Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Best laid plans.......

Well this weekend is shaping up quite nicely. Everyone who was expected to come and stay have canceled. That's perfectly ok, only it means 5 uninterrupted days with my mate.....We have similar likes but very different rhythms, like so many people I know. He stays up late and I turn in early. I wake up early and he sleeps until noon. That all works well, except that when he's winding up is usually when I'm winding down. Finding activities we both enjoy can sometimes be a bit challenge, but we manage. We're both avid sportsmen and take great pleasure in competing against each other. The game we enjoy most is WII tennis. We've been known to play until we're sopping wet. He has a mean flick of the wrist where I'm more your follow through slugger. As a result, I've put many a nick in the wall behind me and once hit him square in the shoulder one week before that shoulder's Rotater Cuff surgery. I felt bad, especially when I lost the point.

Probably the most fun we have,besides jogging through tick infested woods, would be watching double and triple feature movies during and after dinner. We can easily fly through half a dozen in a long weekend and that's not including catching up with NYC and NJ Housewives, Nurse Jackie, Glee and the Tudors. I like the clothes and the big jewels, especially the tiaras!!! When things start to dull and we need a kick we go into town and watch the circus. It comes to town like clockwork every weekend. That is a story all its own. A little shopping at my favorite book store and filling the cart for yummy food I can no longer afford to eat due to my advanced age and slowing metabolism makes for a pretty complete weekend.

I wish all of you a great weekend with whomever you do or don't decide to hang out with. Rest, relaxation and fun are the orders of the day.....Fashion can wait.

Luxury Problems

Memorial Day is coming up which means Christmas is only a heartbeat away. We all have to act fast because Summer is just a seasonal name for pre-fall. So you see the problems, be they luxury or plain boring, have officially set in. Here's how I see some of them.

First of all money is scarce. Don't believe what you see on the streets. Just because this girl is in head to toe Calvin or Bottega, I can promise you she picked it up on any number of daily on-line shopping sites like Gilt, Rue La La or Haute If she didn't get it there, she probably made the trip by ZipCar to Woodbury Commons and grabbed it from a Luxury discount Purveyor like Prada, MKors, Ralf, Oscar, Dior, you name it. I say more power to her and the same goes for guys who shop the very same sites and can be found at Woodbury having bought some cheap duffel bag on wheels which they cram with goodies from Varvatos to Converse, Prada, G-Star, Barneys, Boss, Brunello Cuccinelli, everything. Dress like a king though you're busting your butt to stay in the pauper class. These cases are by no means the exception, they're the rule. What's worse is to go to Uniqlo downtown and find that the Jil Sander collection, the one cool thing you MIGHT actually be able to afford, is stripped bare. That SUCKS.

How to navigate a city that no longer is yours? New York is now Europe, Asia, Middle and Far East-WEST. Have you noticed the proliferation of guide books and maps in the hands of most everyone you meet? They walk at a slow and distracted pace causing pedestrian pile-ups of epic proprtions. They ask all sorts of charming questions in even more charming accents like, "Excuse me, Can you tell me where The Notorious B-I-G was gunned down? We can't find it in our guide book?" This question, by the way, is came from 6 nuns wearing black Crocs and black fanny packs. I'm still wondering why they singled me out? In my neighborhood, Brooklyn Heights, the tourists are coming by land, bridge and sea. Between the hordes of Jehovah's Witnesses who refuse to say hello ( NOT a luxury problem) to the tired, the hungry, the Germans who have 2 questions: Where is the Brooklyn Bridge and Where is the Truman Capote house? That's an easy one for me, now that I've practiced: "The bridge is right there, that large structure spanning the water.....right above your head." And Truman's house is on the next block, the big yellow house with the For Sale sign that says $18 million. One morning as I rounded my corner where a gigantic structure stands as JW Central (Jehovah's Witness' Holiday Inn...."We'll leave the pamphlets out.....") I saw 2 women struggling with their guide book. I stopped and asked if I might help. Before asking me where to find this or that, they first asked if I was a JW. I said I wasn't and they in turn scowled as though I'd blasphemed. I assured them that it shouldn't be a deal breaker but they dismissed my feeble attempts to help. I think they feared I may sell them into White Slavery. Rent was coming due, so I'd be lying if I didn't give it a moment's consideration.

I walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for fun these days. It's so beautiful; the view, the bridge and all the tourists. There are some mighty fine looking specimens I must say. The people watching is amusing except for the obnoxious ones who refuse to obey the rules of the road. There is a pedestrian lane and a bike lane. 95% of the crowd respects the rules and one subset consistently doesn't. I won't single them out by ethnicity, but it is uncanny the consistency of these particular rule breakers. I have to laugh as they are side swiped by bell ringing cyclists whom they stubbornly ignore. I've watched many a swinging arm get clipped and then the curse and glare that follows, but they stay smack in the middle of the bike lane.

East Hampton where my boyfriend ( I don't like the term partner, I'm old school) and I have a crash pad is rife with Luxury problems. First there's the traffic to and from. Then there are the surly, self entitled crowds. Let's not forget the fact you can't go to the beach and park without shelling out a few hundred bucks for the summer. Forget casually showing up for dinner at most good restaurants like Nick and Toni's or Sen or Donna Karan's daughters new Italian joint in Sag Harbor without a reservation made weeks/months in advance. You have to know who to ask to get that reservation or make them for next summer and be put on a waiting list.

Peace and quiet is possible as long as you avoid the center of town. The only downside is that the woods are alive with the sound of dive bombing dog ticks and deer ticks ( the Lyme disease variety). Deer are everywhere. Bambi and his posse. They're very cute and jump high fences with the most spectacular form. They should be entered in the Hampton Classic and give shoe-ins like Kelly Klein, Mark Badgley and, now, Madonna a run for their ribbons. It just stinks when they leap with perfect form INTO your yard to feast on your plants, trees, flowers and yes, even shingles on the side of some houses that kill their charm. We discovered that peeing outdoors all around the property is not a deterrent. We did come up with an ingenious solution. I say solution but it's probably nothing more than a little night music. We found a CD of coyote, tigers and birds of prey that we play on the outdoor speakers at night, REALLY LOUD. Imagine the sounds of howling wild dogs, monkeys from the Amazon and every sort of weird haunting bird with backdrop sounds of a huge,rushing river just filling the air of the woods. It must freak them out. We get freaked out especially when we forget to turn it off and wake in the night to the sound of a hyena just beyond the bathroom door.

Well, this was longer than I intended and I didn't even get to the stores that line the streets. You would think you were in Vegas at Caesar's Forum of Shops. I thought what happens in Vegas , stays in Vegas. Not so for the towns that make up South and East Hampton. I'll save that circus for another day. Right now I have to decide what I'm going to pack for the weekend. Bathing suits are out because the pool sprung a leak and the pipes have to be replaced, so no swimming. We didn't get a beach pass so the beach is out. Probably some torn up jeans and beat sneakers for replanting in the garden after the deer decimated whole sections. Oh the hell of it all. When did Luxury become such a burden?

*Digital Art by Anton Bronner ( my BF)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another year older, not necessarily wiser.

