18 November 2008

The Calm Clicking

Theoretical reader, do not distress. I haven't abandoned the site, and will return shortly. After all, comps are down 14% at Abercrombie and Fitch, and expected to drop another 12% this quarter. How could I resist?

17 October 2008

Just a T

A fetishy obsession from my past life, Portfolio has an amazingly cool (though sort of uncomprehensive) map of the worldwide production of T-Shirts.

Related - I'm never shopping at American Apparel again. Seriously creepy.

16 October 2008

The Talented and Always Baffling Mr. Lagerfeld

The man doesn't cease to amuse. This December, he'll show Chanel's newly conceptualized Paris-Moscow collection at the Theatre du Ranelagh in Paris. And his theory behind the collection?

“I’m mixing constructivism with folklore and Imperial Russia.” Oh yeah?

Since no one dares to ask for an explanation, I'll assume he's not talking about Piaget's understanding of the term, but rather the artistic movement.

In sculpture, painting and graphic design, Constructivism is generally defined as a melding of industrial images and geometric abstraction. As the form evolved, montages became an increasingly important distinguishing element. The photomontages were used in classic paintings, book covers and movie posters. They combined "bold typography and abstract design with cut-out photographic elements. As the product of a mechanical process, the photograph complemented the Constructivists’ commitment to technology, while conforming to the Communist Party’s stated preference for realistic and legible images accessible to the masses."

Here are three constructivist book covers from the 1920s and 30s, all designed by Ladislav Sutnar :

Bold lines, limited use of color, asymmetry - very cool and very easy to identify as an aesthetic theme.

So concept number one, Constructivism, can probably be interpreted into clothing (though it seems more Balenciaga than Chanel.) But, his three concept inspiration starts to confound when you throw in the other words - folklore and Russian Imperialism. All good on their own - and in fact folklore and Russian Imperialism work well together (as a friend said, in a Faberge egg kind of way.) Constructivism, however, was realized and formed as a direct response and in opposition to Russian Imperialism. It was one of the first great artistic movements that emerged after the Russian Revolution. As MoMA helps to explain:
This artistic attitude was a product of the Utopian atmosphere generated by the Revolution and the specific conditions of the Civil War period (1918–21). After 1917, industry and the machine came to be seen as the essential characteristics of the working class and hence of the new Communist order. In practical terms, industrial development was also regarded by the state authorities as the key to political and social progress. Hence, the machine was both metaphor for the new culture under construction and the practical means to rebuild the economy as a prelude to establishing Communism....The artists themselves had been encouraged to believe they had a wider public role to play by their participation in the many official commissions to execute such propaganda tasks as decorating Russian cities for the Revolutionary festivals and designing agitational and educational posters. The utilitarian ethos of Constructivism was a logical extension of this close identification between avant-garde art and social and political progress.
Folklore and Russian Imperialism convey an ornateness and a grandeur that, by definition, can't also be considered Constructivist. So what the hell is he talking about? And why does no one ask? I guess I'll just have to wait till December 3...perhaps he'll convince us that he can make these concepts work together...somehow.

If that's not enough to boggle the mind, the show will kick off with a viewing of a silent film, directed by Mr. Lagerfeld himself. WWD says to "expect a fast-paced, laugh-packed and loose interpretation of Gabrielle ["Coco"] Chanel’s adventures between 1913 and 1923."

Yay, Leanne!

A victory for dorky, mousy, hipster, designery types everywhere! Her "parade of petals" looked best in motion, and overall it was lovely and modern, albeit a little unwearable.

Now that it's over, and now that the show is fated to a painful death on Lifetime, I'll offer one plea: Please support this one. The point of this show (I'd still like to believe) is to help these designers establish themselves...not to turn into pathetic minor reality television celebrities. Despite such exposure none of the designers are doing anything promising, and if they are, they're doing it quietly. (Laura is blogging for Tina Brown's site and establishing herself as a Tory Burch, designing socialite wannabe. Christian has a maternity line...Whoo? And Kara Janx had about 5 versions of the same dress that were sold briefly in boutiques and quickly marked down.)

