Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Year's Resolution.

At this late date I’m through with empty promises to myself that I’m going to be responsible, act my age, turn over a new leaf, stop with the French fries, and go to the gym at least 3 times a week. All of those resolutions have worn a hole in my pocket having carried them from year to year to this New Year’s Eve. The truth of the matter is that none of them are going to happen unless and until they do. Best-laid plans are only that, plans. Actions are where the good stuff happens. This revelation came to me just a few days ago while digging out a car run aground in a three foot snowdrift on the Van Wyck Expressway at 1 a.m. Maybe some of you know what I’m talking about.

It all started harmlessly enough with a planned trip to Vienna last Sunday night. A snowstorm was predicted though I knew it to be just another make believe weather event designed to give me a touch of anxiety. As we all have come to know first hand, it did exactly that and more. Getting to the airport was tricky in a car driven by a man who seemed to be experiencing snow and ice for the first time. He played classical music the whole way, which soothed me and drowned out the audible sound of his gnashing teeth. We arrived at JFK without incident and I checked in. From that moment on the situation took a turn for the worse and we went down hill in what was a complete free fall. Hours were passed on a plane sitting on a runway jammed with many other planes, snowplows and mounting snowdrifts. Long story short, our freshly de-iced plane that was second in line for take-off crawled dejectedly back to the gate due to the airport’s closing. So much for plans.

Not wanting to stay the night on the floor of the terminal sharing a rug with thousands of stranded passengers, I decided to find my way home to my cozy bed. With no taxis, buses or trains working it was an ambitious plan to say the least. A Good Samaritan with a beat up Cherokee with a nice big crack across the windshield, one driver’s side windshield wiper, no rearview mirror and no shovel offered 4 others and me a ride back to civilization. The road out of the airport was impassable with a foot of snow covering it and stuck or abandoned cars tossed like stones on a beach blocking our path. Saba, the driver, was undeterred and slalomed in and out of the obstacles like an Olympic skier. Once we found our selves at the entrance to the Van Wyck we attempted to skirt another marooned truck and ran aground. Thinking that we all would get out and dig or push the car to freedom, I jumped out into a maelstrom of stinging snow, ice and wind. Without a shovel and only the 2 sun visors, Saba and I fell to the ground and started digging as fast as we could. Not until I stood to catch my breath ten minutes later did I see that he and I were the only ones digging. In fact, we were the only ones outside of the car. The other 4 passengers were sitting inside complaining that they wanted to be driven back the 2 miles to the terminal. My clothes were soaked and frozen stiff against my body that was numb from my neck to my feet. My traveling outfit was a cashmere jacket, jeans and suede Oxfords; not gear for summiting the south face of Mount JFK. At that moment it was crystal clear that if I didn’t help Saba with all the strength and determination I had, we just might not make it back to the city. We might not get beyond that on ramp and be stuck in a drift in a car that was also 3 gallons away from EMPTY. Digging with my hands and the sun visor was the only plan and our only chance so I dug.

Even longer story short, we made it back to civilization though the city was as much a wasteland as the Van Wyck. Many more travails littered our path finding our way home but we managed several hours later. I resolved that it was officially time to stop whining about life and unpleasant circumstances. The time had come to get off the couch and face the music no matter how grating the melody. It’s time to slide over from the passenger seat and take the wheel. Every single minute was a frightening drag filled with doubt and a mounting panic but the best part was knowing that by digging my way out I helped get us all home.

Perhaps I’ll start going to the gym and cut down on the fries and perhaps not. One thing is sure; you’ll never catch me sitting in the back leaving the hard work to others.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Ho Ho Ho !!!!