Today is the day my Mother always repeats verbatim the story of my birth. How she was having twins and my sister Donna came out first and then I came 8 minutes later. I used to joke that I was still smoking the joint and wasn't emerging till I finished. Mommie says she cried and cried when the doctor told her I was a boy and he asked her why. She said she wanted a boy so badly and up until I put out the roach she had 2 girls, my older sister Pam and of course Donna.She only asked if I had 10 fingers and 10 toes, which I do, but he failed to tell her that I also had 2 heads. She didn't seem to mind and was just happy I was a boy. My mother cries when she's happy. So there I was and here I am.
It's weird getting older, and now being officially rather old (52) it gets weirder by the day. I read something on Tavi the diminutive Blogging power house. She talked about being plugged in at 13, and I thought about how one can stay 13 far longer than someone who crosses that great divide of, say 45. It seems like she is forever 13 and I just get older, even Fluff is getting up in years, though he lost his hair long before I did. Tavi said blogging on fashion should not be about critiquing shows, that that is missing the point. I know I do that alot and I guess I've been missing the point for a long time. I worry sometimes that if I talk about other things that affect me, and many other things do, I might bore you. I guess more than anything I never want to bore you. That's why there are times when I pump it out and other times when I'm quiet. I can't say something if I don't feel it. But more and more I feel for things in life that have little to do with the micro world of fashion. So I'm conflicted as to what I'm comfortable sharing.
I read something from Alber Elbaz, with whom I have great respect. He felt bloggers were loose cannons with little knowledge of design and therefore unqualified to comment. I felt like calling him up and saying, "Not this loose cannon". Other than that silly comment, he's got it together.
So the last time I posted a story with Fluff and me at home on the computer someone said, TMI. He seemed to feel it was unseemly to inject myself so directly into the blog.I hope sharing this milestone with you is not construed as the same, though it probably will. I appreciate all of you and your steadfast loyalty and interest in the things I have to say, both heartfelt and pithy. It makes getting on and finding my way less confusing and lonely. Fluff thanks you, Mommie thanks you and most of all I thank you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dior Cruise : Destination Shanghai

Sounds romantic. A journey to an exotic locale filled with the promise of intrigue, adventure, perhaps a little tryst, and an overlay of savoir faire. Galliano and Toledano (nice ring, non?) commissioned David Lynch to create a tiny film again with their cinematic muse, Marion Cotillard which would set a franco-chinoise mood for the show. All that was requested was that it be set in Shanghai, show the Pearl Tower (so gloriously dramatic and aesthetic) and a steaming romance, and make sure to highlight Le Bag "It". Otherwise, whatever. The film is charming and very Lynchian. Cotillard is lovely, even though she appears at one moment to pull away from her Homme de Chine while holding fast to his arm. That one little detail had my tighty whities in a twist for some days. How does one pull away while holding fast? But that's fashion .... one big unexplained contradiction. It's why we like it and why it's such a perfect fun house reflection of life.

The best part of this whole adventure is that Galliano created a Cruise collection that was actually very approachable, varied, and of this time. There was, for me, so much to like. I'm not saying that I liked it's commercialism, though it is, but there were really great pieces that were cool, beautifully made in rich fabrics and great graphic stripes (I've never met a stripe I didn't like). He used degrade chiffon fabulously draped and other degrade effects in crisp organza that was knife pleated to death. Also, lots of deluxe sportswear that was both sexy, a little arch but totally unfussy.

The overall look was a a very current take on Christian Dior's bar jacket (Galliano has an obsession with that shape) but with a nonchalance. Some were simple numbers with constructed, rounded hips, while others were strapless over sleek capri pants. They all felt girly, sporty and sexy. Lots of teased, bouffant long tresses overstated this very popular style of the moment. I don't want to dig up the Mad Men adjective, but that's where it appears to derive. Marco Zannini's version for Rochas this season still resonates the strongest for me, but that collection and this one are like tangerines and Pomellos. Dior is definitely the BGOG (big girl on campus). There was so much variety in the collection it felt as though Galliano had taken some down time, perhaps a spa or a rest cure by way of a private clinic. Everything was so clear and coherent....Great jackets, coats, a suit or two and fantastic day and evening dresses paraded down the runway like well drilled soldiers. There even seemed to be a bit of a loosening of the de rigeur march. Some images looked like the models were exhibiting a freedom of movement that reminded me of the 80's and 90's when a model's expression of her personality was encouraged. Leather was scalloped along the edges in a short jacket over pants and the same treatment appeared in a short dress. Cocktail dresses swung between tailored looks to liquid draped chiffon numbers that referenced the 60's and still looked of this moment. The workrooms at Avenue Montaigne must have been in a state of high excitement putting these pieces together. It was a runway full of their brilliant technique let loose. Draping, intricate layers of pleating, razor sharp tailoring and sweeping languid chiffon, twisted and ruched in evening gowns in a myriad of luscious colors were a veritable feast.

