Monday, August 29, 2011

There's got to be a morning after....

Well, there was.The waitress at Pappas's diner said she'd be fine getting blown away to some other place but alas, we're all right back where we started. Things here on Wildflower Rd. are reasonably in order. We had some brutal wind and battering rains. The trees swayed like drunken Hula girls shedding their grass skirts and showing an unseemly amount of leg. Most of the action took place in the night only waking me around 4 a.m. with what sounded like some angry beast banging against the windows and the walls. Once I heard it I had a hard time ignoring it. The wind would rise and then suddenly go still only to come back stronger and louder. By the time the morning came everything was covered in shredded leaves, clumps of branches and acorns strewn over everything. The slab of wood that rests on the deck is an ancient root from China that now has a colony of mushrooms growing from all its crevices. Mushrooms are growing everywhere in all shapes and sizes. Some of them very oddly shaped and in a range of weird colors.

The mood inside was strange. It felt like waiting for the bad guys that you knew were waiting on the other side of the door. I felt strangely restless but was unable to concentrate on anything; not the TV, my book or fashion. I just sat or lay waiting. I made calls to my mother every few hours to give her a report on what was happening here and to find out how she was doing. She was cheerful and happily reading in her den. After the eye passed the real performance began with not so much rain as more and more wind. It clocked in at 65 mph at different points taking the trees and whipping their heads back and forth and around in circles. the ground was strangely still but 30-50 feet up things were crazy. The deer that graze contentedly on every lawn and in the middle of most roads were no where to be found. It was the turkeys who treated the event as an invitation to a buffet. I looked out the windows and on the road at the bottom of the driveway was a flock casually strolling through the debris sampling this morsel and that. The bugs, worm life and baby vegetation was laid out on a gigantic platter for their delectation. They had to have been tossed from their aeries high in the trees to wander the deserted ground.

We lost power for only moments at a time which was a blessing. I shower when I'm freaked out and took several. It was an opportunity to play dress up in all my different sets of pajamas and bath robes. I discovered that my Bottega Veneta celadon shearling slippers actually go with every bedtime outfit I could dream up. They're even better with nothing to distract the eye. Tomas Maier is a genius. See, fashion has a place in every corner of our lives. Its not just those public occasions but the private moments when it means the most. I imagined what I would wear if we had to be evacuated which was totally different if we were rescued. No matter which way the wind blew I knew that Bottega Veneta celadon shearling slippers were the anchor to my look. It made the rest of the ordeal so much easier to bare. My mind was clear and ready to rake, chainsaw or blog my way out of this mess.

It was a comfort to know that I wasn't alone in my disaster preparedness. The stores on Main St. and Newtown Lane were sans plywood and open for business. Retail salvation was generously made available to all and sundry. East Hampton was like a shelter with cashmere, jewels, tennis togs, everything Ralph: RRL, Purple Label, kiddz, and Rugby, Sneakerologists, art, bad art and all of it over-priced, along with real estate. I was particularly gratified to see Joseph Altuzzara strolling down Main extolling the obvious benefits of fashion shopping therapy to the masses. They huddled around him like hummingbirds to a trough of nectar. Yes, fashion will lead us to safety.

* For those of you who actually suffered in the hurricane, I don't mean to diminish your situation or to offend. I turned on the news and saw my bookkeeper's ex's restaurant in the Catskills sitting in the middle of a rushing river and not safely on its banks like a few days ago. My prayers go out to Walter and everyone in Margaretville, Phoenicia and 2 other communities up there that are almost completely under water. So many of us were incredibly fortunate to come through this unscathed.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Countdown to the Cataclysm

As I sit here writing this Anton is next to me on his computer tracking the path of the hurricane. Each hour since yesterday morning he updates me; "It's moving more west", "Now, it's headed more east", "East Hampton is in line", "East Hampton is looking a bit safer", well now it's headed farther east than before and East Hampton is looking a bit less safe. If you're wondering where I'm writing this, well I'm in East Hampton. Why not the city? We have a place here, a beautiful place that needed to be secured. Too much stuff all around it can go flying so we came out to do our best to limit the rockets. Now everything is put away, food and water has been bought along with gasoline for the never-before-used generator from several storms ago. I wonder where we should sit this out considering the place is almost all glass, huge sheets of it. I look out and see the woods and garden and big old trees that surround us and try to imagine how it might change. Will the giant oak that grows out of the deck change position and move to the cozier confines of the living room? Will the spectacular weeping hemlock that was just installed in the front decide it would rather nestle in our neighbor's back yard on the opposite side of this cul-de-sac? Will the 3 twenty foot cedars that border the pool reconsider their positioning and decide the deep end of the pool is a better spot? These thoughts and more are racing through my head since our drive out last night.

