Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Thing Or Two About John Galliano

The thing to understand is that John Galliano makes beautiful clothes. That's all that's ever mattered to me.

There's ugliness and then there's Sidney Toledo immediately suspending John from his position at Christian Dior. No terse canned statement of "we support John." Suspended .. officially prohibited from holding his post. Sidney Toledo may have added a disclaimer explaining that this is pending some event or action but I have missed reading that.

An evening drinking at La Perle in the company of his bodyguard and that is all that matters too. A bit soused and reacting to a couple taunting him - John is well known at La Perle and one has to immediately wonder why this behavior was allowed - with the full arsenal of a fashion designer ...

John threw out the worst thing that he could think of "your purse is ugly." In some accounts he yells "your boots are low end."

Quelle horror. The "unattractive" couple accosting John had presumed him to be the homeless man who had been rude to them a few days ago. It's so easy to see that this misunderstanding could have ended with a laugh and maybe another drink. 

It did not. Police were called, allegations that John had made anti-Semitic remarks which has somehow become a crime in France where conversely Muslim headdress is now forbidden.

Sidney seized the moment to not stand by the designer, not to attempt to mitigate charges which have been flung like wet  spaghetti but to separate Christian Dior from John. In my opinion, Sidney Toledo needs to be removed and another director of the company immediately found.

Irreparable damage is done to celebrities who become mired in vicious viral attacks and presumed guilty.   
It's wrong. 

"Perhaps someday we can all have fifteen minutes of anonymity."  Banksy

The Jewish Defamation League somehow absolved Louis Vuitton from the allegations that even unto the '70's it placed signs in the windows of its Champs Elysee store stating that Jews need not apply for work, something that was different than simple lore and yet there are other credible accounts of those days. Goes around, comes around is somehow skewed.

John Galliano has made some of the most beautiful clothes ever made since his seminal graduation collection immediately snatched up by the venerable Mrs. Burstein for Brown's. I drank three or four petite cappuccinos at the Meurice Hotel gathering my nerve in the fall of '87 to walk up to him and tell him that I just had to carry his clothes for my shop. Well, a shop I didn't exactly have the lease for yet but living on hope, I sat down to write my first order. Langorous, slinky bias cut pieces in satin backed crepe, a silk crepe de chine and a handful of Prince de Gaulle checks. Simply the most beautiful clothes I'd ever seen. A few years later, Anna Wintour organized a small show for him in Paris at Sao Schlumberger's apartment to get John past the dramas of flaky backers. 

Ugly cheap purses or boots.  Quelle horror indeed.  The drama is ugly and public. I'd rather swoon at the beauty of John's clothes or sit again at the bar of the Saint James & Albany scolding John for staying out too late while nursing a cold. Let's get back to fashion.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Loving Marc Jacobs While Pining For His Grunge Collection

Does it say more about Marc Jacobs or me that I still miss owning his wispy chiffon dress from the Grunge Collection and that I absolutely love my Sprouse-LV Graffiti cosmetic bag as much today as I did when I greedily snatched it up?

Marc's Fall '11 main collection with its heavy handed fabrics and shape; one blizzard too many? Glitzy fabrics, high color and that awful tshirt shaped top that only works in tissue weight fabrics sticking away from the body. Straight skirts everywhere in vivid tones, most shown rather harshly with wet-looking black leather or puffy shapes. Awkward boot heights of Wellies, handbags that have bulked up, brocades .. a futuristic look at the '40's? Hair pulled back so tightly? Ouch. The "synthetic embellishment" referenced by Cathy Horyn themed the collection.

Marc by Marc Jacobs had the more fluid fabrics, easier shapes, beautiful coats, shoulder bags; even the presentation was softer with the model's flowing hair and flirty walk. Prettier and easier.

Curious reviews of his Main Collection pointing out Marni's dotted skirts (done first) as one reference too many, a very good conversation at TheLuxe on whether Marc's collections have become scattered. While not the evolution that disregards seasons as Azzedine Alaia works, Marc does fashion, I think, as YSL, changing every season from The African Collection, Russian Peasant, Chinoiserie, etc.

I do want that wispy forever-gone dress and I think that is what fashion means at its simplest. Not an entire runway presentation which quickly becomes esoteric and a you-tube memory but a few pieces that you can't let go of. Even years later. And so I love Marc. Oh and I'd love a skirt from this collection that yells Fall 2011.

Fashion Week has moved on to London which gives a look at NYFW another perspective for me away from the moment, a little more considered.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunglasses, Style and Fashion Weeks

Apple computers really do lack the issues of hacking, spywear, malwear, and other nasty diseases that seize and freeze other computers. But things can go wrong and so it makes sense to purchase Apple Care. My pristine white Mac crashed: the good news is that Apple geniuses replaced the hard drive, video card and logic board at no charge and it's essentially new. The reinstall was easy except for a small problem in iPhoto: it triplicated the backup of photos and now I have over 37,000 unsorted photos. Manually deleting is tedious; more so because I've found so many missing photos from back Then.

