“Oh, shit!” That’s essentially the theme of this video of bloopers from a short video that Chloe Sevigny and I did for our friend Dasha Zhukova. But we meant mainly as a term of endearment, if not just a wee bit of frustration. But learning some swing choreography in a few days and then being thrust into filming was a bit manic, especially for me since, well, I’m not a Golden Globe winning and Oscar nominated actress, like Chloe. Oh, but what fun we had! A little background on the original film: In 2012, the fashion photographer Nick Knight commissioned Dasha, the museum founder and magazine editor, to participate in a series of short films called Fashion Fetish for his online platform, SHOWStudio.com. Her concept: A woman goes to a crappy store party and feels dispirited, until her imagine is caught by a Prada dress on a rail. We see her fantasy sequence, when she is charmed by a handsome stranger in 1920′s swing style. She snaps back to reality at the end, but realizes sometimes a dream can be a dress. So she takes it. This was one of the most fun and most fabulous things I did in 2012. And it gave me a whole new respect for those Frenchies who made The Artist.
And in case you missed the finished product, here it is:
Red hearts, chocolates, flower shops, scented candles and sex shops be on high alert. That’s right: It’s Valentine’s Day time, sweeties! And with Opening Ceremony, I’m doing my own little part in participating in a holiday that is all about love to some, and corporation sponsored commercialism to others. I’ve done my part to serve both, for the record. The Derek Blasberg for Opening Ceremony special editions Valentine’s are here, both in stores and online. (GO HERE TO BUY THEM!) Just like the original line of stationery (WHICH YOU CAN SEE HERE, IN CASE YOU MISSED IT LAST TIME), I had a blast putting these together. There are love notes for significant others, secret admirers, family members, close friends and even those sour sorts who hate the holiday – but still deserve to be told they are loved. Here’s an example of those lost three, with the letters I sent to my Mom, and my friends Chloe and Karlie.
Last Thursday, the New York Times ran an article entitled ‘Illness Walks the Runway.’ It was an amusing piece on the frenzied — and immune system challenging — pace of the international collections, which start at the end of this week in New York and then move to London, Milan and Paris, written by Tim Murphy. I was quoted in the piece: “Fashion Week season is a nonstop assault on the immune system,” was one line, as was, “You don’t want to sit next to anyone coughing, because if you get sick, you’re screwed.” My mom will be so proud I managed to say “you’re screwed” in the New York Times, surely.
I have been asked if I think fashion week is too crowded. Many people are quick to say yes, but I’ve always been a little hesitant to show disdain for the (yes, it’s ridiculous) schedule. Am I often pooped? Totally. Do I think some of the shows and presentations and parties are frivolous? Definitely. In fact, when someone asks me if they should do something during fashion week, I always tell them it’s a terrible idea. Most of the events get lost in the shuffle, forgotten in a long stream of handsome waiters holding sponsored cocktails and fatigued publicists working overtime with swollen ankles from standing at doors for too long. Much better to do an opening or a party or a press appointment at a different time in the year, when people aren’t so zonked out.
Another reason I would hate to say that fashion week is too crowded is because it would seem like we aren’t supportive of this industry. I love that everyone wants to participate in the dialogue of getting dressed, of expressing ourselves through clothes. I like that people are crashing shows and dressing up and have a vested interest in this industry. We’re in a recession, and if people stop caring about fashion, I’m out of a job.
At any rate, I had a splendid time thinking about this article, and I thought I should share some of the other things I told Mr. Murphy. First, I told him most of my friends have a joke about fashion week: That by the end, you’re fashion weak. Fashion fatigued. (That’s pronounced “fat-ta-gayed.”) And I told him that there are two kinds of people you don’t want to sit next to at a fashion show: Someone who smells like a bar, which is another epidemic during the shows because socializing is such a big part of the business; or someone coughing, because if you get sick during the shows you’re screwed. It was at this point where I managed to slip in the “screwing” to the Times.