I hope all of you are happy and healthy and snug in your homes. I'm enroute from the bosom of my mother and father in snowy, arctic Massachusetts to NYC and my nest in Brooklyn Heights. With little contact with the outside world for the last several days, I've spent my time going through the stacks of magazines that have collected dust since the days I bought them in 1978. Vogue used to be a large format magazine with all sorts of fascinating clothes and designers. It was a mysterious memory tour back to the days that inspired me to run headlong into the glamorous world of fashion. I've been suspended in a time warp that was peopled by the likes of a boyish Calvin making the most beautiful clothes, Blass all bombast and swagger, Trigere cutting anything in bias that wasn't nailed down and other stars we've lost track of like: Gil Aimbez, Julio, Clovis Ruffin, Chester Weinberg, Giorgio di Sant Angelo and Mary McFadden, just to name a few. Oscar was trading on his Latin lover good looks and cloying charm, Galanos and Beene were just hitting their stride and Halston was making everyone stand up and listen. Those were heady days. Now back to the future and all of its uncertainty. I'm off to Vienna and Prague tomorrow if the coming blizzard doesn't ground us indefinitely. I'll be in touch with you all with the report from uber stylish Vienna and the glory that is Prague. Mommie gave me the Pucci book for Christmas and it's a beauty. I had to buy another seat on this train just for it but it's worth it.
Take it easy and enjoy the holiday. Remember, if nothing else, it's only a dress. And in case some of you are wondering, I know it too.

image courtesy of Mommie.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

On the Good Ship "Ragtrade".

Harrrr harrrr, Matey. It's doubtful your timbers are shivering what with all that cashmere and fur you're sporting. The seas arrrr high with rogue waves coming from fore and aft, so batten down those hatches and hold tight to the wheel. It's a Nor'easter blowing and we don't want to go off course. If we're not careful we could end up in those Far Tortillas or worse yet, Saint Barth's. I hear the same howling of the wind you do and it's got me spook'd, but I tell myself it's only a ghost from some other doomed trader. Don't believe that old wives tale that if you drop a magazine while perched on the throne another editor dies or worse, quits. When I was down below minding my own business I did not drop my magazine. The ship pitched hard to the left and I found myself upside down in the crapper with everything flying. Not just the French Vogue I was reading but every issue for the last 10 years along with my collection of Mad magazines and Boy's Life, too. That would be the cub scout version not the men's athletic posing version some of you rascals may be thinking. When my ship was righted I saw countless spreads by Carine Roitfeld splayed all around and was perplexed. It seemed like one long sitting with all those leopard spots, wide spread legs, open mouths (like a few gasping carp on this floor that must have swum in when we were submarining) and black-faced blonds (is that what happens to a starving model just before her contract expires?). Anyway, I was surprised at her somewhat narrow view when I think of the collective gasp that went up with the news of her exit. She's an able mariner and a style maven to boot but she may be better suited for a swimming pool than these high seas.
One thing's for sure, lots of editors come and go but this roiling, heaving, devouring, uncaring, incestuous, clueless beast lives on.

image: VOYAGE by Paranoimiac on Deviant Art

Friday, December 17, 2010

Vogue Paris News: Roitfeld bids us Adieu.

I was just asked my thoughts on the shake-up at French Vogue and had no idea there was a shake-up. Well, it appears there is and it's rather a large one. Carine Roitfeld the fearless editrex of the publication has resigned and will exit as of the end of January. Apparently her exit is due to a desire to pursue personal projects. That may be another way of saying something that has little to do with actual facts. Then again, it may be just that. There's something to be said for leaving the party at its height and not waiting for everyone to get all sloppy and maudlin, like the party that's going on over here... I'm surprised but at the same time I'm not. The winds of change are upon us and I fear many exits are imminent here and abroad. Look closely at bold faced names that were only recently the talk of the town and now are suddenly silenced. When so many predicted the fall of king making editors here, unexpected heads within the court are rolling instead. I imagine the presses will roll shortly casting light on these and other developments.
Stay tuned, and remember, "Keep Calm and Carry On".

photo courtesy Tommy Ton

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chanel Pre-Fall 2011: Byzantium on the Rue Cambon

Karl Lagerfeld has suggested a new age while casually mining the distant past. Who else could take Chanel’s Maltese cross inlaid cuffs and riff on Byzantium’s Empress Theodora and come up with a collection rife with possibilities. A time so ancient would bring to mind clothing and accessories that shriek “Museum show” or “costume”, certainly not “Modern” or “New”. But that’s precisely what this collection heralds. It’s thrilling to see how aesthetics, taste and the zeitgeist can be nudged ever so deftly by his brilliant imagination. Time and again, Lagerfeld and the good ship Coco conquer unknown lands, mapping and measuring a world we never knew existed. From the first exit the lines have been subtly altered with a closer, cleaner shoulder, an even higher armhole and a long languid length that purrs ease and languor. He seems to find evermore, fascinating ways to express a heightened glamour by way of an unstudied elegance.

