Sunday, April 13, 2014

Galliano and de la Renta Marriage cancelled!

a birdy told me...

What passes for news? It shows you just how far we've come when almost 2 years ago, the universal smack down of John Galliano from his Olympus perch was the passing of gas heard and smelled round the world. Remember how stricken the good people of Vogue, Harper's, International Conde Nast, and every other rag worth its weight in ads. The lines were so clearly drawn over this "problem" that you'd think the earth had cracked open with the beliebers on one side and the who gives a shits on the other, which would include all of the offended faith based shoppers and the shoppers who couldn't afford the high cost of faith or his clothes. The shock of his precipitous fall, the court appearances, the suave hats and soberly colored suits, the downcast gaze, the drooping mini-stache, his look of befuddlement, the constant airplay/YouTube play of the rants in question at La Perle, the offended patrons who baited him, laughed and kept their phone's video app rolling, the loss of his job at Dior, the loss of stewardship of his eponymous collection, the search for a suitably glamorous Centre de Rehab, the rallying of his friends using their pull at the same said Centre de Rehab where they've all taken the waters, as it were, all of that.... Remember? Barely.

No to the nuptials...
My Mom is the ultimate disseminator of news. If it's not on CNN, then sorry, it ain't news. Mommie doesn't let a moment pass on any given day that CNN is in her direct sight lines or loudly playing in the background. I asked if she'd heard about Oscar and Galliano's negotiations to take the wheel of La Finca de la Renta. "No, Baby", she said. "There's that terrible funeral for the firemen in Boston, the plane to nowhere is still, well, nowhere to be found and I heard from Aunt Willie. Her pneumonia is much better." End of news flash. It wasn't til I was at the gym, pumping iron, kicking ass and watching Maury Povich on the monitors with some Baby Daddy and his accusing ex he'd never to that moment met, let alone, lay with, in the biblical sense (straight out of Johnny Weir's lips re. his divorce proceedings against his Russian husband, make up sex was NOT happening after a fist fight. Some people just don't know when to kiss and lay) that my trainer JOE LAZO of LAZO FITNESS and a budding reality star of a pilot in the works for Bravo, "Fit and Frisky", that Galliano's demands for a studio of the quality he's used to employing was just too, trou, cher, (means expensive). I had to get the news from my fitness Guru who also happens to be my life coach and personal savior. I've learned more about women from him than in the 30 years I designed clothes for them, but that is another story, too long, too steamy and too damn fascinating to take the time here. He'd read it in WWD and though it was a Thursday, NYTimes Style section day, not a word was printed, not even on their blog. ZILCH. None of the important newspapers bothered to mention it at all.

I ran to the showers where Paul Wilmot, the uber-P.R. guy through the ages and yes, a member of my gym, was showering after his grueling routine. I whipped back the curtain just as the soap fell to the floor and asked him what the skinny was. He didn't answer, just kept reaching  for the soap. Dismayed, I ran from the gym, no towel, no clothes, NO HAIR and made a bee-line for 7th Ave to get to the bottom of the story. The cops grabbed me. They were unmoved by my plight and also unable to shed any light of the issue. With hand-cuffs and leg chains and a tranquilizer dart still dangling from my haunch, I wasn't moving either.

Joe Lazo/Lazo Fitness/my trainer and Guru
 Eventually I was released thanks to Cathy Horyn and Eric Wilson who vouched for me. As both are no longer at the Times they were as clueless as yours truly. Suzy Menkes was gonna come too but was still tied up at Conde Nasty hammering out her new deal with Madame le Ambassadresse de Wintour. But that's ok, Suzy never would have made it through security with that hairy nob on her head. It wasn't til I got home and turned on my computer that I dug it up under layers and layers of the 3rd rate news feeds online. Crap like London's Telegraph, Daily Beast, Daily News, The Cut and Fashionista, the blog that banned me and my comments in my infancy. What an afterthought it all was. The de la Renta's and their brilliant stewards, the hapless son-in-law and his spoiled, unpleasant wife whose mom is Mommy de la Renta. Between the two they could barely tie a bow or tell a sequin from a paillette. With so much money (maybe there isn't as much as there was) you'd think they'd do all they could to land such a big fish, guaranteeing buzz, the retreading of their listing brand and even make some great clothes in the process. well, um, no. Not happening. Hence, not newsy.

