Thursday, December 31, 2009

Berlin Studies #4: New Years Eve

We celebrated with friends in a section of the city called Wedding. Wilhelm said it's more a working class neighborhood with Turkish and African people along with Germans. The neighbors were completely and utterly wild with the business of fireworks. In all the years and all the places I've celebrated New Years's Eve I've never experienced it like I did in Berlin. We were in the very center of the explosions. My trusted IPhone was right there in the fray recording the action. The next door neighbor launched his rockets from his balcony the old fashioned way; he used his hands! I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I did taking them. I included a short film of the action. All the explosions are within 20 feet of our balcony, some rained down on top of us. Fluff was safe inside as it was about -5 degrees and he's sadly, but sexily,without hair. This job was mine and I did my best. Enjoy!
Happy New Year, All!
I had a fantastic night and hope all of you did too!


Fluff !!!!

Berlin Studies #3: N.E.X.T.

Looking at this past year from the comfort of a foreign city and a safe distance is no less jarring. It seems like I've been running from shadows and searching for a sliver of light. That's what 2009feels like this morning. It was a year of change, harsh realities, tough choices and, ultimately, liberation. It was also a year that showed me that lives do change.

Personally, I'm not big on change. I'm a creature of habit; mostly bad ones but some good. To stop, back up and make a turn is anathema to me. Is it fear of the unknown? Perhaps. It's more fear of new patterns and new obstacles that will call for new exertions. It's probably a laziness of character. That's embarrassing to admit, but probably closest to the truth. The rooftops and lit car is the view from our room. Kinda KOOL. That's Eric, at right, taking dictation. He's a 2 finger typist, so these things take time......

Wandering through Berlin each day has an effect of dulling the facts of ones life and replacing them with new sensations. Getting back last night to the hotel in the falling snow (and ass chilling cold) where everything was silent and lamp lit got me thinking /remembering things I wanted to keep buried in New York , or at least in the back of this room's armoire. They were thoughts, memories and so many of them steeped in confusion and regret. So much that had been the rhythm of my life and that of those close to me was interrupted; stopped. I was not singled out. It was the case for many businesses in fashion, in NYC and the country. Too late to whine about it but it was a switch, the biggest one of my life. Many other things happened that were unplanned. Upheavals in the marketplace, an economy rocketing downwards and a lot of disillusioned people made for a cloudy year with a bit too much rain.

Fashion went around in circles to a large degree. The opportunities to boldly go where no designer has gone before, was largely ignored for a safer spot in ones own back yard. For that reason writing about fashion was amusing but not always enlightening. It was a good year for bitch slapping biliousness. For that, I apologize. Nevertheless, when you see something with a "Kick Me" sign pinned to its butt you have to fight the urge NOT to kick. Forgive me, but I was weak. Singling out Vogue, its Editors here and abroad, their grip on the eyes and ears of too many was something difficult to ignore. It is a dictatorship past its due date. A few years more and that regime will be replaced with a new one. Tectonic shifts are in play there as I write. News of a reshuffling will bubble to the surface very early in the New Year. So nothing stays the same, and that's good. Can you find Anna in the front row of this painting? Who's show is it?

Berlin has been a feast to the eyes and spirit. It is jammed with museums, amazing old and new architecture and a society of people filled with energy. It's not a slave colony like NYC can be, like the U.S. had become in the last administration. I haven't enjoyed using my IPhone camera this much , EVER. It's so much fun to share these incredible sights with you. You can't help but be awed by the Brandenberg Gate, the Reichstag, the old buildings that house so many more museums than we have, and tons and tons of new architecture that makes every direction you turn a visual feast. One of our friends here said, "Who needs high rises when you have fantastic buildings you can actually see all of ?" He's right. There is a human scale to a lot of what you see here. I would go further and say that Architecture is the fashion of Berlin more than clothes or accessories. That's not to say that there is a fashion design community alive and well, but it doesn't make its presence felt in the way architecture does. Fashion is more personal and idiosyncratic, and that's fine by me.

