It’s hard to believe that we’re already back in the swing of things, welcoming another month of fashion shows. It seems like only yesterday I was in the middle of the Nevada desert for Burning Man. (Or maybe it’s just that the hangover from that experience has only now worn off.) Yet, there I was in the early days of September, figuring out how to be in a dozen different places at the same time. Adding to the already grueling schedule of fashion week this season were two non-fashion sanctioned events. First, on the even of the collections, Rachel Feinstein organized a performance festival in Madison Square Garden. Rachel, one of the most important contemporary artists working today, had erected three site specific public works in the park, and in the closing days of the exhibition was inspired to host an evening of culture and delight. She didn’t disappoint. It was a balmy, beautiful with ballet performers, Jarvis Cocker, Lil Buck and Kalup Linzy, my favorite performance artist. (For more from Rachel on the works in the park, read an interview I did for Gagosian’s NOW here.) My other fashion week diversion this season involved a cross country flight and a morning in Cupertino, California, that could only be described as a religious experience. It was the Apple experience, the launch of the new iPhone 6 and the AppleWatch. It was like going to geek church. The entire room was packed, on the edge of their seats, hanging on every one of Tim Cook’s words. Not that it was all geeks: Proving Apple is still on the cuff of cutting edge technology and design, cultural influencers like Gwen Stefani, Chris Martin, Dr Dre, Will.i.Am and Puff Daddy were all piled into the front row and just as intrigued. In the end, these diversions only reinforced how inspiring fashion week is for me and for the rest of the creative communities. I sometimes find myself wondering what the relevance of fashion week still is, why every six months the industry spends million of dollars on 14 minute shows. And then I realize that these shows are like the laboratories of ideas, one of the many rituals we have as a creative community to influence each other. (Did I tell you Miley Cyrus is an artist now? Scroll down.) The interplay between art, technology and fashion is now to intrinsically linked that it felt right to seamless move between the worlds, from fashion show to art opening to Apple launch. Though, I will say this: Fashion people know are much better when it comes to open bars and goody bags. And that, after all, has always been my favorite part of fashion week.
Heaven knows I don’t need a reason to go home. This blog has as many pictures of Karlie Kloss at a European fashion week as it does on the Blasberg family farm in Hillsboro, Missouri. (In fact, whenever I need a little peek of life back on the farm, I look at the Polaroids that she took at my 30th birthday. Check them out.) So it was a non-issue when my friend Lily Allen told me that she was opening for Miley Cyrus in St Louis. Yea, I’ll be there.
And so it began. I arrived in my hometown after a tranquil, peaceful few days in Aspen with some friends. In Aspen, the air was crisp and we went mountain biking at the break of dawn and hiked at dusk. (Want to see me in Spandex? Check out my Instagram. But you’ve been warned: I am actually wearing Spandex.) So it was a with a clear head that I turned up in St Louis. Well, it got messy immediately! What? I had to show Lily a good time. We met in the Grove on Manchester, kicked back a few drinks, commandeered a designated driver (safety first, kids) and ended up at a dance club in East St. Louis. Many hours later, I got home just about when my pals in Aspen were getting ready for their morning ride. On a wee bit of sleep I woke up, I fed the chickens (no, really, scroll down for images) and then I met my parents for lunch. That afternoon, my mother made me mow the lawn — never too old for chores in the Blasberg family, apparently — and then my friends Lauren and Erin joined Lily at the Scottrade Center for her performance with Miley. I hadn’t yet seen Miley’s show, so I made the mistake of inviting my ‘rents too. Although we were watching from backstage, I did wonder what was going through my parents’ head out in the audience when Miley came out in dollar bill unitard with a mouth-full of cuss words and riding a giant hot dog. (Me? I loved it.) An extra special thanks to Miley for tossing me a plush toy on stage – where did she get it? She doesn’t know — which now holds a place of honor on my parents’ banister.
