“Christopher Kane has won the 2011 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund.” (Vogue UK)
- ALL Jason’s Dispatches /
This image of Claudia Schiffer in blackface and an afro wig was shot by Karl Lagerfeld for an ad campaign for Dom Perignon two years ago. Supposedly the context of the shoot was to depict different men’s varying fantasies. Does this fantasy involves the whitest model dressing up as a black woman or is the turn-on for an a black women with an afro? This doesn’t sit well with me. When will white people learn that toying with racially sensitive depictions with blacks as their subjects can easily offend?Surely, it’s not that difficult to find black people to illustrate images of themselves.
For me, it’s a totally nerve-racking experience to put on an event of any kind. There are simply too many unknowns in conceiving of an event that depends on a number of parts working in harmony to achieve success. So when I decided to produce SHOP, a private shopping day, I knew from that day forward I’d be living in a tense state till the day of the function.
Until the eleventh hour, I was uncertain if some of the packages would make it through customs on time—most did, one very important shipment didn’t make it. But in spite of this setback, SHOP was a huge success. Some of New York’s most enviable shoppers–who I count as private clients and friends–turned out last Tuesday to the Red Bull Space in Soho to scoop up goodies from Lenny, Seedhouse Jewelry, Hanut Singh, J Mary, Sansavino 6, among others.
The ladies were impressed by the unique selection of products and their suitability for a variety of body types and tastes. I was particularly impressed with the vintage that these ladies gravitated towards from an embroidered Karl Lagerfeld floor-duster to structured Thierry Mugler suits, a ruched and clingy Norma Kamali spaghetti dress, to a red, red-carpet worthy Fabrice. And how thrilling was it to see supportive women, not content to make their own finds, but helping out their fellow sisters to discover their treasures.
The sisterhood on display was only one of the benefits of this kind of offline shopping. While we encourage shopping online directly from our site, offline shopping in such an intimate venue has many rewards. Firstly there’s the immediate feedback from the customer, ‘this fit is great for a tall woman, a disaster on anyone below 5’5’.’ ‘This particular blue has too much black in it, casting a dark shadow on my face,’ and so forth.
Most of all, SHOP was fun, full of good cheer and happy shoppers.
Many thanks to Red Bull Space, Matt, Lindsey, Tasha, Lisa, Nishay, Jason, and all of the vendors who participated.
Since I missed most of the early spring shopping, the first order of business when I landed in NYC was to hit the stores. I arrived at my Brooklyn home from JFK at 1am and was out the door by 11am on the most glorious spring day to make the rounds of the New York boutiques.
One thing i noticed is the changing up of brands at some of the New York retail institutions. I first stopped in at If Boutique where their usual mix of Comme des Garcons, Dries Van Noten, and Margiela got an injection of newly stocked Rick Owens and Ohne Titel. Stocking Rick Owens should help to bring in a new clientele to shop the hot selling line. Meanwhile at Kirna Zabete, Prabal Gurung is the new addition to their racks and over at Atelier, their inaugural collaboration with YSL resulted in some of the most stunning pieces of the season. At Elizabeth Charles on Hudson Street, she seemed to have gone back to the drawing board, invigorating her selection of Kiwi and Aussie brands with Jasmine de Milo, Erin Fetherston, Behnaz Sarafour and Comme des Garcons.
Along the way I was working on the last minute needs of my clients who were attending the White House Correspondent’s dinner. It appears that that event continues to attract more and more of Hollywood and it’s a key stop on the social calendar if you can get an invitation. For the two clients I dressed one opted for a red floor length Hussein Chalayan, the other a printed J Mendel. For the most part though, the week was devoted to the administrative demands of producing Shop, our shopping event at 40 Thompson tomorrow. I’ve been in awe of merchandise coming in from across the globe. Vendors have been jockeying for prime display locations and clients have been vying for private shopping times. It’s shaping up to be quite an event, I hope to see you there.
The strange slipping away of time is a big topic of conversation among my friends who are new to Los Angeles. For such a slow city, the days melt away at an alarming rate. And if you have a relatively busy schedule as I do, you sneeze and it’s another weekend. This is one reason for my absence from this column for the last couple weeks, but in truth there are many exciting events in the planning that have demanded my attention and time.
