Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a fireman. And then a doctor, a marine biologist who could swim with dolphins, a senator, then a concert pianist, even a circus acrobat. When I got a little older, around the ripe old age of five, I realized I loved clothes. I didn't know it then, but what I really loved was a little thing called fashion, and I was hooked. I loved the way my mother would choose her heels to match her bag, the way she wore her pearls to go to church, and the very special way I felt when she made me a dress.

There was one dress in particular. It was a crisp cotton the color of earth, printed with little red flowers and green leaves. At recess, the first day that I ever wore that dress to school, I twirled and twirled around in it on the playground. That was entertainment enough for me that day, as I looked up at the dizzying sky, thinking that nothing could be better than the way that dress made me feel.

When I got even just a little older still, around the age of twelve, writing became my second love. Fashion couldn't answer all the questions I had in my head, the multitudinous ones about growing up Asian in a little town where everyone else was either black or white. Or maybe, now that I look back, those questions were just about plain growing up, Asian or otherwise.

Older still, in college, I wrote. Sad short stories. Personal essays. Even diary entries or angstful poetry. Our newly bequeathed White House poet, Elizabeth Alexander? She was my poetry professor during a semester when I wrote volumes and volumes of verse, mostly of damaged love, or love lost, or love unrequited. What did I know back then of those things when I was too young to know one from the other?

After college, and before a planned life of pursuing a doctorate and entering into academia, I decided to go to traipse across the Atlantic to the City of Light, Paris. With my pathetic high school French and not much more than two hundred dollars in my pocket, I went to write. But the writing that ensued in the nearly 7 years I lived in Europe, wasn't the kind of writing I had imagined. I wrote about European politics and policy, macro-economics, micro-economics, antitrust, agricultural commodities, and even the occasional restaurant or cinema review.

I tell this story often, and it's true. I woke up one morning and literally knew. I had to return to the states and study fashion. Since then, I've been immersed in that world, the pop culture tv reality version of it, as well as the gritty real life version of it. All the while, a little voice occasionally speaks up to inquire softly, what about the writing?

This blog satisfied that craving I have for words in a round-about-way which, for me, is a funny thing, since I've never thought myself a round-about kind of gal. Aside from my 7-year side step to Europe, that is. And so, now's the time to put this blog aside, and tackle the problem head-on. I've always thought that I'd get back to writing once I actually had something to say. Now the problem is, that I wouldn't know nearly where to begin. But at least I know that the time to begin is now.

I have to fess up, but I usually skip the London shows altogether. And that's saying a lot, since seeing them, for me, and if I were to be honest, scads of buyers and stylists who go straight to Milan from New York, usually means nothing more than clicking away on style.com.

So I don't know why I did, but I took a look through Julien MacDonald's show. Maybe it was because Stella Tennant walked his first look, or maybe it was because the cut of that first look was pretty darn gorge. And then, I actually had to think back and second guess myself. Was this that Julien MacDonald, Mr. Sex and Satin? And yeah, turns out it was.

So the Balmain references were obvious, a little too obvious, but they have been for many a designer this season, and I'm sure they will be for many more to come. But, gee, who wouldn't kill for a strong shoulder and the women brave enough to wear them? It had me thinking, I could get used to this JM girl. Strong and seductive, but not in your face in that outright sex kitten kind of way that I always associated JM's designs to be, at least in the past.

After reading my WWD, it all comes to light. With a new backer, new factories in Italy, and very soon, a new studio, JM's upped the ante. Who cares if most of his business has been built in Russia, motherland of all that is bling and brass? If he can get them to dress like this, there will be some pretty rockin' babushkas in Moscow this fall.

Monday, February 23, 2009

When Christopher Kane's debut collection a couple of seasons back garnered so much critical and commercial praise, and then he was swept up by Versace to consult for the megabrand, I could see why. His frocks were slinky and sexy, and the girl wearing them was a version of a Versace customer, the thinking fashion forward one.