What else did Lily and I do? She checked out the University City Loop and did some thrift shopping (her favorite purchase was a child’s ice skating costume, duh) and bought an awful lot of novelty socks from the hemp store. She tried toasted ravioli, which is a St Louis delicacy (not sure why they’re called that because they’re just fried ravioli, nothing toasted about ‘em), Imo’s pizza (my favorite) and I hauled her to Ted Drewe’s, which is the best frozen custard in the entire world. And since you’re never too old to learn new things, she introduced me to Seoul Taco, which was all sorts of cheesy and delicious. And played with Monster, my long lost puppy.
When Lily and Miley left, things resumed to my Missouri normal. I visited my Uncle Fred and Aunt Tina in Hillsboro, and brought my friend Lauren’s little girls with me because I know they like to pick wild flowers. We drove to the Lake of the Ozarks, so I could blow the dust of my water skis and eat my beloved sweet potato fries at the offensively named Big Dick’s Halfway Inn. (Calm down! It’s a small motel that was started by a fat guy called Richard. Promise.) I made a video of my 60-something-year-old aunt doing a baton twirling routine on her back lawn (GO TO MY INSTAGRAM IMMEDIATELY, IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS!). My dad showed off some of his news toys: He got a four-door Wrangler, which only irks me because he knows it’s always been my dream car; and a Harley Trike, which is essentially a children’s tricycle on steroids.
On a more somber note, I left St Louis in a conflicted state. Ferguson, MO, is a town on the north side of the city, and what has happened there has been tough to watch. (Google it if you don’t know.) St Louis is spread out, so my hometown community has been spared from the riots and looting in Ferguson. But to see a place that you love deal with so many issues — political, social, even the simple devastating act of a heartbroken family — is tough. Local politics is not my bag. I don’t want to get on a soap box here and be one of these annoying people who think they know how to fix every problem. (Anyone else tired of seeing those videos and talking heads? Sheesh.) But I will say is that I pray and I hope that the conflicts and anger that are plaguing the place I come from come to peaceful resolution soon. St Louis is a special place. Trust me.
I first met Riccardo Tisci, Givenchy’s artistic director, the same way many other people in the fashion community did: Through his longtime friend, MariaCarla Boscono. (MariaCarla and I have been friends since I was in college, when I lived in the dorms and she lived in Williamsburg. But that’s another story for another time.) MariaCarla and Riccardo are like siblings for the same Italian family. They tease each other, they love each other, they speak so quickly in so many languages that the only person that can understand them is each other. MariaCarla was a champion of his when he was a struggling designer of his own namesake collection, and was always an ardent supporter of his talent. Turns out that she had good instinct: When Riccardo took over the house of Givenchy in 2005, he revitalized the fashion house from a sleepy French brand into an international powerhouse. (It wasn’t easy at first, as he readily admits. His early reviews weren’t the best. But today he is one of the most influential designers working in fashion.) Which is all to say that he’s done a lot in his first four decades on this planet. We celebrated his 40th birthday this weekend on the Spanish island of Ibiza. Like his designs, the party was a contradiction: It was rough but still romantic, it was (very) late but still light. Titans of film, fashion and art all turned out for his party, as did his mother, his eight sisters, friends from his childhood, and of course a couple of supermodels. We’re talking about you, Kate and Naomi. It was a special night — and morning — and I wish him another four decades of fun, fashion and wonder.
Paris hosted the of haute couture shows again last week. And, as in seasons before, the holes left by the various couture labels whose high fashion business has dwindled in these less-than-stellar economic times have been filled by a long list of other chic and fabulous happenings. Like what? Miu Miu presented their resort collection (one of my favorite of the season, very mod, very girly, lots of navy blue) and then hosted a lavish dinner and private Jack White concert. Nearly all of my girlfriends hosted parties for their various fashionable enterprises: Eugenie Niarchos had a cocktail party for her line, Venyx; Noor Fares had a party for her eponymous jewelry collection; Bianca Brandolini and Alexia Niedzielski collaborated on a bikini collection. French Vogue hosted a dinner and dance party – Cecile Cassel lead the charge, and was fabulous – that may well become Paris’ version of the Met ball.
