Wikipedia defines Ms. Mellen's career this way: Polly Allen Mellen has been a stylist and fashion editor for more than 60 years at Harper's Bazaar and Vogue.
Nicholas Ghesquiere recently had a conversation with Polly Mellen for Interview Magazine, and I remembered a night long ago.
My eyes had been scratchy on the flight to Milan and by the following morning at Armani I had begun squinting while tears rolled down my face. I tried to take notes on colors and swatches while every bit of light made me weep. Taupe, stone, moss, greige ... I couldn't squint long enough to know the difference. Reluctantly I agreed to go to Giorgio's mother's eye doctor. I opened the door into a waiting room as dark as a movie theater with a few elderly people wearing large black sunglasses. The doctor gave me drops that burned and cautioned me against bright lights.
It was a season of Milanese designers having elaborate dinners for buyers and the press, and Versace's that night was grand. Long tables with candelabras and only a few dim lightbulbs. The eye drops helped but that night even candlelight was too bright. We sat with Barbara Schwartz, a glamorous American girl with who did their p/r and appointments.
As coffee was served, Polly Mellen and a few others stood against a back wall. Polly began to talk about the brilliance of Gianni's collection and as she spoke a few emotional tears rolled down her porcelain cheeks. The room of buyers and press fell in love with her. Not just another front row editor taking notes and nodding politely, she laughs about the inevitable question after shows ... "Did it make you cry, Polly?" And many times it did.
Which was one thing ... but like every great lady she said something that Kelly Cutrone also believes in ... "Your heart may be broken, but don't show it when you leave your front door. Do your crying at home."
Marina Rust's recent interview of Polly for Vogue is here.