In a previous post, I hinted at an upcoming-curated shopping event this spring. Well, the event has taken shape in the form of EDIT, a private shopping/press day on May 4th at the Red Bull space in New York. EDIT is collaboration between JC Report and Matt Meyerson of Expose, the boutique tradeshow and will comprise approximately fifteen brands that we’ve curated from across the globe. It’s a highly specialized event that’ll cater to my affluent private client base and their friends who are increasingly demanding of harder-to-find-products from all corners of the globe. I’ve delivered on that demand with products coming from Lenny in Brazil, Bea Valdes from the Philippines and Italian based Pauric Sweeney and lots more.
I’m headed to NYC tomorrow to produce EDIT but meanwhile here in Los Angeles other projects are afoot. I’m constantly harangued for not having more of a TV profile. Friends and colleagues insist that I’m tailor-made for television and that I should have a presence commenting on the dos and donts, ins and outs, etc. I agree that this kind of venue suits me but I’m not one to try to try to kick down the doors of networks in Hollywood. Which is why it was so fantastic for one of the daily news program to contact me regarding a profile on my wardrobe therapy sessions. I shot the segment last week and it was extremely fun and while I can’t announce the name of the show and when it’ll air, you’ll be the first to know when I can reveal that info…. it’ll be very soon.
On another front, it’s been a few years since I’ve attended Pitti Immagine but this year I’ll be back in Florence for the tradeshow that I decided years ago has the most handsomely dressed men in the world. JC Report is planning a special broadcast from from Pitti in June where Haider Ackermann and Jil Sander will have a special showcase. And with a live streaming interview between Business of Fashion’s Imran Amed and Jefferson Hack planned for April 29th and will stream on JCR, my hands have been full.
I was invited to the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina to explore the manufacturing plants in the region as well as to view the SCMC (Santa Catarina Moda Contemporanea) collections. The whole affair is about students getting support from manufacturers to create collections that promote Brazilian textiles and manufacturing. For this dispatch, I decided write a play by play of events for those 72 hours in Santa Catarina.
Thursday March 18th
2.30pm Arrive at Navagantes Airport. To go to Balneairo Cambriou where I’m staying for the next 3-days, you either have to fly into Florianopolis or Navagantes.
3pm Drive to Mercure Hotel in Balneairo Cambriou. Even though the water is not of the clear turquoise variety, I’m thrilled that the hotel is steps away from beach.
4pm Mad search for ATM, then lunch at Casa Lagosta
5pm Retreat to Hotel
8pm Dinner with Anita Delmonte my host from Abit. We go to a local spot right on the beach and I quickly learning that the food of choice here is all kinds of seafood breaded Milanese style.
Friday March 19th
Feeling a little wobbly from jetlag but this is not the day to feel impaired. Today is packed with visits to manufacturers.
10.30am Depart Hotel with a couple other journalists for Blumenau, the location of several of the factories in the region.
11:30am First stop, Dudalina, a menswear manufacturer. Rui Leopoldo Hess de Souza, one of the 20 children of the founders gave a spirited speech on the history of the company. We see the showroom, the factory and have lunch on site in the company’s cafeteria.
1.30pm We arrive at Hering, one of the largest and most respected brands in the country. It’s a 150-year old company and their executive proceeded to relay the entire history. I begged for a double espresso and I haven’t drank caffeine in months.
4pm Arrive at Tehnobleu, they make labels and tags and showed us some of the most innovative labels I’ve seen.
Between the tour and lectures, I’d been texting and calling Pedro Hering, a scion of the Hering dynasty, and a friend who took me around Florianopolis last year with his wife Janice. Time was limited but I couldn’t be in the region without meeting up.
7pm Get dropped off at Pedro and Janice Hering. After catching up for a couple hours, I was taken on tour around the different Hering compounds. One particularly impressive property was a 30-room mansion with amazing wood floors that the family plans to use as a school for German studies. Loving the tour but I’m starving. A reservation at Chez Raymond was made for 10pm. What’s Pedro thinking? Eating past 8pm is a no no.
