As my frequent flyer status indicates, I spend my fair share of time in airports. But coming back from the Six Senses resort on the outskirts of Phuket, Thailand, yesterday was a grueling experience, even for me. There were boats, buses, planes, taxi cabs and one really feisty female flight attendance on an OpenSkies trip from Paris to Newark that I wanted to strangle. The good news is that I got home late last night safe and sound, and the even better news was that spending nearly 24 hours in midair gave me plenty of time to catch up on so many of the films I missed last year. As I had joked around Oscars time, I hadn’t seen hardly any of the nominated films. (Yet, somehow, I managed to see the ‘Footloose’ remake twice. Not counting the premiere I went to as well.) So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on four Oscar-nominated films, including ‘Drive,’ ‘The Iron Lady,’ ‘The Descendants’ and ‘The Artist.’
DRIVE: When the movie first began, I thought ‘Drive’ would be an updated version of ‘Days of Thunder.’ (Yes, I just referenced that 1990 film. Remember Nicole Kidman’s old hair? And face?) Then the sexy, curvy red head from Mad Men gets her face blown off. Literally. Getting over the fact that this wasn’t going to be a romantic comedy was tough for me, especially considering the last thing I saw Gosling in was ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love,’ and I’m convinced his character was a gay gigolo on the DL. Don’t get me wrong: I was into Gosling in a gorier role, and for some reason I also really like seeing Carey Mulligan suffer, and it was a good movie, even if it did skew a touch too Bret Easton Ellis and Quentin Tarrantino in some spots. (Like, did we really need to see his foot in the skull of the dude in the elevator?) But still, maybe I’m too romantic, but I kind of wanted to see Mulligan get Kidman’s perm, Gosling to win the Indy500, adopt the Latino kid, and call it a day. But, oh, the soundtrack was so major. After Azealia Banks’ ’212‘ and Zebra Katz’s ‘Ima Read’, the title song was one of the most overused during fashion week.
THE DESCENDANTS: I’m just happy I watched this film, which starts with a woman dying after a boating incident, on my way home from Thailand. I had just spent five days frolicking on boats in the Thai sea, and something tells me that the wooden boats with car engine motors weren’t exactly up to the safety codes I have become accustomed to. ‘The Descendants’ was perfect for the plane, which I mean as a compliment but is probably slightly insulting too. George Clooney is a pleasant face to see when you’re floating above the earth, and since this movie had real no suspense or action it was completely palatable and enjoyable. Now, if I had seen it in a theater or on my couch, I may have been bored. No fist fights, and Clooney somehow resisted the urge to show any shred of sexiness or manliness by wearing flip-flops, baggy khaki’s and floral waiter shirts the entire film. (Really? No one even suggested a wet Tshirt scene?) I loved Shalaine Woodley’s performance too.
THE IRON LADY: The entire time I was watching this film I was thinking the same thing: Michelle Williams must be so pissed off this movie came out last year. She didn’t stand a chance against Meryl. No one did. (For the record, I still haven’t seen ‘My Life with Marilyn.’ I’m not ready yet, and that’s because I really like this Michelle Williams, and I don’t want to risk seeing her portray Marilyn Monroe, my childhood fantasy and the ultimate icon, and not liking her.) There isn’t much to say about ‘The Iron Lady.’ I know that some people complained of historical accuracy or whatever, but it’s the Meryl show, and she is so splendid in that role. A well deserved Oscar.