The sensibility of Dior's couture heritage and it's influence on 20th century style was acutely evident in this collection, which I think will re-interest clients, refresh editors and re-invigorate retail businesses who've grown weary of the self indulgent tangents that have all but consumed Galliano over the past several seasons. Granted, the accessories have continued to perform like trained chimps, but wouldn't it be nice to sell some clothes beyond just lending them to Jill Zarin on Housewives of New York? What is it about a Cruise collection, almost a step sister collection to the main events of Spring or Fall that gives the designer and the audience something of true substance, artistry and viability? I don't want to jinx it with too many questions, but it was a welcome surprise. It's always comforting when a person teetering on the edge of the abyss steps back from the ledge to the safety of some new and yet to be discovered precipice.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Walk on the Wild Side: The Ho Diaries.

Well it's Interview magazine's turn to play the race card and shoot another tasteless, idiotic spread using Super model(?) Daria Werbowy and a tribe of black back up stand-ins to tell a story of sweat, lust, heat, desire, sweat, heat, lust forbidden fantasies , oh and heat and lust, whatever, you get the picture. And if you don't , save your hard earned money; I'll show em to you. This story is as repugnant as the previous ones that appeared over the last 2 years in Franca Sozzani's Italian Vogue with the help of Steven Meisel.
Ms . Werbowy plays lust ravaged Jane to a slithering swarm of moisture coated, charcoal blackened, sexual vampires in what looks like a used car repair station. The only used car appears to be Ms. Werbowy and boy does she look like she's in for multiple oil changes, lube jobs, and detailing. You can almost hear her hiss, "Young man, I think you missed a spot!" The story is so stilted, absurd and the obvious fantasy of some infantile white "guy" that I would laugh if it didn't piss me off so fundamentally. To see these really extraordinary models of color, not all are black, I'm reminded of the rich and beautiful faces and bodies in the modelling world beyond the the army of the colorless. The fact that they play the roles of props, "Blackcessories" as one person so aptly phrased it, sets the "star" of the story is seamy, steamy, stark relief. There is a mood of wanton, beastly sexual hunger between the men and women, the women and women and of course everybody be wantin' some a dat fine Daria deliciousness...... That is a tired photographer and stylist's concept of "Blackittude"( ALT, thanks for the inspiration!). Dumber still is the one note pose of this model; all pelvic thrust, legs spread and eyes rolling in the back of her head. She is forever in position like a mare in a breeding station.
I guess these wise and knowing editors and stylists know something that we don't. This Mandingo madness, the ignoble savage having his/her way with the sacred innocent is just too good an idea to put to rest. Well I'm over it. There's nothing more offensive than these sorts of images whether shot this way or the opposite. It's degrading, false, insidious, crass, tasteless, sophomoric, insulting, impossible, old school, and just dead tired. I didn't see any guys so hungry they were ready to do the nasty with each other,like a few of the women.....also unrealistic and homophobic.
It's a Ho down and da Ho in this instance plays against type in that she's gettin' all the pay and everybody else is gettin' a couple a beers, some axle grease smeared all over them and a nice long break until Italian Vogue is ready for their next Minstrel Show!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Model 911

