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?"