THE ARTIST: I have a confession to make: I went to some of the Weinstein Company’s buzz-creating events for The Artist last year, including a lunch at the Monkey Bar where I met Jean Dujardin and Bernice Bejo, before I saw the film. For some reason, up until yesterday, I just couldn’t bring myself to watch a silent movie. I could never someone to see it with me in the theater, and whenever I tried to watch a screener at home something (with sound) would always distract me. So, in a away, the plane was the perfect venue for me to shut up (no pun intended) and sit through it. And I’m so happy I did. I loved every minute of it. I found ‘The Artist’ to be a modern version of Sunset Boulevard, which anyone who knows me will understand is probably the biggest compliment I could give. (Seen the movie with Gloria Swanson, and seen the Broadway musicale with Glenn Close. But I guess Dujardin would have had to succeed in offing himself to make it a more apt comparison.) The film was lighthearted and fabulous. Since landing in New York last night, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is a film curator at a large museum here in New York, who said the only people who like ‘The Artist’ are people who had never seen a silent film before. Even though he was being nasty, he’s probably right. But who cares? I have seen my fair share of silent movies — I watched a 1924 silent Peter Pan on Monday night, in fact — but that didn’t stop me from being intoxicated by the sheer joy in ‘The Artist.’ And the fact that the same intoxication became an international phenomenon and even won an Oscar? Well, that makes me want to smile as much as Dujardin did in the film. It also makes me want to pencil on a mustache, buy a dog and slick my hair back, but I’ll stop myself.
They were too much fun to stop! After biding my time before shows, after shows, and (when they were particularly bad) during shows in New York and in London, I continued my professional doodling habit in Paris. With the help of my handy, dandy new Samsung Galaxy Note, behold my handheld perspective from the shows.
Two of my fashion week buddies: Karlie Kloss and Cara Delevingne. I’m not really sure what the point of this party was, but they were giving out leis. And as anyone will tell you, I love an accessory.
I bumped into the legendarily lovely Liya at the Givenchy after party at L’Arc
Some people come to Paris for the shopping, or for the sites, or for the museums. Me? I’m a big fan of the cheese products.
Leigh Lezark is always very generous with her headwear. And thank goodness for that.
Natalia Vodianova celebrated 30 years of being beautiful while in Paris with a party at her preferred Paris address, the Hotel Bristol.
I <3 Sky
Nicky Hilton was my favorite unexpected guest at Paris fashion week. Here she is perched at the Valentino show, the only PFW outing she made this week.
Chanel is always very good about sending flowers. Which is a nice way to be welcomed to Paris.
THAT’S NOT ALL! MORE DOODLES AFTER THE JUMP!
It’s almost impossible for me to believe that fashion month, those glorious four weeks that begin in New York and end in Paris and set all the trends for the following season, have come to an end. (And I’m not saying that just because I’m swathed in a mosquito net in the middle of Thailand right now. More on that later.) The collections ended in Paris on Wednesday. And they ended on a high note. There were fabulous shows (Valentino’s romantic black leather comes to mind, as does the extravaganza that was the Louis Vuitton presentation), and fabulous parties (Dasha Zhukova held a small, sweet launch for the second issue of Garage magazine, Kanye West had go-karts to fete his sophomore fashion effort). But before we get into all the trends that we should be thinking about next fall — think pink, winter white, black leather, and so on — I’m going to take a few minutes to look back at the fun moments I had in Paris.
First, a little video of Alicia Keys tribute to Riccardo Tisci at the Givenchy afterparty.
The glamorous girls with Giambattisti Valli at his Moncler dinner at Caviar Kaspia. When dinner ended, they cleared the tables and brought out a DJ. The elegant dinner went from VIP rave faster than I could blink and eye!
Sarah Jessica Parker, who looked really lovely, even up close, backstage before the Louis Vuitton show
Nicky Hilton on the patio of the Paris Ritz, which caught fire just after the Paris fashion week festivities. (Thank goodness. Where else would the rich people have eaten?)
Arizona Muse and Cara Delevingne at the Garage magazine party
Alicia Keys with Riccardo Tisci at the Givenchy after party
Natalia Vodianova at the Bristol Hotel for a birthday party celebrating her 30th
Karlie Kloss, who was my most frequent date and quite possibly my favorite person in Paris, flanked by Jonathan Saunders and Craig McDean at Natalia’s birthday
The lovely and amazing Lauren Santo Domingo with Eugenie Niarchos at a party Santo Domingo hosted at home for her website, Moda Operandi, and the British Fashion Council
Lily Donaldson and my St. Louis sister Karlie Kloss
Me with Carine Roitfeld at the party for Garage magazine. I’m looking forward to Carine’s magazine’s party one day too!
