Friday, January 25, 2008

Interview To Be The Next French Vogue?

The recent departure of Editor In Chief Ingrid Sischy and co-owner Sandra Brant of Interview Magazine has left the publishing world reeling. The shocking resignation has moved media minds to ask, what is a magazine without its face? It’s difficult (perhaps impossible) to imagine a VOGUE without Anna or an ELLE without Nina, so how shall Interview fare sans Ingrid? Sischy, the ultimate idiosyncracy of the fashion world defied the fashion industry with her unkempt coiffe, dark framed spectacles and hardly sample size frame, yet simultaneously, she defined it. Her work reflected the same counterpoint with A-list celebrities in raw, “I don’t give a f-ck” looks. It wasn’t about the trends or the latest collections, it was about the integrity of the shot.

Now that she is gone, shall Interview continue its groundbreaking and anti-market styling? Fabien Baron, former creative director of Paris Vogue, has been tapped to lead Interview out of Ingrid’s celeb-studded pages and into a more (most likely) fashion forward book. Glenn O’Brien (who worked at Interview during the Warhol days) will act as co-director.

Final Word: There is nothing the Blackberrie adores more than Paris Vogue, in fact its art design is a model for a future Blackberrie Book (Yes, we too wait with breath that is bated.) But shall Baron's Parisian take-no-prisoners fashion aesthetic translate to the gritty pop culture mag that made its case on criticizing (at best) and mocking (at worst) its glossy contemporaries? On verra…

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Base Couture

At yesterday’s Chanel haute couture show in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld stayed true to form by questioning customs on the catwalk yet again. Against a blanche neige backdrop that could easily double for Tchaicovsky’s The Nutcracker, nimble Anna Pavlova look-alikes festooned in feathers and frills glided down the runway in Swan Lake-inspired ensembles and contrastingly humble flats, not unlike the ones I wear to work.

Although it is obvious flats are MTA-approved footwear, there is something undeniably chic about wearing unfussy shoes with a decidedly fussy frock. Hepburn, Birkin, and Seberg all proved that ages ago; yet why are we still surprised to see them at an haute couture catwalk half a century later? Are we really imprisoned by our own visions of the proverbial glass slipper? And what if Cinderella had worn Repettos to the ball? Well, she probably would not have forsaken her shoe and would have made those evil stepsisters green with envy as she danced the night away.

But what was the Kaiser’s motive behind pairing painstakingly ornate gowns with simple ballerinas ironically during a season where more is more and bigger is better? Perhaps he did not want to be upstaged by John Galliano yet again and simply threw in the serviette- although that is doubtful coming from the ultimate overachiever/designer/photographer/DJ/tastemaker (Need I go on?).

With the revival of bygone Chanel muse Devon Aoki to close the show, perhaps Mr. Lagerfeld simply craved the comfort of the familiar –and in depths of our year’s first cold front when the thought of high (or any) fashion is daunting, this sort of comfort is quite welcome.

Final Word: Although we applaud Mr. Lagerfeld for challenging fashion foundations, it remains to be seen if social swans shall trade their Louboutins for low loafers at their next uptown gala. After all, what is a fairy tale without the glass slipper?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Laces In!

Last night while out for drinks, my girlfriend and I were accosted by a handful of overzealous, cheesy single guys with no sense of humor or self-deprecation (a bad combination), which made for easy fodder for belligerent mockery. But what really caught our attention, other than the conspicuous Ashlee Simpson name dropping (Yes, apparently there are people who actually name drop Ashlee Simpson.), was the unbelievable choice of footwear.

There were the ubiquitous Kenneth Cole leather loafers, the my-girlfriend-bought-me-these-but-really-I’m-so-far-deep-in-the-closet-I-actually-believe-I’m-straight knee high-motorcycle boots, and the worst of all offenders, laceless Converse. Regarding the latter pair, I just don’t get it. The unisex equivalent to UGGs, these stringless shoes are no doubt convenient but socially acceptable? I think not. Is it because people are so busy that lace tying is just too much? Is it meant to look casually bohemian, as in F the man and his commercial laces? Is it some sort of underground trend that I'm unaware of? When I first spotted the abhorrent All Stars, I was like, ok, they ditched their laces, that’s sort of cool and different. But then I saw them everywhere, and I realized in horror, people buy them like that? Oh no, not ok.

Now I would hate to think I’m a sneaker snob, after all, sneakers are simply what one wears to avoid fashion critique. However with shoe fetishes at an all-time high (New York Magazine just revealed its annual best sneaker stores this week), sneakerheads all but earning a place in Websters dictionary and more and more uber-specialty boutiques popping up devoted to making the masses feel inadequate to their trendy trainers (Nike ID, get a grip with your VIP appointments), there is some merit to making a wise decision in casual footwear.

Final Word: Fret not lace-a-phobes, we have the perfect solution with our choice kick du jour: A classic Vans slip on in navy leather – basic, retro and virtually foolproof. The collegiate color is surprisingly neutral, plus there’s the skater appeal, which is always cool. Available at

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Can’t Buy Me Love? Mais, bien sur…

It was recently reported by the New York Times that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his new girlfriend singer/supermodel Carla Bruni might be engaged. This is certainly controversial news considering their flashy and splashy romance, spanning the globe from the Pyramids of Giza to the deserts of Saudi Arabia and causing serious controversy in the Middle East not to mention Sarkozy’s approval ratings taking a vertiginous plunge. However, this is not our topic of debate- we’re just not that deep.

