes that sell most consistently off the racks and through TRUNK SHOWS are from Designers like Angel Sanchez, Heidi Weisel, Robert Danes and others. These men and women sell steadily, season after season, to a very loyal and growing group of ladies. I'm talking about women from a cross section of the SOCIAL STRATA. The same women who own Oscar de la Fabulous, ChadoRalphRucci, CarolinaHerrera,Valentino,and Chanel , fill and FILL-IN their wardrobes with the work of these American Masters. She can easily buy 2 pieces of theirs for 1 piece of the others. This INTREPID shopper, the one not blinded by the Conde Nast Codex, wants to look original, at occasions that happen and matter most EVERYDAY and NIGHT:LIFE .There are other events the MAGS rarely if ever make reference to: THE BAR or BAT MITZVAH, the WEDDING, the MOTHER OF, the GUEST, or the occasion of the BLACK TIE.
In SOCIAL CIRCLES the same people hang with the same people. There are those who are LABEL-OBSESSED favoring the flavor of the moment, no matter how BLAND, but others want to show up in something not splashed over the pages of every magazine. She'd actually like to wear a design that says "Look at ME FIRST" and the dress second. These designers create a' MYSTERE'. Women rarely fail to look CHIC and Modern in their clothes. For this reason, word gets around that wearing the work of some of these designers is a Wise Investment. They are not EVERYWHERE, they don't age or become dated in a season or less. There is a TIMELINESS and TIMELESSNESS to much of their work that allow women to wear it agin and again over many years. This is a good thing. VALUE means VALUE . GREAT still means GREAT.
I love seeing someone with style, no matter how QUIRKY, and asking them who made that? Women love to be asked that question, ESPECIALLY when it's a design that's NOT from one of the usual SUSPECTS. They feel all the better for stepping out of the PACK and jumping to higher ground. Not slavishly following the Fashion Herd.
Go to Bergdorf Goodman, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and ask an INFORMED Sales Associate,"Who sells well in this dept?". She will very often say these above mentioned designers for a number of reasons. Let's face it ...WOMEN WANT TO STAND OUT... They want to look young,beautiful, alluring and of the moment. It's harder to do that in clothes that never for a moment take their needs and wishes into account. Status label packs are much like a roomful of tuxedoed men . A sea of SAMENESS.
This brings me to try to figure out why these relatively UNKNOWN Designers remain RELATIVELY unknown. The single largest reason is probably MONEY. They own and support their own businesses without partners. They are not out to SHOCK and THRILL the press. Therefore, this creates a MISCONCEPTION that they aren't important. 'They aren't PUSHING the ENVELOPE', some might say. Their clothes are ORIGINAL, COUTURE quality in workmanship and fabrication but not out to turn the world on it's head. You might go so far as to say "These clothes are SAFE". That is TRUE and FALSE. BEAUTIFUL does not have to equal STRANGE or OVER WROUGHT. The pressures of survival can have an effect on the most IMPERVIOUS of people. So a valid criticism of these unheralded designers could be that they are too much of this world. GROUNDED vs. UNTETHERED. Perhaps GROUNDED is the new BORING. They rarely appear on editorial pages , though they often have GREAT collections , POETIC, but they fail to get CONSIDERED.
The problem lies more with the consumer. The VAST MAJORITY of WOMEN may look at these magazines, titillated by the inventiveness of the UNWEARABLE andUNAFFORDABLE. But the BOTTOM LINE is , SHE IS NOT A RISK TAKER. Looking cool does not mean looking like a fool. Perhaps 'FASHIONISTA' is another way of saying:'VICTIM'.
These designers build their businesses keeping in mind these shifting paradigms ,blending them with their own particular AESTHETICS. NOT second guessing the buyer or the client , but INCLUDING HER in their own CREATIVE PROCESSES.
I keep one eye open for what comes out of those HOUSES to see REAL vs.MEMOREX. You see it in Isabel Toledo, Eskandar, Shawn Ray Fons, and others. Granted, this is a very mixed group of HOUSES,what they share in common is a true following. Young Ladies as well as the more MATURE consistently buy season after season. The numbers in sales is consistent and often better in the end compared to the TOUTED names and INFLATED numbers because it is pure profit.These designers don't have as large a burden of commitment costing hard dollars. Charge backs are not as crippling , and advertising agreements are sometimes shared by the store.
The down side is that the store in turn doesn't pump much money into promotion (THOUGH THEY SHOULD OUT OF GOOD MERCHANTS' SENSE) and make TONS of it off the backs of these HARD WORKING designers. SOMETHING for NOTHING.
The next time you're shopping for something special,hang a left, dig a little deeper and look for these guys. Chances are YOU will be the BEACON at your next gig, the ENVY of all.