There's an epidemic of model suicides. Suddenly, like a trend that is beyond depressing, a trio of models have attempted or succeeded in ending their lives. No one can know what these women and men were struggling with but the resulting actions suggest something very disturbing. I won't pretend that the job of a fashion model is more hazardous than say, a soldier or Social worker where the weight of the job and the environment in which these people live is fraught with stress and unbelievable hardship, but you have to start looking at Fashion as a form of combat. In some strange way, this world of glamor that models inhabit, if only as manifestations of the good life, takes a dangerous toll.
This business is filled with the insecure and the ego starved, and then there are many that would qualify as ego bulimics. They gorge on attention, throw it up and are starved for more. Models inhabit and function in an artificial environment where they live an objectified and fetishized life. People, designers, editors and schools of pilot fish nibble at them constantly. There's little reality there for many of them to grab onto, especially when the going is good. So what happens when the going is gone? Who is there when they need support, or when they need a good, loud wake up call? How do they cope in a world filled with smoke when they just need a little oxygen? The same can be said for so many others who play different parts in this passionless play.
Just reading that a beautiful young woman , Noemie Lenoir, who'd recently done the LVuitton show and several other "important" collections was discovered before she succeeded in her attempt was very sad. To be at the top of her game, and be mother to a young child with a husband, all seemed to point to a good life. If one is gullible and buys the crap we're fed about what success in fashion means why would one even question it?
Well, there are some sad and lonely people in this world who need more than to be "it" or "hot" or the "top". If humanity could be applied to this fickle business like make up, hair and fabulous clothes, the right agency, PR and photographer, not to mention the right invitations to the right parties with admission to the right VIP section in the right city at the right time, all might be right with the world. I just don't think it was meant to work that way. How many artists, designers and, now, models have to perish before the system that runs this circus wakes up and thinks about slowing down or turning off the meat grinder. When you look closely at it, there is an aspect of the sausage factory about fashion. This machine isn't choosy, it will consume all parts, not just prime beef.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cruising with Karl !

Lagerfeld, the master of the understatement has just produced a short film, "Remember Now" that introduces his new Chanel Cruise 2011 Collection which debuted today in Sant Tropez. I bet the weather is better there than here in deep, dark Brooklyn Heights. It did add some sunshine and not just a little heat to my day. Take a look at this. The credits introduce the players, most of whom you'll recognize. What I love most about this film is that it suggests such a cool easy and exciting way to approach life. It's not fashion as much as it is a certain brand of STYLE. I want style to flood the streets, I'm a little tired of banal, predictable fashion. That's a game anyone can play with a dollar or 2. Style is a high stakes gamble where only the most clever can succeed. Let's set our standards higher and try harder. The Style glass is always half full!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

032C : A literary Berlin Story

This morning I woke up to turkeys screaming ( but no longer in my yard, thanks to an ingenious man who sprayed the whole property with 300 gallons of water, olive oil and clove oil, which the tenacious birds neither like the taste, smell or feel of) and Cathy Horyn's story on one of the best magazines to come down the conveyor belt. Just last week I went looking for the newest issue but was too early, so I went home and revisited the 2 issues I already had. Joerg Koch, the editor of 032C, is pictured left.

I'd like to say that I discovered 032C on my own due to my insatiably curious mind. Well it is curious and insatiable and has been known to go rooting around for things that will enlighten, educate and entertain, even challenge. That was certainly the case with InTouch, Horse and Hound, Dressage Today and Honcho (when I was 16) but this German journal of culture, fashion, art and letters found me.

Some of you may remember I went to Germany and Berlin specifically for 10 days over the New Year's holidays. I kept a journal of sorts of the different things I did and saw over the course of many of those days. It was titled Berlin Stories and shared all sorts of things like my impressions of seeing the bust of Nefretete (German spelling; Nefertiti for those of us of non-German persuasion) the many museums that proliferated making NYC look like Junior High to Germany's Ivy League, Leather's popularity with a certain sub group of the population ( think big, bad, gay, objectified, fetishized, Daddy wet dream types) and the best Wiener Schnitzel this side of heaven. One of my entries mentioned an unexpected email and "Welcome Wagon" gesture from a very unexpected person.

I'd recently lost my main email address the week before immediately after having arrived at my boyfriend's ( oh, I mean "my partner", I'll never get used to that term) parent's home in the southern part of the country, very near Zurich. Some clever asshole hacked my address, stole the password, locked me out, took my address book and wrote the whole list of people telling them that I'd been mugged in South London, had a broken hand, lost my passport, wallet, cell phone, plane ticket, mind and needed $2500. to get out of the country. Embarrassing and annoying, especially when you consider that Google has yet to return my email address and mail continues to get lost in London by people unaware that I'm no longer the recipient. But I digress.