In the article, the Times goes on to describe the alleged engagement ring as a heart-shaped diamond designed by none other than the whimsical Dior jewelry maven Victoire de Castellanne whose cartoonish gems have made her a favorite among fashion-conscious pop culture personalities like Pharell Williams and magazines such as ELLE and Nylon (Interestingly enough this decadent detail was found in Tuesday’s cover section, not the Style section). Madame Castellanne’s cheeky chains chockfull of Hello Kitty heads and Bambi-inspired baubles are not exactly what one expects for a presidential engagement band, however, this is France, and in France, fashion comes first.

So why is it that where French men seem to know what women want, American men seem to think whatever comes in a teal cardboard box is acceptable (Quelle horreur!)? French men get away with, nay, celebrate the fact that they know couture as well as their wives, girlfriends, and mistresses. I am reminded of the scene in the film Le Divorce starring Kate Hudson where her green American character becomes an older French man’s mistress and he purchases her a crocodile Hermes Kelly bag at the beginning of their clandestine affair, only to end it with a Chanel scarf. Pas mal.

Final Word: Although the French seem to equate retail purchases with love and all things amoureux (they even call products placed near the cash register “coups de coeur,” literally translated as “blows to the heart”), does it mean their brand of love lasts longer? Most likely not, but one thing is for sure, an Hermes bag sure does stand the test of time. Monsiuer Sarkozy, take note.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I am The Waris

Who is Waris Ahluwalia, really? According to Jalouse, the French fashion magazine featuring him on this month’s cover, he’s the coolest guy in the world. From his general run-down we know he’s an actor, a jewelry designer and an international jet-set celebrity shoulder-rubber. But coolest guy in the world? The title may be a bit much.

Waris flew onto my radar last week when I saw his jewelry line, House of Waris, in the uber-cool Miami Beach boutique Alchemist. When I noticed him on the cover of Jalouse a few days later I figured he was someone worth learning a little more about.

I thought this may be difficult. He has an untouchable cool surrounding his persona, so much so that I was convinced he would be untraceable, un-Google-able, in that that ”I’m so under-the-radar but have a very strategic publicist” kind of way. But, not so much.

With a couple strokes of the keyboard I discovered a quite extensive bio. It goes a little something like this…privileged New York upbringing, upstate liberal arts college, did the music thing, got bored, did the magazine upstart, lost interest, got involved in some charities, so that’s good, made a ring, some buyer liked it, we sold a few (to mainly celebs!) and now I am a jewelry designer.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I am pretty sure that sounds like every boring girl in New York who can’t hold a job or figure out what she wants to do with her life so she “starts a jewelry company.” One more exciting than the next, let me tell you…

Now just because he’s a dude and he’s randomly appeared in a few Wes Anderson and Spike Lee films—bold-name buddies never hurt—does that make him anymore interesting? Not in my book. And I’m ok with the fact that Tatler, Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Complex, Paper, Surface, W and every other media outlet/purveyor of cool disagrees with me.

Final Word: The jewelry is actually quite interesting—too bad it gets overshadowed by the obsession. But in the Paris Hilton school of marketing the persona is always bigger than the product. So the world’s coolest person? I think not. But on his way to becoming one of the most successful? That I could possibly believe.

Costume Rationale

This morning as I dressed for work, I felt the primal urge to reach for cream stockings, demure Chanel flats, a simple peacoat and equally buttoned-up frock. As I made my way to the metro, I caught a glimpse of my reflection a passing storefront window. Who was that frou frou fille looking back at me? Certainly not the one whose fashion icon on any given day more resembles Jane Birkin than Jane Eyre. But low and behold, it was me, top to bottom looking exactly like Blair Waldorf.

For those of you who have been eeking out an existence of irrelevance, Miss Waldorf is the deliciously deviant prep schooler on the deliciously devious show Gossip Girl. Indeed in the course of the WGA strike, GG has stormed media channels from TRL to the Times and it’s not news that its iconic UES style is half the draw. Unlike other teen shows before, Gossip Girl takes fashion very seriously. Its costume designer, Eric Daman, is not afraid to whip out insider labels like Alexander Wang and pair him with Forever 21 togs, as real NYC girls do all the time. Chanel, Fendi, Gucci are also staples for these girls who very realistically borrow from their well manicured mothers.

What kills me, however, is that with the plethora of fashion fortunes at his fingertips, why does Daman seem to never get it? As my friend commented, although we seek out the latest Malandrino dress immediately after the show wraps, we could or should never copy Daman’s total look (As I brutally realized en route to the office today.) Blair ends up looking too costumey while her counterpart Serena Van Der Woodsen looks like she simply missed the point. Granted it is a television show and costumes are exactly what they are, but if Daman gives us a Phillip Lim cookie, we’re probably gonna ask for a glass of Vena Cava. What we want is something equal to what legendary stylist Patricia Field did for Sex and the City (for which Daman curiously assisted). But where Field puts real thought into her characters (we actually believed Carrie belted Mr. Big’s button-down as a day dress), Daman cherry-picks trends to lazily create a look out of the NY Post style pages (Sorry Amy DiLuna.) Do we honestly believe that S would wear those wedge boots with that red leather perfecto over her uniform? A true fan has to believe S is better than that.

Final Word: This is not a harsh critique, just a simple request that Mr. Daman try a little harder. We’re sure he did not expect the runaway success of the show, this is the CW after all, but the reality is we’re watching- fashionistas, editors, ex-prep schoolers, in other words, girls who know their business- and in the business of fashion, we don’t mess around.