Anyway, Leanne has a shot. A brief one. Her website has potential, but from what I can tell really only offers one dress for sale.

Hopefully it will improve in the coming days.

23 September 2008


LACMA gets all the cool exhibits. Premiering October 26 is Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913–2008, showing works from the likes of Julian Broad, Cecil Beaton and the ubiquitous modern three - Mario Testino, Bruce Weber and Annie Leibowitz.

The time frame in the title is misleading. (Or at least it was for me. Who knew that the magazine ceased to exist from 1936 to 1983?) The exhibit will feature photographs from the first era of the magazine (1913 - 1936), mostly devoted to those that appeared during Frank Crowninshield's tenure as Editor. He was the one who removed the "Dress" from the magazine's original title "Dress and Vanity Fair," and decided to make the entire endeavor more literary. It all sounds too mythical, but Crowninshield is said to have been "the most cultivated, elegant, and endearing man in publishing, if not Manhattan." (Is "in publishing" supposed to be a qualifier or further proof of his attributes?)

The tale continues...apparently he also introduced cubism to the American public, roomed with Conde Nast, and was responsible for pulling Dorthy Parker out of caption writing. In his Editor's Letter in the first issue of the magazine, he wrote that "young men and young women, full of courage, originality, and genius, are everywhere to be met with." Slightly different than the magazine we know and sometimes love today with its Hollywood issues, established writers, nude starlets and obsession with the Kennedy clan. Worry not though, the 1983 - Present era will be represented as well. Pregnant Demi Moore and Miley Cirus, anyone?

I am forever a sucker for Conde Nast photos, celebrity or not...probably against my better judgment.

Don't hate it because it's sponsored by Burberry, either, everyone needs sponsors. The funny thing is, besides mere association with what should be some great photographs and the semblance of glamor, Burberry's aesthetic has little to do with that of the exhibit. This would have been better served by Asprey.

Oh, and Liz Goldwyn will also be showing her documentary on burlesque, Pretty Things...which is supposed to somehow tie into the portraits. More on burlesque later, though.

21 September 2008

When Models Speak

Erin Wasson, compliments of Nylon TV.

"The people with the best style, for me, are the people that are the poorest. Like, when I go down to like Venice Beach and I see the homeless, I'm like, oh my god, you're pulling out like crazy looks. They pulled shit out of like garbage bags."

17 September 2008

The prettiest sight in this fine pretty world...

For most of my life, I've been enchanted by the idea of class. And really just one in particular. You know, the people who dress well, who go to parties that you weren't invited to where they are photographed for glossy magazines, who speak with flowery words and say things like "quite" and "darling," who have family estates, an Aristocratic lineage, and a fair amount of incest, drama and prescription drugs always lingering.

Well, actually, these people kind of only exist in books that I've read, most of which are satirizing the pretensions of this mythical class and the pathetic desperation of the poor souls trying to break in. The accounts are mostly funny, sometimes tragic, and occasionally rooted in reality. In fact, so much has been written about these folks that in many ways, the satirical accounts have come to standardize how the anglophiles, wasp lust-ers and social climbers of all sorts model their lives.

Class, as explained to me by James, Wharton, Waugh, Trollope and dozens of other authors, doesn't truly exist in the United States. The so-called establishment might have been the closest we came to anything like that, but you can bet that today, for the most part, any proclamation of old guard ties or authenticity is at best exaggerated. That's not to say that societal demarcations don't exist here - we've just developed a new currency that includes pure income, label flaunting (or lack thereof), beauty and celebrity.

But I guess this very American social structure isn't glamorous or entertaining enough. Celebrity is too easy follow, and maybe its randomness is infuriating to people trying to figure out the system. And lots of people are wealthy enough to afford all of those labels that show other people just how much you fit in and the products that make your lips puffier and your hair shinier....so income, beauty and labels are also kind of attainable. So what ELSE are we consumers to desire when most things are either at our disposal or easy to imitate with fakes. To be part of the class of people that most people have already concluded to be irrelevant? Sure! Why not? We wouldn't want girls in the fly over states having delusions of grandeur just because they can afford a silly bag. It's best to put them in their place.