The fabrics on the surface appear familiar, as do the details until you take a closer look. Tweeds are shot through with what appears to be molten gold and in other instances oxidized silver threads. This rich, golden cast informs almost every shade. The staples of a Chanel collection such as jackets, suits, dresses, knitted dresses and separates and the ubiquitous evening dresses and gowns are adorned with brooches, amulets, ropes of chain and obscenely beautiful cabochon stones of every imaginable type. It's a feast cooked up for an Empress but accessible to us, mere mortals. This woman is truly at ease with splendor, which is a far cry from most couture-coddled groupies. Lagerfeld has given women permission to let it rip and has shown them how to do it with taste, restraint and humility. Who knew that the ne plus ultra could be so sensible?

What a wonderful world this can be…What a glorious time to be Free!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

gilding the lily

There's really nothing I can add to this except to ask, "WHY?"

Friday, November 26, 2010

Balenciaga: Spanish Master

Last week was a bit of culture binge. A marvelous retrospective of the master of haute couture, Christobal Balenciaga opened at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute at 680 Park Avenue. It is an exhibition initiated by Oscar de la Renta who started his career in design at the house of Balenciaga in the 1950’s. Hamish Bowles, European Editor at large for American Vogue is the curator behind this multi-layered show of iconic dresses, suits and gowns along with films of collections dating from the 50’s and 60’s. This show is fantastic in its depth and scope. The oeuvre that was Balenciaga’s is richly displayed with mannequins dressed in his creations in front of backdrops that put in context his references and recurring inspirations. Spanish art, its historic royal dress, the garments and ritual associated with the Church, the visual spectacles associated with the bullfight and flamenco dance are all represented literally and figuratively throughout his collections. Bowles has beautifully staged an exhibition that gives voice to a period that shaped modernist design. Shape, cut, and flawless technique are the hallmarks of these exquisitely understated clothes. We see the drama of a profound statement in dress devoid of superfluous artifice and tricks. These creations acted as foils for the innate mystery and beauty of women. Balenciaga’s reverence for the inner life of cloth is matched by his respect and regard for the female form.

Two floors are devoted to still-life presentations of the clothes which included day dresses, suits, beaded and embroidered jackets, hats and gowns. Many of the pieces are from Hamish Bowles' private collection along with loans from the Met's Costume Institute, and from private persons. On the top floor we have the unique pleasure of sitting and watching filmed presentations of his collections. Unlike today where the average number of exits for a collection is 60 outfits lasting 10-15 minutes, he typically showed 200-plus exits lasting often 2 hours or more. It’s fascinating to see the myriad ideas he displayed for day dresses and suits culminating in a tour de force onslaught of evening gowns.

Watching these shows reminded me of collections at Givenchy in the early 80's. One of my early tasks as an apprentice assistant was to sketch the whole collection in miniature, matching Monsieur's style of drawing and including details of the fabrics and embroideries. It was an endless job with often 50 or more suits for day, endless day dresses in patterned wools, silk printed dresses in multiple colorations of the same print and evening gowns that went on and on and on. It seemed like a job with no end but it taught me how to sketch and to sketch quickly. You'll notice that the style of walking and overall presentation of the clothes is a far cry from today's soulless parade of homogeneous child women. I heard a woman say to her companion that the models looked "so classy". It's true, they did. They had allure, mystery, and a subtle sex appeal.This exhibition is a wonderful chance to see the way fashion used to be created and displayed. It is a time long past but still one that informs so much of what we enjoy today. A beautiful program and book accompany the show with information and images also compiled by Hamish Bowles. You’ll want to add it to your collection.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Fluff and I would like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. Many of you here are celebrating and those of you abroad will just hear about the insanity of this holiday, not for reasons of giving thanks but for the excuse of scorching sale events at everything that is a store or pretends to be. Either way, have a great time eating, watching the parades and sleeping OR shopping for those things you neither want nor need.

