Saturday, 27 February 2010

Snowmageddon-The Sequel

Yesterday morning I wake up at 7.30 a.m. with a raging hangover to see Snowmageddon part 2 happening outside my window. Except this time it's being called a Snowicaine, which just sounds like a drug euphemism.  It's also being referred to as a Snowpocalypse, which has a nice ring to it-but I'm sticking with Snowmageddon, a phrase actually endorsed by Obama. And the most dramatic.

7.45 a.m. and Teenager is still asleep, despite her alarm going off half an hour ago, so I shake her awake and do the "Woo hoo snow!" and she says her usual "For fuck's sake." It occurs to me that Mayor Bloominbonkersberg may have done an overnight U turn on his decision to keep schools open, so I tell her to turn on NY1 and I go off to make tea.

I come back 5 minutes later and she is staring at the TV in a trance, managing to miss the red BREAKING NEWS ticker that announces all public schools have been closed. When I point this out she does a fist pump in celebration and announces she's going back to bed. I do the same.

By lunchtime I am still under the duvet popping prescription painkillers to make the hangover horrrors go away and watching HBO while watching my fire escape, which seemed to be the best indicator of snow depth. It's growing inch by inch on the steps.

2p.m. It is still chucking it down, alternating fat flakes with delicate flurries and I  am wondering how many new words to describe the weather drama. I come up with Snowsaster, Snowastrophe and Snowmergency.

A journalist friend emails me to tell me this is already the snowiest month in New York history and there is now 20.8 inches in Central Park, making this the fourth heaviest snowfall ever. 

Fortunately the plucky vendors on are still operating despite the record breaking snowflakes. It takes more than a blizzard to take down Valentino's Gourmet Market in Union Square and it's entirely civil $10 minimum order. One chicken chipolte sandwhich and two diet Dr Pepper's later the world is feeling like a better place-or maybe it's the Tramadols? I'm flicking through movies on demand when the Teenager comes in to my bedroom making some unreasonable demands-like we actually stick to the plans we had this afternoon, including her appointment at the hairdressers.

The most I had planned for the rest of the day was staying in bed and waiting the arrival of my parcel of sale goodies from Urban Outfitters which UPS are optimistically claiming on their online parcel tracker, is still due for delivery. The Teenager seems pretty determined too, so I stagger to the shower and try and wash off the stench of two bottles of Rioja seeping from my pores.

We head outside and her ''For Fuck's sake'' attitude disappears when she sees a 2 foot high snowdrift and jumps straight into it gleefully.

We spend the next few hours sloshing through the dirty grey slush puddles that line the streets around Greenwich Village between the hairdressers, getting coffee, going shopping and taking pictures of broken brollies in the snow. All is well and The Teenager and I seem to actually be having some kind of bonding moment. She even allows me to links arms with her. I think the physical affection is sanctioned because she is unlikely to see anyone she knows on 5th avenue. Nevertheless, we are shiny, happy people until we head to Sephora and see this sign in the window.

I expected better of my beloved Sephora. At least there is my Urban Outfitters parcel to look forward to?

But when I get back to the apartment there is no delivery. I check the website and there is an ominous message in big dramatic caps explaining why my parcel hasn't come.


Emergency? What the fuck? You haven't delivered my parcel because of the fourth biggest storm in NYC history? The fourth. Not the first. People still need clothes in the snow! When the snow starts messing with the shopping things are getting serious. It's not fun anymore.

Snow fun.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Joss Stoned

So this has nothing to do with New York or fashion or any of my usual topics-I just wanted to put it out there-Is Joss Stone just officially mental now?

It began in 2007 with that Brits appearance when the girl from postcard pretty Devon-land of clotted cream fudge-swaggered around the stage enunciating like a Ghetto pimp from the Bronx.

Fast forward a few years and it doesn't look like she found any of her marbles. Now's there's even stronger evidence that the 'soul sensation' is singing from a different hymn sheet to the rest of us.

Joss allowed her brother to direct this never released film for her Baby, Baby, Baby single which Marie Claire magazine thinks could the worst music video ever made.

Nepotism is rarely a good idea and never trust the mental sanity of anyone who doesn't wear shoes. I think those are the lessons we can take from this.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Style matters

This is it.