Of course, there were the shows too. Dior’s show was held in a specially constructed bubble of walls made of white orchids (Diorchids, we wondered?) and started with elegant, voluminous gowns before moving onto decadent fur coats and long, minimalistic evening jackets. I won’t soon forget Giambattista Valli’s show, especially the long, oversized evening dresses at the end. And this was one of my favorite Chanel shows in recent years. In a preview with Karl Lagerfeld, he showed that the materials were actually a specially created form of concrete embroidery. Only he can combine concrete and couture, and finish the show with a pregnant bride that looks as chic as ever.
Not that anyone needed an excuse to come to Paris in the summer, but the girls were out this season. I’ll never forget Jennifer Lopez marching into the Versace show in her all-white one-legged evening dress. Or, should I say glowing in? Emma Watson looked fabulous at her couture appearances, mixing ladylike lace at the Valentino show with androgynous tailoring when she joined us at the Givenchy table for the French Vogue party. I fell hard for Dakota Johnson too, the future star of the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, who was in town for the Chanel show. (So was Jared Leto, hubba hubba.) Dakota was staying at an apartment near me, and the two of us bonded with our mutual buddy Emily Ward over the eating and drinking habits of the locals. But perhaps the most unexpectedly wonderful mashup was me, Alexa Chung and Mos Def, tablemates at the Prada dinner. Thanks, Miuccia!
Another cultural delight is visitin the art shows in Paris. The Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit at the Grand Palais was astounding. It closed the week we were there, and the art gods were smiling on me that I managed to see it in its final days. As I paced the galleries, I thought how impressive it was that he managed to find pieces of heaven in what may have looked like hell to everyone else. The Gagosian’s Le Bourget venue, which is just outside Paris, has a fabulous show called ‘An American in Paris’ on, the centerpiece of which is Jeff Koons’ Balloon Swan (Red), which my friends stared at for a few hours wondering if it was playful or sexually graphic.
But my favorite part of couture week was doing what I love to do in Paris: Being a tourist. Like going on the ferris wheels and the swings at the carnival in the Tuilleries, strolling the streets of Paris, shopping the soldes, drinking hot chocolate at Cafe Flore, and sweating out the hot chocolate while dancing at tiny, most likely unsafe dance halls. It’s my favorite city and my favorite week of the year.
Captions, from top: A stroll in the Tuilleries; Karlie Kloss at the French Vogue dinner; me and Jared Leto at the Chanel show; looks at the Dior show; Grace Coddington and Marc Jacobs at the Miu Miu show; me with Mos Def and Alexa Chung at the Miu Miu party; even the puddles in Paris are chic; fanning out with Emily and Dakota at Le Montana; Jennifer Lopez making her grand entrance; Kendall Jenner, Harry and Peter Brant, Jamie Bochert, Kim Kardashian and myself at the French Vogue party; Joan Smalls and Anja Rubik; Jourdan Dunne on the Versace runway; Daria and me at Kaspia; Alice Dellal and Poppy Delevingne at the Chanel show; the view from the Grand Palais on a summer’s day; Jean Paul Goude and Glenda Bailey at the JPG show; the scene at French Vogue’s dinner; me, Joan and Karlie posing off; Miles and Lily at Silencio; the Brant boys; Jamie at the Givenchy table; Cecile Cassel killing it; Vanessa Traina and Alexander Wang; Natasha Poly giving me a cold shoulder and a sexy back; Jeff Koons’ Balloon Swan (Red) at the Gagosian Gallery in Le Bourget; a detail of the Koons piece; a wall of portraits by Robert Mapplethorpe at the Grand Palais; Mapplethorpe’s self portrait; having English breakfast tea on a rainy Paris afternoon; Bianca and Carine at the Miu Miu party; Dior’s wall of white orchids; Douglas Booth at the Prada party; Isla Fischer and Sunrise Ruffalo; Jack White performing; Gemma Atherton; Kristina O’Neill at Kaspia; Daria and Kristina having a laugh in the Marais; backstage at Giambattista Valli; Franca Sozzani with Eugenie; Noor Fares; Kendall Jenner and Marjorie Gubelmann at the Chanel show; Jamie and her friend Sofia; Uma Thurman and Miuccia Prada; exiting from the Dior show; an unexpected air show at Le Bourget; Langley Fox, Daria Strokous and Leigh Lezark at Silencio; fun at the fair; wishing Patti Wilson a happy birthday; a night with the boys, Paul, Alessandro, Riccaro, Dani, Kevin and Seb; me and Paul Aziz on the swings; me and Miuccia Prada; Caroline and Dakota
