Last night, Mulberry hosted a dinner to celebrate the Frieze Art Fair’s first New York installation. It was an appropriately swanky affair: Held at The Crown, which is on 81st Street and 5th Avenue (nose bleed!), the dinner ended with a private performance from Lana del Rey, the newest Pop icon to have a Mulberry bag named in her honor. The singer, who was gorgeous and giggly and shrewdly styled, gave a heartfelt, beautiful performance.
When I was a little boy growing up in Missouri, my mother would have to travel to cities in Europe for business and come back home with stories about what all the people were wearing there. She would always tell me how much more stylish and modern they were there. (She was comparing it to St. Louis, mind you. So she was right.) I was thinking about her and her stories on Thursday when I traveled to Denmark for the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, which was a conference put on by the Nordic Fashion Association and the Danish Fashion Institute to help foster the ideas of sustainable fashion. Turns out that no only are they more stylistically advanced, but also more environmentally advanced too.
The summit was wildly informative and extremely proactive. I had met Eva Kruse, the woman behind nearly every fashion happening in this part of the world, in New York, and she has a passion for changing the way that the international fashion industry creates and sells its wares. So when she asked me to come, I knew it wouldn’t be a bunch of hokus pokus. . She brought in a slew of participants, including Rick Ridgeway from Patagnoia, Bruno Pieters from Honesty by, PPR’s Holly Dublin and, perhaps my favorite speaker, Galahad Clark of Terra Planas, all of whom can be considered sustainable fashion experts. They’re the ones that are encouraging people not to buy less, but to buy smarter; and not to use cheap design, but better designing.
It was a quick trip. Only 24 hours. But the Danish people are not only environmentally aware, they’re also extremely polite and generous. So we spent the day talking about sustainable fashion, and then evening being fashionably entertained.
Copenhagen is a beautiful city, and so are it’s inhabitants, all blond, lithe and blue eyed. It was, according to those who lived there, an unseasonably beautiful day.
Presiding over the festivities was Mary, the Crown Princess of Denmark, who sat across the runway from me during the Design Challenge fashion show. (Susanne Rutzou was the ultimate winner.) I only saw half the show because I was admiring the sheer poise of this woman. She was born to be a princess. Which is somewhat ironic since she is actually from Australia.
Erin O’Connor and I were sat next to each other at the show. Fashion icon. (Funny story: She missed her speech during the conference because she was accidentally locked in a broom closet.)
The newly constructed opera house in Copenhagen
One of the most powerful moments of the presentation was when a 100 design students from all over the world presented their goals and ideas for creating a more sustainable fashion industry. It gave us hope.
Eva Kruse, the woman behind all of the festivities, with Jan Olesen. At the end of the conference, Eva took the stage and gave a rousing speech, encouraging us all to think more about the psychology behind what we were. She was like a chic fashion Evita!
Dinner was held in Copenhagen’s old stock exchange, which was built from 1619-1640
The actress Connie Nielson (remember her from Gladiator?), who was the moderator at the festival and an energetic, gorgeous supporter of its mission, with Noona Smith-Peterson at the cocktail hour
The dinner menu was, umm, interesting. It was provided by the Nordic Food Lab, established by the head show of Rene Redzepi, the (very handsome) head chef of Noma, which is the most important restaurant in Copenhagen. (It’s booked for months and has been voted ‘The Best Restaurant in the World’ three years in a row.) The dinner course was surreal: It was not uncommon for the courses to come in test tubes like these.
V magazine is a rewarding place to work for a variety of reasons. But the best is probably the access and possibility of collaboration with some of the most important artist and image makers currently working today. In the March issue of the magazine, which was inspired by the beauty of athletics, I had one of these opportunities when I teamed up with the artist Marilyn Minter on a fashion story.
I don’t mind admitting that my earliest exposures to Minter’s work were in the fashion arena. The images she took for Tom Ford and Tamara Mellon when she was at Jimmy Choo are still some of my favorite fashion campaigns to date. It was through those pictures I became more familiar with her artwork, which is bold, sweaty and sexual. So when we were brainstorming about stories for our March issue, she was the first person to came to mind. And, wouldn’t you know it, she said yes.
On set, Marilyn was fun, easy and fabulous. She was hardly broody, and nary a difficult moment. She always wanted more, more, more! More skin, more sweat, more muscle, more jewelry. She was constantly spritzing the body builder we had booked for the shoot, and constantly steaming the Plexi-glass she uses in her studio. She lives and works in the same space, just a few blocks from our V office in Soho. It’s a constant hub of creativity.
It was a quick, easy day, and we loved the resultant pictures. What I love about much of Marilyn’s work is that she’s not afraid to portray something as bold, strong, and in-your-face. But there’s always a feeling of sexuality about it, which is important. And which I hope we included here.