The last blog about New York Fashion Week-I don't want to seem like I'm clinging on desperately or anything. After all, NYFW is already so last week, all eyes are now on LFW and soon it will be MFW, then PFW and then we'll have run out of fash weeks and acronyms.  Meanwhile I'm left here thinking about the swirly whirlwind of it all and wearing my Fashion loves Haiti T-shirt like a sad twat. The party is officially over at Bryant Park- permanently. Next season it moves uptown to Columbus circle-where there will be proper toilets. No more watching ladies in Lanvin heels hobble out of the tents to use the portaloos.

So I guess I should be writing one of those summary pieces, that pulls everything together neatly and summarises the trends for Fall 2010? I should, but I don't want to get bogged down in the detailing of the what to wear-for reasons I will expand on later. If you're interested though- there was tons of high waisted peg legs pants, winter florals, classic American sportswear in the veil of loose blazer jackets and slouchy suits. There was also a (disturbing) dominance of real fur in the collections.

None more so than at J. Mendel, where even the Louboutins had a mink trim.  I was just worried for this lady in the audience, for fear her pooch might get turned into a handbag

I could focus this last fash blog on the lack of celebs, which was a big talking point. It started with Marc Jacobs banning stars from his front row and then undoubtedly the economy also played a factor. The few famous faces that did rock up were at the biggest shows- where I was not. The only spot I got really excited about was 'noted fashion photographer' Nigel Barker from America's Next Top Model front row at Carlos Miele. Am happy to report he is just as shaggable in the flesh.  So this is why I am picturing a celeb stylist like Philip Bloc to illustrate this, rather than an actual celeb.

Plenty happened during the week, including the realisation that NYFW is more than a week, it's actually 8 days. I covered the Bloggers v editors debate and terrified teen blogger Tavi's mum by bombarding her with questions when she sat next to me at a conference. I told you about all the other  kids at the tents.  I rambled on incessantly about getting a seat at a show. I networked, met some lovely people and also some right tossers. I shopped inbetween shows and experienced some super charged style serendipity, grabbing the best vintage finds of my life. I got turned away from Christian Siriano I had a superlative attack at Elisa Palomino. I got fashion flu, met some lovely female paparazzi and a Welsh intern. I failed to get snapped by any street style photographers and concluded only thin people make it onto The Satorialist.

I wrote every day and treated my blog like my own little fashion magazine. It's pretty exclusive, you're probably one of only a few hundred readers. Lucky you (this won't get me a book deal though, so please keep spreading the word). 

The most important lesson that NYFW has left me with is thus: What you wear is less important than you think. The best looks were always in the audience rather than the catwalk, confirming for me that street style leads where designers follow. I noticed the outfits I envied weren't the matchy matchy, but  more eclectic, considered, yet with that air of thrown together.  There's an anything goes attitude among true fashion lovers that's refreshingly lacking in elitism. There are a few exceptions though and they mostly centre around neon on pensioners:

How you wear it is the key as ever. And that has nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with style. Fashion week left me thinking less about this season's pants or heel and more about being creative and caring less.

So for Fall 2010 I say fuck fashion.

And embrace style for every season

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Fashion by numbers

Shows applied for....83 
Shows invited to....  30

Shows actually attended...18 

Seating assignments...1

Seats blagged...13

Famous people seen...7

Famous people worth seeing...2

Fashion party invites...4

Free bars...7

Models spotted running between shows...11

Models captured on camera hailing cabs...1

Fashion blogging conferences held during Fashion week...3

Blogs written in 8 days...16


Friday, 19 February 2010

Tavi's old hat

Playing the age card in fashion is a losing game-especially in this world of extremes.

Tween blogger Tavi better watch her Rodarte clad back-kids were everywhere at New York fashion week-including the catwalk. At the end of his show Eric Kim brought out his baby, in braces and skull print beanie to a chorus of coos (at least from the women still ovulating).

Then my fash partner spotted this tiny tot at the tents today, who she was told by her Mum is '' her second season." At not yet 2 years of age.

On the last day of fashion week I too noticed several tiny trendspotters, including a six year old wearing a burlesque mini topper. I didn't photograph her, I felt she should not be encouraged.

However, check out these three gorgeous girlies lining up for the J. Mendel show and busting some casual and age appropriate downtown chic.

They'll have to knock those pretty smiles off their faces if they want to get ahead in fashion though.  Start practising your pouts ladies.

It's child's play.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Blooming lovely

When I was 17 I took half my first pay cheque into a boutique in Cardiff and spent £375 on a Moschino Cheap & Chic suit. The jacket had sewing thimbles for buttons. It was the most unusual, beautiful and expensive thing I had ever owned. It spoke to me, it spoke to others:

"Are those...thimbles?" people would ask.