Tonight is New Year's Eve. The city is gearing up for a hell of a blast. Whole sections around the
the Brandenberg Gate and the Tiergarten, a huge park, will be blocked to traffic. People will mass there for a party that will go on until tomorrow. We've been warned not to venture out after midnight due to falling explosives. They rain down from most windows in most buildings making it treacherous and dangerous to move on foot or in a car. Tonight will also feature a Blue Moon, the second full moon during December. That is an auspicious event. It bodes well for all of us in the coming year. This Blue moon will be the last we see for the next 18 years. Many of us will be grown up, grown old and gone on.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year. Things will be better, they certainly will be different and we can look forward to new challenges and opportunities to change the courses of our lives. In the darkest moments of 2009, all of you switched on the lights for me and Fluff, giving us both a renewed faith in life's possibilities. I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it. I'd like to do the same for you all in some small way. Until such time, I want to say thanks from the 2 of us. And to my friends and loved ones, I want to send love and gratitude to you all. You're well aware who each of you are.

* Happy 2010 *

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Berlin Studies #2: The Snarltorialist

I've been possessed by the spirit of Scott Schuman since my arrival. The people of Berlin are so indicative of a certain style. It's not so much international as it is particular to Berliners. The street activity and the thousands in museums have given me an inkling of what they are about stylistically. It's really not about fashion as much as it is about personal style. There is a green-ness to the way people dress. Not that they're swaddled in hemp but that there is a practicality to the way they put things together. It's cold, damp and dark much of the day. Layers are consequently a mainstay of most wardrobes. Coolness is in how it is done and not labels, per se. One fabulous cocktail dress was made completely out of Pine boughs....Who'd a thunk it? Not even Rodarte.

There is a 5th Ave. of sorts, Friedrichstrasse, with all the hottest shops, ALL of them. They seem to be more for the Russians than the Berliners. They were not packed , but there was a lot more action in them than on Madison Ave. just before I left. One week before Christmas you could toss a wrecking-sized bowling ball down Madison and not hit a soul. It was DEAD. Here it's busy. A ton of street traffic paired with actual shoppers.

So I pulled out my IPhone and started shooting like Scott, only I didn't ask people to stop and pose, but just ran all around them till I got something I could share with you. Being the Sartorialist must be a tough job. But playing the SNARLTORIALIST was a walk in the park. I rather enjoyed it. Most of my subjects didn't mind that much. It was only in the Leather shops, Berlin is the German word for Leather, that I found a bit of resistance. I'll have to follow these leather-clad fellas to wherever they all seem to go at night to catch them unawares.

Animal prints are everywhere. In so many store windows there are snake and leopard spots covering every sort of article of clothing. There's also an unusual interest in eyeglasses. The more colorful and oddly shaped the better. Henna is Queen in this town, and all over Germany for that matter. You see henna dyed tresses in every shade from heavy handed to otherworldly. I think the Germans keep the henna industry alive. There is a charm to so much you see. There's an un-selfconsciousness which makes it so appealing. Berlin has a decidedly East Village feel to it. It's not fussy and uptight. If anything it's more antic and excited about life, culture and making the most of things no matter how the chips fall.

Luxury lives in the materials, workmanship and quality of things you see and find here. That always seems missing from the obvious designer offerings. The one item I've seen so far, and there have been many, the thing I'm aching for is a pair of deer-skin leather pants in a loden grey green. They have the consistency of thick rich chamois and are cut perfectly. They cost half a month's rent but would last me the rest of my life. Each day I weigh the pros and cons of buying them. Amortizing them over the remainder of what would be an average advanced age makes them an obvious steal. There are 5 days left, so we'll see.

"It" bags are very different here. They are either very artistic or totally practical. Yes, you see a lot of Gucci and Hermes but more Hermes than other things. I love it that the taste level in luxe brands is weighted towards the truly fabulous and not the everyday. Grocery bags seem to be the "It" bag of choice.I saw lots and there was one lady in particular who believed that more was definitely better than less.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Berlin Studies #1: Nefertiti

I've just noticed that the sun doesn't shine much here. It's cold, wet and grey with a slight smell of coal smoke in the air. Unlike other places, these are just observations along with a list of others and not the thing that sets a tone. At 3:45's sunset and at 4:00p.m. it's dark. Simple as that. This is one of the most compelling cities I've ever explored. NYC has a lot to recommend it and plenty to send one packing. Berlin is like a riddle that keeps you trying to find the answer. This is my 4th day and it's been almost impossible to stop long enough to put this down. I just wish you could come along on this winding , twisting journey.