10pm Arrive at Chez Raymond. The reservation is for an outside table that’s taking awhile to materialize and im having none of it. I’m famished and demand that an indoor table is set up to accommodate us. I hear Pedro mumbling that I’m a very important journalist from America with important ties and so on and so forth. A table was sorted and the manager was wise to steer me from the pedestrian bacalhau to the filet version and it was the best bacalhau I’ve ever had. Pedro and Janice know everyone in the area so it was like sitting with the mayor. People exiting the restaurant or the bathroom for that matter, stopped by our table to say hello and kiss the ring. I love Brazilians; they’re just nice.
12:30am It’s been a long day but en route back to the hotel, Pedro extended the tour. We popped by Warung, one of the top ten clubs in the world. It’s off-season and closed so we took pictures by the entrance and took a little stroll on the beach right in front on the club. Down the street, it was a hip hop night at Kiwi club. There’s so many hot young things entering the club, I kept spinning my head in every direction to catch a look.
1.30am Drop off at the hotel
2pm REM time
Saturday, March 20th
Before the fashion event tonight, we’re going to tour the local beaches. The day is overcast but hot and humid.
9.30am Flavia Mendonca, our Brazilian correspondent is also in town. We have breakfast together
10:45am Arrive at Laranjeiras beach. Took photos with a pirate. The rocks look exactly like the ones in Paraty.
11.30am Arrive at Taquarinhas. The beach is a nature preserve and it’s practically empty. Just the kind of beach I like. We took a couple pictures and kept it moving.
11.45am Arrive at Taquaras
12pm Arrive at Praia do Pinha, the local nude beach. I wished I could spend the day here but instead settled for picking guavas from a couple trees that were laden with ripe, succulent guavas.
12.30pm The heat is kicking in and we hadn’t swim up to this point, so it was time to go in. Anita and I took a short dip before heading back to the hotel.
12.45pm Back to hotel for a quick turnaround, then an official lunch with the press corps. Lula Rodrigues is there among a few other Brazilian journalists that I’ve met over the years. They’re accusing me of being a citizen considering how often I’m in the country.
1.10pm Arrive at Praia deos Amores for the official meet and greet SCMC lunch. A gorgeous seafood spread is layed out and I chowed down…lots of breaded seafood again. If I don’t take a nap, I will not make it to the fashion shows tonight.
3.30pm Back to the hotel
7pm The fashion shows are at Green Valley. I can’t think of Green Valley without the Jennifer Lopez “Waiting For Tonight” video poping to mind. It literally feels like partying in the jungle.
8pm The shows open with little kids wearing what looks like Oktoberfest costumes. The kiddies are cute. The clothing? Let’s see what’s more to come. Some are more successful than others. Read my report later this week.
10.30pm Post-show, we stayed on at Green Valley, danced a bit and watched as highly attractive throngs of young people flood the place. On our exit at 1.30am, the line of cars cued up to go to the club spanned about 2 miles.
Sunday March 21st
9.30-11.30am Two hours at the beach directly in front of the hotel sipping agua de coco.
12pm Depart hotel for airport
2.30pm Leave for Sao Paolo
One would think that since the date for Oscars had been fixed for months, those in the business of dressing attendees would finalize those looks far in advance of the event. But somehow, the styling always goes to the eleventh hour and this year the fires kept coming till the last client got in their limousine. It was all about getting the right shoes, jewelry and trouble shooting a wardrobe malfunction.
Finding a pair of super fly Oscars-worthy pumps proved elusive this year since the pair I was in love with from Stella McCartney were eight inches high and my vegan client feared she would topple over. Top quality, fashion forward, vegan shoes are virtually impossible to find If Stella doesn’t make them. So if I can offer one piece of advice to designers, it’s that there is a neglected audience of consumers demanding non-leather accessories—dig deeper to find skins alternative. Jewelry was another issue this year, not for a dearth of stunning baubles but because I needed 3 different sets per client depending on the final look we decided on. In one case after holding on to millions of dollars worth of jewels from several vendors, the client decided to go with her own set of emeralds when the zipper of her first choice custom made dress broke.