16 years later and that jacket hangs in my wardrobe in New York.  It's lasted longer than any man in my life and I can still just about fit into it.  That in itself is testament to the miracle of Moschino.

With this sentimental connection proceeding, you can imagine my anticipation at an invite to Elisa Palomino's debut collection-this is the woman who started Cheap & Chic.

After that Palomino went to work at John Galliano, Dior, Roberto Cavalli and Diane Von Furstenbeg. Not to mention that she started in the fashion world by attending Central St Martins with Hussein Chalayn, Antonio Berardi and the late, great Alexander McQueen.

This all adds up to the fashion equivalent of a thorough bred racehorse. With all that pedigree, you know you're in for something special.

Excited, I persuade The Teenager to come along as my 'intern'. That I have to persuade her at all says a lot about the apathy of youth. She is even less keen when I tell her she will actually have to do something, like take notes or pictures. But after a hissy fit about what to wear, she tags along, in her BCBG heeled boots and we cab it uptown.

The General Society of Mechanics on W44th Street strikes me as as odd location on paper. In reality It's like walking back into the 1920's- an elegant old library, stuffed to the gills with hardbound dusty books and oak chests. Oriental lanterns have been strung all over the ceiling and the room is lit with a warm, amber hued glow.

The show begins.  Three singers who stride balletically to their mics and begin to sing something operatic and enchanting.

The first model emerges from a backroom and teeters precariously down a small set of stairs looking like a geisha turned Oriental party princesses. The girls come out one by one with the same huge messy birdnest hair topped with giant flowers or bows. They balance on sky high heels and the music turns flapper to match the drop hem dresses.

Modern mixes with vintage as satin puffas are teamed with Japanese floral print bias cut dresses. There's an abundance of chunky knits with giant gardenias. Fur stoles come with floral embroidery and there's tons of ruffles and ruching. A gold sequin dress shimmies by and I notice it is embellised with yet more flowers.

The palate is rich orange, bright fuschia pink, creams and shades of gold.

There's lots of black too, but rather than severe in contrast to the colour, it's silky, seductive and surrounded by yet more flowers.

As in love as I am, I still want to be objective. I don't go looking for flaws but it strikes me that a few pieces in the collection are just a tad Per Una at M&S- the black knit with flowers and the orange silk skirt and matching cardie (below) in particular looks pretty middle aged Surrey housewife.

My Mum would like it, but that's no disparaging comment- my Mum is a pretty stylish sixtysomething and actually owns a few Moschino pieces herself.

The real litmus test is in the mouths of babes:

"What did you think?" I ask The Teenager
"It was amazing. I loved the clothes, they were soooo beautiful. "

I can see three generations of women wearing something by Elisa Palomino, unlikely her intention, but certainly the result. That has to translate as something that will become infinitely sellable.

More importantly is The Teen's reaction.

She never uses superlatives.


Death by fashion

I have fashion week flu.

Symptoms include a sore throat, cough and general lethargy along with an obsession for getting seated as shows and the growing belief that vintage fur doesn't count.

This is my excuse for no post yesterday. However, I did manage to fit in Elisa Palomino on a hunch her debut collection would something special.

I am very glad I did. With hindsight I would have been wheeled there on my death bed. So tomorrow a full report.

For now, just the pic above that I took and I am quite proud of.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Blog off

A freelance journalist at the tents in Bryant Park is telling me he's writing a piece about the influx of bloggers in fashion. When he says the words 'influx' and 'bloggers' he flinches as if he's being force fed a Big Mac.

I know what's coming: Bloggers are ruining the industry/There's always someone in the front row with a digital camera nowadays/ They're doing the 'proper journalists and photographers' out of a job. Blah Blah Blah. Blog Blog Blog.

Cut to six hours later and I am at a fashion blogging seminar in Chelsea. It's filled with lots of twentysomething girls hammering away on their laptops, tweeting on their blackberries or being horribly Luddite and exchanging actual business cards. There is some great outfit spotting, just like at the tents, except here it's more vintage than DVF.

Bryant Park bitchiness has been replaced by bloggers bonding. There's camaraderie instead of competitiveness. Of course- there is room for everyone on the internet; good, bad and mediocre.

We all await the arrival of a group of supperbloggers, including Bryan Boy and regular irritant of the traditional fashion press Tavi. She recently rubbed Grazia editors up the wrong way by not only getting a seat in front of them at the Dior couture show in Paris but blocking their view with her giant Philip Treacy hat.

I should mention that Tavi is just 13.

