Sunday, March 30, 2014

Vogue Magazine: The Final Frontier

 Dear Peeps,
Commanderette Anna Wintour and her crew of stalwart, stoic and steadfast recruits are not as dim as they sometimes appear. Where I've questioned her heavy-handed games of teacher's pet and her flip side as Miss Hannigan to an orphanage filled with the privileged, her latest move to offer up Kim and Kanye as poster children with the intent of a mass adoption is pure bizness brilliance. I shuddered passing the newsstand seeing the innocence in Kim's hooded eyes and Kanye's studied "baby daddy" pout. It was the dress that caught my eye. Following those "couture" folds up, up, up til my eyes landed on their faces, I was almost seduced to pick it up and thumb through. But above those mugs was writ large: VOGUE. Vogue? The Kimye Westdashians on the cover of Vogue? It must be a joke parody cover like MAD magazine used to publish...? well, um, no. It's real. I'm all for the zeitgeist but not when it is more the "Paranormal Activity" sort.

Lots of folks have been confused by this. I was until it finally clicked that Ms. Wintour is not so much the arbiter of taste as she is a balls to the wall bizness lady. Sell magazines? That's one thing she can see how to do through those sunglasses that increasingly remind me of the ones you can buy at 4 in the a.m. on an infomercial for Snow Birds nesting in Boca. You know the ones I mean... They look great at the early bird special at Olive Garden and perfect on the mini-golf course. So it looks like this issue will be a blockbuster. Perhaps with a slightly different demographic but money will change hands. Anna's explanation for her choice was straight out of the Cloud (gaseous and foul smelling):

Anna says,“There’s barely a strand of the modern media that the Kardashian Wests haven’t been able to master, and for good reason: Kanye is an amazing performer and cultural provocateur, while Kim, through her strength of character, has created a place for herself in the glare of the world’s spotlight, and it takes real guts to do that.”

So, there it is. The Oracle has spoken. If strength of character, making a place for ones self in the world's spotlight and guts is what it takes to be a super star, I probably would also have let some cretin make a porn video of me taking it up the chutney shoot with a look of wonder, satisfaction and surprise.... Just sayin'....

xo, Fluff

pics courtesy of P Hilton blog (couldn't resist)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fashion: Don't try this at home....

I've been thinking a lot about this business and how it affects people. Especially, how a life in fashion is not for the faint of heart. It starts in a magazine or on a wretched reality show; The Face, Project No-way, All on the Line, and ad nauseum... The creative aspect is the most exciting part though many will argue it is the financial rewards are what its all about. Still others will rarely admit that it's the notoriety, attention, fawning press and glamor that is the biggest draw of all. The last is probably what draws the most moths to the blow torch. So what happens when you identify yourself with something that is fickle and fleeting? What happens if the warm glow of the spotlight shifts its focus to someone standing to your left, right or right smack in front of you? What happens if you just don't have the money to continue in a meaningful way? If you're somewhat secure and able to realize that a career can continue to grow and satisfaction can be found through the act of faith and sheer nerve, well, then you keep on doing the work. Or you choose to do something else.

I am uniquely qualified to weigh in on this topic. I had it all, defined myself and my self worth by the business I owned and never thought my life would be any different. Just up, up and up. I loved the press, the pictures of gowns from the red carpet, the profiles in newspapers and magazines, the stores and clients who celebrated my work (that meant me, right?) and that feeling that I was a player, even if a minor one compared to the whales. A Guppy with chops.
The smart showroom/workrooms, the beautiful horse, time divided between NYC, E Hampton and West Palm Beach (Wellington), a wonderful mate who loves me and helped me make it, respect from my peers and a feeling that I belonged to this very rare and exclusive club...It was exclusive then. And then the boom was lowered.

I had to make the toughest decision of all: Let It Go, or lose everything: sanity, security, and most of all my perspective. Depression and anxiety were just the ice cubes floating in the sea next to the iceberg of total defeat, shame and despair bobbing just beneath the surface.

Once the decision was made, it took about 2 years to make it, I was like an empty shell. It felt as though I no longer had any identity other than has-been, peon, loser. I had dark thoughts I admit, but they were thankfully shapeless and nameless. Running away and holding up in E Hampton was my solution. Though the New York Times sent me on my way with something much greater than a gold watch giving me the chance for a future, it still felt like death, my own.