It’s funny what you miss when you leave home, isn’t it? One of the reasons I was so desperate to high tail it out of St Louis after high school was because I was tired of long country rides, having to drive a car everywhere, fried food, long conversations with strangers, people who actually listened for an answer when they asked, ‘Howareyou?’ (That’s my pet peeve about New Yorkers, by the way. People who think ‘Howareyou’ is the same as ‘Hello.’) Now that it’s nearing a decade and a half since I left home, though, these are the very things I look forward to most when I come back to Missouri. Driving to my uncle’s farm in my Dad’s Jeep with the music up and the windows down and a fresh Imo’s pizza in the back? Heaven.
Last week started with my nephew and godson Will’s second birthday. It had a Cars theme and a bouncy castle, the latter of which had a 150 pound weight restriction, which only made me want to get in there more. (And, for the record, I did. No children were harmed.) And it ended at my Uncle Fred’s house in Hillsboro, which is a particular point of Blasbergian pride. Fred built the house with his own two hands with local woods and rocks. So what it took him three decades, looks fabulous now. He suffers from a disease called Ataxia, which we are still finding more information about, which limits him from some of our favorite countryside pastimes, like hayrides and flower picking and dips in the pool. But something tells me he’s happy that his hard work has brought joy to so many of us.
From St Louis, I figured I might as well hop up to Aspen for an event Chanel was doing for their Paris-Dallas collection. (That show, in Texas, was one of my favorite Chanel moments. For my diary from Karl Lagerfeld’s country western couture, click here.) I had never been to this picturesque town — truth be told, I’m a better waterskier than I am snow bunny — but I found it super charming. The people were nice, even the ones with recently plumped faces. And I was able to show off my equestrian skills. Not to mention I got to wear my favorite cowboy shirt and cashmere bandana in a non-ironic way, for once. I wonder if there were any other cowboys on the Rio Grande Trail who had a Saint Laurent kerchief around their neck?
Oh, Riri, what are we going to do with you? I have fallen in and out of love with Rihanna since she first hit the Pop music scene. (Though, her song, SOS, still gets me going on a dancefloor.) I would follow her on Instagram and then unfollow her. (But since she shut that down, don’t need to worry about it anymore.) Last night, though, I decided I liked her. She was both badass and adorable in her speech at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Award, and looked both glamorous and tacky. Her gown was made of a completely sheer club glitter mesh. Most importantly, she gave me the best line from a fashion party ever: To describe how she uses fashion as her defense mechanism, she gave the line: “She can beat me, but she can’t beat my outfit.” Genius! More about the awards? John Water, the film director and cult figure, was an amazing host. He was cynical and fabulous. Congratulations to my friend Joseph Altuzarra who won the Womenswear Designer of the Year award. Public School took home the award for menswear, and The Row went home with the award for Accessories. Another highlight was the reemergence of Mango, the SNL star of my childhood (more on that in another post), who my friend Kristina coerced into taking a picture with Anna Wintour. And meeting Ruth Finlay, the head of the Fashion Calendar. She received The Board of Directors Tribute Award, and the video that preceding her award, which chronicled her seven decades (yes, seven decades) in fashion brought a tear to more than a few people’s eyes in the audience. Which can’t be easy in a room full of fashion people.