I will have to start with my coming face to face with Queen Nefertiti. You all know who and what I mean. The Neue Museum has an exhibition of Egyptian sculpture, art, and artifacts , with Nefertiti as it's jewel. Honestly, I'm rarely in a situation where I am without something to say. When I walked into the circular corner room with a huge vaulted ceiling and a perfectly lit glass dome above , I was already in a trance. The walls were partially covered in a fresco that covered the walls of an Egyptian palace. All pale ochre and lapis with mostly bare plaster walls the color of beige. In the center directly below the glass dome, which seemed to be the only source of light, was a single pedestal . On it was the bust of the most beautiful sculpted face, neck, shoulders and crown on this planet. She looks like someone from now, maybe the future, but hardly from several thousands of years ago. Her gaze expresses a total self possession. It's as though she is in total command of all her senses, her inner strength, her moral compass. No one was permitted to take photographs( this is going to be about the only picture I will NOT have taken for these stories) and so we all just stood, hushed and staring. It really was that awe inspiring. You just cant believe this bust has survived, intact, for so many thousands of years. Only a chipped right ear, and a little chip on the tip of her crown, and an enigmatic , missing color to her left eye, but the rest of her is perfection.

The color of her skin, texture of her features, the sinews of her throat, all look like the work of a master mannequin designer. At the risk of reducing her to something cliche or commonplace, she looks like a mature Audrey Hepburn. The eyes, cheekbones, jawline and neck all say Audrey. I stood and stared from every possible angle and kept coming up with Audrey. I hope that doesn't color your take on this story, but it explained to me something of Audrey's appeal. Her beauty spans time. Not in a gamine way, but in a way that women have of being the most wondrous, mystifying and powerful beings in this world. Queen Nefertiti must have been all of that and much more.

I found myself in many of the pieces that made up the exhibition. I could see a resemblance to these ancient Egyptians. Their heads were shaped like mine along with many of my facial features.For most of my life I've been embarrassed over the shape of my head; a bit too long in the back with a crown at the top and a prominent forehead. Well I found a beautiful basalt sculpted head of a man that could have been my twin. Our picture together will bear that out. The museum was filled with the most elegant display of a lost culture, a time long past. It was a show that kept me returning to different rooms just to get another glance to hold in my mind's eye, the camera's chip and more so in my soul. There was something transporting about it.
The backdrop for much of the exhibition are walls still riddled with bullet holes from the war. To actually see the remnants of that time on these walls and all over many many buildings everywhere in this city is a very strange and unsettling experience. No matter how you slice it, we in America have been shielded from so much.

Then there are the people here: Berliners, Germans, Tourists from EVERYWHERE and style Galore. Berlin is not a city of Fashion as we know it. It is a city of STYLE. Scott Schuman , The Sartorialist, came to mind and I channeled him.....sort of. You'll see.

Miss you all, kiss you all and wish we were sitting together over a coffee at Cafe Einstein sharing our thoughts ( Starbuck's is across the street, but who needs it?). I'm off...more later.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Meow Meow Meow!!!! Happy Holidays!!!!!!!!

From me to All of you, a Happy and Healthy Holiday and a very Satisfying New Year! Thanks for sharing it with me. I am very grateful and wish ALL of you the very BEST! This is a year I will never forget.

Fluff Chance

Happy Hanukkah, a Joy-filled Kwanzaa, and Merry Christmas !

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting HACKED is a nice way of saying..........

Everything was going so swimmingly. The blizzard blew up just as the plane was being de-iced. A. and i were cozy in our seats, with the champagne and Coca Cola(for me) being served. A yummy shearling throw was keeping me toasty(I'm sans hair, remember?) and the snowy , grey yonder was a few engines, a heave and a lift-off away. Before I could say ,"Meow Meow, Nice", we were up, up and away!

As dinner was being served, A. and I decided to watch Paranormal Activities on the computer. Like "A Single Man", it was lush in it's detail, soundtrack and stellar star turns....The movie had a budget lower than the one this blog uses, which is a nice way of saying, ZILCH. It wasn't "Blair Witch Project", but it had it's moments. If I'd been blessed with hair, it would have stood up once or twice. Fun transatlantic amusement!

