Posted: February 26, 2010
This is it.
The last blog about New York Fashion Week-I don't want to seem like I'm clinging on desperately or anything. After all, NYFW is already so last week, all eyes are now on LFW and soon it will be MFW, then PFW and then we'll have run out of fash weeks and acronyms. Meanwhile I'm left here thinking about the swirly whirlwind of it all and wearing my Fashion loves Haiti T-shirt like a sad twat. The party is officially over at Bryant Park- permanently. Next season it moves uptown to Columbus circle-where there will be proper toilets. No more watching ladies in Lanvin heels hobble out of the tents to use the portaloos.
so I guess I should be writing one of those summary pieces, that pulls everything together neatly and summarises the trends for Fall 2010? I should, but I don't want to get bogged down in the detailing of the what to wear-for reasons I will expand on later. If you're interested though- there was tons of high waisted peg legs pants, winter florals, classic American sportswear in the veil of loose blazer jackets and slouchy suits. There was also a (disturbing) dominance of real fur in the collections.
None more so than at J. Mendel, where even the Louboutins had a mink trim. I was just worried for this lady in the audience, for fear her pooch might get turned into a handbag
I could focus this last fash blog on the lack of celebs, which was a big talking point. It started with Marc Jacobs banning stars from his front row and then undoubtedly the economy also played a factor. The few famous faces that did rock up were at the biggest shows- where I was not. The only spot I got really excited about was 'noted fashion photographer' Nigel Barker from America's Next Top Model front row at Carlos Miele. Am happy to report he is just as shaggable in the flesh. So this is why I am picturing a celeb stylist like Philip Bloc to illustrate this, rather than an actual celeb.
Plenty happened during the week, including the realisation that NYFW is more than a week, it's actually 8 days. I covered the Bloggers v editors debate and terrified teen blogger Tavi's mum by bombarding her with questions when she sat next to me at a conference. I told you about all the other kids at the tents. I rambled on incessantly about getting a seat at a show. I networked, met some lovely people and also some right tossers. I shopped inbetween shows and experienced some super charged style serendipity, grabbing the best vintage finds of my life. I got turned away from Christian Siriano I had a superlative attack at Elisa Palomino. I got fashion flu, met some lovely female paparazzi and a Welsh intern. I failed to get snapped by any street style photographers and concluded only thin people make it onto The Satorialist.
I wrote every day and treated my blog like my own little fashion magazine. It's pretty exclusive, you're probably one of only a few hundred readers. Lucky you (this won't get me a book deal though, so please keep spreading the word).
The most important lesson that NYFW has left me with is thus: What you wear is less important than you think. The best looks were always in the audience rather than the catwalk, confirming for me that street style leads where designers follow. I noticed the outfits I envied weren't the matchy matchy, but more eclectic, considered, yet with that air of thrown together. There's an anything goes attitude among true fashion lovers that's refreshingly lacking in elitism. There are a few exceptions though and they mostly centre around neon on pensioners:
How you wear it is the key as ever. And that has nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with style. Fashion week left me thinking less about this season's pants or heel and more about being creative and caring less.
so for Fall 2010 I say fuck fashion.
And embrace style for every season
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Posted: February 22, 2010 -
(Day 7 of fashion week)
When I was 17 I took half my first pay cheque into a boutique in Cardiff and spent £375 on a Moschino Cheap & Chic suit. The jacket had sewing thimbles for buttons. It was the most unusual, beautiful and expensive thing I had ever owned. It spoke to me, it spoke to others:
"Are those...thimbles?" people would ask.
16 years later and that jacket hangs in my wardrobe in New York. It's lasted longer than any man in my life and I can still just about fit into it. That in itself is testament to the miracle of Moschino.
With this sentimental connection proceeding, you can imagine my anticipation at an invite to Elisa Palomino's debut collection-this is the woman who started Cheap & Chic.