I'd like to take a moment to thank each of you who take the time to check in on this blog. I appreciate those of you who are followers, even the guy who is my latest fan; the one with the avatar of two guys F&%#?*G(removed). I'm also grateful to those of you who check in on a staggeringly regular basis. I'm constantly (daily) surprised that the Emperor has the presence that it does. I'm not Tavi, BryanBoy or The Sartorialist, but it feels good to be a player even if it's the minor leagues. That said, I would also like to apologize for being somewhat spotty in my contributions since the SS2011 collections but have felt a bit of a dearth of subjects to discuss. Things on the catwalks and grand stages of the fashion world are sadly slim in content and I've been less than inspired to say much. When Anna dello Russo's closet, Courtney Love's botched re-hab, Tom Ford's much hyped retro romp, Marc and what's his name's redo, Vogue/CFDA's reward, Ralph Lauren's new Madison Ave. retail outlet, Rodarte's ground breaking collection that's a retailer's dream (not), Dolce and Gabbana's possible tax evasion incarceration rumors (reliable), Karl's pick of Haider Ackermann for his Chanel replacement, oh, and the Asian model renaissance along with all things Asian regarding fashion, and whatevahs.......

So not a ton to talk about without rehashing tired, dull non information. Still, I'm inspired by your devotion and interest. You all have given me a second chapter to a career that seemed to be a memory. Have a great day and weekend. If it's time spent with people you love then love a lot. If it's time in the trenches going after the big game lurking in aisle 3, then happy hunting. I'll see you soon or when the next Moda moment causes our fragile earth to shift. We are experiencing some turbulence so keep your seat belts fastened until the Captain tells you it's safe to move about the cabin.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tom Ford: The Secret Collection

Finally, the top secret images of a handful of looks from Ford's SS2011 collection are beginning to bleed into the public domain. They are beautiful and interesting in contrast to other collections that showed. I'm struck by their overwhelming aspect of control and restraint. They're elegant and somehow sentimental odes to what he is known for without all the hyper-active sexuality of old. This time around he seems to be more interested in the woman as total being and less so an object. The suits are the most emphatic displays of texture, line and suggestion. That isn't to say that the other pieces are lacking, they aren't. What I expected to be a tour de force of wheel re-invention is more a collection of very beautiful clothes infused with loving and sentimental touches.

The look of the presentation feels very 80's like a cache of undiscovered designs. The mood of Saint Laurent floats above and below the models and even informs Ford's image of himself. It feels like the days when Loulou and Betty were the world's muses and Yves was only coming into the full bloom of his allure. That Ford was clever to restrict the flow of information is testament to his savvy as a business person. As long as people are denied access it is all they will want. This ploy should work well for the debut of this collection much like a similar formula worked brilliantly for Bijan back in the day. I just wonder how long the magic will hold with so much of it rooted in images of a bygone era. Maybe its enough that there's someone out there who's willing to put their own neck and resources on the line to make seriously beautiful clothes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Is Iman a terrorist?

Iman is now Imam according to the NY Daily News. The writer who skillfully performed a craneoplasty on "The Fashion Show", the new season which airs tonight starring Isaac Mizrahi and Iman referred to her as Imam a total of 4 times. I thought it was a mistake until I kept running into the name again and again. From the sound of it, the new name may be an apt one. Assuming one equates that name with all things dark and destructive it appears to be a tag that fits her new guise. It appears that she is that avenging style angel of death. She bombs, blasts and water boards the unwitting an not so innocent contestants on this dead duck show with willful abandon. Just like a real terrorist. It appears that reality fashion tv has a new formula: take no prisoners and spare no viewers. This show noisily sucked wind with Kelly Rowland its first time down that rutted catwalk. Though the formula sputtered with her "tepid" contribution the producers couldn't resist the frisson of having a woman of color in the co-pilot's seat. Enter the erudite, multi-lingual and arrestingly telegenic Imam. All the better if she walks tall and carries a baseball bat. Isaac might've had one too, had it fit in his monogrammed L.L.Bean tote. It didn't so he couldn't.
Even the trailer for this show was all about Imam. Her vitriol was so over the top she could barely shriek her protests. All staccato and flying spittle she declares while "judging" that the work of a clueless "designer" is a "Fashion Emergency" in need of an" evac-oo-ation". Is this fashion speak for "Code Brown"? She may speak 5 languages, but her annunciation, like her legendary walk, is all her own. Apparently, her style cred as an uber-supermodel is writ large with her unusual choices of costume, hairs and make-up. Hairs is the only way to describe her weave which is perfectly in keeping with her new identity.