Looking at the things written about L'Wren Scott brought it all back to me. That feeling of the walls closing in, the humiliation and shame I couldn't rationalize away and just feeling adrift and insignificant. I would never pretend to know what was in her heart or head. I do know that when one feels that all is lost it matters little what you "have", who you're with or what friends and loved ones think. But if in some way what I was plagued by when I stared at the precipice was even more acute for her, it's a very tragic loss... for her and for the others.

We often live and die by our own invention. If anything can be learned from this it's that one needs to use ones imagination to design a new possibility for ones self, the same as we start from scratch to create a new collection. Fashion is not for the faint of heart.

Exodus: The winter of our discontent.

Cathy Horyn

Has anyone besides me, Catherine, Jolain and others noticed that before the credits rolled the theater emptied? Where did everyone go? That goes for all of NYFW.....

Ok, so I did see a few shows, CH and RR along with a few others (Bibhu Mohapatra, Duckie Brown and some others not worth mentioning). They were each moving in their own ways. Ralph Rucci, of course, was the most moving, but in a static, frozen in time way. Carolina Herrera had some great moments that were so chic, so interesting, starting with an exaggerated Fez on the heads of many of the girls parading in DELUXE daytime clothes. Great fur treatments on cashmere coats, a turtleneck cashmere sweater that all but made the notion of a coat redundant. Day in the world of CH is more compelling than evening where the hand can become a tiny bit ham-fisted. Still it is the pervasive feel of chic, even modern at times, propriety that persuasively makes the argument for luxury. Ms Herrera is a classy Lady and her team led by Herve Pierre and crew are clearly a joyful gang with none of the angst that has riddled so much of the industry. Maybe that's because Mrs. H has nothing to prove. When you have IT why bother? It's a European sensibility that many of us inhabiting the New World are still centuries away from embodying.
Eric Wilson

The Ralph Rucci collection, due its own individual analysis, is interesting in a similar way with the exception that most every exit was its own show, its own statement on the nature of modernity in a time of social decay. I say static in that his themes were further developed, refined and distilled making the message, the sheer beauty and brilliance of idea/execution that much more obvious to see. The show staged in his own studio, a space that defies description other than to say it is part laboratory, part gallery and part heaven, was much more intimate than the tents so the clothes passed so close to you it was possible to see the texture of the fabrics, hear the rustle of fabrics and the sound of crystals and beads whispering to one another. It left me not so much stunned as satisfied.

Suzy Menkes
The strangest part of all was the absence of critical eyes. Ms. Horyn was not in attendance having left the Times only a week before to be with her partner, only for him to pass away within the following week. Her exit was the end of an era, or the end of an error, depending on how one chooses to look at it; glass half empty or glass bone dry. Though the uproar over her departure was such that some lamented that hers was the last voice of intelligent, objective discourse/criticism. Others mourned that fashion criticism is now the domain of ignorant uninformed bloggers. There may be some truth in that...

Watching Suzy Menkes shuffle in, then reading her reviews that parroted the hackneyed Horyn-isms (cutting on the "round" and "couture shapes", tropes, the notion of, etc.) and happy talk was distressing but not unexpected. Eric Wilson moved on to greener pastures too. I miss him. Eric's is an intelligent voice that is surprisingly objective. Rarely did he print a review that was oblique and freighted with meaning that couldn't be deciphered. I never had to read him twice... I even miss Cathy. She at least supplied the catnip for me and others to rake our claws over. I also feel for her Greek chorus weighing in on her blog with comments so dense in language and meaning that only she could "get at" what they attempted to "get at". I call them the Horyns of Babylon. Mrs. Menkes I understand is/has jumped ship to join Conde Nast so that completes the circle. The vacuum that's left is as disturbing as the legion of uninspired "designers" tossing looks down the runway like a pot of uncooked spaghetti at the wall; nothing much sticks just a mess on the floor to step in like the lazy entitled zombies in Brooklyn Heights whom no longer feel responsible for picking up after their mutts.

Europe, Paris in particular, is another story altogether. A story with a beginning, middle and end.