Cerulean and a Return to Grace

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“Cerulean” the blue descriptor will go down in pop culture history as the epic read Miranda Priestly gave to a naive, dowdy Andy Sachs.. What made the scene so very good, aside from everything, was for the first time there was a solid rebuttal to the most cynical of arguments on the vapidness of fashion. Within the texts of a simple comedy, Miranda in terms that anyone can understand, drew a distinct line connecting fashion to all of us and the basic processes we share. While the word fashion brings up feelings of defiance against the superficial. There are basic processes that are hard to ignore. Consumerism is just a process of the cycle of finance. Art, and the appreciation of it, is a process of human reception. Self-perception is an unavoidable process of the human ego. Consumerism, Art and Ego anchor “Fashion” as we know it and as we live it.

As the stylist led fashion industry is in its formative stages, it is easier to differentiate fashion from its offspring terminology. Styles, Trends, Clothes, Dress, Etc. Observing a Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane show I become so acutely aware of the power of identifying with an aesthetic or more simply – reaffirmation. Are you investing in clothing you love or investing in entry to a community of “Saint Laurent girls”? Are you simply paying your membership dues? At an odd frequency, I find myself revisiting a line from the adorably simple romantic comedy, Definitely Maybe. There is a corner store conversation between two main characters about whose cigarette choices were more logical, In this scene the protagonist, Ryan Reynolds responds to Isla Fishers “healthier” cigarette brand choice saying “I think what you’re actually paying for is the picture of the eagle and the pretty pastel colors. some reassuring idea about your lifestyle”. It’s true of a great many of our daily decisions. What does this choice say about who I’ve decided I am?

Recently, I was in Barnes and Noble mindlessly perusing as I always do. I saw a book called “How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World”. Immediately after I got past my personal feelings of being a writer and living in a world where a writer can write a book like this and get published – I got to thinking about the power of alliance. There is an old, horrible expression that says “I don’t stereotype because I’m prejudiced, it’s just quicker”. With “fashion” it is most certainly easier to identify with a mapped out school than to just wing it. Are you a Marilyn or a Jackie? As trite and commercial as it sounds its a way of thinking that is easily spread amongst the general buying population. So, as Miranda so eloquently pointed out, even your defiance is a peg in the wheel of fashion. Defiance, as well as obedience is worked into the system.

At the root of it all, fashion is art + identity. Its no wonder styling has become the hero of the business. At the end of the day, black slacks on Leandra Medine and black slacks on Kendall Jenner are two completely different experiences.

Cerulean. Its bright. Supremely blue. It has undertones of lavender and a blast of white light. Pantone about Cerulean “Surrounding yourself with Cerulean blue could bring on a certain peace because it reminds you of time spent outdoors, on a beach, near the water – associations with restful, peaceful, relaxing times. In addition, it makes the unknown a little less frightening because the sky, which is a presence in our lives every day, is a constant and is always there. That’s the dependability factor of blue.” What a mind f*ck is that? What a targeted and calculating use of psychology? Who are you really if you are immune to the overwhelming, factual, life-giving powers of Blue? After all, it relieves the fear of the unknown. There are systems in place to take fashion genius and force into all of your lives. Suckers. The industry depends on our allegiances. This is what the witch doctors of Pantone and others concoct seasonally. It’s no scam, its the natural progression of cultural standards. Just like visual art, film and music fashion is a pillar of cultural standards, thereby deserving of a diversified audience, public immersion and documentation of rules to be followed and broken. All the stepchild terminology of fashion has its place but fashion at its core is the connector, no? There is industry some may curse, there is style that is individual, there is retail that may trap some of us and there is design some may dismiss but ultimately Fashion is the part of recess we all play in. Willingly or otherwise.

Possessing Posen

100111670I wore my Zac Posen dress once around my bedroom for an hour. Rest assured I didn’t have an extra grand under my cushion for a Zac Posen dress. At the time, I was an intern at a big time modeling agency. I got paid in air kisses and I saved up to splurge on a venti cup on Fridays. However, one of the major perks of a being a girl in this position…Samples. Samples flew around like candy. Try ons that the showroom never picked up, “trade” the models didn’t want, you name it. However, my bounty usually came in the form of jeans from the irregular pile and promotional t shirts.  One day, my lovingly abusive boss called me into his office. “Are you a 2? You’re like a 2 right? But you’re short. Whatever, try this on see if it fits you.” He held this perfect dress against me, audibly assessing if I’d do it justice. “This would be good on a really high booty like yours,” he says, continuing his special brand of compliments. I tried the dress on, honestly thinking my eccentric boss just wanted some entertainment. I went into the bathroom an intern, I came out Naomi Campbell. The dress was mine. I may have died for a tiny stretch of time. It was all mine, garment bag and all. To be completely transparent, I was never a huge Zac Posen fan. I had a casual appreciation for Zac Posen – that is until someone offered him to me for free. He may not have been my favorite, but it was certainly better than anything else I had going on. Ryan Gosling may not be my dream man, but I do a lot worse on a regular basis so I would never kick him out of bed. With that said, this experience had a lot more to do with the show than with Zac himself. I was all about the show. This was my first time seeing something on a runway…on Carmen freaking Kass no less and owning it. Carmen’s legendary clavicle peeking through this baby pink princess of a dress. The  strobe lights lovingly hitting every panel of satin. This was pre-Lincoln Center Fashion Week when the show part of the show still mattered.