The LIE (Long Island Expressway) was a curious sight with the westward lane jammed with cars and our side heading east was almost empty. The town on a Friday night was almost ghostly. No wait for a table for dinner, no pushing, shoving, elbowing or Birkin bag swinging to use the rest room.

I have to say the grocery store where we stopped after getting a text from Fresh Direct informing us that they would NOT be delivering food and supplies this morning (f%&k) was a different story. The place was stripped of most everything. At the deli counter I was behind this girl who looked suspiciously like Lindsay Lohan, but wasn't. She was in black leggings, a little cashmere cardigan on backwards buttoning half way up a skeletal back with a container of what appeared to be spam salad she'd just ordered and couldn't wait to get home to inhale, asking for cheese that looked like Swiss. She wasn't familiar with it and kept pointing and calling it something that the guy helping her couldn't make out. Her speech was garbled with her mouth full of that foul feed. After minutes of this pointing, grunting and chewing he gave it to her and she coyly purred,"Think Yow-a". Do you know what that means? I didn't and neither did he. Oh well, that's young, blond and making it in the Hamptons. Actually, to be ruthlessly precise: That's making it in Manorville.

I'm less afraid for myself here than my mother who's alone in Massachusetts which is also right in line with the storm's path. She's very zen about this and has set up a beach chair in the basement with a lantern, her Kindle and Daddy's ashes. Yes, I know that's a bit strange but she explained that it didn't seem right to take shelter in the basement and leave Daddy upstairs, so he's keeping her company in the basement. This is the first time he hasn't been there to wait out the storm with her and this way she feels less alone. It makes me cry, but there you have it. Grief is a real mama jama. Still I have faith we'll all get through this.

The big question is what to wear for a natural disaster. I have my shoes picked out but the rest of the look is nagging at me. I don't want to look like some annoying weekender in regulation Ralph: weathered chambray shirt, red washed chinos and a Macintosh carrying a Bottega tote full of duck tape, batteries and Pellegrino. I thought my titanium linen djellaba that John Bartlett did would be cool. I LOVE how it looks in wind, like a sail. It's floor length and not the easiest to run from falling glass or trees so I'll probably opt for my Levi's with stretch, a t-shirt from Ralph Lauren in wide faded stripes, very Opie, that shows off my gym kissed upper body and a baseball cap with my old logo on it. In times like these it's the simple things that matter most. Driving down Main Street just about every shop is boarded up. That is every shop with the exception of Ralph Lauren. I guess he didn't get the memo that God doesn't have a favorite retailer. Even Elie Tahari got that memo and he's usually oblivious to wisdom and good sense.

That brings to mind all the pressing news of late regarding the love lives of super models: Natalia Vodianova having left her billionaire husband only to fall desperately in love with Bernard Arnault's son, Junior. My favorite is Linda Evangelista and her paternity suit against Mr. Pinault. Why another clueless billionaire would accidentally impregnate a woman who is known to not get out of bed for anything less than 20 bucks is madness. Couldn't Natalia find a nice boy with millions from her neighborhood? Why wasn't Salma Hayek enough woman for Mr. Pinault? These guys and gals swim with sharks and then seem surprised when they get mauled. The real tragedy is that we, innocent sun worshippers on the beach of life have to read about it. The fashion press that spoon feeds this garbage as though its pressing news should be tossed into the hurricane churned sea. Daphne Guinness was "too shy" to meet "Lee" [Alexander] McQueen... This from a girl who's whole life is lived in public for the public. It's as rich as she is. These and other more sordid musings go through my head as I await the cyclone. Tape Worm [Carine Roitfeld] and her off spring and their ascendancy to the status of First Family of Fashion is another conundrum. A Barneys ad with them hiding behind ratty hair and smokey eyes does not inspire me to shop there. I'll make do with my humble wardrobe when the rains come. Its absolutely still outside. Weird bugs are flying and crawling which has to have something to do with the theater of weather bearing down on us. The parking lot of Home Depot at exit 64 was home to a swarm of flying, biting ants at 10 last night. It was like some B movie about pestilence. We had to get out of the car after having raced to escape them and brush them off. They were all over our bodies and in our hair, biting through our clothes and crawling everywhere inside the car. No joke. You can't make this shit up.

