Saturday, April 23, 2011

circling the drain

I love that title. My friend Ted who's back in town to sell his luxe pad in the Village coined it when we were sitting having coffee while staging his apartment for its open house tomorrow. We were both talking about the strange twists that life has taken since we made the journey here back in the early 80's. So much of what NYC was is a thing of the past. Not to be overly nostalgic or maudlin but things are different now. When we landed on this planet we were steeped in big dreams of making our marks on this town in the world of fashion. I'd have to say we succeeded admirably despite having been bumped off the broncing pony for one reason or another. Actually, to be truthful we gracefully "dismounted" and stepped aside. Still, we both have found ourselves wondering what happened and why. Life's intrusion and the resulting stock taking puts things in an even more stark relief. Though many of the players are still the same the game is almost unrecognizable. What passes for value or talent bears little resemblance to the days when we took to the Avenue. Reading things in the past few days about the merry-go-round of designers and design houses is like a tune with all flats. That isn't to say that the lucky ones who get the brass ring are any less fortunate just that I don't see the relationship between marginal visions and venerable houses with colossal influence. Honestly, I can't help but view it all as a travesty and the people in control as charlatans of the highest order. Robert Verdi asked me when I saw him at MBFW if I was,"chasing the dream or living the nightmare"? After I stopped laughing a few days later I had to ask myself that question and try to answer honestly. With my father's death and the bucket of cold water it's thrown on me I'd have to say I was chasing the nightmare. Doggedly fighting the power is a lonely, boring road and I'm getting tired of it. The only problem is that this is a world (fashion) that I love and one that I'm best suited for. Watching the documentary on Bill Cunningham today reminded me of why I've spent the last 30 years doing, living and loving this business. He says that if a man searches for beauty, he finds it and I suppose that's what I do. I don't mean to appear hopelessly caustic but I also refuse to lie to myself or others. Culture and fashion do seem to be circling the drain but they're not down it yet and we can only hope for the best. LVMH may be desperately confused or brilliant visionaries, Daphne Guinness may be a pathetic narcissist or just a woman on a mission, and Chloe Malle could be the next Cathy Horyn or just another hack whose parents pedigree has little bearing on her own and texts while ignoring the subject of her next story. The list goes on. Personally, I'm hungry for some beauty and an interesting new piece of information. I'm back on the scent and will keep you all posted. Oh, I watched "All on the line" this past week just to play fair. I stand by my first analysis: utter bullshit.