The reality fashion show is a curious species. It makes a much better radio show than television. Using your own imagination would be infinitely more satisfying than looking at these characters. This is just another hatchet blow to an industry that used to be about beauty and style. I just wonder why two success stories who worked their way to the top are screaming and swinging that hopelessly dull weapon of mass destruction. You watch and tell me what you think.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wasted in Margaritaville....

Well I wasn't, but countless others were. That's Key West. It's the end of the line in more ways than one. Besides being the most southerly point in the US, it's home to a lot of people who want to dangle their toes in the abyss. I can see the attraction and joined them for a few days. It felt great and I had little urge to look back, let alone return. It wasn't the cruise ships backed up to down and out rum joints or even the man in the wheel chair parked at an empty bar one morning at 10. It wasn't the fact that his head didn't reach the bar or that his chair had a side car holding an oxygen tank, either. Don't feel bad. I'm giggling too. You can't make this up. No, the thing that turned my head and drew me back was a Tea Bagging geriatric couple who'd just gotten married and were staying at the same guest house I was hiding out in. This was a gay guest house filled with gay guys and a few lesbians. This couple apparently loved gays as much as their ultra right wing politics and insisted on sharing their views with anyone within earshot. That would be everyone because we were all crammed into a space that resembled 28 Barbary Lane in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City. The blushing (thanks to copious amounts of rouge and spackle) bride's wedding dress was a Vera Wang and yes it was strapless. HONEST. The reception was by the pool which was 4 feet deep and 8 feet square. TRUE. It was so spectacularly unremarkable I failed to document it. The cake from the freezer of the market next door was served with raspberry chocolate red wine. The entertainment was another much older woman everyone called Ma who sang bawdy songs and was helped by her daughter who had to have been about 70. Ma was sporting a vest with floor length fringe, a bikini top,loud colored bell bottoms, orange Go-Go boots and a cap that Austin Powers must have borrowed for his films. I'm DEAD SERIOUS. This all took place on election day. You can't invent this S%#T. It wasn't the boozy incoherence of the setting that felt like a heart to heart with Vera, but the crazed look in Ma's eyes (who looked disturbingly like Anna Wintour) that shocked me back to my senses. I realized then that I couldn't outrun my past. The only thing to do was to face facts and return to the scene of the crime. Susan Posen could "pursue other interests" and leave the nest though she was the mama bird. Brad could leave Rache and Rodge, Demi and Kate and Cameron to boldly go where no assistant stylist has gone before. I just know that I can't leave. I have to stay. There's a show (somewhere) that's about to start with a front row seat with my name on it (somewhere). As God is my witness, I'm going to sit there and write about it. And you're going to read it (maybe). So I drove back to Miami, boarded a plane, finished watching "Eat, Pray, Love", didn't cry and came home. If I didn't have this killer tan I'd think it was all just a wet, wild and wonderful dream in a fantasy setting of old, eccentric houses painted pastel colors, over taken by lush tropical foliage and marauding packs of feral cats who happen to love to be fed and petted.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Paradise Lost.

I got down to Islamorada, Florida on Saturday. Leaving NYC in 50 degree weather and landing in Miami just moments later was like a gift. Palm trees and a searing sun was all it took to put a smile on my face. 85 degrees and humidity can be an instant game changer. I brought along a cineplex worth of movies including Eat, Pray, Love which I'd successfully avoided watching til that morning. The crowd in the waiting area was unnervingly gritty. Traveling used to be glamorous. Not anymore. Planes are little more than subway cars with snacks and shitty coffee you have to pay for. The bookstore in the terminal had a book that elicited a screech. Right next to "Eat, Pray, Love" was a new book I wish I'd written. "Drink, Play, F%@k". As touching as Julia Roberts can be, I couldn't help thinking that "Drink, Play, F%#k" would make a much better film. It would be a great vehicle for.....well, me.