But this new girl Kane is designing for now? She's far sexier and--this isn't a contradiction--far smarter than she ever has been before. For example, she knows it's fall, and may need a cardi or two to throw over her diaphanous numbers. But when she's out for the night, well, those dresses can speak for themselves. The first thing they'd probably say is that they don't need to be micro minis to be sexy. And that sexy can be sartorial, evidenced in the beautiful construction of those dresses.

The most important message of all? That Christopher Kane has lived up to his next big thing title, and with this collection, is already now a pretty darn big thing in my book.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

If you were to ask me which shows I look forward to seeing in New York, the name Rodarte would be rolling easily off my lips. And for the past couple of seasons, my jaw has literally dropped open in stunned awe as I scroll through the pictures, and that's only a very slight exaggeration.

Not that I was always a fan. It took me a couple of season to warm up to them, though I understood why these girls were lauded so. Who wears their dresses, aside from a very fashion forward few who can brave them on the red carpet? But then again, who really cares? As long as as these girls keep on doing what they're doing, making beautiful clothing which could supply art museums across the globe and ages, no one has to wear them really.

But apparently, a lot of the talk surrounding their show has focused on the fact that some LVMH suits showed up to have a look-see. Okay, so they've proven that they deserve resources out the wazoo, hefty titles, and a padded salaries. And even though it'd be glorious to actually see their creations on celebutantes and cash strapped fashionistas around the world, it would be a big trade off if they had to do give up what they're doing now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nothing beats a good sense of humor. And that's likely one of the top reasons on everybody's list for loving Marc Jacobs so. Despite his tabloid antics, or perhaps because of them, he's always having a bit of a laugh, and what better approach in such trying times?

There seem to be two schools of thought among designers on how to approach the current economy. Go for classic, quality cuts that women can't live without, or go crazy. Happily, Marc has taken the second approach. After scaling down on what's normally a pow wow of a biannual fashion show, he focused the party on the girls. (Is that Snejana with that crazy red flame of hair?)

And oh, what a clever trick. Because if even for a fleeting 15 minutes or so, those lucky spectators inside the Armory probably forgot about everything else going on outside in the blustery cold.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fashion Week is fully upon us, and I can't help but to wonder how this one in particular is a little bit different. With all the shuffling and changes, big names and tried and true veterans of this crazy elitist sport dropping off the face of the map, or at least the fashion calendar, there is a huge advantage for some of the newcomers.

Not that Ohne Titel is new, since they've been showcasing their conceptual designs at Bumble & Bumble for the past couple of seasons. But what a time to turn up their creative juices and show a tight, but nonetheless stellar collection.

Living and designing in New York is a tricky thing. Though we New Yorkers think ourselves to be some of the most fashion forward citizens of the world, we are Americans, after all. We are, at the end of the day, the best at commercialism, mass market, and ready to wear. Avant garde, fashion forward, conceptual just doesn't get a fair shake here, while it's embraced across the Atlantic in the Tuileries. So, the trick has always been to straddle that divide between fashion forward and wearability.

The designing duo behind the label without a name, which is the literal translation of the German Ohne Titel, Alexa Adams and Flora Gill, seem to have conquered this dilemma, and beautifully at that. The best part about this creative tag team? For me, that they're two girls holding their own in an industry that is teeming with superstar boys.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I've never been a Peter Som girl, largely because I don't live in the proper zip code to wear his ladylike creations. But I can understand that girl, and probably would hang out with her for coffee, though probably not on a girls night out.

And so, with all the chaos at Bill Blass, and then his funding being pulled from him, I felt pained that a designer with talent, any designer really, would have to deal with so much at once. But good things come out of adversity, and Som is living that half full mantra.

