"We're blacklisted," Carine Roitfeld answered with an incredibly elegant shrug. "It's too bad, it's a beautiful house and it's French. I hope it's not forever." And so the impossibly feline and rock star gorgeous editor of French Vogue was not seated at Balenciaga.
Rounding out this inchoate fashion moment are the fees paid by rather important fashion houses for the appearance of celebrities in the front row. Rihanna and Beyonce accept fees over 75,000. and appearances by Mary Kate and Ashley, Julianne Moore, Blake Lively and Hilary Duff begin at 40,000. Robert Duffy tweeted before Marc Jacob's Fall 2010/11 that there wouldn't be a row of celebrities. It would be a good thing in this quirky right here right now retelling of fashion speak to end this entirely. Oh please ...
Alexander McQueen, God Save Mr. McQueen, broke custom, as was his wont, and streamed his show live last year. It became ordinary for Fall 2010/11, some streaming to your iPhone and Burberry taking it to 3D. I love the doyennes who sat through show after show taking notes in spiral-bound notebooks, fought for a few more inches in their publication, climbed staircases to apartments on the outskirts of Paris to find Azzedine Alaia, and waited politely backstage to get the designer's perspective.
I've been in the front row several times and really only comfortable in my hotter seat at a few early John Galliano shows. Incidents happen in the front row, photographers angling for a better shot and down went an editor. Stage whispers of "down, down" and a photographer in rumpled clothes that should have been changed will glance and say a dirty word in an unknown language. Late shows and sleepy front row, smiles plastered and stifling a yawn which only spoke about it being long days and nights of work, nothing about the love one might feel for the designer. Sometimes the show was a catastrophe, all good taste overtaken by the rude hand of a new stylist and there you are, good manners requiring that you stay and stay and stay. The back row and standing room only immediately behind it were as desirable; the only place one could fade out without retribution.
Designers and editors have the memory of a savant elephant. Michael Cody's spats and ignore - DO NOT put in Women's Wear or W - were catty fun and maybe the designer withdrew all ads in a huff and puff. Giorgio Armani and Bill Blass were shortlisted and one frantically hoped there could be a reconciliation in all its rush of generous coverage. Michael Cody once put his oversized white napkin down at Chez L'Ami Louis to observe my eyes shut, this is Nepenthe and Colombe d'Or or heaven, devouring of grilled lamb chops. "You are a good eater" and returned to his guests. Maybe that meant eating was the new black. I asked for more bread and, quelle horror, butter.
Suzy Menkes did not dismiss the bloggerati this season as written by fuming bloggers in defense of something known mostly to themselves and with the perspective of a season indulging their presence at shows. "It can't go back," she said. "It's out there now."
WWD's "Streaming The Future" checked in with the lot of designers who matter and a sprinkling of retailers who matter. The collective response was a desultory of course the internet but the bigger concern, now that shows can go from there to right here right now, is how to condense the time and have the clothes on demand. And who dreamed up the idea of bathing suits in December and wool coats at the end of July. There was a recession and shopping habits, wardrobes and lunch, are mere glamorous memories. It wasn't all that decadent; one bought school clothes in August in bulk, done and thank you.
Carine makes my kittens look fussy. Pure fashion sex and divine. Carine Roitfeld: Album of A Woman In Fashion ... Rizzoli release available for pre-order in the U.K. Hello Amazon.
And if you can't quite get enough of Ms. Roitfeld, there is the wicked good http://www.iwanttobearoitfeld.com. Just for the moment, my black (well yes) Balenciaga motorcyle bag will rest on the upper shelf of my closet, stuffed with tissue to keep it's sensuous shape.