These nobodies turned somebodies are gods here-the equivalent of Carine Roitfeld and Anna Wintour turning up to address a bunch of 'proper journalists'.

My fashion week partner is the first to spot Tavi's arrival. She is standing unassumingly at the back of the hall with her Mum. They look similar and are wearing the same glasses, expect Mrs Gevinson looks like she shops at Walmart. They both have an air of Deirdre Barlow from Coronation Street, although Tavi with her blue rinse actually a bit more like Deirdre's mother Blanche. Or how I imagine Blanche would appear if she was styled by Patricia Field in Amsterdam on a bad acid trip.

Then, just before it all begins Tavi's Mum takes her seat-right next to my fashion week partner. We both dive straight in, confirming who she is and then questioning her furiously.

Annoyingly she doesn't say anything controversial like Tavi is really a midget granny in disguise or that she secretly shops at Walmart too and Joanna Coles is her ghost writer. She is even media savvy enough stop and ask at one point ''Is this an interview?"

It's at that stage I stop myself and remember that as a news journalist I used to interview cabinet members, police chiefs and pop stars and here I am getting excited about a possible scoop with the mother of a tweenage blogger.

In the hour Q and A with the panel Tavi turns out to be sweet and articulate and disappointingly lacking in pretension. Bryan Boy makes everyone laugh and keeps his wraparound star trek glasses on the whole time. Susie Bubble is passionate about the politics of it all (She's a Brit so I wonder if she has any Dairy Milk in her bag). Phil the Street Peeper sees himself as more of a photographer than a blogger (he is, his pics are beautiful) and Lauren Sherman from my personal favourite site reveals she is in fact a 'proper journalist' and use to work in news. I knew it. She wrote a great piece recently on the fact that designers actually pay celebs to be in the front row.

The biggest topic is the Editors versus the Bloggers debate and how it's a fight perpetuated by the media. I'm not quite sure which media they all mean, but I assume they mean the one that's not them. The one that is still printed on actual stinkingly un-hip paper.

As a journalist and blogger, I'm not quite sure where I stand. Or sit. Which is usually what it all boils down to in the fashion world. Right now I sit next to Tavi's mother. Earlier I sat in a row with New York Times writer Lynn Yaeger and the head buyer for Harrods. As I may have mentioned (several times, possibly becoming a bit obsessed) it's all about where you sit, not stand in fashion.

Now the bloggers are getting into the front row it's got some of the cognoscenti pissed off. Who can blame them? After decades clawing my way up the shit splattered gilded fashion ladder, I'd be pissed off too.

The bloggers claim the editors are scared. They've shaken up the hierarchy and were gauche enough not to ask permission. People that read the blogs feel they might be able to be the next Susie Bubble, but they're not so sure they could, or even want to be the next Anna Wintour.

It's all about accessibility. The industry wants to stay elite, because it sells aspiration. But technology is forcing fashion industry change; several shows at NYFW have been streamed live on the internet and London is doing the same at every show- so now we can all have a seat in the front row. And in the midst of this is the cold hard finance-Magazines are struggling while everyone reads blogs for free. Which gives the kids more money to save up for a Tavi Rope scarf.

On this issue I'm not sure exactly where I sit. Or stand. So my stand is that I would like to sit on the fence.

If I remembered to RSVP properly.

Monday, 15 February 2010

I am at a show and I know who the designer is

Security is really tight at Carolina Herrera-a show I am particularly excited about not only because I know who she is, but I can also pronounce her name (just about).

The strict ticket and bag checks gets me all excited and my journalistic senses tell me there's huge names inside awaiting the veteran Venezuelan designer.

But in the tent is more than Miss J from America's next top model and I've seen him twice already.

More exciting is the third row seat I've blagged myself into; next to legendary NY writers Lynn Yeager and Judy Licht. Unfortunately I don't know who I am sitting with until they get up and leave and I read their seat signs, but I sensed they were somebodies. They, in turn, sense I am a nobody. They also know I am not Dee Poon- the person assigned the seat. She is a chic Chinese boutique owner, so quite a hard one for me to pull off.

But thanks for being a no-show Dee-you made my day. I have a great view of the brush stroke print dress that's opened the show and makes way for a whole host of English inspired Lady of the Manor looks; Floppy wools hats, super high waisted belted wide leg pants, high necked ruffle blouses, big shoulder pads and swing wool coats in a palette of rich red, chocolate and camel. Oww, it's yummy! High end daytime glamourama. I am even more excited now as I already own a floppy wool hat.