After that Palomino went to work at John Galliano, Dior, Roberto Cavalli and Diane Von Furstenbeg. Not to mention that she started in the fashion world by attending Central St Martins with Hussein Chalayn, Antonio Berardi and the late, great Alexander McQueen.
This all adds up to the fashion equivalent of a thorough bred racehorse. With all that pedigree, you know you're in for something special.
Excited, I persuade The Teenager to come along as my 'intern'. That I have to persuade her at all says a lot about the apathy of youth. She is even less keen when I tell her she will actually have to do something, like take notes or pictures. But after a hissy fit about what to wear, she tags along, in her BCBG heeled boots and we cab it uptown.
The General Society of Mechanics on W44th Street strikes me as as odd location on paper. In reality It's like walking back into the 1920's- an elegant old library, stuffed to the gills with hardbound dusty books and oak chests. Oriental lanterns have been strung all over the ceiling and the room is lit with a warm, amber hued glow.
The show begins. Three singers who stride balletically to their mics and begin to sing something operatic and enchanting.
The first model emerges from a backroom and teeters precariously down a small set of stairs looking like a geisha turned Oriental party princesses. The girls come out one by one with the same huge messy birdnest hair topped with giant flowers or bows. They balance on sky high heels and the music turns flapper to match the drop hem dresses.
Modern mixes with vintage as satin puffas are teamed with Japanese floral print bias cut dresses. There's an abundance of chunky knits with giant gardenias. Fur stoles come with floral embroidery and there's tons of ruffles and ruching. A gold sequin dress shimmies by and I notice it is embellised with yet more flowers.
The palate is rich orange, bright fuschia pink, creams and shades of gold.
There's lots of black too, but rather than severe in contrast to the colour, it's silky, seductive and surrounded by yet more flowers.
As in love as I am, I still want to be objective. I don't go looking for flaws but it strikes me that a few pieces in the collection are just a tad Per Una at M&S- the black knit with flowers and the orange silk skirt and matching cardie (below) in particular looks pretty middle aged Surrey housewife.
My Mum would like it, but that's no disparaging comment- my Mum is a pretty stylish sixtysomething and actually owns a few Moschino pieces herself.
The real litmus test is in the mouths of babes:
"What did you think?" I ask The Teenager
"It was amazing. I loved the clothes, they were soooo beautiful. "
I can see three generations of women wearing something by Elisa Palomino, unlikely her intention, but certainly the result. That has to translate as something that will become infinitely sellable.
More importantly is The Teen's reaction.
She never uses superlatives.
Posted: February 22, 2010
(Day 6 of fashion week)
A freelance journalist at the tents in Bryant Park is telling me he's writing a piece about the influx of bloggers in fashion. When he says the words 'influx' and 'bloggers' he flinches as if he's being force fed a Big Mac.
I know what's coming: Bloggers are ruining the industry/There's always someone in the front row with a digital camera nowadays/ They're doing the 'proper journalists and photographers' out of a job. Blah Blah Blah. Blog Blog Blog.
Cut to six hours later and I am at a fashion blogging seminar in Chelsea. It's filled with lots of twentysomething girls hammering away on their laptops, tweeting on their blackberries or being horribly Luddite and exchanging actual business cards. There is some great outfit spotting, just like at the tents, except here it's more vintage than DVF.
Bryant Park bitchiness has been replaced by bloggers bonding. There's camaraderie instead of competitiveness. Of course- there is room for everyone on the internet; good, bad and mediocre.
We all await the arrival of a group of supperbloggers, including Bryan Boy and regular irritant of the traditional fashion press Tavi. She recently rubbed Grazia editors up the wrong way by not only getting a seat in front of them at the Dior couture show in Paris but blocking their view with her giant Philip Treacy hat.
I should mention that Tavi is just 13.
These nobodies turned somebodies are gods here-the equivalent of Carine Roitfeld and Anna Wintour turning up to address a bunch of 'proper journalists'.
