Monday, May 27, 2013

I didn't run away. I left....just for a while.

the view from my balcony
Some invitations are just too good to pass up.I'm talking about an invitation that honors your experience, your ability to communicate coherently with others and not by means of Twitter. I'm talking about an invitation to visit as an Artist in Residence at a university in Qatar for 6 weeks and best of all, design students who value what ever pearls of wisdom you can share....some days a few and other days a truckload.
2 of my students
And then when it's almost all over you're the invited guest designer to show a collection in the big end of the year student fashion show at an amazing venue in the heart of downtown Doha for 3 nights in a row. Some of you might say," Meh". Or "Qatar?...too far". Well let me tell you it's the farthest thing from Meh and its closer than you think considering they have the front row seat before the world stage. In fact, their seats are on the stage. They are aware of everything going on around them and have the wherewith all to plug in, experience and buy it all.
Homage to Franz Kline in micro bugle beads

Every major designer has an outpost or 4 in that city that is the definition of the luxury mall. They even know all the little itsy-bitsy details of who does what where, even the latest updates and past stories found in blogs like mine.
Fluff Chance is better known there than me. Who knew? And for that reason I was invited repeatedly to TV interviews, radio talk shows and lots of press coverage. No one was more surprised than me. As much as I dreaded the time alone and so far away, it was just what the doctor ordered.

 a sweet moment
Each day spent with students articulating the science and craft of design, helping them find their way as they prepared for the jury selection of their work for the big show was more stimulating and challenging than I expected.
Marianna, my bride
Making a difference in their lives and sharing information that was never shared with me when I was starting out was a gift all around. Being around so much energy and enthusiasm was the polar opposite of NYC fashion, that old, bitter broken hag with a painted mouth that could be a smile or just a grimace.

In short, I had a blast. Its a fascinating place filled with the strange and the wonderful. Best of all, its exotic, mysterious and crazy rich. Its never a question of if, just when and how big. A young designer need only whisper that they want to stage a collection and the finest hotels, car manufacturers and corporations are rushing one to have the chance to sponsor it. No joke.
my wheels....not.
I was shocked. There's much more to the story, but I'll save that for later. Let's peek at Resort and see what's good, what's bad and what's hideous. The hideous is too easy so I will get serous and dig deep for what seems good to my eyes. I've missed you all more than you've missed me, I promise.



Sunday, May 26, 2013

Too little is too much

You wonder why I've taken a break? Where have I been and why did I go? I just needed to get some air. It's gotten so thin up here in the cheap seats. Watching the action from such a remove with the specks parading coolly down the runway as though they were game changing ideas has given me vertigo. What is the point and what is the message? The answers don't appear on the runway and they haven't appeared in the press, either. If anything the game of bait and switch has reached a level of complexity rarely seen in the last 45 years. For some of us, we can do that math, subtracting accurately without the help of a smart phone calculator, and come to the moments when order shifted to chaos. Granted it was a slow moving tsunami, but one that nevertheless mowed down and washed away so much that was beautiful, coherent and yes, even forward thinking. Modernity isn't something that happened post 9/11.

Beyonce was not the first superstar with processed hair (extensions). Reed Krakoff was not the first one note designer going for 3 notes. Anna Wintour was not the first visionary at Conde Nast, nor the first influence peddling adventuress. Oscar de la Renta was certainly not the first Latin lover to dress a society matron. Andre Leon Talley was not the first editor to become a caricature in search of a gig that would restore him to his glory days as a bonafide editor, once more. John Galliano is not the first genius to go down in flames at the height of his powers, though he may be the richest. Dior, (Y)SL, Balenciaga, Ungaro, Balmain, Blass, Rabanne, Anne Klein and Ferre were not the first powerhouse design establishments to suck wind. Anna dello Russo was not the first fashion victim who will live and die by the dress hanger. Some editors/fashion critics of the New York Times, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune are not the first oracles to be sniffing toxic fumes sending out mixed messages that mean nothing to even the most educated of ears. I can't tell you how many times I've spoken to people in the press (yes, I know some interesting people who write for real newspapers and magazines) who ask me if I get what's going on or if I'm as confused as they are. I've come to believe that confusion is merely a state of knowing but an unwillingness to believe. Sort of like realizing Santa is really your parents doing the best they can.

What once flew high is now skimming and skidding along the ground. Sitting in Gregory's on Seventh Ave. between 39th and 40th minding my own business, I watched the river that is New York's fashion industry meander by. It was busy and at the same time strangely empty. Tourists taking pictures of the tailor hard at work on his sewing machine were cheek to jowl with young fashion workers busily making a display of their presence and profession or just posing as fashionables like those who crowd the tents at collection time. This blond woman in a dress so short that she spent every second tugging at it to attempt to cover her almost completely exposed lower half. Her example was the perfect illustration of too little being way, way too much. The spectacle has replaced the spectacular. Chaos, the new order of the day. Still, I am fascinated by the ebb and flow of culture and the highs and lows of fashion. That said, I'm back in my seat way up near the roof and straining to see all that there is to see. Welcome back to my world.