Landing was smooth, even if Frankfurt presented us with the same blizzard we thought we'd escaped. When you're flying down the autobahn at about 150 MPH in a very fast and KEWL KAR, snow just doesn't hold the same weight. In fact, it's weightless and just blows away like down in a tornado. All, if not most was well in the world until a few hours later; that's when the shit storm( from England, the Docklands in seamy East London) blew in and put a nasty damper on my Christmas holiday. This part of town, I understand, though filled with a degree of excitement and danger, is decidedly unfashionable. Perhaps, a nice way to end a trip but not my choice for starting one, but I digress....

I started getting calls and texts like crazy. All sorts of people alerted me to a message(s) they'd received saying that I'd been mugged, had my hand broken, lost my passport, wallet and all I.D's. and was stuck in London in need of 2500.00 by way of Western Union to get a plane ticket and pay the hotel. It was a bogus, poorly written, misspelled and completely false email that went out to everyone in my Gmail account's address book. All my attempts to access my email account were fruitless because these #^*&*^%%$'s (translation: MF's) stole my password making it impossible to get in. The worst of it is if this had happened in NYC, my IP address would be the same. Contacting GOOGLE to correct the problem and give me back my account when my computer in a foreign country only confirmed their suspicion that I might not be who I pretend to be. There's something weirdly karmic about my predicament.

One of the worst results is that all my mail is piling up and I'm helpless to get to it. Some of you could be sending me Holiday greetings , comments on some lame story (like this one is beginning to sound like) or even hate mail and I'm unable to read, moderate, publish or reject it.
I feel impotent, powerless and violated. I'm frustrated and it's humiliating getting these calls from people annoyed that they are being harassed for money when I'm not in need or in any danger. Some of their responses to the Cyber kidnappers have been pretty ingenious. My trainer (riding instructor,Katherine) told them that if they could name her husband, describe his build and coloring, give the name of my horse and his official show name , she'd send the money. Another said they knew it was a hoax when the money wasn't being sent to Claridges or the Ritz. Most said they didn't fall for it because of the dull and dispirited tone of the prose. I liked that alot. It's nice to know you have a style to your writing that can be deciphered even in a crisis. Many were stymied by my request when they know that I know that they are just as broke as me!

Having your computer hacked by someone is like identity theft. You're helpless to stop them , only to change your passwords in every area that you use them. To wrestle back your personal , private property without help from the Internet authorities it's a grind. I won't appear as the real me until I return to the U.S. Until then, I'm hacked; I mean F*****.

I wonder if the same bandits who hit Victoria Beckham's delivery van got a hold of my Gmail account. It was a London address and Vicky is probably still pissed at me...Maybe someone at Vogue has decided to take action now that word on the street is that I may boycott the Blogger's Issue. Perhaps, Google is tired of taking a backseat to the FLUFF. Maybe Mommie is miffed that I hit the road instead of coming home for the Holidays. If any of you know any effective Google Techs, please let me know how I can contact them. Send your messages to: . That address is still accessible to me. Either way,Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, a warm and wonderful Kwanzaa and a Happy New Year to you all. I'll be in touch from Burnin' Berlin in a day or 2 !!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Single Man, by a singular one.

A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood has been somewhat transcribed by Tom Ford. The story is somewhere within layers of styling, endless stretches of moody soundtrack, impossibly stylish settings and objects. The original story revolves around a day in the life of a man who's lost his lover and goes through life devoid of any center or purpose. Colin Firth and Julianne Moore are the stars of the film and carry it all off with panache, heart and style. I would have said soul, but I think style outweighs soul in Ford's hands. He takes artistic license with the plot, as well, which alters the arc of the narrative even more.

I went into the film having read reviews, the original story and also having listened to an NPR interview with Tom Ford. My expectations were high and I wanted to love it. From the first moment, I felt as though I was in a universe hovering between the shooting of an ad or the filming of a commercial. Besides a dead body in the snow with clouded, open blue eyes, we're shown the approach of a character in the snow wearing a Saville Row perfectly cut suit and hand made shoes. That's a lot to take in in the first 5 minutes. I turned to my friend and commented on the beauty of the shoes. They stole the thunder of the corpse with the clouded, glazed, staring blue eyes. The music swells and despite the cold of the setting, it was an over heated moment that dragged on. Much of the film drags in that same self conscious way. God is usually in the details, but Tom assumes the character of God in this story.