Before we even get to the film, I should say something: I adore Emma Watson. I think she’s a smart, sweet little lady, and she was one of the inspirations for my book, Very Classy, because I wish there were more girls like her in the world. Even with that out there, I can say that her performance as Sam in the film ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower,’ based on the best selling book by Stephen Chbosky, is going to ruffle a few feathers. One scene in particular, when her character and her slightly outcaste-ish friends put on a production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, has her wearing only a (conservative, mind you) bra. That alone is enough to get the Harry Potter boys in a tizzy.
I saw the film at a small screening Emma put together when I was in LA last week. I hadn’t read the book and I didn’t know anything about the film, apart from the appearances of Watson, obviously, with Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller, both of whom I think are fabulous new faces in film. (Well, not that new to me. I’ll confess I did recently watch Lerman in ‘The Three Musketeers’ when there was nothing else to watch on a flight to Paris.) I had mistakenly thought the film was lighter fare, a newer version of a ‘Clueless’ or ‘Ten Things I Hate About You’ for the new generation. I was wrong. Two hours after the film started, I walked out with sloppy, puffy red eyeballs.
Unlike, say, ‘Clueless’ and ‘Ten Things,’ which were set in idyllic California high schools full of rich, oddly attractive teenagers, this film takes place in a place not too dissimilar from where I grew up. And while I never had to deal with the sort of stuff Lerman, Watson and Miller do in the film (I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s some heavy stuff), I knew it was like to deal with bullies, fights, and boring hours in school libraries. Fun fact: I was in the high school marching band for three years. Not exactly a badge of cooldom, let me tell you. This is an honest, forthright story about a couple of kids, kids that I could have known when I was there age, coming of age and dealing with life, love and adolescence. There are some great comedic moments, many provided by Mae Whitman’s brilliant character, and moments of genuine pain.
The film made me laugh, and yes, it made me cry. (Shut up!) I loved Lerman’s performance, and I was endeared by Miller for reasons that will become apparent when you see the film. And I just adore Emma. It was nice to see her doing something out of the realm of magic. She also does an American accent, which was weird for me to see at first. But not as weird as the aforementioned Rocky Horror scene. Which she looks beautiful in, by the way.
The entire cast on set
Last week, Cartier held a swanky party in their uptown manse for their new Juste un Clou collection. Afterward, they completely transformed Skylight Studios into a late night discoteque. The highlight of which was a performance from London’s newest dance queen, Rita Ora. (Beyonce and Jay-Z, the latter of which is a major fan and signed the star to Roc Nation, snuck in for the show.) After she went on, I snuck back for a little gushing.
Derek Blasberg: Was it true that it was your first night performing in New York?
Rita Ora: Yes, and I loved it. The crowd was really enthusiastic. What a great party!
DB: Did you know that Beyonce and Jay-Z were in the audience when you performed?
RO: Yeah, it was truly amazing that they were able to come. A big moment for me. They both came by to say hello before the show, which made me really nervous!
DB: I bet!
RO: Especially as I had [a cover of Destiny’s Child hit song] ‘Say My Name’ in the set! I wanted to perform my best for them.
DB: Did you do ‘Say My Name’ because you knew she was coming?
RO: No, that song is already in my set because she’s one of my main inspirations.
DB: Speaking about inspirations, who would you say are your biggest influences?
RO: My dad has had a huge collection of music, and all sorts. A lot of things inspire me: Eric Claption, BB King, and then my Pop influences too, like Gwen Stefani.
DB: Where did you grow up?
RO: I grew up in West London, near Portobello. I love it there. That’s where my favorite vintage shops and restaurants are too. When I was young, I was writing a lot and singing in bars. I got spotted by a scout in London, who introduced me to Roc Nation – and the rest has been an amazing journey!
DB: You told a nice story on stage about how your grannie gave you a Cartier ring for your 18th birthday. Do you know what ring it is?
RO: No, my mum gave it to me. I am not sure what the name of the ring is. I guess I’ll need to find out! What I like about Cartier is they’re this old brand, but they keep it current for us kiddies.
DB: It’s true. The party was a mix of the old and the young, the stiffs and the loose. I liked your look on stage. How would you describe your personal style?
RO: Thank you! My outfit was Jean Paul Gautier, who I think is amazing. I think my style is eclectic, and I like mixing different things together: from vintage Chanel to Air Jordans! I think my style is a lot like my music.
DB: Did you do any shopping in New York?
RO: Unfortunately, no. I was really busy on this trip to do anything. But I love shopping in New York, particularly the vintage shops in Greenwich Willage are my favorites!
DB: How long were you in town?
RO: Less than a week. But I love it here.
DB: Well, then do you promise to come back soon and sing again?
RO: Yes. I would love to.