Jimmy Stewart's character in The Philadelphia Story said it best: "The prettiest sight in this fine pretty world, is the privileged class enjoying its privileges." The irony was either lost on the studio executives or they were just too blinded by the easy sell to advertisers.

There's a certain element of escapism in watching wealth on film and television. It's unpleasant to think about financial matters, and oh, wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to worry about rent or bills or stuffy jobs and could just go on with our charmed lives and fancy outfits, dealing with the more interesting stuff.

Most shows that I'm familiar with commit one of two financial flaws. The first is placing middle class people in situations and residences that are laughably unattainable for them and where the characters remain blissfully unaware of any financial realities. A few famous examples: the occasionally employed cast of Friends living in that large, clean Manhattan apartment, the ordinary family in Mrs. Doubtfire residing in Pacific Heights, and anything that ever happened in any Nora Ephron/Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film and Sex and the City.

The second offense is making wealth the reason for the show's existence and the basis of all plots. Which brings me (finally!) to my point: I'm done with the wealthy teen dramas. There are about five scenarios that repeat relentlessly and yet, more shows keep popping up with the same basic premise - outsiders trying to fit in amongst the privileged. Consider:

The OC: Blonde and handsome outsider from the wrong side of the tracks gets adopted by rich Orange County family, looks good in a suit and never goes back.

90210 v2.1: Kansians move to Beverly Hills and girl bakes cookies for crush. How embarrassing, you quaint little thing! But she's pretty and thin...with the right clothes she'll recover from this and other imminent social gaffes.

Gossip Girl: Watch what happens when the poverty stricken Brooklynites try to socialize with the Upper East Siders...dresses are stolen, lies are told, and arrangements are made with wealthy guy to lift girl's status and conceal guy's homosexuality.

Privileged: Pretty, struggling journalist takes a job tutoring spoiled Palm Beach teens, mingles with Palm Beach types!

The Hills: Los Angles, fake jobs, lots and lots and lots of talk about really boring relationships between really attractive people. Oh and they wear expensive things and go out a lot. At least the middle classes are spared humiliation in this one (I think...I've watched only one episode of this train wreck.)

All these shows really offer is a peek into lives of people you'll never know, who own things that you'll never own, and who seem to just be having a grand time with all of their pretty things. Heather Havrilesky of Salon.com does a wonderful job of explaining why this trend is so disconcerting.

"This isn't about catching a glimpse inside these magnificent spaces or getting an amusing glance at the silly excesses of a select few living in Manhattan or Palm Beach or Beverly Hills. This is an extended tour through the many concrete benefits and perks of life among the very rich....Kids without money demean themselves to keep up appearances, over and over again, while the rich kids blithely move through the world perfectly coiffed and dressed to the nines....It's a perverse consumerist fable for young people, built on the notion that money provides the only sure escape from tension, stress and impending challenges.

Can these dramas -- which are made for young people, after all -- really be written off as harmless fun when so many of us aspire to throw money around like young barons and dukes with demonstrably tragic consequences for the entire country? As a growing percentage of families lose their homes and taxpayers are forced to foot the bill for the mortgage industry's indiscretions, while millionaire executives and private investors remain unscathed, should we feel so comfortable celebrating the growing divide between the haves and have-nots?"

The celebration of the advantages of these teenagers and 20-somethings is gratuitous, mainly because these shows have lost the gift of satire. All they do is flaunt the money and the things. In the best books on the subject (in my humble opinion) neither "side" comes out particularly well. All are exposed for their absurdities. I've heard that the Gossip Girl books are more Waugh-like than the show gives them credit for. Maybe I should give them a try.

And if satire is too complicated, give the teens another My So-Called Life, Wonderfalls or Freaks and Geeks. Depth and sincerity aren't that scary.

These shows, though, they'll make Becky Sharpes out of us all.

12 September 2008

What a prune!

The best writing so far on Fashion Week, compliments of Amelie Gillette:

"Phillip Lim's jacket is tres loquacious, while the shorts are oh so glampossible!"