Little did I know that the Moorings Village would be that answered prayer I'd impatiently waited for. All pristine beach and elegant bungalows punctuated by a forest of palm trees. One palm in particular grew parallel to the beach and rose out over the water. The minute I saw it I felt as though I was running into someone I'd seen before but couldn't place. The mood was quiet and seemed focused on some very distant point. It took a couple of days to down shift but once I did, I couldn't imagine a more perfect place. It felt better than good, it felt right. No computer or phone or TV. Almost no music. Just a little "Namaste Shanti" for good measure and conch whatever. Imagine a spotless beach that has been mysteriously raked, only you never saw anyone do it. Or an Olympic sized pool nestled in a grove of palms with no screaming kids, in fact, no one in sight anywhere. We only saw a few people on the beach in 4 days and they were at a safe distance. From the front porch I could look through the palms, past the hammock and out to sea without anyone or thing interrupting.

That was the case until this morning. Paradise was invaded by a film crew with a string of cheesy blondes in fuchsia bikinis and sprayed on tans. I thought QT had gone the way of red dye #2. It's alive and well on Tiffany from Iowa and BreeAnne from Winetka. They, along with Todd from Colorado were about 30 feet from my front door loudly proclaiming their weight loss secrets to a camera and crew. Hydroxycot had snagged paradise yanking me back to the harsh reality I thought I'd cheated. I just stood there on the porch staring at about 30 people wondering what the f%@k happened. I guess I'm lucky to have had a few days of peace. This is surely an absurdly lame luxury problem and one to get over butt fast and I have. I packed my toys and headed south and now am sitting at the end of the line in Key West. What a strange and compelling place this is. Even though I bitterly complained of paradise lost I actually stumbled onto a paradise found. It may be just another trashy t-shirt shop but it works for me. This must be the right place. I could have sworn I saw Marc and what's his name stumbling into the bath house across the street. It was a blur of tattoos and an Hermes Birkin along with a manly scent of pepper.

Fashion never sleeps. Chow!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Enough R and R.....(reading and rotating)

 It's been a while since I've been here and clearly too much has happened that I've missed commenting on. Honestly, the romp through the fashion capitals of the world left me exhausted and just a little dispirited. How much hyperbole can a person stand before going into saccharine shock? I did and it took some time to find my equilibrium. To be blunt, I questioned the value of the subject matter and wasn't convinced that it was the best use of my time. Mommie always said that if you don't have anything good to say then keep your mouth shut. The naughty boy in me can heed that warning for but so long before saying whatever comes to mind. So with that said, I think it's time to blow off a little steam.

I read some fantastic books in the last few weeks. Coco Chanel: The  Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie is a tightly strung powerhouse of a book. Between the photographs never before published and the trove of illustrations by Lagerfeld that accompany her dense prose I was up for 2 straight days. So much juice annihilated previous half truths of earlier biographies. The forces behind Chanel's herculean drive are broken down into bite sized pieces. The end result is a portrait of a lonely, woman possessed by a need to create order from chaos and beauty from ashes. Knowledge may be power but more than that I think it's a privilege. Diaghilev: A Life by Sjeng Scheijen is a choice read as well especially because he and Coco were close friends and together they changed the surface of this planet. Like Chanel, Diaghilev was a brilliant manipulator and an unlikely sexual predator. The Anglo Files by Sarah Lyall was absolutely hilarious. An American in London taking the measure of the English is impossible to put down. The humor and insanity of the Brits layed out chapter by chapter explains why they have the Royals and we have Tea Baggers. My only question when all was read and done was,"What happened to Anna and Hamish's senses of humor?". There's nothing better for an existential crisis than a few murder mysteries and a heist book. Ruth Rendell and her alter ego, Barbara Vine can dish it better than most and I happily tucked into: Portobello, The Monster in the Box and The Chimney Sweeper's Boy. Each of them is fantastic. The Art Thief by Noah Charney was filled with simultaneous art thefts across Europe along with brilliant forgeries that stymie Scotland Yard. If only fashion was so multi-layered....