Two of the chicest women I have ever met, who just happen to be related: The seminal romance novelist Danielle Steele, with her daughter Samantha Traina
Glee’s Dianna Agron on the set of the Louis Vuitton show’s train
The King of Paris: Marc Jacobs. Here is the designer amidst the media blitz that followed his fabulous Louis Vuitton show on the morning of the last day of Paris fashion week
The living legend Jean Paul Goude, who has one of the most fantastic and inspirational exhibits currently at the Louvre. If you’re in Paris, go see it today!
Three of the chicest women in Paris, with one of the nicest young men: Bianca Brandolini, Nina Flohr, Dasha Zhukova and Theo Wenner
Fashion’s favorite footballer, Hide Nakata, with Balmain’s wonderboy designer, Olivier Rousteing
Two of my favorite dance partners on Planet Earth (who aren’t so hard on the eyes either): Joan Smalls and Lily Donaldson
The lovely Liya Kebede and W magazine’s Edward Enninful
The #PFW version of Who Wore It Better? Leigh Lezark and Anna Dello Russo in matching Givenchy looks at Riccardo’s party
Me with a fellow Midwestern friend RJ King and the absolutely dashing Dasha Zhukova. Until next season!
NOTE; This is not a Christmas carol. This is not a family song either. It should only be listened by those with an open mind to ethnic subversive pop music with graphic language. So, there, you’ve been warned.
Perhaps it’s because fashion people find it so innately enjoyable to tell their coworkers, the people they spend all day and all night with on this month-long circus that is the collections, “Imma take that bitch to college / I’m gonna give that bitch some knowledge.” We do, after all, love to tell people what to wear, how to act, and what’s in and what’s out every season. Regardless, this has officially the song that has been in my head since it debuted on the Rick Owens catwalk yesterday. And it’s spread like wildfire: It’s the anthem in the Harper’s Bazaar car, the V magazine team knows every single word, Vogue Japan’s Anna Dello Russo just likes saying the word “bitch” over and over again, and W magazine’s Edward Enninful will sing it to complete strangers. (He’s good like that.) So, happy listening, kids.
It’s what everyone is talking about at Paris fashion week: What are we going to do when the Ritz closes for two years for renovation? OK, well, not everyone. Mainly just really senior editors with fancy pants expense accounts. I think I’ll manage just fine when the Ritz closes. Nonetheless, I will give it the hotel for knowing how to do decadence. Here’s a chocolate shoe they sent a friend of mine. Finally, some female footwear I can get into.
It’s that time: Paris fashion week packing time. It’s an organizational feat I dread, but one that I have gotten particularly skilled at over the years. Behold, my beloved electronics case:
So, what have we got in here? Let’s start with that big black thing on the bottom left, and work our way around.
- The black round-shaped thingie was originally intended to be a makeup bag, I believe. I found it when I was working at Vogue (so we’re talking mid 2000′s here, people) and it has proven to be the most valuable organizational device I own. Sturdy, zippable, reliable, and sheer so that you can see what’s in it without having to open it. It will house the rest of the contents on this page.
- Camera lens cleaner. By all means and all accounts, and I’m an amateur photographer. But a clean lens is vital.
- Computer charger.
- This is my newest fashion week electronic addition: The Samsung Galaxy Note. It has a huge screen and fabulous features, my favorite of which is the Doodles program. (Did you see my New York Fashion Week and London Fashion Week doodles?)
- Chapstick. Very important in these chilly times. Especially when you talk as much as I do.
- My camera of choice: The Canon S95. I have a few cameras, but this is the smallest and sleekest for stealth fashion week reporting. I’m saving up for the S100. Maybe next season.
- Camera battery charger.
- Two batteries for my voice recorder.
- Matches from the Chateau Marmont. (Whenever I think of matches I think of the last scene in the Fifth Element. Anybody else with me?)
- The iPod, full of embarrassing and cheesy Top 40 music. As I’ve already said on this blog, don’t judge me for my musical tastes.
- iPod charger.