For all my appreciation, my Zac Posen never saw the light of day. I attended a few semi worthy events, but they never felt quite good enough for my dress. No one was important enough to have a Zac Posen dress worn to their birthday party. No gallery opening, magazine party earned the right. Usher’s plus one invitation to the Grammy’s never showed up so I couldn’t wear it there. My perfect dress lived in a canvas garment bag. That canvas garment bag lived on the top shelf of my closet; looking down at my inferior clothes, judging them. Just having it there in my closet did it for me. My dress was the first time I made the connection between seemingly trivial possession and emotion. This one piece of clothing carried with it overwhelming pride. Pride, as I came to understand, is an enigmatic thing; equal parts damaging and empowering. I attached my Posen to a peak moment of pride in my life. Not because I was particularly proud of how I attained it – it was put in my lap, but proud of how it identified me. The dress was a manifestation of the woman I intended to be one day. For all the underpay, all the unopened bills and grilled cheese sandwich dinners – I was still the kind of girl who had a Zac Posen runway dress ready to go at a moments notice. It was a reaffirmation that at least one part of who I wanted to be is already real. I loved being that young, that excited about the grown up I was becoming. Clothes can also be bookmarks, saving a place in your life that you’re going to want to revisit one day.

Aside from the one time I tried it in on in my bedroom to make sure it still loved me, we never made it work. Life moved on and we both grew older. The reality of adulthood brought with it demons like rent, health insurance, and food. For about two years in my early twenties, I went through a seasonal cycle of scrambling for clothing, electronics or non-vital organs I could sell online. I ultimately sold my baby pink princess on eBay to a lucky buyer in Toronto. I used to imagine the life my dress was living; Attending a Canadian wedding, being taken to a parents anniversary dinner maybe. But alas, I’d never know how she was or if her owner was treating her well. I got $175 for the dress. I had faith that countless pieces would find their way from a runway to my closet in the future. It’s been ten years and thus far ‘countless’ is a vast overstatement. With age came new priorities and the number and value of names in my closet hasn’t been a major one. With maturity came a personal sense of style, also changing how I assessed value.

We never know how life, the talents we discover, the people we kiss, the clothes we wear will define us as we get older. They all come together eventually, either in line with our intentions or in defiance of them. I’ve become the woman I intended to be and as it turns out that woman would never wear a pink satin dress.

Love Notes Passed in Public School

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There are few things more gratifying in the fashion industry than seeing talent blossom before your eyes. We take a certain level of responsibility in it, we relish in the delight of not knowing where it’s going. Much like the rest of the world, my first real exposure to Jack and Lazaro of Proenza Schouler […]

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The Great Equalizer

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The bathroom is the last great equalizer. Every other room in your home, every other activity in your life can somehow be manipulated by life circumstances. Your physical appearance can affect the amount of or quality of ass in the bedroom. Your kitchen can be anything from a Bunsen burner to an organic stocked, chef […]

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One Eyed Fool

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Dear Beauty Marketers Stop making models replace one of their eyes with the product. I’m not a fool, I know her eye is underneath the product. I’m not sure when or why this trend gained traction but its juvenile and inane. Its one thing for drugstore brands. I expect drugstore brands to obnoxiously assume that […]

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The Miseducation

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The Miseducation: What You Won’t Learn at FIT For as long as I could remember, FIT was the only college I ever enthusiastically wanted to attend. Back when all I knew about college was that because of this “college” enigma Saved by the Bell might be canceled when they leave Bayside. Add that to my […]

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Crazy Beautiful

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It started with drinks at The Tribeca Grand with my old clubbing buddy, who we’ll call Phoebe. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year and we spend the night knocking back Pinot Grigios and reminiscing about days long past of being chased by our cute club promoter/DJ/model pseudo-boyfriends down the cobblestone streets of […]

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The Guide to Overly Cool, Expertly Curated Boutiques That Will Ensure You Never Get Out of Debt.

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New York has no shortage of excessively cool boutiques. While we love our multi level, big name department stores, we have a special relationship with privately owned shops with personality. They all offer us something different, a unique edge. There is nothing quite like finding the store that matches you. The salesgirls, the music they […]

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Friends with Money. How to Happily Dine Out as The Poor Friend

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Ph. Terry Richardson | Magazine : Vogue Paris | Model: Crystal Renn It happens. Your girls haven’t been at the same place at the same time in months. The proposal for a dinner out to trash talk and bat our lashes is put on the table. Yay! Off to Open Table we go! And just […]

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The Go To Bar for When You Have Stopped Seeing Someone After Only a Few Weeks and You’re Not Sure Which One of You Ended it and You Need to Overanalyze it for 2 – 3 Hours with Your Girl over Vodka Sodas. This May or May Not Be a Personal Story.

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Wise Men, NYC I love the Bowery. Its one of my favorite places to be. DBGB is one of my favorite places to eat, Blue & Cream is one of my favorite places to shop and The Hole is my favorite gallery. Its just back to back fun The Bowery. Almost always back to back […]

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