One thing is abundantly clear to me in all of this. I wouldn't trade that other pair of sensible shoes facing my up to the moment Tretorn puddle stompers for anything. So good luck everybody. Be careful, wear something appropriate and look out for one another. If you can help someone who's alone or in need, do it. I'll do the same.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Front Row Fluff

The invitations for the Spring shows are starting to trickle in. I say trickle as I only receive a handful. Front row Fluff graces very few front rows and a smattering of "priority standing" spots as well, but that doesn't slow me down. I find that I prefer to look at some of the shows from the comfort of my living room. The seating here is stylish, comfortable, free of spying cameras with only the best sight lines. Granted, the whole vibe of a collection is more than strictly the clothes. It helps to hear the music, experience the choreography and take in the mood that surrounds the presentation. But all of those details can sometimes overwhelm you when the audience hijacks the event with cameras more interested in the front row, people talking and texting throughout the proceedings and a general feeling of restless distractedness everywhere you turn. Many shows have become little more than holding pens for the masses; a place to go when you have no place to be. That's not meant as a put down just an observation. This Twitter time we live in races so fast that folks would rather hang out in the lounge with a Frappucino and Blackberry than actually look at clothes. An invitation to a show is almost more important than going through the tedium of actually watching. People are more enthralled with the Twitter feeds streaming on the wall than having an experience. How else can you explain the spontaneous applause after every single show? It can't be for the clothes. It must be self congratulations for having put aside the precious 8 minutes and shown up. It must be mutual affirmation for having taken some much needed ME time. Think about it. How often does a foot soldier in the world of STYLE get real time for themselves? I know for myself that between my morning workout with Brad, then yoga with Paulo, a trim and comb out from Tony, con-fabbing with Jolain, scheduling with Eric, massages with Igor, chapter edits with Esmond and strategy meetings with God, there's just never any time left in the day for me. There must be an app that will make that happen. I guess that reason alone makes the shows a necessary evil. Fashion's Night Out is one unnecessary evil that I don't look forward to. Stores aren't broke any more so there's no reason to fix them. This is just a tarted up night camouflaged as Anna Wintour Day. Think Puerto Rican Day parade minus the Puerto Ricans and the fun. I'll sit this one out unless there's an 80% off sale at Hermes or Bottega Veneta. I can't wait to see the Bottega show and Ralph Rucci's collection. They are two of the most compelling presentations in any given season. One is effortless cool and the other is what you find when you dig deep for buried treasure. Rucci's Chado is the quintessence of modernity. Rich, stirring conceptual beauty with the most bind bending technique all looking like something heaven sent. I'm curious to see what Marc Jacobs will create. His star is so high in the sky. Its important also because with his possible ascendancy to creative director of the good ship DIOR folks will be interested to see how high he can raise his game. If fitness is a prerequisite for the task he's up to the job. I'll miss Dior as things will never be what they were. With that said, I hope to be open minded when we all see what is to come. Besides laying out outfits to wear to the shows I'm brushing up on my knowledge of Qatar. I'm headed over in October to lecture and take the pulse of that desert nation. Perhaps there I'll have a chance to take a moment for just ME. I can't wait!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

