Thursday, June 17, 2010

Where's the party? Really. Where Is It?

One of the posters, above, in the current advertising campaign for the new Opium. Below, the poster from a decade ago set tongues awagging. Top photo from Bottom photo from the files.

Two questions have the fashion world abuzz: What kind of party will Yves Saint Laurent, the label throw tonight in New York for the world premiere of the latest version of Opium? And, um, where is the party?

The answers to these questions are as closely held as high-level state secrets.

What great marketing! What a simply brilliant way to create buzz around a product and event. The last time Opium made a big splash was in 2000 with the infamous and award-winning poster featuring model Sophie Dahl. The people in the war room at YSL have also been feeding the public curiosity mill at “A thousand inspirations lead to one creation. This week, Yves Saint Laurent reveals a new scent. Visit daily as we reveal what inspired us. Tell us what inspires you,” visitors are encouraged to do after watching a daily video about Opium.

Yesterday, the video about party preparations carried the headline, “Setting the Stage.” A visitor identified as Lola Jane said, “I’d love to smell this fragrance. I can’t wait to see how beautiful the event will turn out to be.”

It is Erik, however, who perfectly captures the sentiments of the body politic: “I wanna go!!!”

The last couple of weeks New York has seen enough e-mail, text and phone call activity to give the likes AT&T worries about its ability to handle all the traffic. No one can call in enough favors on this one. Many of the fashion elite are clueless about any serious element of the party. And the precious few with invitations have been sworn to secrecy, only parroting information already in the public domain: the deejays are Alexa Chung/Alexandra Richards and Cobrasnake is the official photographer. The celebrity guest list is also a mystery, creating alerts for Cher, Grace Jones and Loulou de la Falaise Klossowski, muse of YSL the man. It seems the most information that anybody has is what YSL has deigned to disclose: “Like Yves Saint Laurent’s addictive new fragrance, the world premiere party promises to be a captivating blend of ingredients. Months in the making but only one day away, the extraordinary event is the realization of hundreds of inspirations.”

How will YSL top that 1977 spectacle? Will it even try, especially in this day and age? One can just imagine the recrimination in the press. Amid The Great Recession and declining euro, a French fashion label has the temerity to throw an uber-fabulous, uber-elaborate party aboard a yacht called Peking helmed by an It author and society fixture (Truman Capote), American Coalition Against Opium and Drug Abuse and all other detractors be damned. That’s so 20th century disco era. Here’s the deal: YSL is going to hire a jet and press John Travolta into service as the pilot. Captain Travolta will fly the VIPs to a landing pad near New York City where the party will jump off. They will drink Moët et Chandon, eat sushi and bathe in a pool of Opium. Simple. Done.

What is amusing in all of this frenzy is virtually no one is talking about the actual scent. FYI, at its base is stuff like amber and vanilla. Jasmine and myrrh have a hold on its heart, and at the top is lily of the valley and mandarin.

No doubt, tomorrow the world will know the whos and whyfores. For now we know the party is at 9; the build up has been massive, and we are not invited.

Visit for more information about Opium.

Havaianas' Ode to World Cup Fans

Fernanda Motta, left, in front of a Havaianas team sandals "tower" at Barneys. She is not wearing flip flops. Below, team sandals from the United States, England and Brazil. Fernanda Motta photo by Marion Curtis Startracks. Team sandals photos courtesy of Havaianas.

GOAL!!! Almost a week into the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the commemorative Havaianas teams flip flops are leaving Barneys at a good clip, my friends there give me to know.

Wonder which sandals that handsome guy bought? Yours Truly was chatting to the indecisive fellow a few days back at the Havaianas/GQ Magazine/Barneys team sandals launch party. Very bullish on Spain, was he, but also a little skittish because the colors are too bright. And Brasil’s green and yellow? Too much. He asked my opinion. I looked them over with no respect to country and chose Italy.

“No, I don’t want those,” he explained. “Everybody says American men always wear blue.” With those words, he returned Spain’s yellow/red sandals to their proper place and set off to get the opinion of Brazilian model Fernanda Motta. She has to be pleased today that Brazil is the leader in Group G with 3 points. But can the World Cup favorite keep that winning spirit going on Sunday against Côte d'Ivoire? Likely.

The Brazilian team Havaianas are the biggest sellers among the 17 countries represented in the line, behind the United States and England.

What of the Yanks and Brits? They played each other to a draw last week and are tied for second place with one point each in Group C. Both are on the pitch again tomorrow. The U.S. Americans take on the Slovenians, while the UK faces Algeria.

Meanwhile, regardless of his country of choice, the Barneys guy no doubt walked away with a pair of $24 Brazilian sandals that “feel supple and soft, yet highly durable” and are inspired by Hawaii and Japan in heart and sole.

Visit Havaianas at and Barneys at

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