Never doubt for a NEW YORK minute.......You're wearing the REAL DEAL.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Trending beyond one's means.

At the Brooklyn Museum the other night a CURIOUS celebration was afoot . The opening of the Murakami retrospective, LAVISHLY underwritten by LVMH was a LOVE-IN between Marc Jacobs, Murakami, the Grande Fromages of Louis Vuitton and all of their nearest and dearest.
This crowd was HAUTE. So HAUTE, they were SMOKIN' !!!! What was so puzzling about this SHINDIG was the ironic humor of a TABLEAU VIVANT that Marc and Murakami and Management dreamed up. Clearly a FEVER dream that a a scotch and soda would have dispatched tout suite ,STAT for those of you lingually challenged. This tableau vivant was staged outside the entrance to the museum. There was a faux CHINA TOWN set up with a dollop of African inflected table and tarps covered in LOUIS. Now these clever boys hired 'ACTORS' from Casting de CHINE and Casting for COLOR to people these booths and blankets making it look like the real deal. You know, HOCKERS hocking real stuff looking like fake stuff for REALLY HIGH PRICES. It was a passion play ,a fashion play on political correctness.
Now the real theater was the guest list pretending to be like most of us shopping for a great knock off ( I'm not condoning buying counterfeited MERCH, but this is a story so just stay with me on this). Acting POOR but looking LOADED. This is the MAGIC of the fine art of TRENDING. One is transported through CLASS and SPACE by merely purchasing and donning unexplainably over priced articles of fashion: clothing, jewelry and accessories .
The HOI POLOI watched this parade of the FAUXBULOUS, looking confused and not just a tad put off. Sometimes cleverness can fly right over the heads it's meant to amuse. I certainly felt a mix of emotions: ENVY and DISGUST.
ENVY of the socialites and celebs conspicuously consuming and not appearing to care about the thousands this REAL fake stuff cost. I was DISGUSTED by these socialites and celebs conspicuously consuming and not appearing to care about the thousands this REAL fake stuff cost. Way down deep, I was DISGUSTED by my ENVY. It looked like a PERVERSE performance for us, the onlookers. There was an ELITISM to that evening that left one COLD. HAIRLESS and HAIRLOTS alike.
Marc and Murakami convinced the LVMH brass that these bags would bring joy and vanquish sorrow, fear and GRIEF caused by 9/11. We new yorkers needed a PICK ME UP and these totes starting at 2,4 6 and 10 grand were just what the doc prescribed.

The LOVE FEST inside was chillier than the cold rainy outside.

Marc and Murakami were feeling it, what with the MAGIC they created with all these ultimate GIFT BAGS outside and the SHOP IN SHOP set up INSIDE the museum . It was A PICK N PAY for the PRECIOUS. The show was sort of an accessory to the commerce going on. Almost like Marc and Murakami were SHILLS for the 3 card monty game going on simultaneously. Create an environment that causes people to TREND beyond their means. Just because Sofia, Eva, and Chloe can, doesn't mean we can or should or MUST.

It takes a Fashion Superstar to see beyond the clouds of debris, asbestos and rubble and find the pulse of a culture and HEAL it. One could go a baby step further and say THEY all found a not very nice way to profit from this tragedy. But when we are prone to TRENDING beyond our means we are susceptible to CHARLATANS. When you see black AMEX cards flashing around like metro cards you can lose a bit of perspective. CRAVING the thing of the moment, some of us have spent money we don't have. Word on the street is that these purses came to be when Marc suggested to the bigboys at LVMH that these DIDDY BAGS would lift us from the depression many of us felt post 9/11. He believed that this bag costing from 2-10 grand would lift all our spirits and give us something to feel good about. Those of us watching our livelihoods crumble,our lives completely and irrevocably altered could GRAB a LOUIS and find reason to GO ON. A tote bag that most can't fathom owning would be just the ticket to
NIRVANA. An AMEX entre to the land of PLENTY.