But while many are quick to complain — and I’m sure my day will come when I’m over it, when I’m a bitter fashion queen who can’t crack a smile even when a girl trips on the runway — but as for now I’m still enthralled by the industry. I still get giddy when the lights go down at a fashion show. I still want to know the new models names and go check out whatever young designer everyone is talking about. It’s insane, yes: Early shows, late dinners, everyone crammed into tents and airplanes with other people. Talk about fashion fat-ta-gayed. But I’d be happy to mop the floors at a fashion show if that’s as close as I could get.
And it isn’t completely dire. It’s not exactly nuclear warfare. One can prepare for this extravaganza, after all. A lot of my friends like to de-tox before they re-tox, so to speak. Lots of green juices, vitamins and sobriety happening in the weeks leading up to the shows. Organization is crucial too: That’s why so many editors plan their outfits in advance, and print and laminate their schedules. They want to be able to let their body rest until the last possible moment, and then get up, get dressed and get going as quickly as possible.
The reason I think some people get sick is good ole fashioned hedonism. So, my suggestion is: Pick your nights out and, just as importantly, pick your nights in. And always go home before you’re entirely inebriated. The one thing to remember when it comes to fashion week is that it it happens twice a year.
Illustration from the original New York Times article, published on January 30, 2013, by Rowan Barnes-Murphy
I’m a big fan of Michael Kors. Not only does he have one of the most wicked senses of humor in all of fashiondom (including great impressions), his fashion shows are one of my favorites of all of fashion week. Pounding music, women stalking runways in furs, boys in short shorts, glamour. What’s not to love? I’ve done a lot with Michael, too. From helping him celebrate his 30th anniversary in New York and Paris with this video to wrangling some of my philanthropic friends to watch him get a well deserved award from God’s Love We Deliver. It was at the gala for the latter that I filmed my (extremely brief) appearance in the above video for the United Nations World Food Programme’s fight to end “the world’s most solvable problem”: Hunger. To do your part for the campaign, text ‘MKHUNGER’ to 50555 to donate $5.00 to the World Food Programme.
The haute couture shows are a thing of extremes. Especially this most recent season. It was some extreme weather in Paris: It was like the French had never seen snow before when the city was blanketed in a beautiful layer of the fluffy white stuff. But really, it was like they didn’t have a single plow or a bag of salt. (They probably didn’t, actually. Plows don’t work on cobblestones, and all the salt is for sure in the butter.) But in the city’s paralysis there was a new form of beauty. The other extreme of this season’s couture, of course, is the designs. As Daphne Guinness once explained to me, the haute couture is fashion’s laboratory, the upper echelon of fashion when designer’s experiment with their most grandiose and delicious ideas. And what a feast it was! Raf Simons stretched his legs at Dior, Donatella turned her eye for fluorescent to fur minidresses and Karl Lagerfeld presented two lesbian brides in his winter wonderland for Chanel. After Paris, I headed to Milan for Dolce & Gabanna’s top secret couture show for their line, Alta Moda. Pictures of that breathtaking show are embargoed and reserved only for their VIP clientele, but what a presentation! Check out some of my pictures from a decadent week.
Captions, from the top: Watching a throne with Hamish Bowles, Lauren Santo Domingo, Bianca and Coco Brandolini and Giovanna Battaglia; Carine and Karlie at Paris’ Natural History Museum; Paris in the snow; a gown in Dior’s haute couture finale; Chloe Sevigny’s kisses with Andre and me; Natalia and Antoine; watching the snow come down and the sun go up with Sean Avery; Karl at Chanel’s haute couture bow with his lesbian brides; Dita waiting for her car; Vanessa Traina with her fabulous mother, the novelist Danielle Steele; Lily at the Berlutti presentation; me and kid sister Karlie; Petey and Harry Brant with Kristen McMenemy at the Versace dinner; Giambattista Valli at his dinner; Mary Charteris in Harry’s Balmain jacket; Tallulah and Laura at Chanel; Lindsay and Andre at Le Baron; Julien, my fashion week buddy; a leggy look at Jean Paul Gaultier’s haute couture show; Bianca, Coco, Domenico Dolce and Lauren in Milan; Carlos and Mira; Eugenie in the Woody Allen suite at Le Bristol; me and some fabulous Versace boots; Queen Giovanna takes a couture nap.
