Monday, 20 September 2010

Fashionably late fashion week blog

Chris Benz S/S 2011
I said I wasn't going to any shows this season.

I was planning on rejecting the frippery of fashion in favour of knuckling down to some proper work- rather than hanging around the tents in the vague hope some oafish celebrity might do or say something ungainly that I could sell to the tabloids.

That was the plan anyway, until my writing partner from last season started waving tickets at me and the allure of glamour and goody bags began to keep me awake at night.

Of course there were not many actual tickets to wave, since the PRs started emailing them to save money under the ruse of environmental concerns. Shame, as that thick, glossy cardboard doubles up as a handy fan while waiting in line with your fellow sweaty fashion nobodies.

Chris Benz S/S 2011
There was also the whole issue of NYFW having moved from Bryant park to it's new uptown home for the first time. I convinced myself I should be there for historic reasons, so I could tell my grandchildren, as if it was akin to the Berlin wall coming down. Although this looming entrance at the suitably monolithic Lincoln Centre is not unlike something from East Germany.

After 20 odd shows last season, my tally this year ended up being markedly less impressive.  I missed one as I couldn't decide what to wear (Monique LHullier) and made three presentations- which are gradually taking over from the shows.

There was massive celeb whoring at Chris Benz:

Cheapskate mannequins (in place of models) and weak Martinis at Alice Temperley:

and Garden party retro at newcomer Rebecca Moses:

Which left one actual show. One of the best if you're a celebrity whore like me. Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B.  I was pretty shocked to get a ticket. Then I shocked myself further in an rare act of maternal selflessness and gave it to The Teenager on the condition she get me good pictures. She ends up with this snap of Gwen.

Hmm. She explained to me she was right at the back. I told her she will never make it in fashion, as there are no excuses in fashion.

On the last night in the tents I reflected on how dipping my foot in this way felt wrong somehow. Without putting in all the legwork, I felt like a bit of a fraud.

But then fashion week- like fashion itself -repeats. There is always one accessory that becomes a must have (this time-floppy hats), a colour palate (neutral) and a take on from a current trend (harems blow wider into balloon pants). There are always the same security staff who let you strut past without a ticket if you have an air of Anna about you. And there are always the crazy characters, blaggers and Jersey girls who sneak in.

At least the celebs were back this season. In February there was slim pickings, with some nonsense about an austere and sombre feel to match the nation's empty wallets. It was probably less complex than that. It was likely more to do with the fact King M.J. banned them.

Six months later, America can't really decide if it's out of the recession, but it seems that famous folk are perpetually en vogue whether the dollar is down or not.

Whatever hemlines might be doing, stardust is always in Fashion.

Susan Sarandon. Hot for 63. Hot for half that age

Carmen Electra. What does she do exactly?

Kelly Osbourne. She lost weight. The Daily Mail might have mentioned it. Just a few times.

Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons who winked at The Teenager when she took this picture. He is worth $330 million. I told her she should have winked back       

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

My route to 66...

Much like Joaquin Phoenix I've had a strange and surreal 12 months.

It's exactly a year since I packed up my life in Cardiff and arrived at JFK with a sobbing Teenager. She shedding tears for the boyfriend she left in Wales, me still in shock at my Dad's death a month previously. At my feet some seriously bulging excess baggage.

The American picked us up in a rented SUV and we drove into Manhattan. I was all broad smiles and endless chat, but with a belly groaning with nerves. This is home now. Excited and scared for what lay ahead. Bye bye Cardiff. A fresh start packed to the brim with hope and blindness to any troubles that may lay ahead.

There was no time to ponder on my grief. No pontificating on the enormity of what I had done-giving up a great job at the BBC, renting out my beloved house to strangers, leaving my recently widowed Mum. I was the project manager of this whole new family life and there was a lot of gluing to do, or things would fall apart.

The work started pretty quickly with enrolling The Teenager in school, which was swiftly followed by finding another school, as she hated the first one. Next, the blistering footwork to find an apartment, followed by ploughing all our savings into securing the right one-which then had to be decorated and furnished. We moved from our temporary digs in Queens to our permanent bijoux box in the West Village and wondered how we were all going to live in harmony in such a tiny space.

There was then the small matter of getting married in Central Park by a naval captain in the freakish hot Autumn sunshine and then a rodent infestation in our perfect apartment in place of a honeymoon. Then began immigration and all the ridiculous, comedy bureaucracy that accompanies it. Have you ever been engaged in vice? Are you planning a coup against the U.S. government? Were you a member of the Nazi party between 1939-1945?

When the excitement wore off and it no longer felt like we were here on a long holiday- the missing came. Missing my Mum, missing my friends, really missing my Dad, missing working, missing Corrie and Cadburys, missing the NHS and missing someone knowing what a wanker is.

I had to find my way around New York and my new family life and there was maps for the first but not for the second, but in both I got lost frequently. Some real personal stuff happened, that even I as a chronic oversharer didn't want to blog about. Winter days got shorter and darker and colder and then snowy. Then there came some even bigger problems which I  couldn't blog about and then there was some money problems due to the stuff I couldn't blog about.

Throughout it all I missed not having girl mates to talk the extra 15 thousand words a day that women need to say. Finding them became my mission and I was horribly desperate at first, a girl's girl starved of female company. But by the time there was spring blossom outside our window the friends came. Then the friendships had to be fostered through NY girl activities like toxic cocktail drinking and $20 manicures from women who bitch about you in Korean. But mostly it was about the drinking. There is little that cannot be forged over a Manhattan mixed Martini.

Summer, the last season in the cycle. (More) Tears (than usual) for my Dad on the anniversary of his death, temperatures of 100 degrees giving birth to an obsession with air cons. Our green cards arriving in the mailbox and the U.S. immigration service using the worse photos I have ever seen of The Teenager and I. A deliberate ploy I believe, so immigrants will not commit crime and end up with an unflattering picture of them on the news. 

I blogged about most of what happened over the year here on Welsh Alien. In fact, I wrote so much I didn't actually write my book, but then I have not been writing my book for at least a decade, so at least that's one comfortable consistency to keep me warm at night. I can safely say I penned at least a book's worth of blogs, except none of you paid 12.99 for my hard work on Amazon. Although I'd like to think you would, given the chance.

I have written 66 blogs so far. This one makes 67.

66 would have been nice. An even, rounded number that evokes World Cup wins and famous American roads. But then that's not my number.

My life here is far more of a 67. A lovely, odd imperfection.


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