This would have been a perfect OPRAH moment. That girl, SHE of the selfless gesture would have taken every one of those bags and GIVEN them to everyone OUTSIDE , those who couldn't pay the price and GIVE FREELY the DREAM. Murakami was asked what it's like to be so rich and successful. He said it gave him the chance to throw a party like this one and watch the money wash away. If that's the case, why were they selling LOUIS willy-nilly, consequently putting that money right back in his pockets.

I must have missed something.....Maybe this is the NEW MATH my Mommie used to talk about.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

In the Darkness of Uncertainty we must follow our Beacons of Light and Grace

A day of beauty is something every girl should make a priority. I'll never forget the day I was leaving the Pierre after watching an absolutely SUBLIME collection of Bill Blass(the real one...the one with talent and a message) and just in front of me was Nina Griscom and a 'girlfriend' tete a tete-ing on the way out. They were discussing the heaviness, the burden of their schedule that day. Blass, then Carolina Herrera ,Oscar de la Fabulous,ending with Valentino( a rare New York appearance). Their couture Knickers were in a very chic TWIST , what with a back breaking list of OBLIGATIONS. So Nina says "maybe we should skip lunch at Le Grenouille and scoot over to Kenneth instead. He'll order up something yummy and we can have a manicure and comb-out! "I have to say the brilliance of her speeding bullet BRAIN, not to mention her DEAD ON solution to a situation that would have left most of us STYMIED and rooted in our Delman Dorsays to that very spot. She went on to say" You know sometimes you just have to make time for yourself ".
Well I almost did a cheer from the days when I was a cheer leader at prep school. This GIRL had it all, and had it ALL TOGETHER. She laid it out like the GOSPEL according to 10021.

I learned something from her that I've carried in my heart ever since. We absolutely must follow the example of our sisters of the Fashion Firmament. They see the light and make a B-LINE for it every time. We may be blinded but these girls aren't.Thank Jesus,Mary, Anna and God. Not necessarily in that order, but you get where I'm going with this.
Probably the 3 Graces were our best examples of knowing what's what.
I mean Pat, Nan and Chessy of the firm :Buckley,Kempner,Raynor and Sisters. Nothing slowed them down. No downturn of the stock market, or the utter buckling of the pavement in this town and every other one in this country, which has put the squeeze on our beautifully shod toesies.Not War, starvation,unemployment,disease or a general malaise having turned the once puffy white clouds BLACK dampened their PARADE. Nope this firm did what we should all be doing. They threw dinner parties....sometimes as many as 2 a week and went the rest of the week to each others and let's not forget high ticket benefit SOIREES! 'Don't let the small stuff interfere with your duty to be gay, mad cap,ironic , and just DEVIL MAY CARE. God I miss them. They were BROADS on a MISSION.

So while sitting and having a manicure, pedicure and massage at one of those fabulous and CHEAP corner NAILTIQUES I was clawing through ALL the magazines. These journals for those of us who worship at the alter of Fashion ,are the equivalent of the Codex. A wave of optimism crashed over me( thank GOD I didn't have hair for a DO) looking at our new BUSH WACKERS: Aerin Lauder,Marina Rust,Lauren DuPont,Alexandra von Furstenburg, Samantha Boredman,Tory Burch,so-and-so GETTY,and we mustn't ever forget Bea Schaeffer-Wintour.
These girls are everywhere with their capable hands in every Gateau in town. They are mothers,wives( in the loosest sense of the word...considering you almost NEVER see a husband in sight)leaders of MAJOR industry, Philanthropists and just WORLD-CLASS party goers. They pose in their homes here ,there and over there, too. They pose for EACH OF US at parties we'd never get invitations to and yet they are EXAMPLES for us to APE .
Gestures, style, their homes' decor, the way they entertain in such an artless, MODERN and NATURAL way. This Joie de Vivre that they EXUDE in such a DEGAGE way is exactly the model for those of us weighted down by daily plebeian concerns.
Forget taxes, rent,health care,all the niggling little distractions that DERAIL us from having a Good Ole Time. (Don't) EAT,Drink , and be WARY. What comes ,comes. Like these girls, if we're lucky ,what doesn't kill us, only leaves us CRIPPLED. So follow the WACK PACK and start having some seriously STYLISH FUN!