11 September 2008

The Designer's Apprentice

Before jumping into the fashion week scene, I had to feature Sophie Theallet (I'm admittedly way behind on this one.) After reading about her in The Moment, I was immediately taken with her clothes - so much so that I went back and looked through all five of her collections over the past two years.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Fall 2008

I love the tension between the silk, the belts and the knits - somehow they work so well together (especially the sporty stripes on the sleeves of the grey sweater.)

Beyond the clothes, though, her biography was striking. Ms. Theallet is truly a learned designer who cut her teeth studying under some of the most accomplished and revered in the industry. As a promising young thing, she opted out of the self-label path and went to learn more, working first for Jean-Paul Gaultier and then for Azzedine Alaïa for over a decade. Finally in 2007, she launched her eponymous line, receiving instant praise for the designs. The media attention was also certainly fueled by her professional relationship with Alaïa, a designer who has an impeccable reputation in the fashion press for both her aesthetic and her craftsmanship.

I don't necessarily think that everyone in the arts needs to go through a tedious apprenticeship process before branching out on their own, but Ms. Theallet's story is a nice contrast to the Project Runway-type army of egos all out for their own glory and instant success (I'm talking about the 20 somethings, here.)

Patience and restraint, I like it.

Old Westbury Revisited

Harper's Bazaar, you have officially redeemed yourself from your disastrous September issue with October's cover.

Not only do I adore Kirsten Dunst, but I also am surprisingly not annoyed with the photographer blatantly channelling those iconic photos of C.Z. Guest. It's actually quite lovely.

Let's hope the contents live up to the promise of the cover though. But can I lobby to add "fabulous" to my list of banned style adjectives?

07 September 2008

Age of Innocence

Taylor Momsen is 15 years old. Forgive me if I sound a little prudish, but aren't these looks...a bit much?

I hardly care whether or not she has some sort of responsibility to be a role model. Attempts to control young stars to keep them publicly innocent often end disastrously (ahem, Britney) and the world loves redeemed wild childs (Drew Barrymore) so perhaps it's best to just let 'em go. But, yikes, Ms. Momsen is just so pretty and fresh faced, I'm curious who is making the decisions to go with the leather and the eyeliner. Is she trying to upstage her Gossip Girl co-stars? Maybe she is going along with the "real life party people" narrative that the producers so shamelessly feed the media. Whatever the reason - it's not a good look.

Granted, at age 13, I thought intense black eyeliner was a terrific idea and couldn't be convinced otherwise. Though, I'd like to think that if I'd had a staff of makeup artists, costume designers and studio executives all invested in my image that someone would take away the eyeliner and assure me that channeling Debbie Harry is only fun at costume parties.

Ok...so the first photo was from Fashion Rocks during Fashion Week which does relax standards. But I'm still bothered by her age, the attitude, the fact that a lot of people were involved in the decision to dress her like that and also that Debbie Harry was at the same damn party, who probably wanted to beat up the little twerp for shamelessly borrowing her look without even having the excuse of being a rock star in 1980 with a famous coke habit.

PS - does she look kind of drunk in the first photo?

04 September 2008

Copy Cat?

Jennifer Steinkamp, a new-media artist, New York Times Style tastemaker and occasional logo designer, is unveiling a new exhibit this weekend titled "Daisy Bell."

Soon after will come Jonathan Saunders for Target.

Similar, no?

29 August 2008

masculin, féminin

Tilda Swinton doesn't captivate me, the way she does the entirety of the art world (So kooky, so avant-garde, such an actors actor...)

But I couldn't pass up this photo from September's BlackBook. It's just too perfect.

28 August 2008

Slathered in Foie Gras

Grant Thatcher on Luxury:

"So much time and column space gets devoted to the fast-losing-its-luster subject of “luxury” — really I’m so bored I could cry. The simple fact is that luxury was, is and always will be centered on bespoke goods and custom products. End. Finish. There is no such thing as “new luxury.” That’s a silly concept invented by desperate marketing execs and their harried clients. Luxury is the precise intersection of high-quality materials, perfect form, functional design and the utmost skilled craftsmanship. Luxury is not lots of diamonds on things. It’s not everything slathered in foie gras, and it’s certainly not the latest starlet with her own scrubby fragrance that smells like floral bog cleaner and will end up down the pan in a year."