Captions, from top: Me with Mango and Alexander Wang; Rachel Zoe and Marc Jacobs; Blake Lively, Michael Kors and Heidi Klum; Naomi Campbell and Tyson Beckford; Chrissy Teigen, Vera Wang and Rachel Roy; Raf Simons, the recipient of the International Award; Dree Hemingway, Jamie Bochert and Gia Coppola; Mango and Anna Wintour; Hanne Gaby and Alana; Anja Rubik; Andrew Rosen and Diane von Furstenberg; Karen Elson and Lance; Leigh Lezark, Olivier Theyskens and Caroline Trentini; John Waters on the mic; the Traina sisters with Jack and Lazaro from Proenza Schouler; Will and Trey Laird with Scott Sternberg and Jessica Joffe; Tim Coppens, the winner of the Swarovski menswear award, with Daria Strokous and Tom van Dorpe; Joseph Altuzarra and Christopher Kane; my sweet Karlie; Stefano Tonchi, Giovanna Battaglia, Karlie and me; Joan Smalls with the Brant boys; Ruth Finlay with Tim; me, some Brant boys and Joan at the Boom Boom Room
My favorite part of the Cannes film festival had nothing to do with the city of Cannes. The festival, now in its 67th year, has become perhaps the most famous of the international film festivals. It is the stilettos and ball gowns to Sundance’s Ugg boots and fur coats. Though, for all the glitz and the glamour that it brings, it’s also adopted some less chic elements, like pushy sponsors, crowds, creepy old men and so many closed streets. Which is why the best bits are often in the other cities that dot the French Riviera. Like Monaco, which is where Nicolas Ghesquiere held his first resort collection for Louis Vuitton, appropriately inspired by the colors and plaids associated with the Grand Prix, Monaco’s most famous sporting event. Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, the sitting heads of Monaco’s famous royal family (Albert’s mother, Grace Kelly, was the basis for the critically panned film that opened the film festival a few days before) where the hosts of the affair, and joined us in the audience. As did the royal members of Ghesquiere’s fashion family, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Jennifer Connelly. But it was the town of Antibes that saw the most action of the Cannes film festival because that’s where two of the week’s biggest events take place: Vanity Fair’s annual dinner, which this year was cohosted by Giorgio Armani, and then a week later the AMFAR gala. Both take place at the famed Hotel du Cap, which is perhaps the world’s most glamorous hotel. It’s gilded, marbled and expensive as hell, and sits atop a long drive that leads down to an infinity pool overlooking the Mediterranean that looks like it fell out of an Old Hollywood film. During AMFAR’s festivities, this drive was decorated with Damien Hirst’s gold plated mammoth skeleton, which went for $15million at the live auction. The night after AMFAR, Topshop’s Sir Phillip Green hosted an appropriately glamorous finale: Naomi Campbell’s birthday party. The supermodel showed up in a fluorescent green, beaded and lace Versace minidress, and was lead in a chorus of Happy Birthday by Robin Thicke. Afterward, the party moved to a club called The Billionaire, which would be tacky in any place besides the Riviera. Because perhaps only there, tacky can be chic.