Clockwise from top left: Bemelman’s Bar in the Carlyle Hotel; the Sunset Tower in LA; St. Louis’ sunset; Chuck Close in front of his Barack Obama series; Chanel’s Sublimage creme; Acne jeans; Band of Outsiders; My St. Louis sister, Karlie Kloss, a backpack.
As any red carpet watcher can tell you, it’s awards season. Not that Hollywood is the only one giving out accolades this time of year. The fine folks at Mr. Porter tossed me a bone too, nominating me to their distinguised Style Council, where I am joining the likes of Hugh Jackman, Tim Jeffries and Jefferson Hack in a group of well groomed gentlemen. So, suck it, Anne Hathaway! It’s been a good year for me too. Below are a list the things I find super stylish. (Go to my profile at Mr Porter to read more of my stylish suggestions, and go here to the Members Gallery to see those who came before me.)
FAVOURITE RESTAURANT AND DISH
“Tiny’s is this adorable restaurant near my house in TriBeCa, and they make the best kale salad in the whole city.”
“I love Bemelmans Bar in The Carlyle. It’s stuffy in the most glamorous way. And you never know who will turn up there. Remind me to tell you the time Mariah Carey showed up and we convinced her to sing for us.”
“Whenever I get some time off I find myself heading home to Missouri, where I grew up. I’m still a Midwestern boy at heart, and unwinding with my family is a beloved pastime. Hiking in the winter and water-skiing in the summer, and some fabulous untouched vintage shopping.”
“Sunset Tower Hotel in LA because it’s a mix of old Hollywood glamour and modern sophistication, and they do a mean Cobb salad.”
TYPE OF BAG
“I have acquired more bags than there are days of the week, and I keep them in pretty steady rotation. I have an Alexander Wang book bag for when I’m on my bike, an old Hermès cloth tote for when I’m on the go and on foot, and I have a monogrammed Louis Vuitton Speedy for when I’m lugging around a bunch of stuff.”
“Ralph Lauren, because I believe in the American Dream he is so good at selling.”
ESSENTIAL WARDROBE ITEM
“A light blue Band of Outsiders button-down Oxford shirt, because I can wear it with a suit or with shorts.”
MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN
“Tough question. Is it weird if I say Karlie Kloss, even though she’s like a little sister to me? She’s beautiful on the outside and the inside.”
“For boys it’s Chuck Close, because he has fun with what he wears despite being bound to a fancy wheelchair; and Tom Wolfe, because a man who can pull off a white suit will always be chic in my book. For girls, my friend Lauren Santo Domingo is the most chic girl I know.”
“When in doubt, wear something with a collar.”
“Mrs. Cecco, a little old Italian lady who lives near my Mum in Missouri, has been altering my clothes for two decades. She’s quick, she’s good and she’s cheap. She’s also the sweetest little thing.”
BEST SHIRT BRAND
“My favorite dress shirts right now are from Gucci . Fabulously tailored.”
“Burberry suits are a good mix of tradition and modernity.”
CUT OF TROUSERS
“I like a slight tailor and fit, with a spiffy dropped crotch to avoid obscene bunching. I find that Acne does the best khakis in the world at the moment.”
“I get all my jeans made at this shop called 3×1 on Mercer street in New York. They’re constructed entirely on-site and are fit straight to the leg. Jeans are an investment, so why skimp on something you wear so often?”
PREFERRED JACKET STYLE
“Cropped, fit and with a little pizzazz: So I get a lot of my jackets from Dolce & Gabbana .”
“I’ve been stocking up on colorful Cole Haan brogues and dark Nike ‘s at an alarming rate recently.”
FAVOURITE GROOMING PRODUCT
“I once borrowed a girlfriend’s Chanel Sublimage cream, and wow does it feel fantastic on the skin. I feel like I’m glowing. But when I’m traveling I use a Kiehl’s face cream and whatever the hotel puts in the bathroom.”
“Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted a Jeep with a zip off roof. But now that I’m a little older and more practical I want the four door version.”
“David Yurman. His son, Evan, was my first friend when I moved to New York and was a freshman at university. He designs all their men’s watches and jewelry, and I love his stuff.”
“Anything by Oscar Wilde, and particularly his play, The Importance of Being Earnest. Such wit and such candor, I’ve read it a thousand times and it still makes me smile.”
“Andrew Lloyd Weber’s soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar and Harry Chapin’s greatest hits. My dad used to blast these in the family van when I was a kid and it reminds me of adventure and being mischievous, both of which I don’t get to be very often anymore.”
Clockwise from top left: My favorite work from Oscar Wilde; A Gucci briefcase; Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Jesus Christ Superstar, my father’s favorite rock musical; the 3×1 shop on Mercer Street; Tom Wolfe; Ralph Lauren; a Burberry plaid; a Cole Haan brogue; my dream Jeep
I have a confession to make: While I’m quite obviously a fan of the women’s collections, men’s fashion week is often times a much more fulfilling fashion experience. Why? The shows aren’t so late, they aren’t so crowded, there isn’t so much attention paid to stuffing the front row with whatever reality starlets a publicist can find in an oversaturated fashion week. An obvious bonus is, of course, I can envision myself wearing the clothes. And let’s be honest: The boys in these shows ain’t that hard to look at either. That’s why I was more than happy to go accompany my peers at VMAN, the men’s counterpart to the aspirational high fashion magaizne Vmagazine, where I’m also the editor at large, to the collections in Milan, and make some notes on my favorite fashion moments. For the full list and descriptions, go to my slideshow on the VMAN website.
There were a few trends that we saw this season, but let me tell you some of my favorites: First, the leather suiting. As coincidence would have it, I brought my first pair of leather trousers to Milan this season (what? What mid life crisis?), and I couldn’t have been more on trend than when I wore them at mens fashion week. Leather was everywhere, even in lilac and as a suit at the Bottega Venetta show. Other trends? There was also lots of orange, reds and, much to my amusement, pimped out fur coats that looked like they had crawled out of a 1990s rap video. I’m not sure if that’s a look I can personally get into, but Gucci, Fendi and Versace all showed oversized man furs. (Versace, which I dubbed as part ‘Guys and Dolls’ and part Puff Daddy, was one of my favorite shows because, well, it was ridiculous. Men in lace teddy boxer briefs and fur coats? Only you, Donatella.) And a final trend we saw often in Milan was what the International Herald Tribune’s legendary fashion critic Suzy Menkes dubbed the ‘Moncler effect’: puffers everywhere. Calvin Klein did quilted, puffy leather sweatshirts, even. And Missoni, a label known for its colorful knits, even got in the puffy market with some vests. Speaking of Missoni, I just want to briefly say that I’m sending my love and prayers to the Missoni family in their time of personal crisis. I had dinner with Margherita Missoni, the eldest in the youngest generation of Missoni’s, when I was in Milan, and I am continually impressed with that clan’s sense of spirit, love and togetherness. If anyone can pull through something like this, it’s them.
Well suited, above, from left: A look from the Prada show, which was one of my favorites because it reminded me of a vintage Prada show; one of the blue windowpane suits at Gucci, which had some of the best tailoring of the season; a Fendi double breasted suit; one of the purple suits from Bottega Venetta’s show.
Shut the puff up, above, from left: A lovely leather jacket from the Salvador Ferragamo show; a knit puffer vest at Missoni; a fur headed sweatshirt at Emporio Armani; Thom Browne’s Scotland-meets-St. Moritz themed show, which I thought was fantastic, for Moncler
Renaissance men, above, from left: An overcoat at Dolce & Gabanna,which was covered entirely in embroidered flowers; Burberry went wild with leopard, tiger and zebra accents on their accessories, which I thought were divine; a look from the outrageous DSquared2 show; and last but not least, the men’s lace teddy and oversized fur coat, seen at the Versace show.