Though his appointment only Fall 2009 collection is probably the smallest he's ever done since his student days, it's probably one of his best. It's focused, relevant, and shows why he got to where he did. And hopefully, it will have enough wow factor for buyers to want to buy his clothes, and girls to want to wear them.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Grazia.com has the scoop on the new Chanel ads with Jerry Hall. I've loved this larger than life model ever since I saw a video of her walking the final look of a Thierry Mugler show back in the 80s, the one inspired by bees. Her waist was cinched in, almost contorted, in inhuman proportions. Well, it was inspired by bees, so you can just imagine how other worldly she looked.

And I'm lovin' even still this comeback of all the old gals, or ahem, the gals that are closer to me in age than the fresh ones coming out today. Okay, so granted that a lot of the aura about her probably has to do with the fact that she was Mrs. Jagger for a while. But like me, you can surely see why.

Honestly, she must be the most glamorous Texan to have graced a magazine cover, much less an ad campaign of one of the most luxurious brands out there today.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sometimes, during times of doom & gloom--especially, as we now know, after a Geithner non-press conference--you need a little Karl to lift your spirits. Or, in my case, to pick you up off the floor after you've fallen, reeling from bouts of uncontrollable laughter. British Vogue has put together a nice little compilation of Karls' one-liner wonders. And so, to lighten everyone's hearts, I give you the best of the very best:

1978 - On his early start:
"When I was four I asked my mother for a valet for my birthday."

1984 - On his feelings following a fashion show:
"I’m a kind of fashion nymphomaniac who never gets an orgasm."

1989 - On Ines de la Fressange, his ex-muse:
"I wish her all the luck in the world, just so long as I don’t have to see her anymore or hear her spoken about."

2006 - On staying healthy:
"Vanity is the healthiest thing in life."

2007 - On being labeled a squanderer:
"If you throw money out of the window throw it out with joy. Don’t say 'one shouldn’t do that' - that is bourgeois."

2007 - On furnishing a home:
"The most important piece in the house is the garbage can."

2009 - His thoughts on the recession:
"Bling is over. Red carpetry covered with rhinestones is out. I call it the new modesty."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I was comparing notes with a friend on the best concerts we had ever seen. A triple header tour back in the 80s by New Order, Public Image Limited, and Bjork's old group The Sugarcubes will probably always rank right up there for me. But MIA rapping along right there with the big boys--and on her due date-- at the Grammys a couple of days ago, well, that singular performance has got to top all lists.

Plus, she had the fashion acumen and bravado to do it while wearing a revealing Henry Holland cutout dress. One that was worn previously by skinny Minnie Agyness Deyn. So triple kudos to MIA for wearing it while preggers. What a pretty stellar welcome to the world for that baby. I haven't read so far whether she's given birth, but I don't blame the kid for wanting to stay close to a chick as cool as her.

Monday, February 9, 2009

When I saw the cover of Purple's next issue, I had to do a double take. DVF doesn't just look good for a woman in her 60s, she just looks good.

I know a lot of young women look up to her, and for just cause. While she has always married fabulously rich, rather than sit back in her stilettos, she's found it to be precisely the reason to launch a career. Most women would probably consider doing the opposite.

Take for example the two women decked out in head to toe fur at my local grocery store last Friday. I happened to be taking the day off to run errands, somewhat comatose from finishing my Fall preview the night before. They were in their late 20s, leisurely checking out the produce in the middle of the day, there with each other to keep company because they obviously didn't have a need for a 9 to 5 like most of us working girls.

Not that I begrudge them their leisurely existence, but I'd like to think that even if I had that option, like Diane, I'd be doing exactly the same thing that I'm doing now, working at something I happen to love. And all that running around, albeit in a frenetic craze? Well, it obviously has its perks. Just check out DVF's fabulous legs.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Last night, I presented a preview of my Fall 09 collection, so I thought it might be nice to give a blog out to some of the folks who made everything come together.

I was hosted by got2b, which is launching a new hair care line called Guardian Angel. The whole concept of the line is kind of amazing. The product was designed specifically to protect your hair from heat styling, and to protect it up to a temperature of 425 degrees! You'd think that your hair would have a melting point far lower than that, but not with this stuff.