- Samsung Galaxy Note charger.
- David Yurman watch, which was a gift from David’s son Evan, who is my oldest friend in New York. (We met when we were both at NYU and he was flirting unsuccessfully with a girl in a photo class. Thankfully, she turned out to be a lesbian.)
- Portable speakers. These are called the X-mini, and I bought them at the MOMA store in Soho. They pack some mean sound for being so tiny, and they charge off the same cord that reads my camera’s memory card.
- Camera cord.
- AC plug so that I can hook my iPod with the aforementioned cheesy music directly into our car when we’re in Paris.
- Handheld voice recorder for last minute, on-the-go interviews. Very old school, no?
- Two converters. I come prepared. Let’s do this, #PFW!
Yes, the Very Classy book tour continues. After stops all over the great US of A, I took my Very Classy mission North. Specifically, me and my partner in crime Leigh Lezark headed up to Vancouver. It was a quick trip, but it was well worth it: In our 48 or so hours of Candaian adventure we did an informative driving tour of the city, a picturesque gondola ride up to Grouse Mountain, and a terrifying skip through the Capilano suspension bridge in a national park. And oh yeah, we headed to the Hudson Bay Company (the oldest retail post in North America) for a swanky cocktail party in my honor at The Room. Above is a video of our hijinks, and below are some of my favorite pictures of our fleeting moments with our Northern neighbors. We loved you, Vancouver.
A broody shot of my beloved jacket overlooking the harbor:
Leigh getting extremely involved at my book party at The Room:
The view from the top of Grouse Mountain:
The view from below the canopy at the base of the Capilano Suspension Bridge:
Some fabulous (and just a little narcissistic) decorations at The Room:
Leigh on the bridge:
Hanging out (and terrifying myself) on the suspension bridge:
The beautiful Canadian sunset:
Sure, I’ve always thought that Ricky Gervais was sort of funny. In fact, two Golden Globe ceremonies ago, when he walked on stage with a pint of beer and made a crack about Mel Gibson being a mean drunk just as Mel Gibson was coming onstage, I thought he was a comedic genius. But I was never overly fond of the Brit comedian. It’s something I find particular to funny people from across The Pond. Aren’t they just a little too arrogant? A little too snobby with their humor? The original Office was amazing, but was it too amazing? All of my British friends love to tell me their comedians are better than ours, and that some random, obscure BBC comedy mini series is so much funnier than our American dribble, so I often can’t help but always find a pretense for disliking non-American actors. Mind you, this logic has become more and more difficult as our former prizes like Adam Sandler decreases in comedic value, but that’s beside the point.
This brings me back to Ricky Gervais. An avid reader of my little website here will indicate just how much time I’ve spent in airports lately. What this means from a literary stand point is that I’ve devoted many hours to the magazine racks at newsagents around the world. Basically, I’ve read everything. Even travel magazines and fashion magazines in foreign languages. It was one of these glossy pilgrimages that I found the new issue of Esquire. (I must make a very non-butch confession: I rarely pick up mens magazines. Harper’s Bazaar? Vogue? Elle? Japanese Nylon Kids? Sure. But the lad rags don’t really give me the fantasy I crave in horribly lit sterile airport lounges.) In this issue of Esquire was an interview with Gervais, and it was at that moment that I finally succumbed to the Gervais charm. Within the first few minutes of the interview, he quoted Churchill:
RG: Churchill’s advisors once came to him and said, “We’re going to stop all funding for the arts so we can put that into the war effort.” And Churchill said, “Then what are we fighting for?” Sends a chill down my spine. Incredible.
A little later, he was giving anecdotes about how the ancient Romans maintained humility in the Senate:
RG: There was a Roman emperor that hired someone to whisper “You’re just a man” in his ear as he walked around the crowds. Just to remind him, because he knew if everyone tells you you’re a god, then you are. And so he hired someone to say “You’re just a man.”