It's really a terrible word, isn't it? Almost as bad as classy.

Inattentiveness. Vague. Hollow.

Masao Yamamoto has a cool new series called "Nakazora."

The photographs are gorgeous, yes, but I'm becoming obsessed mostly because he sounds hilariously Lagerfeld in his description of the relationship between the work and the title:

"I would like "Nakazora" to be thought of not as a title with some definite meaning, but rather as a word to somehow describe my feelings at that time. I don't have a reason to explain why it has to be "Nakazora."

I have a feeling that "Nakazora" represents a broader space...more vaguely, more ambiguously, and still more obscurely, but yet a distinctive scent is there floating. It would be a delight for me if this "Nakazora" turns to be such a thing as to leave the viewers, including myself, a drop of that floating scent."

And, then, of course there's the wonderfully bizarre dictionary definition of Nakazora: The space between sky and earth, the place where birds, etc. fly. Empty air. An internal hollow. Vague. Hollow. Around the center of the sky. Or, emptiness. A state when the feet do not touch the ground. Inattentiveness. The inability to decide between two things. Midway. The center of the sky (the zenith). A Buddhist term.

Come to DC, please!

24 August 2008

Something Bigger, Something Brighter

You'll have to trust me when I say that I have little income to waste on silly trends or extravagant statements...I do work in publishing after all. This fall will be a challenge, certainly, as there is something about the fall that just compels me to want a new wardrobe. The first day of school outfit complex, I guess.

And with all the whining about the recession and spending and gas prices and all the rest of the blah, blah, blah, it seems that others are in a similar situation. Magazines and stores aren't helpful, they are of course trying to get us to buy things still by confusing consumers into thinking that our purchases are akin to investments if they dub them "classics." Please. Every white oxford you buy will turn yellow...that black cashmere turtleneck will pill...and the slushy winter will take it's toll on those perfectly tailored trousers. Neither clothes nor jewelry are investments and it's cruel of these editors to make these claims. Buy some stock if you're really concerned about a return. Fashion is fun and frivolous and there's no need to give it such weighted responsibilities.

So this fall I've decided that my updates will be colored tights (black, brown, plum, dark green and white) and a bold necklace. Both are simple and affordable and can make an outfit look new. But the goofy hat is best left behind, Burberry Prorsum.

J.Crew has an amazing piece for $150 (below). And for tights, don't feel compelled to buy Wolford...department store brands will work.

I'll get my newness fix through my upcoming item of the week posts.

20 August 2008

Vicky Christina Barcelona: Show, Don't Tell

I've never had the expat experience, and therefore am a little smug about the concept (part envy and part skepticism towards those who have/claim one.) In Woody Allen's latest film, Vicky Christina Barcelona, two well-heeled American 20-something girls flit off to Barcelona for the summer, and although the friends are follicular and romantic opposites, they both become enchanted by the Bohemian/Spanish lifestyle as embodied by Juan Antonio.

The film moves along nicely thanks to the beautiful shots of the city, a feverishly catchy score and the help of the disdainful narrator, who all but loathes the dramatic absurdities of his heroines, giving the entire film a slightly tongue-in-cheek feel.

But, I don't really see Mr. Allen's point. This isn't a film written for or really about youth (kind of in the same mold as Tom Wolfe writing about a college age girl.) And for all the hype about threesomes and whatnot, the sexual exploits aren't even shocking. Plus, everything is so pristine and everyone is so inexplicably wealthy, carefree and quirky, that it is really difficult to accept this world as reality. Everything is overdone – over explained, over analyzed and the audience is given little to discover on their own.

Woody Allen is praised for his ability to write vibrant female characters, but all the women in this film are shallow and unconvincing as real people. Maybe his reputation comes from writing characters outside of the "hooker, victim, doormat" mold, which is an accomplishment, certainly, but his heroines in this film are disappointing.