Herrera is showing us the kind of lady who drinks Claret the colour of the collection's palette at midday and likely has a rampant painkiller addiction. She also wears metallic brocade in the day.

And here comes the fur. Oh. A lot of fur. In capes, as a trim and on it's own in vests.

When not showing us unapologetically what she can do with fox or six, Herrera gets back to her Latin roots and throws in flamenco ruffles on skirts and on bolero jackets over washed out watercolour florals for her eveningwear looks.

Back to the fur and I just realised why the strict checks. They were clearly looking for anyone from Peta with a pot of red paint. I do not have any paint, but I do have a deep need for the red trouser suit and matching hat in the collection. I'm adopting the bonkers lady of the manor look immediately.

I'll just be leaving the fur where it belongs... on the estate.

Village green

There's a male model smoking a fag outside The Green Shows in the East Village. He's wearing a lots of black eyeliner. Sometimes the universe sends you signs.

We've cabbed it over from Bryant Park and have arrived early to try and catch up on some writing but are surprised when organisers tell us there's no media room, they seemed surprised we even asked. So we pop back out on E11th street in search of a cafe with Wifi.

But blogging fades quickly into the background when we spot two fab looking vintage shops over the way.

Within minutes at Buffalo Exchange I have bagged some ridiculous but fun Willy Wonka-esque sunglasses and a chunky bright purple wool beanie for $13 total and then with heart pounding I snag some Michael Kors heels for $35.

There is even a pair of Navy Pradas courts for $80 but they are a little tight so I tell myself not to be greedy.

I don't listen to myself for very long though as 10 minutes later I am at Angela's Vintage Boutique next door stroking the most beautiful 1950's fur trimmed coat. It is heavy with quality and it fits perfectly. The lady (Angela I assume) is giving it to me for $70 and the ticket said $95 and I never even asked for a discount. It's as if the fucking vintage fairy has landed on my shoulder.

What is happening? Does this have anything to do with that Chinese cat statue that woman gave me in a coffee shop the other day? This comes off the back of a run of unbelievable vintage finds. I made out like a demon in W17th street Homeworks thrift store just last weekend. It is fash week shopping serendipity I tell myself.

But where there is ying there is is yang and I was about to pay back with the most depressing 15 minutes of my life when we head back over the road.

Without seeing every show at NYFW I'm willing to bet that Thieves by Sonja Den Elzian is the drabbest of the week. Judging by the visible boredom and eye rolls in the audience, I'm not the only one who thinks so. Black and grey urban minimalist sportswear in cotton and some kind of eco rubber, the sort of stuff Jill Sander was churning out in the early nineties. It's surprising as previous Thieves collections have been packed with unusual but desirable daywear in lighter and brighter hues.

There are some pieces that try to save the dreary pretension from disappearing up it's own organic cotton clad arse- like the wool wide shawl collared coat, the ruched jeggings and the rubber waister. But I'm distracted by the hilarious description of the collection 'The inspiration is humanity in its evolving state within the erratic and harsh climates of constant transformation...visually exploring the exploitation of Canada's Boreal forest through the mining of tar sands". You what?

Just in case I wasn't suicidal enough at that point the excellent DJ is made to switch his funk and disco pre-show sound to some kind of experimental dirge that makes me think we are maybe being hypnotised Zoolander style, but rather than killing the Malaysian Prime Minister we are being made to like Elzian's clothes.

It's not working. I am wearing vintage sequins and Chanel pearls for fuck's sake.

I make a swift exit and head back over the road to stroke something sparkly from the 1950s.

Buying vintage will be my green contribution for today.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Tight fit

In fashion, being small is not just a prerequisite for the models.

Turns out you also need to be pretty skinny to fit in the chairs at the shows. On the occasions I've been lucky enough to upgrade myself from fashion pond life and actually snag a seat, I've spent the show spilling over onto the people either side of me.

I've developed a technique of hunching my shoulders inwards so that I take up less space. While doing this I watch clinically underweight models strut the runway. Occasionally a girl even thinner than her rake-like contemporaries, sticks out. Because her razor sharp collarbones do.

Shrinking women and the desire for us to comply is the ugly side of fashion. Clothes can empower and boost esteem but the demand for thin is how fashion diminishes females. Less space, less importance, less impact.

But there I am apologetically making myself smaller, partly out of propriety, but also for fear of judgement. Worry that the person next to me might see my womanly curves and deem them irritating fatness.

Bolder than me is the woman who flaunts her larger physique without apology.


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