New York in January is a magical time. Sure, it’s freezing and there’s a certain post holiday melange. But it’s also a pretty dead time when there isn’t too much going on, socially speaking. No obligatory work get togethers or boring store parties. Maybe that’s why the dinner I did for my friend, the London designer Jonathan Saunders, and the website Motilo.com turned out to be so much fun. It was unnecessarily and unplanned festivities. Everyone was, well, they were up for it, especially my St. Louis sister Karlie Kloss and my partner in crime Cara Delevingne. (Though, I should ask: When isn’t Cara up for it?) We had cocktails and dinner at the Lion, and then on a whim traipsed over to the Meatpacking District where — as the Manhattan nightlife gods would have it — the ice rink at the Standard Hotel was still open. Leigh Lezark and Harley Viera Newton were spotted stars on ice, and I discovered that despite suffering weak ankles as a child, I’m not bad on thin ice. When that closed, luckily before anyone got seriously harmed, we headed upstairs to the Top of the Standard for a nightcap. And, apparently, some good times with Taylor Tomasi’s crutches.
Captions, from the top: Stars on ice: Leigh, me, Cara, Jonny, Harley and Fiona Byrne at the Standard Ice Rink; Jonny, Cara (wearing what turned out to be a very popular ‘Ain’t No Wifey’ stocking cap ) and me in the back of a cab; funny faces with the youngest Delevingne; Harley and Leigh at the dinner table; Maggie Betts and V’s Sarah Cristobal; VF’s Jessica Diehl and WSJ’s Kristina O’Neill; Taylor and Hayley Bloomingdale keeping Cara behind glass; Karlie and me; Cara and Jonny; Leigh and Harley on ice; Jonny abusing a temporarily handicapped Taylor (it ended as one of those kinds of nights)
As anyone who has ever invited me to dinner, let me stay at their house, or spoiled me with a particularly thoughtful persent will tell you: I love a handwritten note. And not just a thank you note. I’ll send birthday cards and congratulations notes and love letters and anything else that involve a paper and pen when the mood strikes me. I still send postcards. When I’m bored and in a hotel room I’ll send a doodle from the complimentary stationery. But I know I’m in the minority here. That’s what inspired me to do the Derek Blasberg for Opening Ceremony stationery line. Now, all my friends who say they should send more letters but don’t have the time don’t have an excuse. This is the easiest, most fun, most rewarding way to send a thoughtful, handwritten personal letter. HOW EASY IS IT? I put together the above video with the fine folks at Opening Ceremony to show off just how simple and sweet it is to send one of my form letters. The recipient here is Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge who just got knocked up with the next generation of Brit royals.
Speaking of my stationery line, before the holidays I did a little tea party at the infamous St Regis Hotel in New York to celebrate its debut. Now, throwing a midday champagne-fueled tea party the week before Christmas in midtown New York wasn’t probably the easiest fete I’ve put together. But I was more than pleased with the turnout: All of my Classy-iest girlfriends, including the girl on the cover of my books, Byrdie Bell, all turned out for the fete, as did a few of my favorite gentlemen. Shout out to Giancarlo Giammetti who moved around his departure to Rome to swing by looking suave.
This was no ordinary cocktail party, either. Meaning that everyone was encouraged to not only nibble on adorable tea sandwiches and shotgun a few champagne punches, but also actually send the letters. Cynthia Rowley sent Alexa Chung a love note; Jessica Hart sent me a thank you note; Katie Lee and Elettra Weidemann sent letters to their Mom’s; Jamie Tisch and Samantha Boardman took home extra pieces of stationery to give their kids. That’s right, it’s good for kids too! (Go to the Opening Ceremony website now to buy the stationery for yourself, your kids or a loved one.) And in the meantime, check out some shots from the St Regis.