What's kind of amazing is that there are companies out there still launching new lines in this economy. I spoke at length about this to Kathy Alaama, VP of marketing for got2b, when we were on Fox News' live streaming segment The Strategy Room yesterday to promote our event. The topics were wide varied, as we were there along with a financial advisor, a security management expert, and a bartender from Hooters...yes, that Hooters.

So while the economy has been a downer of late, there is an upside. It's been forcing a lot of people to be more creative about their approach to business. And for someone who's already in a creative field, well that puts on the pressure, or the heat in this case. Hence my partnership with got2b last night, which afforded me an opportunity to show my line, when I would not have otherwise had the funding to do so.

Not to go on about the lesson to be learned here, it was great party as well. I could probably devote an entire blog about the superb team at Creative Marketing Media, the publicity pros who made the event happen. They made sure to have boys in little hot pants dancing on the bars & fitted out with angel wings.

Photos of the actual collection will be up soon. But here are some pics to give you an idea of the mood and the gorgeous people there last night, including my favorite model, as well as Grace & Kathy from got2b.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

So I know I should be blogging about my Fall preview presentation later today at Arena during the got2b Guardian Angel line launch, but I'm tickled to learn that editrix Anna Wintour will be styling Adele for Sunday's Grammy Awards ceremony.

I'm even more excited to learn that the collaboration came about following a shoot Adele did for an upcoming Vogue issue. Finally, a buxom non-blonde in Vogue. If only they would hold off on their magical Photoshop fingers enough to show the world that big girls can look good too.

And now that Adele will be styled by none other than Anna, well, she certainly will look good come Sunday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It'll be strange not to be able to say Bryant Park when talking of the shows during Fashion Week, but apparently that's how it'll be. Now Lincoln Center seems to have secured those two crazy weeks out of the year, beginning next year, and by the time my lips get used to rolling that name off my tongue, it may just change again.

But at least in the interim, the shows will just be a short walk away in my 'hood. And quite frankly, any reason to get out of the craziness of the garment district, even if it is just a couple dozen blocks away, is welcome.

Now, whether or not the fashion crowd will descend on the diminishing decent cafes left in the neighborhood is another thing. But I simply can't imagine Anna, or Andre, or Grace, ever having a quick bite in the Cafe Upstairs at Fairways.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Henri Bendel's has been doing it for ages, and now Bloomingdale's is getting in on the action. This Friday, the mass retailer is hosting it's first open-see for aspiring designers with collections to hawk.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, it's a casting call of sorts for the crafty. Having just a pretty face and a winsome smile won't get you by here, though. You'll have to actually bring your some clothes and your toughest sales pitch.

Because believe you me, Bloomingdale buyers have seen it all. And in these economic times, they'll have to see something pretty stellar to want to put it out on their sales floor.

Friday, January 30, 2009

It's the end of a long week and the beginning of a longer weekend. And sometimes, as a picker-upper, all I need is a good tune.

And what better song when the songstress is a fashion loving diva who has an angelic face reminiscent of Emily Watson framed by an asymmetrical Annie Lennox crop? When the tune makes you want to jump up in your livingroom and dance, well, it couldn't get much better, really.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sometimes you don't need a gimmick when the clothes can speak for themselves. But of course, when you have Ines de la Fressange donning your designs, well, that doesn't hurt either.

Style icon strutting down your catwalk or no, there would have been applause at Gaultier's show in any case. Okay, there might have been some missteps here and there, but at least no catastrophic falls. And by and large, the stand out pieces really did stand out.

Which isn't easy for a designer like JPG, who made hard shoulders and corsets his thing in the 80s. Dont get me wrong, those design details were certainly there. But isn't the challenge making them seem new and relevant so that a couture client, and not just Madonna, will want to wear, or more importantly, buy the designs?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Who says we're in an economic downturn when you're a couture customer? Or a fan of Givenchy, for that matter? Apparently Ricardo Tisci is doing something right, he boosted sales at the house by a whopping 80% last year.