September's Issues

Sometimes I think I must be one of the most jaded cats in the alley. When I was a kitten covered in soft, downy fur I liked nothing more than a feast of monthly periodicals like Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Town and Country, GQ, all the European versions of the same titles. I treated them all like special gifts on Christmas morning refusing to let my sisters or friends open them, or even worse, attempt to show me something inside before I had the chance to discover the treasures they held for myself. I made a solid day or two out of this ritual. Starting at the front, I methodically worked my way to the very end reading, studying and analyzing every look and add. Obviously, not every morsel was important but much of what I found was satisfying on some if not many levels. September was the new December then especially when I was in college in Ohio desperate for news and excitement. Now my hair is all but gone and my pleasure is rarely found in the pages of September's offerings. I resist buying, not because I more often than not fail to open the first or last page of Vogue, forget all the filler in between, but because the message gets lost in the maze of ads, supercillious stories which tell us precious little and the editorials that speak to a club whose members elect each other. Size which used to excite me. Now that heft is just an added weight, a portent of pages and pages of redundancy.
I pushed myself to make the effort this weekend and warmed up with New York magazine's Fall fashion issue and then took the plunge with Vogue, Harper's, W and T&C. A tiny bell went off in my tinier head last Thursday in the NY Times' Style section and their story on 2 young Black men who blog and style. I've become suspicious when stories on people of color in fashion happen along with stories on Harlem's legendary and perpetual Renaissance occur. They always seem to happen in August, that slowest of slow months for fashion. Its almost like once all the other more pressing fashion related stories have happened or the big players on the big runway have slipped off to rehab or some storied town on Long Island's south shore then they make way for the Black people. Well, Black people and the endangered species (the titled and entitled) who inhabit Newport, R.I. What's fascinating about the two guys, Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs along with their blog Street Etiquette is that their style mantra is preppy. That in itself doesn't bug me as I've more or less subscribed to that look since I was a wee kitty growing up in Groton, Mass., a preppy town if ever there was one. I think that the Times was enamored with this particular story because it tells a story of assimilation, a coming together under the all inclusive sheltering sky of fashion, if you will. It helps that they are both "fine looking men" as my mother would say and model some of what they style on the blog. Had these guys been suggesting Afro-centric or Hip-Hop street wear the message would more than likely have fallen on blind eyes and deaf ears. Instead, it was a comforting and familiar image like a Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger ad minus all the white people. Driving through Harlem the other day I noticed an awful lot of people of non-color on the streets pushing baby carriages and others sporting tote bags. Maybe that's what is meant by a renaissance; Harlem is now safe for white people. I digress. Kate Moss on the cover of Vogue with a story of her wedding billed as the most romantic wedding of the Spring was a curious PR vehicle for John Galliano, among other things. Read it. I thought the royal wedding was the big story and not the shotgun job that happened in Monaco. What clever little ploy does Conde Nast/Ms. Wintour have up their skinny, high arm-holed sleeve for the rehabilitation of Galliano's career? That story will unfold like the blossom of a Venus flytrap or that other bizarre plant that blooms in the Brooklyn botanical garden for one night every 87 years smelling like a dead cow. Don't get me wrong; I think Galliano is a brilliant designer, brilliant. Just a product of this monstrous system and a flawed one at that. Kate's breathless confession that gypsies convinced her to marry is also, well, curious. Lots inside this issue is curious like Elle Fannings's elevation from IT toddler to IT girl and other stories tailored to include Rodarte and their rags to rags success story, new male tennis stars, Natalia Vodianova as the longest running Vogue Moment and thousands of pages more.The ads eclipse the editorial pages in style and content, only its exhausting. This book is like the previews at the movies. Hours and hours of trailers and then the lights come up and its time to clean up the mess. I know this is vague but maybe you should check it all out for yourselves and see what you make of it all. I'm going for a run in the woods now and then a plunge in the water. Ocean? Pool? Shower? Those are the big questions of the day.

photos courtesy of me and of me at college.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Star Gazing

With Perseid acting up and stars dropping here, there and everywhere, I keep having close encounters with stars of the human kind.