It all came together in the end, clients were happy and the looks were solid. The awards ceremony was generally a flat affair with equally uninspired fashions that provided gristle for my live tweeting during the ceremony. I like Zoe Saldana’s dress and thought Queen Latifah was really well pulled together. She showed that you could dress fabulous no matter what size you are. It took me the better part of the week to rebound and now I’m back in the trenches of producing editorials, synthesizing the Fall 2010 collections, and conceiving next quarter’s Trend Report. With minimalism in the air, I’m fascinated by the cultural implications of the trend (more to come on that).
The events in Hollywood are constant. After lying low for over a week, this past weekend, I was invited to a benefit at private home in the Hollywood Hills to support building schools and temples in Israel. The fantastic Vietnamese pianist Chan-Giang Thi Nguyen played along with a gifted group of opera singers from Domingo-Thornton Young Artists program, performing bits of La Boheme and Don Gionanni “Finch’han dal vino.” The salon like event was full of Hollywood power brokers and fashion folks such as Loree Rodkin and Pamela Skaist-Levy of Juicy Couture. The event reminded me that I’ve neglected to explore the cultural side of Los Angeles. In the coming months, I plan to attend LA Philharmonic and LA Opera. I’ve already started to beef up on my opera exposure by listening to the Dallas Opera soundtrack all last night en route from New York to Santa Catarina, Brazil where I’m spending the weekend.
I feel like I’m on the injury list in the Fashion Week competition this season. First I was grounded from attending the New York shows due to the weather. London was never in the cards this season and now Paris is definitely not happening. I’m staying put in LA to work with clients on the Oscars which seems to be a never ending process of reviewing swatches, searching for shoes, jewelry and clutches. It will come together but I’ll be working up till the eleventh hour to make it happen.
In the midst of all of this, I had to pop over to Las Vegas for a couple days to attend Capsule, Project and Magic tradeshows. Meghan Cleary and I took my car on its first road trip for the 4-hour drive through the Mojave desert to Vegas. I get antsy on long car rides, this trip was oddly painless; it felt more like a 2-hour trip. We were put up at the Vdara Hotel, a brand new hotel on the strip in the new City Center that houses the Crystals Shopping District (See our profile on the retail mecca out tomorrow). The whole complex with its glass façade that actually lets in natural light is in stark contrast to the tomblike lobbies/shopping spaces one usually finds in Vegas. The Vegas trip was 2 ½ days long, which was just about my threshold.
Our Premium Trend Report for sale on the site surrounds the heritage movement that has blown into vogue in the last year and half or so and I was curious to see how designers moved the trend forward. Capsule is ground zero for the movement and what I can say it that the trend is going strong, it has simply soften a bit. Think plaid in prettier, less muddy colors.
Back in LA, I’ve been trying be more social. Over the last week, I spent a lazy day brunching at Cecconi’s and lounging at the Abbey with my Malibu posse Ann Eysenring, Cassandra Corum and Co. Monday night, I was at Church boutique for the launch of Diederik Comte (Michel’s son) menswear line. See the photos on our Party Pages tomorrow. And last night I went one of Marianne Williamson’ weekly Tuesday lecture. I had no idea. The turnout was beyond, the energy was amazing and Marianne’s message truly resonated with me. A couple takeaway quotes. “Only what you’re not giving is lacking in any situation.” “If anybody brings you love, everybody brings you love.” The night was capped off with dinner with Marianne, Kathy Freston, the hilarious Skinny Bitch author Rory Freedman and The Duchess actress Hayley Atwell at The Tar Pit, a new restaurant with a sexy interior on North LaBrea.
Crystals, the shopping district inside the City Center complex in Las Vegas blew me away. The sheer scale of the luxury stores in the mall-like setting that links the Mandarin Oriental, Aria, and Vdara hotels is shocking considering the still shaky economy. I took a tour around the complex, peeping the North America’s largest Fendi, Louis Vuitton, and took this first photo inside of the Lanvin store, the second (first opened in Bal Harbour two weeks ago) and largest in the US. Look out for our profile on Crystals publishing Wednesday.