Within a couple of days of arriving in Berlin and the start of my quaint travelogue I received an email at Fluff's address from someone I'd never met, Joerg Koch, the editor in chief of a magazine that I'd never heard of, 032C. The email was addressed to Fluff welcomed him to Berlin and apologized for the Arctic temperatures. Joerg went on to say that he and his editorial team were fans of the blog (who knew?) and that he wanted give me the 2 most recent issues of his magazine as a thank you for the many moments of pleasure that the blog had given him and his staff. If I'd give him the address of my hotel he would have them hand delivered. Nothing like that had ever happened, certainly not in New York and Europe was the last place I would have expected. When the package arrived, Joerg texted me to make sure I'd received them and suggested I return in summer when all would be more commodious. I was flattered and surprised. I wrote then that the magazine was a huge surprise in that it's focus, intelligence , insight and amazing aesthetic made it a new favorite of mine. Everything about it was so refreshing and made most of what we read here look pedestrian and uninspired. It helped that the issue was dedicated to Thomas Demand's major show at the Modern Museum which we'd spent 2 days walking through including a huge discussion with the artist about the installation and past work. All in all a very cultured and thoughtful approach to Art and it's relationship to culture. This was not your garden variety fashion rag. So to be taken seriously by such high minded guys was really an honor and a statement about their very democratic approach to information and it's many sources.

Cathy says it best in describing their brand of journalism in her story, "In the New World, Bravely" on her blog, "On the Runway" and in today's Sunday Style section. You all should get your hands on it. It's the one magazine that I've held onto and refer back to regularly. I wish I could say the same for Vogue, W and Harper's , but more often than not I buy them and never crack the cover. Not so for Horse and Hound or Dressage Today. As for Honcho, I don't think I've ever tossed a single issue !

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Train Wreck : The Sequel

The Costume Institute Ball at the Met on Monday night was a multi-car smash up of epic proportions. The theme of the exhibition:"American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity" was suitably vague. Though, judging from the images of the multitude of celebrities, designers and their model/socialite/actress dates there was lots of loveliness roaming the vast halls . For all the beautiful dresses that were chosen there were even more that were questionable in terms of modernity and practicality. Those two watch words are supposed to be the back bone of the American woman.

Instead, Anna Wintour as the supreme exception in a platinum, reed slim, ruched column under a platinum paillette covered cardigan, there were too many women opted for gowns with absurdly long trains. These sorts of gowns make for very complicated and time consuming photo ops, and it's ALL about the photo op. One needs at least one helper if not two to arrange the train and hem of the gown to its most flattering angle before the camera can shoot. Every step the woman takes is treacherous , for the simple fact that it stands to reason the gown will be trampled. To be practical, one should hold it over one's arm or at lest grab it with one's hand to keep it from harm's way. Then the whole process of arranging it has to take place all over again. The receiving line to greet Ms. Wintour, Oprah Winfrey in couture Oscar de la Renta and Partick Robinson of Gap, Inc., all chairpersons of the evening, calls for unfurled trains, again, and the very real fears of a stepped on and destroyed dress.

Though I wasn't invited, I had this great idea to chronicle a beautiful young woman who was going for the first time with her date, the son of a very prominent designer in New York. Ulla, a strikingly beautiful German model had invited me over to photograph and discuss her preparation and thoughts about this legendary right of passage. It seemed like a very interesting and intimate angle and one I was excited about. She found me through the blog and asked my opinion on her gown choices. We were both unanimously in agreement on the gown to wear. It was a modernist, hand painted print on what looked like a long a-line gazar with an illusion top. It was strict , simple, Charles Jamesian in aspect and totally modern. I didn't know until later that it was a gown from Oscar's collection. I loved it. I told her she would stand out in the most interesting way because it would be a gown in stark contrast to the over the top choices that are the staple of that sort of event. Better to be a drop dead beauty, an unknown quantity in a fantastic gown than someone in an unwieldy flotilla. Chic, modern less is always best in my book. Ulla had it going on , and best of all, she was ready for a party, not bent on making her debut. Natural trumps Forced in my book.