My fashion week partner is the first to spot Tavi's arrival. She is standing unassumingly at the back of the hall with her Mum. They look similar and are wearing the same glasses, expect Mrs Gevinson looks like she shops at Walmart. They both have an air of Deirdre Barlow from Coronation Street, although Tavi with her blue rinse actually a bit more like Deirdre's mother Blanche. Or how I imagine Blanche would appear if she was styled by Patricia Field in Amsterdam on a bad acid trip.
Then, just before it all begins Tavi's Mum takes her seat-right next to my fashion week partner. We both dive straight in, confirming who she is and then questioning her furiously.
Annoyingly she doesn't say anything controversial like Tavi is really a midget granny in disguise or that she secretly shops at Walmart too and Joanna Coles is her ghost writer. She is even media savvy enough stop and ask at one point ''Is this an interview?"
It's at that stage I stop myself and remember that as a news journalist I used to interview cabinet members, police chiefs and pop stars and here I am getting excited about a possible scoop with the mother of a tweenage blogger.
In the hour Q and A with the panel Tavi turns out to be sweet and articulate and disappointingly lacking in pretension. Bryan Boy makes everyone laugh and keeps his wraparound star trek glasses on the whole time. Susie Bubble is passionate about the politics of it all (She's a Brit so I wonder if she has any Dairy Milk in her bag). Phil the Street Peeper sees himself as more of a photographer than a blogger (he is, his pics are beautiful) and Lauren Sherman from my personal favourite site fashionista.com reveals she is in fact a 'proper journalist' and use to work in news. I knew it. She wrote a great piece recently on the fact that designers actually pay celebs to be in the front row.
The biggest topic is the Editors versus the Bloggers debate and how it's a fight perpetuated by the media. I'm not quite sure which media they all mean, but I assume they mean the one that's not them. The one that is still printed on actual stinkingly un-hip paper.
As a journalist and blogger, I'm not quite sure where I stand. Or sit. Which is usually what it all boils down to in the fashion world. Right now I sit next to Tavi's mother. Earlier I sat in a row with New York Times writer Lynn Yaeger and the head buyer for Harrods. As I may have mentioned (several times, possibly becoming a bit obsessed) it's all about where you sit, not stand in fashion.
Now the bloggers are getting into the front row it's got some of the cognoscenti pissed off. Who can blame them? After decades clawing my way up the shit splattered gilded fashion ladder, I'd be pissed off too.
The bloggers claim the editors are scared. They've shaken up the hierarchy and were gauche enough not to ask permission. People that read the blogs feel they might be able to be the next Susie Bubble, but they're not so sure they could, or evenwant to be the next Anna Wintour.
It's all about accessibility. The industry wants to stay elite, because it sells aspiration. But technology is forcing fashion industry change; several shows at NYFW have been streamed live on the internet and London is doing the same at every show- so now we can all have a seat in the front row. And in the midst of this is the cold hard finance-Magazines are struggling while everyone reads blogs for free. Which gives the kids more money to save up for a Tavi Rope scarf.
On this issue I'm not sure exactly where I sit. Or stand. So my stand is that I would like to sit on the fence.
If I remembered to RSVP properly.
Posted: February 22, 2010
(Day 5 of fashion week)
There's a male model smoking a fag outside The Green Shows in the East Village. He's wearing a lots of black eyeliner. Sometimes the universe sends you signs.
We've cabbed it over from Bryant Park and have arrived early to try and catch up on some writing but are surprised when organisers tell us there's no media room, they seemed surprised we even asked. So we pop back out on E11th street in search of a cafe with Wifi.
But blogging fades quickly into the background when we spot two fab looking vintage shops over the way.
Within minutes at Buffalo Exchange I have bagged some ridiculous but fun Willy Wonka-esque sunglasses and a chunky bright purple wool beanie for $13 total and then with heart pounding I snag some Michael Kors heels for $35.
There is even a pair of Navy Pradas courts for $80 but they are a little tight so I tell myself not to be greedy.