The rest of the interview was full of further humility, cultural observations, and insight into both his craft and his personal life. Here I was, folded up like a lawn chair into a coach seat on an American Airlines flight, and falling for Ricky Gervais. I never saw it coming. He talks about a vertically challenged actor with respect, and then discusses how his parents had died before they could see his major successes. I liked the article so much I ripped it out for safe keeping (that’s my copy, folded and mangled and on my couch, above). In what I think is the true mark of a good comedian, he made me think while he made me laugh. And that’s pretty rare nowadays.
For the rest of Gervais’ conversation, click HERE
First, let me say this: I was continually impressed with how on time London fashion week ran this season. Maybe ‘shocked’ is a better word. London used to be the tardiest fashion week on the schedule (and the fact the city of London is so spread out can be partly to blame), but not this time. Even the small shows run by disorganized, hapless PR agencies started only a quarter of an hour behind schedule. Vivienne Westwood, which was a total mess getting into and run by pushy, aggressive wanker of security guards, started not too long after it’s appointed time. So, well done, London.
All this isn’t to say that I didn’t have lots of free time on my hands. As mentioned, London is a sprawling city and the shows were all over the place. (Note to Phillip Green: You’re rich, so please find a closer venue for the TopShop space. Although, while I have you, big thanks for stocking the venue with sweets. The brownies were divine.) So there were moments before shows and long moments in the back seat of my BFC-appointed fashion bus where I was alone with my Samsung Galaxy Note, ample time to get my doodle on. This was a hobby I developed during New York fashion week, and feel free to peruse my doodles from the New York collections. In London, the personal illustrations kept on coming:
First up, inspired by the balloons in the foyer of Claridge’s Hotel in London, I bring you one of my favorite Marc Jacobs’ quotes:
This doodle was made at the airport, during a nostalgic moment of longing for a bed that was completely horizontal.
One of the highlights from my London fashion week was a few hours I spent off schedule, touring the recently opened Lucian Freud exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery with his daughter, Bella. It spanned all seven decades of his career, and included some of his most inspiring and pivotal works. I was profoundly touched by this snapshot of him doing the Queen’s portrait. She came for a dozen sittings with Freud, the most she ever has done, and wore this particular tiara (which she wears on the British currency) on Freud’s request.
I love Henry Holland, so do his mates Poppy Delevingne, Nick Grimshaw, Alexa Chung and Pixie Geldof.
My favorite new face on the British fashion scene: Jonathan Anderson, who’s label is called JW Anderson. Here is the handsome Irishman with his creative collaborator, the stylish stylist Benjamin Bruno, outside their show space.
Pub food is delicious.
But nothing compares to the Wolseley, which is my favorite restaurant in all of London.
Yes, here it is ladies and gentlemen who dress like ladies: The third series of the “Sh*t Fashion Girls Say” franchise, which this time was filmed during New York fashion week. And it’s a doozy. What I find so remarkably amusing about these videos is how spot on and accurate they actually are. While I may not have uttered any of the things that are said on this video (fine, that’s a #lie), I have definitely heard more than a few of my fashion friends say them. All of them, actually. Even the “off duty my booty” bit.
My involvement in the video happened the way all good things happen in the modern world. Via Twitter. The fine folks at The Platform Tweeted at me and asked if I would be up for a cameo. Who was I to say no? I was only too happy to share some camera time with Patrick Pope, the gregarious and bearded gentleman who plays P’Trique, the materialistic and ridiculous bearded woman, in the series. It was quick and easy, and filmed at the Bowery Hotel; it took about 15 minutes, two glasses of champagne, and three handfuls of cured meats. (What? It was fashion week. And I totally hadn’t eaten between Alexander Wang and Altuzzara. Wait, is that another “Sh*t Fashion Girls Say”?)
And in case you were wondering, yes, we were actually taking pictures of ourselves on our mobile communication devices. (Mine, the new Samsung Galaxy Note, is much bigger than Patrick’s. Not that I’m a size queen or anything.) And yes, taking pictures of yourself is definitely something that Fashion Girls say. Or maybe you haven’t seen my narcissistic New York fashion week doodles yet. And, for the previous two “Sh*t Fashion Girls Say” videos, click HERE and HERE.