Monday, March 23, 2009

more haute than not.

Friday night Raquel and I had a fashionista date to see Valentino: The Last Emperor at the film forum. The film was quite pretty, although not so lavishly over the top that it felt vulgar and out of touch (line that Valentino himself has walked carefully in his career).

Matt Tyrnauer, a special correspondent for Vanity Fair, started the film after writing a profile of Valentino and his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti and their relationship. Serendipitously, as Tyrnauer was working on the project, the Valentino Company was sold and Valentino decided to celebrate his 45th anniversary with a retrospective and weekend long party in Rome. Shortly after Valentino announced his retirement, something many heralded as the end of the couture tradition.

I hadn't read much about the film before we went, and was surprised that it focused less on the history of Valentino (who he had dressed, who he learned from, and so forth) and more on the the showing of final collection, the retrospective, and surrounding events. It didn't, however, focus as much on the actual making of the garments as I would have liked--although there was one dress they followed from conception ("I was thinking about this dress this morning") to its eventual walk down the runway-- and I wondered if someone who wasn't familiar with the history and ins and outs of the couture process would have understood how this was different than a high end ready to wear line. Related to this, but slightly tangential, it bothered me that during the course of the film a young woman who was obviously the houses fit model was never introduced the way other personalities were (muse, majordomo, CEO of the company). It struck me as odd since many people might not know what a fit model is, and disrespectful since she spent most of her time on screen in a state of undress or half dress.

Overall, however, the film was a sweet love story and an interesting comment on the state of the fashion industry. Hopefully it will inspire more people to appreciate the difference between haute couture and juicy couture...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

the last emporer?

Tomorrow night Raquel and I are going to see the Valentino movie, and a Q and A with Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley!

I am pretty excited about the movie... but even more excited to see ALT in the flesh!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Reasons I Still Don’t Like Nylon (Not Even When It’s Free)

Sometime last year Nylon started showing up in my mailbox. It has been over a year now and it still appears. I never subscribed. I certainly didn’t pay for it, but month after month it shows up. I mentioned it to a friend and she said she had experienced the same thing, and she thought it had something to do with Urban Outfitters. It is quite possible I signed up for a free subscription when I bought something, but why it started showing up isn’t the point here… let me get back on topic.

I remember loving Nylon in high school. I think I discovered it maybe my junior or senior year. But about halfway through my first year of college I remember picking up a copy and just not being satisfied. I don’t think my semester at college had made me so much more worldly and sophisticated, that I was turning my nose up for no good reason. Specifically, I remember the magazine had been redesigned and the new design didn’t look as fresh to me. Perhaps, it became too cutting edge for my southern sensibilities?

In college and graduate school I continued to look at it occasionally, thinking maybe it would revive some of its original flavor. Occasionally I would go diving in to it for research purposes, looking for historically inspired fashion and the like. And what I found was derivative and shallow. I know, it’s a fashion magazine, you say. But what I had liked about Nylon when I was younger was that they seemed more often to comment on the larger picture of fashion, had just the right mix of fashion and anti-fashion and seemed more aware of way the medium of fashion communicates (and why and how… and what it means). And of course, there was the age-old problem with fashion magazines, everything costs like a gazillion dollars, which I feel like wasn’t always the case.

Regardless, every so often I pick it up again. Hoping to find in it that spark of inspiration I did as a teenager, I continue to be disappointed. I guess its possible that I outgrew it, but I don’t feel like it’s aimed at someone younger than me… just someone dumber than me.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

just when I start to feel like I can write again

The wireless internet I have used for over a year, courtesy of someone in my building or nearby, has failed me.