I don't listen to myself for very long though as 10 minutes later I am at Angela's Vintage Boutique next door stroking the most beautiful 1950's fur trimmed coat. It is heavy with quality and it fits perfectly. The lady (Angela I assume) is giving it to me for $70 and the ticket said $95 and I never even asked for a discount. It's as if the fucking vintage fairy has landed on my shoulder.
What is happening? Does this have anything to do with that Chinese cat statue that woman gave me in a coffee shop the other day? This comes off the back of a run of unbelievable vintage finds. I made out like a demon in W17th street Homeworks thrift store just last weekend. It is fash week shopping serendipity I tell myself.
But where there is ying there is is yang and I was about to pay back with the most depressing 15 minutes of my life when we head back over the road.
Without seeing every show at NYFW I'm willing to bet that Thieves by Sonja Den Elzian is the drabbest of the week. Judging by the visible boredom and eye rolls in the audience, I'm not the only one who thinks so. Black and grey urban minimalist sportswear in cotton and some kind of eco rubber, the sort of stuff Jill Sander was churning out in the early nineties. It's surprising as previous Thieves collections have been packed with unusual but desirable daywear in lighter and brighter hues.
There are some pieces that try to save the dreary pretension from disappearing up it's own organic cotton clad arse- like the wool wide shawl collared coat, the ruched jeggings and the rubber waister. But I'm distracted by the hilarious description of the collection 'The inspiration is humanity in its evolving state within the erratic and harsh climates of constant transformation...visually exploring the exploitation of Canada's Boreal forest through the mining of tar sands". You what?
Just in case I wasn't suicidal enough at that point the excellent DJ is made to switch his funk and disco pre-show sound to some kind of experimental dirge that makes me think we are maybe being hypnotised Zoolander style, but rather than killing the Malaysian Prime Minister we are being made to like Elzian's clothes.
It's not working. I am wearing vintage sequins and Chanel pearls for fuck's sake.
I make a swift exit and head back over the road to stroke something sparkly from the 1950s.
Buying vintage will be my green contribution for today.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Posted: February 19, 2010 -
Category: Fashion and Lifestyle
For a girl who has hung up her heels, Naomi Campbell proved she hadn't lost that supermodel sashay the other night at the Fashion for Relief Haiti show in Bryant Park. The show hosted by Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, was pulled together in aid of the Haiti relief effort and featured a galaxy of stars taking to the catwalk.
A series of looks that had been donated by designers hit the runway, some of which are to be auctioned off on Net-a-Porter. Campbell herself poignantly wore an Alexander McQueen piece, the designer (a close friend of hers) who was found dead this week would have smiled at these ladies working their inner divas in the name of fund raising.
From Kelly Osbourne to Chris Brown, Donna Karan to Diane von Furstenburg all were brave enough to take a turn in aid of the cause - and bravery it seems is what you needed as poor old Agyness Deyn took a tumble twice and ended up walking in her bare feet to the safety of backstage.
An interesting diversion at yesterdays NY Fashion week shows, whilst skipping from the Tents at Bryant Park down to the East Village to experience the "Green Shows", we arrived unfashionably early and were tossed out into the street. Curiously the green show venue did not offer a press facility, waiting area or indeed any wifi - not quite sure whether that is some kind of conscious 'green' statement kicking off against the media deluge that surrounds fashion week or simply bad planning.
Either way, fortuitous for my blogging partner and myself as we found ourselves hurled into an Alice in Wonderland of vintage stores right across the street. It seems East 11th between 1st & 2nd Ave is a haven for all things from a bygone era. Flitting from one to another we quickly whiled away the 20 minutes and returned to the venue looking far less like media savvy fashionistas and a little more like bag ladies. I had forgotten that consignment stores do not have a posh carrier bag policy and anything you buy is unceremoniously dumped into the nearest plastic bag purloined from a supermarket. That said, the gorgeous 50's fur trimmed cardi with diamante clasp detail that was nestling merrily in my plastic bag was well worth the extra weight and will be getting its first outing (once dry cleaned - oops not a very 'green' idea) at London Fashion Week.