Friday, April 4, 2008

Fashion Fashion Everywhere...and not a SOUL wearing it.

This Kitten was tending to it's daily TOILETTE and had a DING DONG revelation. Minding my own business and scratching around in my BIEDERMEIER commode,of course lined with the pages of the latest VOGUE,HARPERS,T&C and the most recent BARNEYS catalogue,( filled with dead sea sand for good traction) I clawed off a page featuring theHAUTEST looks from Balenciaga. Sculpted shoulders attached to an armor shaped jacket in sublime floral printed Zibeline with matching PETITE HOT PANTS. The model was shod in the most come il faut GLADIATOR heels which snaked the length of here twig thin legs. My god! I stopped cold and stood there agape.
The severity of the shapes were so provocative......a COUTURE ATELIER flexing it's considerable muscle. A Couturier tossing his considerable mane with TOTAL command. It was a picture both ARRESTING and AGGRESSIVE in it's beauty and RIGOR. This image and others like it are papered over every magazine and website this month , which shows it's power and acceptance among the editors of the BIBLE in all its various translations and testaments. So I figure I'm gaping at the Gospel according to those who KNOW.
Here's where I start to ask a few practical,albeit plebian QUESTIONS.

WHO IS WEARING THIS? WHO CAN AFFORD TO WEAR THIS? and last but NOT the least bit overstating the NOT AT ALL OBVIOUS: why?

After cleansing and moisturizing these PAWS, I slinked over to my PRADA abacus and started crunching numbers. I'm from a middle class litter, so I tend to ask or check prices, it's a foible of mine. When you have no hair, live alone ,toil in this town to keep a roof over your head and yet indulge in the wearing and appreciation of fashion and having one or two of the finer things in life, BUT are on a fixed BUDGET, you tend to ask that vulgar ,common,CLASS IDENTIFYING question: HOW MUCH?

After adding up the JACKET(short sleeved), the SHORTS (scary short) and then the cost of the SHOES ( hardly an acceptable description) the COMPLETE 'LOOK' was about 30 GRAND. Now I'm no babe in the woods. I know the cost of FABULOSITY, but I staggered taking in the STAGGERING prix.

COUTURE COSTS. COUTURE is the ultimate CLIMAX, but COUTURE is CAPRICE (and not the CAR....that's CHEAP).

Don't get me wrong, I love it; it's HOTNESS of the WEARABLE kind ! But I'm looking around and I don't see it HAPPENING anywhere but in my lovely Commode (ok, so it's ATTRIBUTED to BIEDERMEIER). Where is she? this chic SIREN in the SNAPPY SUIT? I can't seem to find her.The cost of that extremely SPECIFIC ENSEMBLE is the cost of a years rent in my very elegant pied de terre.
What are the editors thinking when this STYLE FANTASTIQUE has a shelf life of about 8 weeks before we're told to toss it for something more NOW....more MODERNE....more IT.
It left me FLUMMOXED and not just a little bit confused.
The fact that it was in a catalogue drove me from the warmth of my elegant pied de terre, to scamper over to Barneys to see what what the HUB BUB was all about. Is the MERCH on the MOVE or is it languishing on the racks like the pages in my commode. Well , I saw that it was NOT really on the MOVE. It was very much THERE....HANGING there, like a body that isn't really breathing......I think you catch my meaning. After asking several Sales Associates about what was HOT, NOW, IT, they all said that the 'Balenciaga was the LAST WORD in FABULOUS... but there was so much of it due to DEMAND' . I saw at least 150 pieces CRAMMED on 3 or 4 racks with nothing buzzing around them besides a few very large and slow moving FLIES.

You think I'm a sour PUSS but I just call it as I see it: Advanced EMPERORIOITUS, in the tertiary stage.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Toddlers in Da House.......

       Musical chairs in the Couture and Demi Couture houses of the world !!!!!