Captions, from top: The view from the top of Antibes; Natasha Poly and I at the Vanity Fair dinner at Eden Rock; Jean Pegozzi’s inflatable orgy; me and Dasha in Antibes; Daria Strokous playing by the stairs; Karlie Kloss at Pegozzi’s; Milla Jovovich posing at Richie Akiva’s party; Karlie and Rosie Huntington-Whitley at AMFAR; Carine Roitfeld and Irina Shayk at AMFAR; me and Rinko at the Louis Vuitton show; Liya Kebede in the show; Nicolas Ghesquiere takes his bow; Elizabeth von Guttman and her fashion wifey Alexia, with Carine; Lui Wen at LV; A royal guard in the Monaco palace with Pat McGrath and Sara Maino; Nicky Haslam and Peggy Seigal at VF; Pegozzi, Sofya and Dasha at Eden Rock; boys being boys: The Brants and Brett Ratner with me at VF; Suki on the dancefloor; Sofya, Dasha, me and Fabiola Beracasa at VF; a charming beach pier in Antibes; the Russians at a Garage magazine party; when me and Riley Keogh met Conchita Wurst; the Hirst dinosaur at Hotel du Cap; Naomi Campbell on her birthday; a garden in Antibes; Jessica Chastain in the du Cap elevator after AMFAR; me and Paul Aziz; Milla and Chris Tucker; Stefano Tonchi, Edward Enninful and Riccardo Tisci at Naomi’s birthday; the Hotel du Cap at night; me and Jessica Chastain; Julia Roitfeld in the AMFAR fashion show; my friend Amalyne; when I tried to steal Natasha’s diamond necklace; Robin Thicke performing at AMFAR; Jourdan Dunne at AMFAR; Kati and Adrian; Margherita Missoni on the AMFAR runway, which raised more than $3million; Karlie and a fellow giraffe; feeling left out when Lara Stone and Karlie started smooching; Vlad and JT at Eden Rock; Sir Phillip Green with Naomi and her Studio 54 birthday cake.
My thighs are aching and it’s not even 10pm and I’m already in my pajamas. Is this what a marathon runner feels like? Too bad my exhaustion is not from running 26 miles, but rather talking for 72 straight hours. Phew. What a weekend. It started with a birthday party my friend Tico threw me at his house and ending with the Met ball in New York. I’m happy I took some pictures because I might not remember it all otherwise.
Captions, from top: Annie, me and Karlie at my birthday; Naomi at the Met; Olivier, Rosie, Joan and Rita at their table; Katie, Tabitha, Alexa, Harley and Karlie enjoying some sushi; Lily and Kristen Wigg, funniest woman ever; the world’s most glamorous couple, tom and Gisele; Toni and Jourdan; forever the hostess with the mostess, Lauren Santo Domingo; Kate and Stella on the red carpet; Jessica Pare fitting in perfectly at the lobby of the Carlyle Hotel; Katie, Lazaro and Carine; Tom Sachs and the birthday cake he made me; Atlanta, Jen, Laura, Sarah, Rebekah and Shoshanna looking like a tough girl gang; Dan Colen and Evan Yurman; Samantha, Marjorie and Jamie; the trumpets announcing the dinner; Jessica Hart from the back; Bernard and Matthew; Tico and Colby, my birthday throwers; Kate, James and Nicky; Karen and Tabitha and their trains; Max, Alex, LSD, Ryan, Caroline and Vanessa proving black is still the new black; Eugenie at dinner; Carolyn Murphy giving me over the shoulder; Zoe Kravitz, a lady in red; Jessica and Stavros; Arizona on her way out of the museum; Mr Testino in his tails and decorations; Brooke Candy on the roof of the Standard Hotel; Margherita and Coco; Blake Lively and Bee Shaffer taking the train into dinner; me and Taylor Swift
First, a little background: The Brown Shoe Company is based in St Louis. And as a self appointed cultural mayor of the Midwest city, it was my duty to go downtown last night to celebrate the company’s 100th Anniversary of the company, which was one of the very first to join the New York stock market. (I wasn’t the only one from the Lou who was down there either. Nelly, of St Lunatics and ‘Hot in Here’ fame, was also in attendance.) But what I didn’t expect at the bash was the performance from Jennifer Hudson. The Academy Award winning American Idol semi finalist waltzed onto stage singing, and by the end of her performance had the entire room gobsmacked. This was no cocktail fair. Effie White was back, and she brought the place down. I was in the DJ booth when she started, so I managed to sneak over to the side of the stage to steal this video. Doing St Louis proud!