I very nearly fell off my chair earlier today when I read a piece penned by veteran fashion journalist Suzy Menkes entitled Red Carpet Baggers. Published on the T Magazine blog, Ms. Menkes takes issue with celebrities turned fashion designers and sarcastically asks if it might not be her turn to try her hand at designing a collection. Mocking tone aside, it's about time that a serious fashion journalist and critic spoke up and challenged the "I am famous therefore I can design" ethos that has prevailed throughout the industry for well over a decade now making a mockery of actual designers and consumers alike. My question for fashion journalists and critics (including Ms. Menkes) is what exactly took you so long to speak out?
Lillian Bassman, one of the few women to impose herself in the mostly-male world of fashion photography, has passed away at the ripe old age of 94. I refer you to an excellent 2009 NYT profile which describes her unique approach to capturing images. How strange it is that there are even fewer women fashion photographers now than there were in her day. Requisciat in pace Ms. Bassman.
Like most people, I spent more time than I should have on YouTube yesterday viewing old videos of Whitney Houston. Her untimely passing hit me like a slap across the face before I even got out of bed on Sunday morning (I learned of her death via Twitter of course). Her music formed part of the soundtrack to the 90's and is therefore intertwined with many personal memories. If Madonna was the consummate entertainer of the decade then Whitney Houston was its consummate songstress. In addition to great beauty, she was blessed with an unparalleled vocal range that spanned musical genres from toe-tapping pop to soulful gospel and sultry R&B. Whether you liked her music or not, you couldn't listen to her songs and not respect her talent as a vocalist.
The weekend is only a few hours away and that thought has put a definite spring in my weary step. I look forward to a cozy weekend spent largely indoors thanks to the relentless cold spell over most of Europe. Wherever you are dear readers and whatever the weather conditions, I wish you all a lovely, relaxing weekend. Remember to make the most of it.
I love that rather than enlisting a celebrity to front her ad campaign, New York-based accessories designer Alexis Bittar has chosen the beloved Ab Fab characters "Edie" and "Patsy" in all their obnoxious, politically incorrect, drunken fabulousness to do the job. I love the statement it makes about the Alexis Bittar brand even more: Humour. Most brands have too little of it. Kudos to you for taking the risk Ms. Bittar!
To all those Facebook users out there (especially women who drive 62% of activity on the site) who freely share links, stream music, read the news, play virtual games, click on Facebook’s “like” buttons, express political views, meticulously update your relationship status, upload family pictures and other deeply personal information about yourselves, congratulations! You are about to collectively make Facebook, its founder Mark Zuckerberg, his early investors and key executives of his company very wealthy. Or, more accurately, you're about to make them wealthier still.
If the untimely demise of Michael Jackson cemented his title as the King of Pop, then Madonna's Super Bowl extravaganza this past weekend cemented her title as the Queen of Pop. At 53, and in just under 13 minutes, she managed to wipe away any doubts as to her ability to reign supreme over the fickle, sexist and ageist industry that is pop music. Here are the top ten reasons why she deserves our respect.
Shortly after I arrived in Paris this past January, I received a very thoughtful present from French friends I met a few summers ago. They had read my post about moving to Paris and my reference to that mythical creature "la Parisienne" and promptly sent me a copy of Sabine Denuelle's La Parisienne dans l'Art (Citadelles & Mazenod, 2011). It arrived at my door beautifully wrapped with a very sweet note. Of course, being in the midst of moving and surrounded by a mountain of boxes, I leafed through it briefly and reluctantly tucked it away in a safe place to resume the tedious task of unpacking.
As a consumer, I'm frankly tired of the hype surrounding young designers. No sooner is the paint dry on their studio walls that they're being proclaimed industry darlings and inking deals with Target. Sometimes, it's hard to escape the impression that a number of them are more interested in the money than the craft. Others are being pushed to walk before they can crawl by an industry that has become increasingly brutal and relentless.
The Luxe Chronicles is a collection of interviews, profiles and musings on various aspects of the luxury industry and occasionally, a rant on our celebrity obsessed culture and the dumbing down of our collective sense of style and esthetic.