So back to ambulance chasing, searching for the next fashion star, continuing the search for missing fashion stars and waiting for the next episode of Game of Thrones. Now that's news.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Saint Laurent Fall2014: Toot Toot, Ahh, Beep Beep!

Fashion shows nowadays too often bring out the very worst in people. By people I mean the designer and the audience. A lazy, self absorbed designer is as unlikely to go that extra mile as is an audience so starved for anything resembling something new that they will cheer anything hanging from the shoulders of a model as long as it’s coming from a “brand “of note. This sheep mentality only encourages overpaid, under-achieving talents to do even less on an ever grander scale.

Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent is a case in point. His collection for Fall2014 though more coherent than last season is again a parade of mod, Edie Sedgwick-inspired naughty, nasty girls that had their day when heroin addiction, cinematic bad behavior and self-destruction were the pre-requisites for 15 minutes of fame. Well that along with pet rocks, Opium perfume and Escher prints on your dorm room walls should be things of the past. The “Slim-mutts” or "Slum-mettes" take your pick, Hedi’s posse of bad girls, sulked down his runway with its golden beams that rose and fell hydraulically creating an alee’ one minute and a tunnel to nowhere the next were all parodies of naughtiness. These fetishized girl/women in their little leather skirts, micro-mini kilts, tights and multi-strapped Mary Janes were like a pack of zombies come back for blood. With enormous eyes, long lank hair and knobby knees, they made a valiant attempt at taking charge of the conversation, if the dull drone of mumbling counts as conversation…

Coats were best. Capes were redundant by then, as everyone had gotten the memo that capes were it. Little shift dresses in gold sequins with na├»ve abstract shapes tossed on them or as a jungle of animal prints came one after the other with little effect. They were too close to the regrettable little Baby Doll dresses of last season that looked poor. But considering Slimane is challenged to find novel ways to tell the one sliver of a story he has to share, there’s little else to trot out to drive home the point. Leather biker jackets took up some slack but not in any way that seemed new.

The furs were the most glaring items to raise the question of just what is luxury to the house of Saint Laurent. No Broadtail, Sable, Chinchilla or other exotic fur or skins were in evidence. Not one bit of croc was anywhere in evidence except one fawn colored mink  jacket, so pretty it stuck out like a sore thumb. It must have belonged to a model that refused to take it off. Otherwise, the coats and jackets were cut from “plates” of assembled fur scraps. These plates consist of bits and bobs from the bellies, tails, armpits, ears and butts of furs, in this instance sable. Many of those little pieces that make up this collage are paws. This is not a PETA rant, this is a CHEAP rant. One uses “plates” when one cannot use whole pelts to be assembled by master furriers. Plates are like a hunk of fabric to smack a pattern onto, cut away and sew up on any old machine. Like spam or headcheese, these furs were just conglomerations of scraps, and they looked like it; spam patties parading as Filet Mignon. “Road kill… from the ditch to the b…..” well you catch my drift.

The few variations on the classic Smoking saved the show, as did some interesting boots and bags, the only things showing any real value to my eye. The provocation that the clothes and petulant expressions of the girls created was still little more than an annoyance. Juxtaposed against a collection like Valentino's full of ideas, modernity, luxury and desirability, Saint Laurent had no such effect. Pierre Berge must be suffering in silence or we’d be hearing his rant by now.

In contrast, at the end of the Valentino show, Mr. Garavani and his partner Giancarlo Giametti are seen embracing the pair who are now at the helm of the house. Tears shared between the 4 of them and cheers from the audience were a stark contrast to the Saint Laurent proceedings whose front row was crammed with rockers passing around and guzzling magnums of champagne. But that’s the difference a ditch can make.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Louis Vuitton Fall2014: Nichola's Ghessing Game

Considering Nicholas Ghesquiere's (pronunciation : Knee-ko-lah  Guess-ski-yair. Now you try it.) astounding coronation 12 years ago when he took up the scepter and Orb as Directoire Creatif of Balenciaga, (pronunciation: bah-Lawn-see-Ya-ga), (for fun let's try another. Lanvin is really Lawn-van...the last N is semi-silent) Fun, non?