The look and sizzle of the film are in the surfaces. Granted, Colin Firth could have played his role with only his eyes. He could have done it without ever having opened his mouth. His eyes were so expressive communicating every thought, feeling and pain of loss. He just looked too damn good, EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. Julianne Moore, his best pal and neighbor, with a world weary, martini- fuelled English accent, was a visual treat. She wears a very loosely coiffed up-do that spills and falls away with every turn of her head. There's a metaphor in there somewhere but jet lag is impeding my normally razor sharp insight. Suffice it to say, she swans around her living room and terrace with Colin drinking stylish drinks: gin, bubbly, what have you, with an Elsworth Kelly painting sitting casually on the mantle. The jewels are very impressive in a "who cares" sort of way. It's all so chic. That includes his Mercedes Roadster,a Richard Neutra house of glass and teak,all displayed with little back story except that he teaches in a nondescript college in L.A. We learn through Ford's interview that George (ColinFirth) is possessed of independent means and, therefore, lives a charmed life. It's curious though, because the questions start surfacing in the first moments and we're left to parse them out for ourselves. One needs the NPR interview to really get the story behind this story.

So branding is something that swallows this story whole. Ford is a perfect director in that he is obsessed with detail. Nothing is left to chance. It is both a wonder and a weight. If he had gotten out of the way and let the story unfold, it would have felt more authentic. I felt that he'd co-opted Isherwood's novel and overlaid an ad on it. It felt more vehicle for Tom Ford returns, than the telling of a story. There was little subtlety in the film, unless by oversight. The end was the most satisfying part of the film. I won't reveal it , but it helped balance so much else that was top heavy. Ford could be great if he would let go. There's little in him that is spontaneous. Every pose of his for the camera is choreographed; chin down and tilted to his left shoulder. The film was just as stilted. The love story that is the heart of the piece comes through, but only after you've cleared away the custom-tailoring, starched matching shirts, perfect loafers, Buccelatti bracelets, Danish Modern furnishings, Mid-century Modern everything, and Bijan-ish knick knacks. I found myself wishing that we lived in a similar way: intimate dinners at home, playing records to dance to, and laying on the floor poring out our souls to our really close friends. There was something so static in the film's elegance that made me restless.

Yes, I liked it. I've thought about it a few times since. It was last Thursday night, the coldest night to date in NYC this winter. It was a chilly experience inside and out. Listening to Ford speak about the making of the film and his approach to design was as arch and contrived as listening to Madonna speak in a mix of American and English accents. It may be a small and in some way petty observation, but one that spoke volumes. It's a visual feast, but you may feel as though you need to eat a real meal that sticks to your ribs.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sorry for the paws.....

With Christmas right around the corner and with plans to do some prowling around Berlin, I've been remiss in keeping in touch with my true love. Maybe I was so tired of the nation's obsession with Tiger, Posh and the White House that I just curled up and read 4 books. Either way, I apologize for my silence.

I keep hearing about Vogue planning a cover using Bloggers. I can't confirm it, but find it really interesting considering there's so much disagreement as to our value or validity. Leave it to Vogue to take one of the most controversial and pressing issues of the moment and put it on their cover. When you consider that BrianBoy, Tavi the pr-teen prodigy, the girl with too many shoes whose name escapes me, and HOPEFULLY Scott Schuman, The Sartorialist( for a level of legitimacy) might be the subjects it looks like a nice benign self serving dish. Vogue would never embrace anyone who wasn't already embracing them. Granted, there could be a sliver of controversy in these choices but most of them are predictable, banal and bland. I have the greatest respect for Scott. I think his eye and visual story telling is of the highest order. His book is a road map on how to dress and how to look better than just cool. The beauty of that book is that it shows you how to take what you already own and mix it up to create a completely new way to dress. I think that's very smart when many of us can't afford to go out and buy everything we see. I'll be curious to see if this issue happens. If Perez Hilton is part of the gang I might even buy it. I want to learn from the masters. I need to learn from them! Just in case someone there decides the composition is incomplete without me , I've gone to the Beauty Spot for a make over. I want to make love to the camera ........ Do you like by dye job? I itch from it , but Fabulousity is ALL mine , for a week or so.

