Friday, April 25, 2008

“All I can rectify is that the party’s just begun.”—Nelly Furtado, “Party”

One of the biggest perks of being the Fashionista is having an all-access pass to runway shows, boutique openings, and the ultimate luxe treat: fashion-magazine parties. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.

Recently, the Fashionista attended the red-carpet ride known to insiders as the Couture Cutting Edge Gala—and oh, what a ride it was! Some girls enjoy caviar and champagne, others might choose a spa day at Bliss or a luscious chocolate dessert—but the Fashionista would trade all of the above to party at the Couture gala once more. It was an event complete with plenty of celebrity skin—A-listers decked out in Marchesa gowns, Cartier jewels, and strappy Louboutins.

But the downtown boho chic girls were out in full force, too—many of them pairing frilly Alexander McQueen skirts with shimmery Alice Roi camis. And, not to be outdone, the uptown elite were in attendance as well—decked out in Chanel and Valentino, of course. Then there were the fashion luminaries: like Couture’s Isabel Dupre, who looked glamorous in that oh-so-French way of hers, a vision in Armani Privé. But the Fashionista’s favorites are the wild cards—the Cinderellas of the ball whom no one who’s anyone had ever seen before. One filly in particular really took the Fashionista’s breath away: a willowy beauty in Elie Saab who looked like she’d stepped out of a dream. Who was she? you might ask.Well, she wasn’t a Hollywood star or a supermodel or a socialite of a scandal-sheet regular. Actually, she was a “lowly” Couture intern who outshone all the designers and fashion dominatrixes the party was meant to honor.

Ah, quelle surprise! That’s one of the Fashionista’s favorite things about this crazy fashion business: watching caterpillars turn into butterflies.

Until next time,

Your faithful Fashionista

“In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes." --Andy Warhol

What would you do for your fifteen minutes? The Fashionista has been pondering that question a lot of late, watching as various would-be designers, models, starlets, and American Idols bare their fangs and sharpen their claws for a piece of the spotlight.

How far would you go in pursuit of fame? Would you spread your cash around to win friends (as a certain Harvard-bound Dalton grad did last year in an attempt to curry favor with the “right people”)? Would you spread nasty lies to destroy your competition (as a certain Argentine model did, looking to disgrace a fellow mannequin)? Or would you shove a friend aside to make sure that you were first (as a certain Couture beauty editor did when she literally shoved a colleague who scored a guest spot on the Today show)?

Honestly, the Fashionista just can’t understand what all the fuss is about. I’ve experienced fame, and here’s a secret: It’s overrated. It inspires predatory paparazzi and equally hungry hangers-on—who are all, in a word, tiresome. Success, on the other hand, is a worthy alternative to all kinds of celebrity. It’s the stuff that drives that passionate start-up jewelry designer on the Lower East Side and that obscure milliner up in Harlem who re-creates vintage-era hats simply because he cannot bear to see a fashion gem tossed in the garbage. Are either of them famous? Hardly. On the road to celebrity? Doubtful. But they’re already wildly successful in a way that most of us never will be.

Darlings, trust me, don’t be seduced by the lure of notoriety. After all, there’s a reason the Fashionista remains anonymous.

Your faithful Fashionista

“To err is human, to forgive is divine."

The Fashionista is going to attempt to be even more divine than usual by pointing out, and forgiving, the hideous fashion sins she witnessed just this past weekend.

Friday night at Le June, the Fashionista spotted a
starlet-who-shall-remain-nameless wearing a micromini with stockings and a garter belt, sans underwear. Can we please let this hideous trend die? It’s been eons since we spied Paris’s or Britney’s privates, so if those fashionable flashers can commit to donning La Perlas, the rest of you have no excuse!

Then on Saturday afternoon at Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea, a certain Latvian supermodel (hint: she just landed a huge cosmetics deal and will soon have her face plastered all over the country) was spotted in denim cutoffs, four-inch Manolos, and a wife-beater with glittery suspenders. Now,
the Fashionista appreciates a certain degree of creativity, but if one is a known “face of style,” shouldn’t one avoid dressing like a clown? Saturday night at Casa Mono was equally disappointing, when the Fashionista was horrified by a parade o’ breasts. Never mind the to-the-chin cleavage (ladies, we know you’re proud of your boobs, but show some restraint, please!). What was up with the plunging necklines and the peep-show side glimpses? If the Fashionista wanted to see naked breasts, she’d go to Saint-Tropez. Or buy a copy of Playboy.

Sunday morning at church (the Fashionista’s church—Barneys), I caught a glimpse of a fellow worshipper, a famous Manhattan socialite, who should know better, wearing a pair of terry-cloth shorts, with the words Squeeze Please over either butt cheek. The horror! And at Barneys! Is nothing sacred? Sigh. The Fashionista forgives the aforementioned faux pas and trusts that the rest of my fellow fashionistas will wise up.

Your faithful Fashionista

“I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity."

There goes the Fashionista again, reaching back in time to quote the fashion icons of yesteryear. This particular jewel was voiced by the incomparable editor in chief of all things stylish, Diana Vreeland. And I must say, I do agree with her wholeheartedly. Vanity, an admittedly superficial pride in one’s appearance, is fine. It’s a fashion must, really. If we girls weren’t vain, then Zac Posen and Tom Ford would be woefully unemployed. Nor would there be any reason to splurge on Oscar de la Renta snakeskin sandals. Or shimmery Trish McEvoy cosmetics. Or Harry Winston jewels (divine!). It’s vanity that drives the desire for prettiness, and the Fashionista has nothing but good things to say about prettiness.