So while the veils at his latest couture show fit right in with the dark Goth image he's crafted at the label, it may also be pleasing his best customer. Apparently most of his sales are made in the Middle East. I guess those petroleum princesses can still dish out thousands of euros, or Saudi riyals, for a frock...and even better if there's enough of lace to cover the face.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's a little hard to lament Olivier Theysken's long rumored departure from Nina Ricci when John Galliano is showing. His latest couture collection for Christian Dior could even make you forget about the economy for more than a fashionable second.

With the awards season in full swing, it makes me wonder who, besides Charlize Theron, will be taking one of these frocks straight from runway to red carpet?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Yes, I've been a big Dolce & Gabbana fan of late, ever since, a couple of seasons back, these Milanese boys marched out half a dozen girls in paint splattered dresses like a vision of walking canvases. But who knew just how charming they were?

Interview Magazine has, well, you guessed it, an interview of the designing duo, dishing enough delectable details about them, from the decor of their offices, to their now semi-separate living arrangements. Here's some of the best of the skinny:

The three of us are talking in a leopard spot–draped salon in the designers’ Milan headquarters. Lunch awaits in the zebra-patterned room next door. There are big, important-looking pictures all over the walls, plus two prints of a Steven Klein portrait of Madonna, signed to each of them by their favorite collaboratrix. “Of course, one each,” Gabbana says archly. “Dolce & Gabbana is not one.”

SG: We are so different. Eighty percent of Domenico loves to go somewhere new, to develop an idea, and the other 20 percent goes back to the roots. I’m the opposite: 80 percent from the roots, 20 percent from the future. So it’s a fight all the time. But I say, “Okay, I love your trip. I agree with you, it’s very new for Dolce & Gabbana.” But I need to do it so it’s recognizable.

Q: So he’s the dreamer, and you’re the realist?

SG: No, no, it’s not like that. He is more projected into the future, and I am more attached to my roots, and the balance is Dolce & Gabbana.

DD: I want to dance. I want to live.

SG: And I say to him, “No. You come here.” And he says to me, “No. You come with me.”

Q: So you’re the man, and he’s the little boy. Is that the way you were in your relationship as well?

SG: Yes.

SG: We start every season with a piece of paper, two lists—“Yes” and “No.” And always it’s “No brocade, no animal prints . . .” It’s too easy to do the brocade. We do the list because we are not young. We are old chickens in the system. We’ve done this job for 24 years, you know.

DD: And we design too much animal print. So, “No animal print,” and “Yes a white shirt with lace,” “Yes a new shoulder,” “No brocade . . .” But finally, maybe I need some brocade.

SG: Or then maybe I need to do it in a corset, and in the end . . .

Q: The whole collection is brocade!

DD: Yes, it’s very funny.

SG: When we came back from the holiday, we thought a jacket would be really nice in duchesse satin, or in silk Mikado, but because the shape was really new for us, we felt we needed something to make people more comfortable. He said, “Brocade.” I said, “No. Fuck brocade.” But he was right.

Q: Do you ever get bored in Milan?

SG: I don’t have the time to be bored. We do 14 collections, including D&G children. Plus all the accessories, sunglasses, D&G jewels, perfume, and now makeup. And Domenico took care of the underwear this morning. I forgot. We split sometimes when there’s not time. But I can’t imagine it without him around. Oh, my God!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I get distracted now and then, but I eventually get back to my senses. It's all about the clothes, isn't it?

And while McQueen is a master of high volume drama, there's just something about the cut of clothes that's just breath-taking. He's no stranger to staging shows with girls galloping out like horses, impossible corsets crafted of wood or plexi, or theatrics to the nth degree.