How Lindsay kept her head and Mounir(the Boss Man) lost his is way over mine. I only know that somehow Ungaro is on a rocky road to nowhere. Lindsay, who I defended and since discovered was indefensible, in the collection that wasn't, is a dangerous , destructive influence in theHouse of Ungaro. She's a hellion on a hell ride taking Estrella Archs and the rest of the house down with her. Murmurings from the inside say that Ms. Lohan really is as OOC as we've heard....even more out of control than we'd /I'd like to think. I hoped she was being unjustly blamed , but she held the yardstick and blindly pointed the way. Lost, stoned and clueless is a dangerous cocktail. To think Mounir Moufarrige brought her in, kept her in place , took the hits and then bowed out leaving her in place is a messy way of saying," Save a line for me Linds', I'll be there, tout sweet!"

I'm seeing a Single Man this afternoon. I'll share that with you all ,afterwards. I'm very excited as I read all of the works by Christopher Isherwood when I was in high school. I was a precocious kitten back then. The Hardy Boys just didn't do it for me. Reading the NYTimes review and listening to Tom on NPR makes me very curious. Tom Ford is such a genius at branding, creating a rock solid image for the products he puts out makes me curious as to how he'll handle something as nuanced, delicate and soulful as an Isherwood story. So many of his closest friends said in interviews that they didn't think he had the substance to direct such a multi- layered piece. They said that they didn't realize there was any there there under his well lacquered , perfect box of an exterior. Well there must be a heart that beats and a soul that feels deeply with talk that Julianne Moore, Colin Firth and the film itself are on a fast track to the Red Carpet. That's a slam dunk for a first try. Attention to detail and creating a total picture complete with mood, taste , smell, feel and a back story are Ford's natural gifts. So I can't wait. The style and fashion that acts as flavor to this yummy looking dish should be a bonus!

I've been having some extraordinary moments myself over the past 2 weeks. I won't go into details but this Puss Cat is purring. Things have been percolating and it's pretty damn exciting. Just when you think your life is settling into the breakdown lane a mighty gale blows out of the east and west and gets your little caboose moving. Well mine is moving, though I'm not totally clear on the direction but I can feel the wind in my lack of hair and the scenery has been more and more exciting. 2010 could very well be a nice change and a step forward. This past year was tough, but necessary , teaching me so much about the real world and my place in it. I'm hoping this year will be kinder and filled with a bit more hope and positive experiences. As long as we all stay open and not shut down anything is possible. I'm certainly a witness to that. Amazing things came from smoldering ashes. You all came.

As I sign off for a day or so, I just want to thank all of you for reading, commenting, agreeing/disagreeing with my attempts at sharing my experiences and views. Having you in the passenger seat and in some cases driving this car has been an honor I never planned or expected. You've all made this journey a less frightening and lonely one. I can only say thank you for your support and friendship. You'll never know how much it means to me and how much you've buoyed my spirits when they were at a serious ebb. Have a great holiday: Happy Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, whatever and then some. I will be in touch shortly about Tom Ford( I have a few things more to share on that topic) and I'll be talking to you from beautiful Berlin, the ancestral home of the "Leather Daddy". I have a feeling Leather is the new Black.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Victoria Beckham' Spring 2010 Collection to debut on the Black Market

This breaking news flash sent shivers down my spine. Perhaps it was a draft,maybe I'm still in shock. At the risk of making light of a bad situation, I'm sorry for the loss of said collection and even sorrier for the hapless thieves who assume they'll get rich off this pointless heist. To steal a sample collection and think it's a veritable ATM machine just goes to show you how gullible the public has become. Jewels have resale value. A tepid , over-hyped and poorly conceived dress collection, by a well known celebrity, is more a curiosity than a cash cow. Even more so, when most people with taste would choose something else to invest their money in.The photo to the left was taken when Posh was trying to wrap her mind around just what had happened.

According to Vogue:"Victoria Beckham was said to be distraught this weekend after up to 75 dresses from her spring/summer 2010 collection were stolen as they were on route to US department store Neiman Marcus in an attack on a delivery van. The dresses, said to be worth up to £350,000, were taken at knife-point from the driver after their collection from 19 Entertainment's head offices in west London on Thursday. The driver was not seriously hurt but was left bruised and shaken following the attack."

There are already conflicting stories on the mechanics of the robbery. One source said the driver was held at gun point. The other said he was knocked to the ground as the robbers burst from inside the van. Closed circuit cameras caught the heist but sadly the footage was out of focus and was ultimately useless. I'd be shaken too after a close encounter with the ultimate fashion desperados. My guess is that van driver will be even more frightened when the robbers find out that their haul is basically worthless. Maybe this is all a publicity stunt to get attention for a collection that I said earlier was more likely to grow hair than sell at 80% off.