Captions, from top: Alexa, Cynthia and me in front of the punch bowls, where we spent much of the evening; Hilary writing a note to her Mum; Constance and Trish; Su and Olivia from Opening Ceremony, the two girls who were really responsible for executing my vision in the most amazing way; RJ at the desk; Katie Lee and Elettra; David Smith, my most handsome friend; Harley being a good girl; Giancarlo and Petey; Alexa is a man magnet, with Jordan, RJ, me and Dorian; fashion icons Stephen Gan and Carlyne Cerf; Harry and Petey; Luisa, the guest of honor; a very stiff party patron; Leigh, Albert, Alexa, me and RJ feeling a little party fatigued after the festivities.
St Barth’s is the tiny island, only about six miles wide, in the Caribbean that has become quite the holiday hotspot. It was formerly a French colony, which means it’s full of beautiful, wonderfully snooty people and lots of delicious buttery carbohydrates to feast upon. Around New Year’s, big boats drop anchors around the port and swanky pads with beach views open their doors to a slew of holiday parties. Some say it can be an intense experience — I liken it to the Upper East Side on amphetamines — but since I spend the first part of the holidays in a rather slow paced Midwestern pattern with my family in Missouri for Christmas, I’ve come to crave the excitement. In fact, this is the fourth time I’ve found myself down there to ring in another fun filled year.
The cast of characters isn’t too dissimilar to those I see in other parts of the world. The Brant boys (including the illusive Dylan, who joined Peter and Harry) are always a welcomed spitting to see at any party, as was their mum Stephanie Seymour this year, and friends like Olympia Scarry, Elisa Sednaoui and Elisabeth von Thurn and Taxis made the pilgrimage too. Dasha Zhukova, a very lovely lady who introduced me to the island, is the girl to know down there. I bunked with my St. Louis sister Karlie Kloss on Gouverneur Beach with some friends; we had a truly jovial time in no small part because girlfriend knows how to cook. Samantha Boardman led us on morning hikes through the cliffs and foliage of Colombier beach, and Marjorie Gubelmann and Rachel Zoe would meet us on Flamands Beach for rehydration and sun damage afterward. There were boat rides and dips in pools and long lunches with fresh fish. And, this being a former French colony and all, there was also a fair amount of Eurotrash, which I love, at clubs that had novelty pillows that said things like I Heart My Yacht. And no, I’m not talking about Puff Daddy’s, though we did end up on his yacht at a New Year’s after after party and he definitely did love his yacht.
But, as always, what’s most important when it comes to any vacation is that you’re with people that you love. While I’ve never made New Year’s resolutions (actually, last year at this time I made a list of Non-Resolutions, things I hadn’t ever done, which you can read here), I do believe that the head space and the people with whom you start a year will set the tone for the rest of it. That’s why I’m happy to report that after a too-short stay in a Caribbean paradise, I’m ready to sink into a fabulous 2013. Happy New Year!
Captions, from top:
The view from a morning hike around Colombier Beach; a sandy crew on a last dip in 2012, composed of Josh, Karlie, Elisa, Alex, me, Olympia, Dasha and Neville; the Brant boys in all their beauty, Dylan, Harry and Peter; the Caribbean sun setting on boats in port; Alex and Elisa; Constance spreading peace around Flamands beach; this picture of Guy Oseary, Rick Rubin and Brian Grazer, taken on Puffy’s yacht, may be my favorite from New Year’s Eve; Lizzy after midnight; Dasha, my queen of the island; Edward Sharp from the Magnetic Zero’s; Mr Pigozzi and Anna; Puffy on the mic; Rachel, Samantha and Marjorie at Dasha’s party; a four legged, hard shelled friend I met on a morning hike; Josh getting carried away with a view; Elisa, Dasha and Alex on a submarine expedition; me with not one, but two Stephanie Seymour’s, both on my chest; an offensive pillow; sails in the sky; Neville on Olympia showing me up on the paddleboards; my favorite ladies on the island, Lizzy, Elisa, Dasha, Karlie, Olympia and Wendi; Karlie as my New Year’s kiss; and a heartfelt farewell on our last day at the beach.