   How is it that the oldest , most venerable houses of couture and demi -couture  are starting a trend of hiring toddlers. Freshness and Zip now equal no experience . I guess that's novel and Fashion is supposed to be just that: NOVEL.
 Ungaro is now manned by 23 year old Estabon Cortazar. Management said they needed"BUZZ....and FAST".  That sounds like' lets get some news churning and worry about what the collection looks like after'.
  Proenza Schouler almost landed on the lap of Valentino......A cozy, comely combo ....but with about 4 years experience and a combined age of 16. They are attractive young men, editors' lap dogs and have a label that draws the fashion flaks like pigs to a gourmet slop fest. Someone in Rome woke up just in time and had a doppio cappuccino . 
  There are exceptions. Age is not a barometer for success, but these houses have so much at stake in an economic environment that is wheezing at best, choking in the LUXE niche and yet BABIES are the new SAVIORS. Perhaps the Press and Management think that the public is so Lindsey/Britney-ized that they'll buy anything that has that sweet smell of TWEEN. Olivier Theysskens is doing fine with out his training wheels making collections which have refocussed the light on Balenciaga. 
  The other houses without direction: Ferre,Paco Rabanne,Chloe,etc. are grabbing at straws,twigs, sprouts to draw  attention away from a fear put into them, that they must hire a flavor not a professional. Said Flavors are starlets, untried and undisciplined, but on the tips of the lemmings tongues, led by the Uber-Lemming, Ms. Wintour of Vogue . These flavors hardly have a TASTE , or taste for that matter. But they have BUZZ. Buzz is the new substitute for experience. Amy Winehouse has BUZZ, maybe she should design Paco Rabanne.
I'm getting a touch of BUZZ, perhaps I could take the reins .
  The experienced designer is becoming a bad word. Isabel Toledo, a BRILLIANT designer, can't stay long enough at Anne Klein to position it where it belongs and was moving swiftly towards becoming, again...a great American Collection. I'm not so sure about Isaac Mizrahi and Liz Claiborne....he of the' do rag' and she of the' this and that'....but at least he's a veteran of years of his own collections and possesses an eye that could bring INTEREST and sales to that behemoth.
  The tilt-a-whirl of FASHION is getting a bit stale, why not shake it up and put talent in the shoes of the departed masters instead of filling them with BOOTIES. Chanel was smart, why can't anyone else use their heads?
   Too many sale racks are overflowing with knock-offs of the Emperor.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Let's give CREDIT where it's Due. The Indespensible Assistant Designer.

There isn't a DESIGN HOUSE worth it's SALT that isn't fuelled by the unstinting, UNWAVERING efforts of the ASSISTANT to the designer. This one man or multi-force ARMY of faceless minions keeps these businesses ALIVE.
So much is credited to the STAR , the FACE (genious or not) of the house ,but the facts are very often at odds with this picture.NO designer is able to do this HERCULEAN job alone. The well is just too deep and vast and treacherous with cross currents,riptides and a vicious UNDERTOW. We need to recognize and applaud these women and men and kids . The assistant brings the news, the coffee, the tissues, the drink or anti-anxiety remedy to the BOSS on a regular and steady basis.
He/She/They are always at work,toiling,dreaming,scheming,DIVINING the zeitgeist that feeds and breathes life into the process of creation. There should be AWARDS for most GENEROUS and most DEDICATED assistant in the CFDA roster. The problem is that these SAINTS live an invisible existence in this VORTEX called FASHION.
A great one , is one who fearlessly holds TRUE to an objective EYE in the storm of indecision, the pressures of the market place...the crushing stresses on the delicate PSYCHE of designers forced to attempt GREATNESS, attempt RECOGNITION and VALIDATION from the most fickle audience of all:THE PRESS. The customer is so much easier to please and satisfy. The customer is always CHEERING on the designer. There's an EMPATHY inherent in the HEART and MIND of the consumer. They know because they invest. They BELIEVE because they experience the pleasure and JOY of a confidence in themselves because of the power of fashion and how it uplifts them.These people WALK TALLER ,STAND TOUGHER because a designer has helped them find the language and POETRY that tells their story. The ASSISTANT has carted the topsoil,planted the seeds and watered the garden of the designers' imagination making these fantastic dreams become real.
It's always so moving at show's end
when the designer comes out and puts forward the team
who helped make the fantasy real. There's a palpable rush of gratitude on both their parts and the audience gets the chance to be intimately included in this exchange.
Moments like this restore my faith in the grace of HUMILITY. After all, why else are we all here but to show thanks for the chance to make this short time we have special and not just a passing mist of smoke.