And just to slightly humiliate myself and my date for the evening: Here’s me and Karlie Kloss attempting to break it down during Rita’s gig
I’m not sure if this will be the most amazing thing I’ve ever done, or the most disastrous. Right now, as we Tweet, I am putting the finishing touches on my birthday party, which is country western-themed barn dance at the Blasberg Family Farm in Hillsboro, Missouri. Somehow (I still don’t know how), I convinced a bunch of friends from New York, L.A. and even as far off as Europe to descend on my teeny tiny small town for the festivities. They have agreed to, literally, Meet Me In St. Louis. So, between bouts of anxiety, I’ve been prepping with Youtube videos of a teenaged and tenacious Judy Garland belting out the hits from the MGM classic to get in the mood.
I remember, when I first moved to New York City and had just convinced myself I was a hardcore East Coaster, I used to despise Los Angeles. I didn’t like to drive, and I thought the locals had skin that was too dark and teeth that were too bright. But, my goodness, how have things have changed in the past ten or so years! Now I found Southern California utterly seductive. Maybe that’s because I’m older and have begun to miss the luxuries I took for granted when I was growing up in Missouri, like access to green grass and even driving (which I’ve actually grown to miss, even if I’m a parking ticket magnet). I’m just coming off one of the most wonderful West Coast excursions, which started with a birthday party for the lovely Samantha Traina, and included trips to the beach, dinners with West Coast expats, and even a little birthday party for myself. Something that has definitely made that town more enjoyable for me has been that I have actual friends there now; women like Rosetta Getty, who was my hostess for the mostest, and Jacxqui Getty, who threw me the sweetest birthday dinner. I didn’t want to leave. But at least took some pictures to remember it all.
Sunset in Malibu. Which some people were calling The Bu. Which I thought was ridiculous. Until I started doing it.
Necessarily canine extravagances in The Bu
Happy Birthday to ME!
Robin Baum with my West Coast birthday hostesses Jacqui Getty and Lisa Eisner
Kelly Sawyer with Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, the founders of Juicy Couture and the recently launched Skaist-Taylor
Rachel with Momma Zoe. And now you know where she gets her penchant for a red lip and sparkled accessories
Two of the nicest mean people I know: Sean Avery and Nellie Kim
Gia Coppola, Jacqui’s wonderful and fabulous film director daughter, sharing a furry moment with Kelly
Me and Milla
Kirsten wearing Nelli’s mens Dolce & Gabbana jacket, and looking super chic while she’s doing it
Being the proud father of a wiener dog (did you see my new document holder inspired by Monster?), I thought this was the cutest billboard I had ever seen. Until I actually read it. What, exactly, does a daschund have to do with STD’s? Hmm?
My recently married friend Dagny used to be my partner in crime in New York. Now look at her: Moved to California and got knocked up. Another one bites the dust.
I wasn’t the only temporary transplant in LA. Theory’s Olivier Theyskens was in town too, and organized a wonderful little dinner at (where else?) the Chateau Marmont. Here he is with Lisa
Frankie Rayder, left, and Lily Donaldson, right, with a friend at Olivier’s dinner
My beloved Lauren Santo Domingo came into town too, to host a party for Claiborne Swanson’s book “American Beauty” with her online fashion venture, Moda Operandi. The USC graduate used to live in LA, which is probably why her blonde always looks so fabulous.
On my last night in LA, there was, appropriately, a party for The Last Magazine. Here are the handsome founders of that lovely publication, Tenzin and Magnus, at their dinner at MILK Studios.
I’m wishing a very special birthday to the eldest of the Traina Trinity, Samantha Traina, who rung in a new year of being sweet, chic and beautiful at her soiree last night in LA. She did a masquerade theme, and much to my surprise, everyone actually wore masks. (Why is everyone so jaded in New York? I’m having a real West Coast moment over here, so pardon me.) Here she is with the rest of the holy Trinity, two of her sisters, Vanessa and Victoria. I say two because Momma Danielle Steele, who looked utterly divine at the birthday party in a sequined Chanel tunic she had bought decades ago in Paris, was the world’s best dressed mother to no less than nine children. (An added bonus to the festivities: I finally got to break out that Mexican wrestlers mask. See below for evidence.)
I’ve been spending a lot of time with Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, the two creatives behind the shop Opening Ceremony, and as of the past year, the Paris-based, LVMH-owned fashion company Kenzo. I saw them during fashion week in Paris, then there was the trip to Thailand that none of us will soon forget, and when we got back to New York we may have cooked up a little something for us to do together back here in the city. I’m a big fan of theirs, and I’d do just about anything they ever asked of me. Which is how we got to this video, which is a promotion for Barney’s and the recently stocked Kenzo line. It’s a mobile phone chain between me and a few other OC-devoted clientele, like the creative director Jen Brill, the designer Annabelle Dexter-Jones and her boyfriend, Le Baron’s Andre, and OC’s Olivia Kim, The Smile’s Carlos Quirarte and his lady friend Mariko Munro. It’s supposed to resemble our excitable textual chit chat announcing Kenzo’s arrival at Barney’s. But what’s more shocking is that it’s not too far from actual texts we’ve sent. S