Fiction can only sustain me but for so long and I find myself diving into artist's monographs and magazines. Last month's Harper's was only good for glimpses of Drew Barrymore. She's a beauty that continues to intrigue and delight me. I even get excited when Cover Girl commercials come on just because she's so damn beautiful. She even makes chiffon look glamorous again. Not so Kim Kardashian on this month's W. When did low rent porn become the new high fashion? If this is what Mr.Tonchi has up his sleeve I'll take my chances with Redbook. He'll be transforming W into a Sears catalogue of Anna Dello Russo's closet next. ADR is a new syndrome that there are no drugs for. Like bed bugs, only DDT will eradicate her and that's outlawed at present. Some of you may think my comments on Ms. Dello Russo are the result of sour grapes. Maybe so. Nevertheless, she bothers me and everything she stands for I find suspect and grasping. She may be good for business but I find her act to be woefully flat, bordering on desperate. Her moment came and went with the Vogue Ball.

Enough ranting for one day. I'll be back once I'm situated on a hammock between 2 palm trees in the Florida Keys. That's later tomorrow. I'm excited to get out of here for a little more R and R.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Louis Vuitton SS2011: Turn the Beat Around.....

Hear the rap tap tap tap tap on the drum? I do, and it's really loud. I feel the bass thumping in my guts and God knows how I'm ever gonna make it to work in the morning. I'm working a major Love Hangover. Catch my drift? If not, just look a bit closer at these clothes and pull out your encyclopedias. This cover of the late seventies when Studio was "IT", full of Halstonettes and the ultimate wave of EuroGlam would make a great Diorama. Marc Jacobs is on a nostalgia trip that is fun on the one hand but irrelevant on the other. Steven is no longer at the door and neither is Mark (not Marc) for that matter. The velvet rope has gone the way of those cozy banquettes and no one is doing drugs downstairs or getting their nasty on up in the balcony. We've all moved on. I'm content with my memories and don't have a desire to relive them. I wonder if anyone living in the real world wants to either.

These thoughts race through my mind when I look at this Louis Vuitton collection. It feels like the last gasp from his Marc Jacobs collection that was way too literal YSL but with less of the beauty or irony. This girl looks smoky, tired and lost on the dance floor. Her dress is duller and more shop worn than when she arrived.

I think I read that Lagerfeld commented on this epidemic of YSL covers as looking like Rive Gauche shopping bags. He asks if women really want to dress in one. I'm wondering the same thing. The best of this collection were looks that aped YSL from the color blocks to the Orientalist inspired pieces. They veered into the realm of the smoke machine with Siegfried and Roy tiger stripes on fabric that looked more Qiana than silk satin...alot like the fabled Nik Nik shirts my classmates wore. How scary is that memory? The coloration of those stripes in clashing purple and marigold left little to the imagination. This was a ride on the D train to a threatening neighborhood. Maybe I lost my sense of humor at the coat check or just got pissed off because I had to wait an hour too long to get in, but this romp was lost on me. Perhaps, this is all a very sophisticated coded message that I'm taking too literally when I should lay back and just let the music take me. Colors became so muted that they looked like they were buried under layers of film. It didn't feel alive or vibrant only heavy and static. It brings to mind that adult playground in the desert, Las Vegas. That all too familiar maxim can apply here: "What happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas."
The work in itself is masterful but the message feels stilted and self conscious. This is one for the insiders.

Images: Courtesy of GettyImages

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Alexander McQueen SS2011

If there is a way for someone to touch this world from the other side, then that's what has happened at Alexander McQueen. This collection is so much his voice it seems like he's spoken through the hands of Creative Director, Sarah Burton and her team. This is not meant to take credit from her. She is deserving of the highest praise for work that far exceeds that of her contemporaries or the expectations of the world. What astounds me is the unbroken thread of his vision that seems stronger than ever in her capable hands. So many themes he was exploring have been developed and realized in the most fantastic ways. Feathers, butterflies and wheat, that symbol of good fortune are woven and applied to shapes that are at once other worldly and approachable. Burton has taken his vocabulary and softened it without distilling the message. Whereas the last collection was difficult to imagine in any other setting than a museum, this is made to be worn by many. As much as these clothes are offerings to the gods, so too are they meant to walk this earth. This shows you it is possible to keep the flame burning. I wish them all the very best of luck. Somehow, luck doesn't seem to be necessary. This last gown looks like the personification of his guardian angel. She's maybe among us which is an even greater gift than these beautiful offerings.

Images: Courtesy of GettyImages