But still, under all the lights and pomp, he doesn't sacrifice his craft. If his fall preview is anything to go by for his full fall collection, it'll be yet another stunning performance.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

All the festivities and excitement has forced me to forgo some good tv. And unfortunately, that meant missing the highly anticipated new show on cable with Toni Colette in United States of Tara.

Apparently, I may not have missed much. But I've been a big Toni Colette fan since I first saw her in Muriel's Wedding. I became an even bigger fan after seeing her in Velvet Goldmine, The Hours, About A Boy, and who could forget Little Miss Sunshine?

After all these huge turns and successes, my favorite role will always be the Australian love-torn girl who lip-synced to Abba and dressed up in bridal drag. The best scene in the whole film was probably when she walked down the aisle, grinning ear to ear with a smile like a cat's meow. But this scene must be right up there, too, poly pant suit and all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I enjoy a regime change and all the ensuing festivities like any one else. But when all the hooplah means we let some pretty serious news go under the radar, well, that's when I have to turn off the live coverage and get back to my fashion blogs.

A little post, is-mental.blogspot.com, has had the full Alexander McQueen for Target line for days, but we've all been cooing over Michelle's Isabel Toledo ensemble. (Yes, I too am guilty as charged.)

While the collection won't hit stores until March 1st, it'll give me time to reflect on whether I need to bust out and nab yet another special capsule line. My feeling is, yes. I mean, who can beat a trench coat for all of $80. And a studded leather vest for not much more? I don't think I could even find that at Barney's warehouse sale which, by my calculations, is just a couple of weeks away.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

When I'm asked to think about my favorite models, it's always the older girls that come to mind: Linda, Christy, Nadja. And while Gisele is consistently ranked as one of the most successful and certainly wealthiest of models around, in pictures, she just never did it for me.

In person, though, she's another story. I've actually seen her in all 6 feet and some change of flesh, and I have to admit, she's all that and a bag of chips. This new campaign for Dior? Well, it's finally caught the essence of this glamazon. Leave it to John Galliano to give Gisele some mad blunt bangs to bring out the diva we all knew her to be.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I have to admit that Barack Obama really won me over when he announced his pick for Secretary of State was none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton. After a tenacious battle, he realized that Hill really was the girl for the job, despite some snark and swipes along the campaign trail.

All I could think at the time, was, suck it Tucker Carlson. Let's see if good ole' Hill ever grants you an interview, or even acknowledges your existence from here on out after your very stupid comments about having to cross your legs whenever you see her on television, which simultaneously revealed your small-mindedness and a scary Oedipal complex (shudder). But I believe in kharma and it came as no surprise that Carlson's show was soon canceled. Misogyny just doesn't make good television, or much sense for that matter.

So while everyone is wondering what Michelle Obama will wear come Tuesday (and admittedly, I can't wait to find out either) Oscar de la Renta has spilled the beans that he'll be dressing Hill. And it sounds like a custom creation to die for, in Oscar's own words, "a very, very beautiful dress…pink and grey with this beautiful embroidery.” I write this, of course, while repeatedly pushing my tongue back into my mouth and hoping that my drool doesn't short-circuit my keyboard.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Solely by the virtue of her talent and discipline, Anna Wintour is an icon of our times. Having achieved this status without a reality tv to catapult her into the spotlight, she is now the subject of a documentary film to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend.

It makes me wonder if the loosely based portrayal of Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada gave her a taste of what the big screen has to offer. Of course, there's no question if Anna is going to dip her stiletto clad toe into these waters, she'll do it with style, on the silver screen, as opposed to the small one.

I'm betting this production will rank right up there with Lagerfeld Confidential. And I'm already dying for it to hit the dvd market so I can rewind and replay to my heart's content.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

With the economy having such a huge impact on the face of Fashion Week, companies are getting inventive when it comes to showing. Nicholas K, Sergio Davila and Mara Hoffman are sharing a runway in a bid to defray costs, and in doing so, are sliding into the most coveted of arenas, the Tents at Bryant Park.