At the last minute there was a boiler blast in her building and workmen were coming to the rescue in the midst of the preparations and it was decided that it was best for me to not come. I understood the need for as little chaos as possible and wished her and her beau a wonderful evening and settled in for the night. Immediately after signing off I got a sore throat and a migraine. I took a hot bath and climbed into bed at 8 and spent the night awake in a semi-delirious state. I felt incredibly ill until I finally lost consciousness around 4. In my half waking, half dying state I thought about the evening imagining beautiful gowns, all sleek and languid. I saw Cate Blanchette, Lauren DuPont, Liya Kebede, Diane Lane, and an assortment of beautiful, interesting women dressed as though coming off the set of a Grace Coddington shoot. In my mind's eye this all translated to smoky, sexy sleek American glamor. Perhaps , I was still feeling the effects of Halston's Love Hangover and imagined a world of a cool beauty removed from the conventions of the obvious; the school of more is more. It was a fever dream an a beautiful one at that. Then I woke up.

I went to the computer and started to look at the images of the night before and clearly my dream did not line up with the reality that is the Costume Ball. Anna got it right, as she often does. The thing that's brilliant about her brand of jadedness is that she's for the most part a very practical girl. She doesn't need the grand gesture to make her point. She couldn't be bothered with a cumbersome gown that she has to fight all night. Just a nice Chanel Couture gown, a little blond highlight and blow out and voila,done! Donna Karan was so on. So were ALTalley and Whoopi Goldberg is serious ChadoRalphRucci.

The rest of what I saw was a mix of Jersey Transit, Long Island Railroad, one or two Amtrak Acelas and a few D Trains. All together it was a massive train wreck. Sophie Theallet for Gap (I can't believe this is a Gap gown, I don't care what anyone says) on Jessica Alba was one of the prettiest of the evening, despite its train. Sarah Jessica Parker in sunburst pleated poly chiffon for her new Halston Heritage line was predictably gauche. Chloe Sevigny was cute in her short green Proenza, a first, but the boys looked like their usual grim,serious,camera ready pouting selves. They should change their meds which cause extreme self absorption and try some happy pills. A smile can go an awful long way. Sour pusses with Elvis pompadours look very down market as does Chloe from the neck up. Donatella Versace looks like the beast standing on the tracks that set off the multi car mash up.

There's too much to show and I hate stories that sit and dismiss this one and that one. That is a matter of opinion and perception and I'll leave that to you. I do wish that designers would take into consideration this obsession with gowns that are more scaled to the proportions of ships. It's no fun to have your dress trampled and torn. It's also not terribly of this century. Just look at Zac Posen's gown for Doutzen Kroes (at right in pale blue) and see what I'm talking about. He should be fined for that colossal MESS, and she should be banned for having chosen it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ultrasuede: In Search Of Halston Part II

This film has stayed with me the whole weekend after having seen it on Friday night. That's usually the sign of a good film, but in this case I'm not altogether convinced. The things I can't seem to let go of are not the moments of beauty or enlightenment. I can't let go of the irksome images and interviews with people within Halston's gravitational pull, or not, who took the film hostage, much the same way Whitney insinuated his way into the narrative like an unwelcome guest. I was also stymied by the absence of people like Bill Dugan, Halston's right arm, and Faye Robson, his Personal Assistant for many, many years at the Olympic Tower and a member of the entourage on his legendary trips. Both these people are very much alive and founts of information. It seemed deliberate that Sudler-Smith ignored these experts on the subject of Halston. The premise of the documentary, a search for the man, was more a clever tease than an actual mission. The film in the end seemed more of a vehicle for the Director to gain entre to a party long over and ingratiate himself with some characters who brought little to the table.