When he took the wheel his first collections were homages to the master with faithful adaptations of original styles from the archives. They were a bit arch without the fluidity, loft and movement of the originals, in large part due to a possible lack of understanding of how fabrics must be left to lead, not forced to comply. Still, they were interesting in their newness to many eyes uninformed and unexposed to the originals. I'm sure Hubert de Givenchy (pronunciation: you-Bare De Zhee-von-Shee) twisted on his Louis Quinze  (Loo-ee  Cans) settee reading about or watching the proceedings.

Still the ever elusive DNA of the house was respected; the "codes"adhered to and all was well in the jungle. Then the inspirations of the Directoire bubbled to the surface setting off a DNA storm. One such burst of creativity was the appropriation of Koos van den Akker's collage vest that appeared on the runway much to the chagrin of those who knew who and what that was, creating a frisson of questions and doubts. For the following 12 years the house and its codes teetered off into space like a scene from "Gravity". Some people are just happier in space.

The clothes became harder and more self-conscious by the season. New"man-made" high tech fabrics appeared and all the talk became about the march towards modernity with Nicholas leading the charge, metal yardstick in hand and hordes of lemmings in his wake. Editors from here, there and wherever. Only one successful IT bag came from his tenure and a few truckloads of clothes that were increasingly more difficult to wear or grasp though liberally copied by many in the marketplace. Fashion at Balenciaga became a thing so precious, its siren song so high pitched that only dogs could hear it. Then the party stopped. Finis! (pronunciation: Fee-knee)

Fast forward to Marc Jacobs's exit from Louis Vuitton and enter Nicholas to the relief of all the major fashion mags, assorted hangers-on and every Intern (definition: Slave. Granted, minus whip marks and shackles. At least not obvious ones.) worth his weight in Starbucks coffee filled trays. Word next to the 3-D printer is that he's the Messiah.

The anthem that opens the show was so ironic. "Copy Cat", a cheeky drone of a tune frighteningly apt:

"OOO Copy Cat...You're my puppet...sit on my lap as I work, Baby Girl... I'm such a fan of this dress, I bought it 5 years ago" and on and on." That summed up much of what marched through a labyrinth of a place; stuff from 5 years ago."

The clothes were almost all an homage to Nicholas's glory days at Chez B. Hard, stiff leather a-line skirts zippered down the front, a billion of them cut the same with an added pocket, a printed fabric instead of leather at times plus or minus a single bold pocket. Lots of turtleneck sweaters and sweater vests tucked in, a white one with a wide lace band crossing the sleeves and body, the same shoe over and over paired with quilted little bags or rectangular metal mini-cases.

The coats and jackets in leather, bonded leather, patch worked leather, leather with the look of signature Courrege, especially a zippered knee-length black crocodile coat, slick and tough looked really right. Baby doll empire cut dresses appeared along with some regrettable softer ones that looked like he hadn't a clue what they should say or do. Booties with criss-cross straps and thorn heels (Roger Vivier-isms by way of Walter Steiger-isms)  completed the look. Leather and cloth high-waisted trousers looked sexy with their stiff zippered polo sweaters including a smart tan top were wrapped and tucked in. They were hot looks, like a taste of something great but then the waiter takes away the dish you've only just begun to savor.

The problem for me was that it wasn't a new message but the same one just moved  down the street from one house to the next. He plans to create a "total look" for LV as though one doesn't already exist. Marc Jacobs did a fine job of it, especially in the last 3 or 4 years. It wasn't broken, but now its showing signs of fractures. There were only 50 looks but it felt like hundreds with an audience of thousands looking kinda bored. But, hey, its the second coming so maybe I'm just blinded by so much divine light. You decide.

*images courtesy   *Video courtesy Fatalefashion   *Layout courtesy of Garnet