It's not the first time that Hoffman will be teaming up with other design talent, having shared space last year with Araks. But now by pooling the resources of 3 designers, well, there's just that much more to go around. It does make me wonder if the designers will be sharing more than just runway space, like models, invites, hair and makeup staff backstage. And that does make this equation a bit tricky since we're talking about variables that can affect creative vision.

But overall, the idea is quite clever really. You cut down exponentially on wait time, which is one of the greatest annoyances of Fashion Week, by seeing 3 shows at once. Of course, I'm sure all the designers will be vying for the last spot in the sequence of shows. And it does also make me wonder if all 6 designers, since 2 of the brands are helmed by duos, will be taking their runway bow together, respective pets in tow?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

There's some humor even in the most serious of matters. If you just so happen to be reading this from that little island bordering the North Sea, then you should beware that you may soon have to curb your fashion whims when it comes to your pooch.

Animal activists in England are pushing to make it illegal for pet owners to overdress their dogs. So no more booties for Butch, or hoodies for Spot. And you can forget the pearls and Halloween costumes. According to a recent report in The Daily Mail, the move is intended to prevent owners from acquiring pets as mere accessories, a trend made popular by certain celebrities and their "handbag pooches". Though no one is named explicitly in the article, you can guess which blond celebutante's mug shot is featured prominently alongside the report.

No word yet what that could mean for Harrods, which hosts an annual Pet-a-Porter, where dogs take to the dogwalk in a variety of designer duds.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

With so many designers dropping out of Fashion Week, did we have to whittle down the ways in which we could actually see the few shows that are still scheduled? Alas, Full Frontal Fashion, every fashion addict's video source for countless catwalks, won't be seen come February, so we'll all have to resort back to style.com for motionless stills.

In recent seasons, I've consciously overlooked the fact that Carmen Electra, for some unexplainable reason, appeared as host in the tents. It's not as if she actually gave any real commentary on fashion anyway, and instead just rattled off a bunch of lines from a teleprompter, usually to name off the designer we were about to see. The real charm, of course, was in seeing Simon Doonan make an appearance now and then as guest commentator. Oh the lilt of his lovely English accent and his boyish charms always made watching the shows so much fun.

But now, because of some complicated spat between the show's satellite platform, Voom, and Cablevision, Full Frontal will be no more, unless it's picked up by another channel. With less designers, it seems logical that there would be less press coverage too. Which makes me wonder, who-ohwho will be swiping their platinum card to be able to swill champagne in the Amex Skybox come February?

Monday, January 12, 2009

I know I should be writing about some of the dresses from last night's awards ceremony, like Eva Mendes' gorgeous white Christian Dior or the surprising burst of color from Cameron Diaz in Chanel. But no, the best moment of the entire evening was Mickey Rourke's heartfelt acceptance speech, replete with toned down profanities referring to the male genitalia not once, but twice.

I've always been a bit torn by Mickey Rourke. Though I've been a great admirer of his acting talents since his riveting turn in the controversial 9 1/2 weeks with Kim Basinger, it's always been a bit hard for me to give the guy much of a break. Yeah, it's hard to care much for a guy who's been arrested for beating up on his wife. Remember all those tabloid stories back in the 90s about the tumultuous marriage he had to Carre Otis?

But now, it does seem like the guy has had some tough breaks and is truly repentant about his past bad boy behavior. I've seen him in an interview talk about the time he was eating spaghetti alone in a restaurant when he could hardly pay for his meal, That's when Sylvester Stallone sees him there, and gets him cast in the film Get Carter. Which makes me wonder how shabby the restaurant must have been if Stallone is there too.

Friday, January 9, 2009

So with the casualty count growing ever longer of the number of designers opting out of showing in the tents at New York Fashion Week, I guess it should come as no surprise that Peter Som is canceling his own show. I mean, Betsey's out, Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, and even DKNY are all downsizing, showing off site, or staging intimate (read cheaper) presentations.