There were moments where the footage of Halston at work, his presentations at the Olympic Tower and entrances at Studio 54 that were riveting. The glamor and larger than life quality of that time dwarfs similar high voltage events of today. The fashion elite at the premiere were like a hollow shell in comparison. Nubile, leggy beauties in impossibly short dresses mixed with the likes of Deeda Blair, easily the most compelling and chic woman there that night, dressed in Chado Ralph Rucci Couture, who was cheek to jowls with the hopefuls and the hopeless. The crowd outside waiting was primed for the photo op. Packs of women of a certain age and social standing were identifiable like tagged birds. Their faces were 20 years younger than their bare arms and all were herded to the best possible seats by their shepherd Boaz Mazor of Oscar de la Renta. He played the part of keeper of the keys to the V.I.P. section. Mario Buatta, the decorator, Kenneth Jay Lane looking so impossibly weary of this world, Women in their Oscars, Chados, Diors,vintage Halston as well as reconstituted Halstons , all air kissing in a nice tight circle while others watched from the side lines. Linda Fargo of Bergdorf Goodman was seated with NaeemKhan, who we learn in the film started his career in design as an assistant at Halston. What was downplayed was his father's beading concern in India which most likely supplied the intricate beaded fabrics that was so much a part of the Halston oeuvre. That detail was also lost on the cutting room floor. Fern Mallis and Jeffrey Banks were two sweet,knowing faces in a sea of predatory fish.

Whitney spent an inordinate amount of footage on Bob Colacello of Interview magazine and Paul Wilmot, the very successful P.R. man. They both recounted lots of stories of the Reaganomic sort that had little to do with the man and more to do with their places within that time frame. Nancy Reagan would appear with her famous "Just Say No" mantra, which obviously Halston and the rest of the country neither heard nor heeded. There was a shot of her in the White House in a white Galanos which didn't make sense in the overall scheme. Boaz coyly takes us on a tour of Halston's home, alluding to the fun that was had, and all of it implied as naughty. His big revelation was that he was photographed in a Levi's jean jacket before he even owned a leather one. This comment was meant to elicit awe and incredulity from the audience. It didn't. Nothing that was stated did more than tickle. It was as though the truth of the man was either unknown or a secret that would remain so. His appearance like Amy Fine Collins' was one of the many disconnected tangents that shed little light on the mystery. It was the equivalent of roll-over minutes of fame for them.

The footage of Halston and his models was magical but in surprisingly fragile condition. You can't believe how haphazardly stored these images are like fantastic albums that are covered with dust and scratches. The film asked many more questions than it answered. It will take another more scholarly approach for us to understand who Roy Halston Frowick was. The people left out like Elsa Peretti, Bill Dugan, Faye Robson and others of his friends and models have those answers. Pat Cleveland might have if she had stuck to the assignment which was to shine the light on the man. Instead, she, like the moth she claims to be, was too busy flying into the light, or match, which was meant for him. Her cloying, self absorbed star turn was one of the most annoying moments in the film and at the discussion that followed.

Victor Hugo, Halston's lover and dark side sidekick is credited with being a huge influence on his life and work. The windows of the Madison Ave. boutique were largely the brainchild of Victor. They swung between the sublime and the sordid, but always made an impression that would influence the aesthetic of many of the most important window display masters to come. He is also charged with orchestrating and conducting Halston's slide into addiction and ultimately his death. This is mildly and cautiously explored by people like Ming Vauze, a charming and clearly knowledgeable survivor of the entourage who was a close friend to Victor with an intimate proximity to Halston. Whitney treats him as more an oddity than a valuable source. Yet, another wasted opportunity.

This was no "Valentino: The Last Emperor" or even "Unzipped" as far as a film that both elucidates and educates. It was more the "Love Boat" without the Star Guest of Honor and his entourage.

What we're ultimately left with is the unsavory fact that the company has passed through the hands of too many to count not mention at least 4 Creative Directors.
It now belongs to Harvey Weinstein who has already burned through a few Creative Directors, as well. The most recent hire is Sarah Jessica Parker who is uniquely qualified to act as Creative Director for the new secondary line. I, for one, am worried.