Vicky (the brunette) is feisty and delightful at the beginning of the film, rejecting Juan Antonio's advances and balking at the pretensions of her friend. But her character is ruined after spending a hot night with Juan Antonio. She spends the rest of the movie skulking around, pitying herself and admitting resigned defeat to a life of banality, country clubs and Westchester homes. Suppose she'll just have to get back to work on her thesis on Catalan culture (seriously).

We're told to believe that Christina (the blonde) is a restless bohemian, who rejects the mores of American society. The narrator tells the audience that she "holds her own quite well" amongst the painters and poets. As far as the viewer is concerned, Christina is a lot of talk with the singular demonstrable talent and quality of being seductive. The rest we're just asked to accept as truths. At first the desperate grasp for artistic credibility seemed hilarious. I thought that we were all in on the joke (“Christina stayed up late, drinking coffee and writing poetry…”). But then, halfway through the film, it's “revealed” that she has a great talent for photography, and she charms the brilliant Juan Antonio and his insatiable ex-wife Maria Elena to somehow becomes a nymphish muse to both.

Scarlett Johansson is merely repeating her temptress performance from Match Point. At least in that movie she had a somewhat more believable character (a struggling American actress who wants to "prove" herself to her middle class Colorado hometown by trying to make it in the tragicomic city of London.) In Vicky Christina Barcelona she just doesn't make sense. Her character probably looked great in the pitch, but Miss Johansson isn't given enough to work with to really convince the audience of her value or much of anything.

Mr. Allen doesn’t seem to know what to do with an attractive cast in a film about lust and passion...lost without his standard formula of the wacky, witty, sexless antics of urban intellectuals. Also, I don’t think Mr. Allen could make up his mind on whether the tone of the film should be earnest or self-mocking, so he settles for a disarming combination of the two.

As a friend pointed out, critics are calling this film “his best in decades” which means that he made good films once, then made a bunch of bad ones and then this….well, it’s better than the bad, but not quite good.

18 August 2008

"Back then a lot of girls like her were disappearing..."

The wonderful Caitlin Flanagan has an article in the new Atlantic on Patty Hearst, and the lost girls of that era. It's actually heartbreaking.

15 August 2008

California Dreamer

Watch this. It won't disappoint, especially for those grasping for indie legitimacy.

SUVs, shaggy hair, wrinkled suits and Los Angeles ennui set to Wolf Parade's six minute epic "California Dreamer."

It was even an NPR song of the day, if you care to read the write up.

12 August 2008

Hell of a damn grave

Dear Harper's Bazaar,

I am not amused.

Also, this is offensive. And this might just make me cancel my subscription.


11 August 2008

The Golightly Complex

In high school, a friend of mine declared that she had a "Scarlett O'Hara" complex. Since Scarlett is possibly the biggest brat of all time with hardly any redeemable qualities, I pretended that it was based on Scarlett's attitude towards her waistline, and not on my friend's desire to get away with anything.

Hopefully there aren't many out there who pride themselves on being Scarlett O'Hara or one of the Daisys (Buchanan or Miller - I'm very glad my parents decided against naming me Daisy, lest I be fated to turn into one of these horrors.) The more pervasive complex that has afflicted girls for almost 50 years is that of Truman Capote's Holly Golightly.

Is this subject at all timely? Nope. But I was thrown into a rage last night when browsing photos of Leighton Meester in an attempt to rationalize why she looks amazing as Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl, but uninspiring to cringe-worthy in her real life public appearances. I found this photo (left) from an episode of Gossip Girl. In Season 1, Blair is often shown in dream sequences (well, 2 or 3 times) where she is Holly Golightly...looking for Cat in the rain or gazing into the Tiffany's display case, coffee and pastry in hand...and I can't understand why.

Is the show trying to tell us that, like Holly, Blair is really just a phony, lost in a dream world of repressed sadness, cocktail parties, paying suitors, and a manufactured identity? Blair might be lost in her own sort of dream like world, but her wealth, status and privilege are very much a reality. Her issue is ultimately an inflated sense of control over her own world (which makes her more like a bitchy Emma if anything.) Blair isn't a glorified call girl or a mafia informant. She doesn't have an impoverished country background, a creepy rube husband or a questionable childhood. And her financial situation seems pretty solid. So all I can conclude is that Blair loves Holly because she is elegant and brunette, showing a complete misunderstanding of both characters.