But for some reason, Som's latest catastrophic revelation that Creative Design Studios is pulling out of their partnership with him and taking a good deal of income that would have otherwise gone to a runway show has me, well, in a mild state of shock. Maybe because his name has been bandied about so much recently, especially since Michelle Obama wore one of his dresses. But not that he wasn't already on an upward trajectory ever since his student days when he won a scholarship from the CFDA.

While I've never been a huge fan of his aesthetic, I do understand it. And I understand why buyers dig his dresses, and why women, namely a certain soon-to-be first lady, would want to wear them. And I have to say that his work, while shortlived, at Bill Blass was impressive.

Now, I just find myself asking, who's next? Because trust you me, there will be more before the 2nd week of February rolls around.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

These past couple of nights, I finally flicked my way over to F/X. The first night was just by sheer accident, to find something to watch before getting some shuteye and oh so serendipitously, as most good things happen, I caught Nip/Tuck. Ever since Rosie has raved about this show, and apparently guest-appeared on it, I've always wanted to take a look-see for myself, but just never found the time for it. The recent slew of gorgeous adverts had further peaked my curiosity and the show did not disappoint.

So last night, again, I gave F/X a shot, this time by watching the critically acclaimed Damages. Now, I'm hooked, and wonder what the heck I've been doing wasting my time on boring network shows when good, dirty cable has been there the whole time.

I've always loved Glenn Close, and she looks positively sublime. No one could have played a better freakazoid jilted lover in Fatal Attraction, a role for which she may best be known. But after such a seminal performance, I always wondered whether it was inevitable that her career would take a downward turn, and whether good old Hollywood ageism limited her options, or other older leading ladies like Meryl Streep just won out when up against roles for characters of a certain age. I mean, the other role for which I most frequently associate Close was Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmations.

Now, I'll have the pleasure of seeing her every week, doing bad in the name of good, and doing it oh-so-wonderfully. And this season, though it looks like Ted Danson is being phased out of the plot, I'll see her along with William Hurt who has garnered a place on my top ten list ever since I saw him in that most riveting of films, Kiss of a Spider Woman.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I had never been a huge Kate Winslet fan. Sure, she's a stellar actor and all, and it's kind of awesome that she has enough acting chops to defy the size 0 standard that most women are held to in Hollywood. (Remember when she came clean about being airbrushed in GQ a while back?)

But, whoa, what is Mrs. Sam Mendes doing lately? I remember seeing shots of her at the New York premiere of The Reader, dressed in a form-fitting Herve Leger dress. She looked drop dead gorgeous, as if the wintry clouds of December had magically parted and light was shining on her golden locks and face.

And now this cover for UK Elle? She looks kind of amazing and I'm dying to know her secret. Apparently, all my sweating and miles of running at the gym is not the way to go. The very winsome Winslet sticks with at-home DVDs of Pilates, and only 20 minutes a day at that.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

With all the running around and family outings during the past couple of holiday weeks, one reservation we had had planned was unexpectedly canceled at the last minute, dinner at the Rainbow Room. Now, it seems the recession has taken its toll on this most venerable of New York institutions and the restaurant has announced it is closing its doors, temporarily at least.

Okay, knowing this now, would we have braved the sub-zero degree weather that evening to shell out a couple of hundred bucks (per person, that is) to be able to dine with a view of the Manhattan skyline? Probably not. The one thing that everyone knows about the Rainbow Room is that it's expensive, and in these trying times, reputation alone won't entice customers through the door like they used to in flush times. Even for a pop culture buff like me, eating mediocre food in a joint that hosted the likes of Marlene Dietrich and Fred Astaire just aint worth the splurge.

One thing that's happening now is a reassessment of the core values and basics. There's still hope that the Ciprianis will revive the restaurant, if they ever come back from exile while their taxes are under investigation here. If not, you can still shell out a smooth $20 for a martini at the bar, which remains open, for now.