It started at the gym the other day with Narciso Rodriguez checking out as I was checking in. I liked that, like me, his body doesn't broadcast that he's someone who makes a point of looking better naked.
Calvin (Klein) has been sighted here a thousand times. His visage is a bit tougher to ignore. He's thin, tall and bulging with veins. Not so much muscle, just a lot of sinew and filler. I'm impressed with his commitment to fitness but amazed he has the stamina. He looked a bit like a character from a book in the early days of the vampire franchises...think early Anne Rice. Those eyes which have seen so much only look vacant now.
It reminds me of a day I passed Bill Blass on the Avenue. I was crossing on 40th street going from east to west and he came walking towards me. His face with its round, fleshiness was instantly recognizable as was his bespoke English suit and elegant hand-made shoes. The difference was his eyes. Gone was that droll look as though he'd just heard a particularly colorful tid-bit regarding one of his 'gals'. In its place was an odd stare like that of a large crocodile. Hooded eyes slid from left to right taking in the people rushing back and forth. It gave me a chill and I stopped, turned and watched him swim past silently. I was reminded of the fact that titans rarely come to power without an instinct to take what they'll have in whatever manner deemed appropriate. Charming. Chilling.

Yesterday in the market Julianne Moore slipped in with her daughter fresh off the beach complete with matted, sea tangled ponytail, cutoff jeans and freckles run amok. They were busy testing peaches, choosing ears of corn and navigating their way through the marauding throng. I thought of the Bulgari ads where her mane and face are so done that she appears to be a caricature of herself with lips lacquered and parted in that expression that coos, "Make love to me, now". She didn't look like that. She looked like a sun baked mom with an equally sun baked kid.

Just to set the record straight, I'm not a stalker. I'm just a person who looks at faces as they pass as opposed to the ground or my phone. You'd be amazed at what you might see if you just look. But back at the gym I find endless fascinations. For those of you who watch grade Z reality TV, there's Derek from the A-List, a fly on the wall view of Chelsea gay society in all its Kool-Aid guzzling, douche bag toting fabulousness. He comes dressed in bronzed spray tan, black togs and dark shades. The gym is a unique environment for lots of unlikely looks but dark glasses is not one of them. I guess shades make sense when you're a TV celebrity, even if the show is garbage parading as trash on the LOGO network. Eight episode packages are the new 15 minutes.

Marc Jacobs has impressed me lately and not by way of the runway. He is a personal trainer's sweat dream. Talk about ripped, cut, lean and mean. He's got not one ounce of fat and can do whatever the trainer suggests. Squatting, crunching and pumping are the common ground for many, even me. But pulling, and pulling UP is the domain of only the most gifted among us. I actually stopped dead in the middle of lifting a power spritzer to my lips to watch him leap from the floor to a high bar 3 or 4 feet above his head to pull himself up, not one but 10 or 12 times holding himself up on the last count for a good 15 seconds. He didn't do it like a mere mortal, heaving and straining while spitting out bits of lung and bleeding from his eyes and ears. He pulled his total body weight up again and again like a tween texts but with gusto and repeated the performance at least 2 times of 12 each. I can't be sure how many times he did it as I walked away shamed, feeling fat, weak and hopelessly earth bound. These close encounters with celebrities often do that to me. They appear to float along as I slog waist deep in that thing we call life.

I guess stars would be like trees falling unseen in the forest if there weren't people like us planted firmly on this earth to witness them. If you look head on some of the time you'll be amazed at what or who passes by.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Make a wish.

The Perseid meteor shower reaches its zenith this weekend with optimal viewing late tonight and early, early tomorrow morning. For those of you in the mood for an all nighter, tonight would be ideal. The full moon on Saturday night will throw a bit of a wrench in the works but the biggest and brightest will manage to show off their flashing lights and big-assed tails. I watched this time last summer and saw a ridiculous number of shooting stars in all shapes and racing in every direction. The urge to make wishes took a back seat to just laying flat on the beach and oo-ing and ahh-ing. Tonight I'm going to debut a new pair of jammies and drive to the beach to watch. I have some wishes pre-planned that I intend to send up before getting overwhelmed by the light show. I hope that those of you who want to witness this performance will have a chance and spot to do it in. I know that wishing on falling stars is not a fool proof way to guarantee answered prayers, but it's as good as any tonight. I've been thinking about things and think I'll share them with you all. Nothing brilliant, but no doubt some of them will strike chords for you and give you something to laugh about. God knows there isn't that much funny around of late. It's been a slow news week and a blight in the fashion sphere, but at the bottom of the litter box are a few bits and pieces.....