Narcissism, however, is another story.Yesterday, for example, the Fashionista had to endure a coterie of socialites engaged in a competitive name-dropping fest. The day before, I suffered through the self-important blatherings of some wannabe fashion designer. Then, at a Marc Jacobs sample sale, I had the pleasure of listening to a pair of Hollywood starlets crudely brag about the number of A-list actors they’d dated. They ranked their exes by box-office draw! Need I go on?

Vain girls are interesting—always chasing after some eye-catching new clutch or sparkly sandal. Narcissists, on the other hand, are a bore—blahblah-blahing, and me-me-meing. Somebody, wake
me when it’s over!

Your faithful Fashionista

Brown paper packages tied up with string. These are a few of my favorite things.

I suppose that, like Maria from The Sound of Music, I do enjoy brown paper packages—especially when emblazoned with the words Sigerson Morrison.

A little admission: The Fashionista has had a bad couple of days. And when that happens, there is only one certain fix: a little retail therapy. Lately the place that makes the Fashionista happiest is Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood (that’s an acronym for North of Little Italy for all you non-Gothamites). It’s chockablock full of the most darling boutiques—like Le Marais in Paris, only hipper. And, the Fashionista scored so big in Nolita today that she’s compelled to dish about her fashion finds.

My first stop was Calypso, where I picked up the yummiest little ethnic throw, and my mood picked up, too. Then I skittered on down to INA—yes, the Fashionista shops at consignment stores . . . not for budgetary reasons; because it’s the best way to exchange tired old clothes for something one-of-a-kind. Today, for example, I purged a D&G jacket from my closet, swapping it for a fab vintage Pucci dress. Added bonus: a Parker Posey spotting (FYI: Parker’s the coolest actress in the entire city). Next stop was Lyell on Elizabeth Street, where I found the most glorious gold 1930s bias-cut sundress (that did wonders for my mood!). At Tory Burch, the Fashionista shopped alongside the two most famous celebrity twins in the world and also scored herself a sexy bias-cut dress to boot. Then it was off to Blue Bag, where a tiny leather satchel practically induced euphoria.

I hit Poppy, just to see what the hot new designers are up to (hint: lots of fabulous and fun color); followed by Eva, because one must keep an eye on European designers as well. My final stops were the aforementioned Sigerson Morrison for the cutest ballet flats ever—and a tête-à-tête with an up-and-coming socialite-cum-handbag designer at her atelier. Between the daily scores and exceptional company, the Fashionista’s day was made blissfully glam. Hope yours is too.

Your faithful Fashionista

If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

For the price of a boob job? Buy a lifetime supply of La Perla push-up bras. For the price of a nose job? Look down your current nose through a pair of diamond-encrusted Chanel sunglasses. And for the price of getting your thighs sucked? Why not join an exclusive gym and work your booty out next to a hottie on a StairMaster? The truth is, my fellow fashionistas, learning to look fabulous the way you are is the best fashion investment.

Now, before you go thinking that the Fashionista has gone all earthy and soft, think again. I am not here to advocate for hairy legs (shudder the thought), or ugly clunky shoes. Au contraire, I’m all for looking gorgeous at all times. I believe you should never leave home sans bronzer and lip gloss. And only wear sweatpants if you’re planning to sweat. And, while yours truly has never let a plastic surgeon anywhere near her, I certainly can’t fault Ashlee Simpson for her alleged little nose improvement. Notice I said little. But the Fashionista recently saw two models and one very well-known Hollywood starlet go too far under the knife. And it’s not just the people who are paid to be pretty going wild, either. A certain editor at one of the top fashion magazines in the country just got back from a two-week “spa holiday” and had enough work done to shock Dr. 90210. I hate to break it to you, darlings, but reconstructing your whole bod won’t make you look like a supermodel or a Hollywood actress—so why not work what you’ve got?

Your faithful Fashionista

“Fashion fades; only style remains the same.”

Do you know who said that? Care to guess what
it means? Well, my fellow fashionistas, allow me to enlighten you. It was that ultimate fashion icon, Coco Chanel. And what Coco was so classily saying is that you can buy all the $1,500 Prada handbags and $500 Jimmy Choos in the world—you might even look pretty enough, dripping in all that high-end artillery—but, darling, if you don’t have style, you simply don’t have style.

I’d like to tell that to all the slavish fashion victims prancing down Madison Avenue who’ve shamelessly copied their outfits off the mannequins at Barneys with nary a thought—and the Fashionista doesn’t like to name names, but I’m thinking of a certain Upper East Side prep-school princess who recently dropped $3,500 on an exercise outfit, even though the girl hasn’t worked out a day in her life. People, there’s more to fashion than being able to buy it.You’ve got to work it. Work it in a glamorous vintage flapper gown purchased at your local thrift store OR in some extravagant piece straight from the latest prêt-à-porter collections. Just know your style, own your look, and be true to your most fabulous self.

It seemed fitting to open my premiere blog with a nod to Coco Chanel—even though Coco was long gone before blogs ever arrived on the scene. Fashion, after all, is about reinvention, taking
something old and making it new again, taking a dress created by someone else, sliding it on, and making it look like it was made for you and only you. Of course, to do that, you need style. And that’s what I’m here for. More to come.

Your faithful Fashionista