The perennial lost girl, Holly was glamorized by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film adaptation of Capote's novella, and her rich, bizarre character was forever ruined. Women today (like Blair and the Gossip Girl writing staff) see Holly as a stylish, quirky gamine....traipsing around Manhattan in her over sized hats, pearls, and Givenchy dresses. And who can blame them? Ms. Hepburn's beauty and grace make it easy to overlook the tragic nature of Holly's character. It's kind of infuriating that she was reduced to this family friendly character, where her affairs are only alluded to and ultimately seem quite innocent, and she just sort of wafts through life in a Technicolor haze. The film Holly isn't immune to tragedy, disappointment, and reality, but everything does seem to work out since she gets an inexplicable happy ending with the emasculated George Peppard (does anyone actually think they'll stay together?)

To be quite honest, I don't know that Holly's fans don't understand the nature of her character. Maybe they get it, and love her in spite of the flaws, or in fact because of her delusions. It might explain the persisting allure of Edie Sedgwick.

Anyway, I think we can do better than this. And if we're choosing a new, New York girl, let's not make it Tinsley Mortimer.

09 August 2008

Farewell, Scattered Pearls

My oh-so-clever blog title "Scattered Pearls" that I unabashedly stole from a Casiotone for the Painfully Alone song was about a girl who's pearl necklace breaks when she's out one night.

"And as we rode the bus home I thought surely
I'd wake up tomorrow just to find
that I had dreamed up everything,
there'd still be pearls on a string,
I wouldn't smell like smoke & I'd still
have the cash that I had spent on drinks."

It's an unbelievably catchy song, sort of precious and just obscure enough. But apparently there are some other, more controversial associations as well (thanks(?) to my mother's concerned Google search).

So I had no other choice than to change it to something much more pretentious.

07 August 2008

The Fake Waif

Katie, darling, everyone agrees - those jeans are not flattering. The look she's attempting is bold, fresh and incredibly alluring...cool, slouchy and boyish. (Please see the J.Crew model to the right.) Who doesn't want to appear that effortless?

But they don't work on Katie Holmes at all, and I'm not sure exactly why. Though I suspect it's for the following reasons:

1) Katie is actually walking, not posing in a predetermined to be flattering manner.
2) Katie has leg muscles.
3) Katie isn't completely flat (If you're nothing but bones up top, slouch IS flattering. Any curves at all and you may as well be wearing a mumu.)

Essentially, Katie thinks she's a waif, and therefore feels the right to experiment. She really needn't though, since she simply isn't one. Sorry.

Wicked? Possibly. But please, if you are any of the above, don't delude yourself into thinking that you are Kate Moss in 1994.

06 August 2008

Manic Pixie Dream Girls

"That bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures."

~Nathan Rabin, The Onion A.V. Club

05 August 2008

An empty fallow fount

Coming off a recent bout of snobbery towards Los Angeles, I've grown to adore the city. I find the grayness and decay very romantic and fascinating mostly because it's essentially the complete opposite of the aesthetic that I've been conditioned to find tasteful and desirable. That said, though, I've been limiting myself to areas that I'm comfortable or at least remotely familiar with - the hipster haunts of Los Feliz and Silver Lake, the overgrown Laurel Canyon, the garishly pristine Beverly Hills and the carnival like Hollywood. But I had yet to experience the Universal Studios CityWalk.

I went with innocent enough intentions, to see the new Batman movie on IMAX (which I found out is more interesting than merely super-sizing a film.) And, I was familiar with the concept of the place at least, thanks to a key scene in Shopgirl, but it's shot with the same serenity as the rest of the film - everything is somehow peaceful in Anand Tucker's Los Angeles.

My friend took me there knowing how I'd cringe at the crowds, the restaurants, and the outfits. Before the movie began we spent exactly 9 minutes dodging through the crowds to take in the entire strip...and that was quite enough.