Back Then I loved simple round sunglass frames. Fast forward to this week in which my search for frames ended with these perfectly simple round frames. It's startling to go through my fashion history in photos and see that in so many ways my taste and choices are the same. I did find a picture of me at thirteen with bleach blond hair, the kind of harsh peroxide/ammonia that eats and fries hair. Horrible. But in that picture I was wearing a LBD, high necked and severe and gazillions of years later that's still the first thing I search for - the elusive, ever changing, perfect little black dress.

Except for an Jose Eber experience which should have been Farrah-ish soft waves and thick bangs swept here and there (not!!), once my bleached hair was chopped off and grown out, I've had some version of longish hair, straight with bangs. Oh and I still only wear Shalimar after breathing in the fragrance in an elevator when I was sixteen.

Watching fashion week runway shows on my Mac, iPad and even iPhone, running through slideshows on WWD and InStyle and idly wondering if it's a bit of overkill, whether the excitement will be diminished when the clothes are actually shipped beginning in a few months.

Meanwhile as much as fashion changes, I still want the same things. Little black dresses, perfect jeans, riding boots, ankle boots, white shirts, boyfriend cardigans, frothy chiffon bits, ballet flats, raspberry Manolo's, ethnic belts and oh!! round sunglass frames. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dear Joyce Ma, I Remember ...

Dear Joyce,

I remember your arrival at the Duca in Milano. You and your sister stepped out of the tiny yellow cab without any luggage. Suddenly, the car port was filled with five more tiny cabs overflowing with your luggage and many overwrought bellmen.

I remember running into you everywhere back when that was a handful of places: Armani, Versace, Missoni, Moschino, Gaultier, Ferre, Biagiotti, Chloe, Jean Muir, Zandra ... we'd greet each other in the same way, you beautifully made up and fresh, asking what was good, what was new. For a long time, the answer was not so much new but everything was good.

I remember that you could speak five languages, fluently and elegantly; I struggled with high school French which required a 45rpm speed in a 78 rpm world. My Italian was limited to a raised eyebrow, open hands flung to the sky and magnificent sighs along with enthusiastic shakes of my head. Pronto and a wee bit more.

I remember than you became good friends with the designers and they were loyal to you. I remember the boutiques you opened for so many. I remember that you loved good fashion and recognized it immediately.

I remember dinner together in Hong Kong with you looking at the menu with disdain and discreetly saying what you would really like to have. Oops, that cigarette could have been mine.

Impossibly chic and more clever than the rest of the buyers, I think.

Congratulations, and Hong Kong has been very lucky all these years.

Madeleine Gallay

Something Beautiful: Andrea Gutierrez Beaded Bracelets May Take Your Breath Away

"Antique seed beads, vintage baubles, gemstones, gold, silver and ..."

Andrea Guttierrez embroiders the beads, stones, diamonds, gold or silver onto silk, hours and hours of intricate fine sewing. Flea markets and antique dealers may have an antique beaded bag which will be surgically taken apart, bead by bead.

Something beautiful yes and indeed it took my breath away but also something so fine that I am left coveting a few, not even just one; I don't think that's a sin ... I'm sure angels would love to adorn their dainty impossibly good wrists.

My first thought was of Ali MacGraw and her very elegant wrists. Butler & Wilson had opened a Sunset Plaza shop near my own. Ali collected, there is no other word, armloads of the fine vintage piece the boys filled the glass cases with. A little bit vintage and fantasy, a lot edgy.

Beaded cuffs are intensely romantic and if you close your eyes, you may see Cary Grant kissing the tender inside of a wrist very close to one of Andrea's cuffs. Not Justin Bieber, no. I would wave my wrists in the air until someone did, never considering that anyone could resist such prettiness.

You may purchase directly from Andrea as Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Kelly Wearstler, etc do. A link to contact her is here. The price range is 600 - 2500.

Something Beautiful: Sarah Dueth Elegant & Haunting Paintings

Sarah Dueth paintings won't line up neatly any more than a girl's childhood dreams are easy and gentle. Oversized and then again there's several that are comprehensive, that can be seen completely. Dancing through a room full of these, it would be easy to be lulled by the comfortable beauty and familiarity of the subject, Girl.  Lingering and whirling to pause before each one would reveal secrets, a young girl awry, perhaps staring so hard that the lovely eyes become wounded. Gentle colors that could have been mixed into cake frosting but it's paint, slathered but not hiding the loneliness of a reflection, the memory of that day.

Saatchi's interview with Sarah is here. Painting to still the memory of discontent, feeling more than hearing the music of Tori Amos and Eminen during the school hours of her child; Sarah couldn't do these until ten years of painting and then the voluminous Girls series emerged. Not painting an organized one at a time, several at once: cacophony of paint and more feeling than perhaps is planned escapes to the canvas, hiding behind the image of a Girl.

Jay Whitney Brown Gallery represents her in Los Angeles.
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