The three images of Posh dashing with Hermes bags were the shots taken as she tried to decide what to wear to the crime scene. Personally, I thought the first was the most compelling......

"This operation was meticulously planned. The thieves must feel they can make a fortune selling the collection on the black market," a source told the Daily Mail. "Victoria was informed straight away about the incident and was shocked and deeply saddened, although her first priority was the well-being of the driver." That's a comfort knowing that Victoria's first priority was the van driver's well-being. Some PR statements have the most patently false ring to them......

"Beckham's spokesperson said it was hoped the spring/summer 2010 collection could be remade in time for delivery to Neiman Marcus before its launch and confirmed police were investigating the incident."

With the retail business as rough as it is , this is a horrible mess for any company/collection. It's so tough to do business, less so if you have a celebrity tag stapled to the frocks, but still very competitive. Just when you get a major break and have one of the premier department stores as your platform and then lose your collection is rotten luck. I would guess the clothes will be remade in a flash. I saw the collection and it was one that could easily be remade in a matter of days. There was little artistry or complexity to it. There were a core of about 6-8 shapes that were repeated over and over and over again. Victoria should rest easy and focus on the insurance claim that will surely net her more than she would have gotten had the clothes hit the racks this week. This way maybe it will be a benefit to her backers and to herself.

In situations like these , we all need to remember that God has neither a favorite Press Secretary, Golf Champion or Celebrity Fashion Designer.

These machine gun packin' babes are the prime suspects at this moment. Don't move from your monitors. This STORY IS HOT.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bloggers are the new Outlaws

The growing and prevailing attitude by some Designers here and abroad are that bloggers are to be feared, silenced and ostracized. This is pretty dramatic and obviously a statement about the controlling of information. The fact that the information in question is not that of the traditional press but independent people with no responsibility or ties to that press. With designers like Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, Dolce and Gabbana and now Christopher Kane expressing fear and loathing of the blogging community many of us as a group are quickly becoming outlaws.

Dolce and Gabbana complained about their front row being filled with bloggers. This alone was described as a phalanx of lepers. Christopher Kane complained of the irresponsibility of allowing preteens to judge the work of professionals. Alber Elbaz's fears appear to be of the free floating variety. There are always going to be critics, journalists, editors and , yes, bloggers who will report irresponsibly and unfairly. The agendas of many are vast and filled with nuances. But more importantly, the information highway has more lanes than can be counted. Perhaps people in the position of being critiqued and judged are uncomfortable with the fact that they are now scrutinized without recourse. The days of banning journalists from collections because of critical reviews are now over. As long as the message was glowing all was well.

I think it's ironic that many journalists have said confidentially that they envy the voices of many bloggers simply because of our relative freedom of speech. That freedom that bloggers possess comes with an obligation to be responsible. My point of view and opinion is exactly that. It is no one else's but mine. Inflammatory statements are unproductive, hurtful and ultimately drive away one's audience. When the intention is to incite or provoke thought and a dialogue it can be productive. Wholesale destructive diatribes are only self serving and annoying. Bloggers who use their voices to create "brands" and steer financial rewards their way by means of salacious stories and commentary are a breed unto themselves. Most of us are just passionate about the subjects we cover. The financial gains are negligible to non-existent unless you are reaping benefits from product placements or have other business arrangements. This is not the case for most of us.

I've written things in the past that, in retrospect, were not always clearly thought through. That said, the majority of my opinions on the subject of fashion, the industry, the world of appearances and popular culture are sincerely felt and not off the cuff. I consider it a privilege to write and share my insights. I love nothing better than compelling, thought provoking collections and design full of heart and soul. The double standard inherent in the design community which mourns that loss of greater control of the news /infomedia is understandable but no longer valid. It's finally a democracy for grass roots journalism. Without the ability to control and manipulate the new press the powers that were have a level playing field which has thrown them off balance.

The smartest thing for all concerned is to do your best at whatever you're doing and let others do and think as they please. The worshiping of false idols and the wholesale manufacture of the Emperor's NEW Clothes only invites derision. Over-seriousness should be excised from the equation for both the creators and the critics and a lot more fun could be had by all.