Nothing horrible actually happened. I wasn't robbed. No one spit on me or glared (maybe someone glared, but it was probably deserved or in response to my scowls). And I didn't go into a neon light induced epileptic fit or contract any diseases. It's just all such forced excitement with the flashing lights, the up tempo music and the smell of sweet fried food literally everywhere you turn. The outfits were tight and logo-ed, the obesity statistics rang true and the spending was excessive. CityWalk is a PG-13 rated, video game Vegas - less strippers, more flash. I can't imagine an entertainment venue that would make me feel as anxious as I did there.

And hundreds of people buy into it and poured into the place with entire families in tow even on a Sunday night at 10PM. The offerings were abundant, but indistinguishable. 18 fast food restaurants, 13 kindofmorelegitimate restaurants (Panda Inn is different from Panda Express?), retail shops like Hot Topic, Billabong and Harley Davidson, and of course the essential novelty stores (in case you want an Audrey Hepburn license). I cut my tour short for obvious reasons. Besides, I had to go wait in line for an hour for my movie to begin.

The chaos, the cost and the banality of the activities were just too much. Indeed, I've found my hell, and it is CityWalk. David Foster Wallace should really do a chapter on this place.

01 August 2008

The New Literati

"We want to explain culturally how ideas evolve."
- Mary-Kate Olsen on her new book Influence (co-authored, of course, with Ashley)

Truly brilliant, MKO.

PS - She's totally vying for an Atlantic gig.

31 July 2008

The Unsubtle Problems of Charity

Charity and fashion. Such a fitting pair, if you're inclined to believe the stereotypes. Fancy people buying fancy things that promise to contribute something to a good sounding cause. How very kind!

Saks Fifth Avenue will debut their Key to the Cure campaign in October with a tee-shirt designed by Karl Lagerfeld (yes, I know, it's a LOT of Karl...I'll scale back) and modeled by Gwyneth Paltrow, retailing for $40 with "over $35" going to the Women's Cancer Research Fund. It's kind of ugly though. If you're wanting more consumer charity options, Lucky Magazine usually has a page near the back of the book devoted to these products...the trend though is...worrisome .

In high school, I saved up to buy as much of the Ralph Lauren Pink Pony line as I could. It was perfect for my 17-year-old self. Current (well, it was then) yet also an announcement, to the people who mattered, that I was charitable and gracious. It said I really cared about breast cancer research. But then Charlotte wore it on an episode of Sex and the City and Giselle wore it out to some event and, well, yes, a LOT of celebrities were photographed in the shirt...and I came to realize that I just liked what it said about me, I liked the logo and I liked that it was pink. And what was contributed to charity? 10% of a $65 tee-shirt. It's pathetic. Essentially wearing the shirt is really telling the world that you're so happy to have donated $6.50 to breast cancer research AND are willing to give the other $58.50 to Ralph Lauren and it's factories for a regular tee shirt with oversized screen printed pink pony. I'm a label whore AND a fair weathered philanthropist?

This is extreme, I know. But I still haven't learned.

For about a year, I've had a monthly ritual of spotting Lauren Bush in some photos toting David Lauren and her FEED bag and finding myself on Amazon.com moments away from purchasing my very own FEED bag. (Miss Bush wears it everywhere and with everything, from flip flops to floor length gowns.) But I always stop short. I've never been able to find a very clear explanation of where my money would be going, and what "feeding a child for a school year" really means. Also, it's another rather ostentatious way to show the world that YES, I GIVE TO CHARITY. (Miss Bush's case is different since she IS promoting the charity.)

There is the case, that any money going to charity, research, etc is a good thing and we shouldn't judge people's motives or means - especially since revenue for these charities has probably been significantly bolstered by the retail/charity partnerships. It just all seems like a big farce for the consumer to say something about themselves...but that's what we do with everything we buy, I suppose.

30 July 2008

La Forme Et Le Fond

"She’s imaginative, clever, educated...It must be an embarrassment for the wives of other heads of state to see this beautiful creature who can wear anything and speak like that."
-Karl Lagerfeld


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