Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fashion Has Its Rewards

TRACEY Ullman, turned out as an Upper East Side lady who lunches, gives the hoi polloi (well, not exactly; seated attentively is the crème de la crème of U. S. fashion) a glimpse of how the Great Recession is affecting the wealthy.

It includes being picked up by her driver (in a Smart car) in an alley after a shopping trip on the DL to Louis Vuitton. Before he arrives she takes the pricey purchases out of their original shopping bags and places them in plastic bags, including one that reads, “I ♥ New York.” A further compromise is her noisemaker trench coat purchased at a famous UK clothier. This clothier, if you care to know the name, recently opened a store on the Upper East Side at Lexington Avenue and 86th Street. "That's the sound of cheap fabric," she informs her friend who hears the coat racket over the mobile phone microphone. TU ends the skit by disguising herself with a brown, bobbed wig and Jackie-O sunglasses, sending up a very famous magazine editor. Hint: The name of the magazine rhymes with rogue. And the editor is a big fan of a certain tennis player who recently won a grand slam tournament that had eluded him for years. Incidentally, after his victory she was standing and cheering from his friend’s box, an act that has yet to be witnessed at a fashion show.

This is the most interesting moment tonight (Monday 15 June) of the somewhat dry CFDA Awards. For the uninitiated, the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards are to the apparel industry what the Oscars are to film, the Tonys to theater, the Emmys to television, the Grammys to music.

The biggest surprise of the ceremony at the Star Theater in Alice Tully Hall may have been the award of Womenswear Designer of the Year to Kate&Laura Mulleavy for Rodarte. Their competition was Narciso Rodriguez and Marc Jacobs. The sisterly duo began sewing four years ago in their parent’s Pasadena, Calif. home and would make a name for themselves by dressing Hollywood starlets and famously, First Lady Michelle Obama who in the last almost-six months has become a tastemaker. For her meteoric rise, she claimed the CFDA Board of Directors' special tribute. Alas, she accepted via taped video feed.

MJ didn’t win the biggest prize of the night, nor did he leave empty handed. Bestowed on him in recognition of his fanciful work for Louis Vuitton was the International Award. More surprising than his showing was his low-key (ho-hum?) acceptance speech. Other major winners (visit cfda.com for a full list): Scott Sternberg for Band of Outsiders and Italo Zucchelli for Calvin Klein who tied for Menswear Designer of the Year; and Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez (not a tie, a team) for Proenza Schouler (another MO fave) in the Accessories Designer of the Year category. The new popular vote award went to Ralph Lauren.

And so goes the awards and now comes the party: What would a fashion event be without models whose stars are rising, with designers in tow? Georgie Baddiel is sporting long hair and Phillip Lim (who has his reservations about Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, but will nevertheless show). Georgie looks fabulous and is as gracious and humble as one would expect a girl from Burkino Faso to be … Ditto for the Dominican Barbie doll Arlenis Sosa (above, with Esteban Cortazar), who speaks in the most delightful Spanish-accented English. And she is fidgeting with the hem of a very short gray Ungaro (linen?) dress with a gather in front and a cut-out in back. EC, who may soon be leaving Ungaro, has his back to her chatting up some folks, so he's totally unawares. I assure her that she’s trying in vein to pull it down. She smiles sheepishly ...

“Excuse me, ma’am,” Yours Truly says to the petite lady with busy blond hair and a rocking get-up (including a black tutti and hot pink wrap belt that forms a huge bowtie in the back) whom she bumps into coming out of the theater. It’s Betsey Johnson who enjoyed the show and now needs some refreshment ...

Remember Dirk “A-Rod” Standen from last week's “The Cocktail Dress” book party at Club Monaco (9 June/"Frock History") ? I relay the story of my contretemps, which the Style.com editor had heard through the grapevine. Now he wants to read my humble blog. Perhaps, he’s doing so this second. If so Dirk, I am a writer at your service …

After receiving his statuette, RL pronounced it heavy. "Wimp," I thought. I take it back. I had the opportunity, under the watchful eye of their friend, to fondle then hold the one belonging to the Mulleavy sisters. Weighing in at approximately 25 pounds, it would make a great bookend and free weight ...

In her latest film "Stringbean and Marcus," Kerry Washington stars as one-half of an ex-Black Panther couple trying to put their past behind them while raising their daughter in Philadelphia, circa summer 1978. She is reunited with her "She Hate Me" costar, Anthony Mackie. Filming starts this summer ... Meanwhile, notice anything about KW and Angelina Jolie? You see it, too? Watching "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," I could focus on nothing but their similar mouth, nose and cheekbones. KW does not say whether she notices one way or the other, but she agrees that we are all related regardless of how alike or different we look. To my actor buddy who has been feeling a tad discouraged of late and who admires the actor’s work, KW says: “You have to go through a lot of nos to get to the yeses,” so keep on keepin’ on. Said well.


  1. Sounds like it was a worthwhile event Vevlyn... nice insights!

    Keep on keepin' on yourself!


  2. As promised i did checj out your blog. Good Job on you CFDA reporting.


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