So on to the green stuff - fashion hierarchy knows no bounds and with only a handful of viewers we ill found ourselves in the 'standing' section of a tiny showroom. With cool vibes pounding from the DJ we were getting fairly up beat about the show. Until that is, the music changed to a dirge and a series of sullen yet beautiful models trudged one by one down the runway. The clothing by Thieves was a predictable series of downtown urban looks in grays and drab blacks - I totally get the idea that green is good and sustainable fashion should be promoted but please - cheer up!
I did particularly like the Smockshop pattern and instruction sheet that came with the goody bag though - am thinking on closer inspection I may well be able to add a little sustainability into my wardrobe for the cause, and create my own clothing from hereon in, as long as I can stick to smocks for the remainder of my life that is.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Posted: February 17, 2010
(Day 4 of fashion week)
In fashion, being small is not just a prerequisite for the models.
Turns out you also need to be pretty skinny to fit in the chairs at the shows. On the occasions I've been lucky enough to upgrade myself from fashion pond life and actually snag a seat, I've spent the show spilling over onto the people either side of me.
I've developed a technique of hunching my shoulders inwards so that I take up less space. While doing this I watch clinically underweight models strut the runway. Occasionally a girl even thinner than her rake-like contemporaries, sticks out. Because her razor sharp collarbones do.
Shrinking women and the desire for us to comply is the ugly side of fashion. Clothes can empower and boost esteem but the demand for thin is how fashion diminishes females. Less space, less importance, less impact.
But there I am apologetically making myself smaller, partly out of propriety, but also for fear of judgement. Worry that the person next to me might see my womanly curves and deem them irritating fatness.
Bolder than me is the woman who flaunts her larger physique without apology.
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Posted: February 17, 2010
Wide eyed, expectant and wondering if we can get away with sunglasses at 11 p.m. The American and I headed off to our first fash party last night.
As our taxi makes it's way to SoHo I fantasise about sharing a (free) drink at the (free) bar with Lady Ga Ga. I imagine how we'd talk of the genius of Armani Prive and she would compliment me on my asymmetric dress and I would laugh and reveal it was "...only from H&M." She would then introduce me to Anna Wintour who would find me side splittingly hilarious and sign me up for a Vogue column charting my acerbic take on the fashion industry. Did I mention the free bar?
We arrive to find an unmarked door-great start, everyone knows the coolest parties are hard to find. Then we're ushered into a goods lift that takes us to a corridor that smells of fish, that takes us to another corridor so dark I can't see my hand in front in me. We open the door in front of us and BOOM! Heat, people, sweat, small space. The clamber for the bar is 6 people deep.
"What is the point of a free bar when you can't get to it?" I wail.
I scan the room for Lady Ga Ga. I scan again for any celebs who might be drunk enough to do something stupid enough for me to get a story out of. I scan for some outfits at least interesting enough to write about, but everyone is too tightly packed in for me to even see. And it's fucking dark.
And there is nowhere to stand. If I weighed 100 pounds less I might be able to slide into a space between someone's armpit.
''I want to leave." says The American.
We head out and get a taxi over to the Tribecca Grand Hotel to party number two where there's a great DJ line up and Little Boots is playing.
My heart sinks when I see a line of at least 200 outside.
This is my fault. I told The American we should be fashionably late. Turns out would should have been unfashionably early and then we might have been fashionably in the party rather than than unfashionably at the back of the queue.
We agree that we're too old to be standing in line for parties in zero degrees so instead we go to a nearby bar and pay fourteen bucks each for cocktails. When we get home where I read on twitter that Peaches Geldof was at the party. I watch in disgusted fascination as she conducts a hyper Z list post modern love-in with superblogger Bryan Boy.
"What are you doing?" says The American.
"I am at the party without being there." I say
"I don't understand." he says
"Virtually." I say
Virtually. Nearly. But not quite.
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