After being annoyingly dissed at the Luca Luca show last Sunday (the three seats we were previously assured of were not to be had due to our NOT BEING ON THE LIST – the ineptitude, unprofessionalism and, yes, downright evil, of so much of the fashion world be damned – I caught the show anyway online and realized I missed nothing. The clothes looked expensive but boring – ideas culled from old St. Laurent collections with some Marc Jacobs steals, and way too much gray (the color of the season, unimaginatively used and sans any accents in eye-popping hues for much-needed contrast). They reminded me of an S.N. Behrman line in the play FANNY, when a bourgeoise woman asks someone his opinion of her dress and is told, “You look like a very rich woman, visiting the poor.” I was glad we bailed Bryant Park, rather than wait until the ticketed crowd had been seated – all these little children obnoxiously skipping in – for a fuckin’ standing room position.
Fashion has always struck me as a gorgeous poison – often lovely to look at and so alluring, but skin deep and severely toxic beneath, with absolutely no heart and a price to pay that sometimes goes beyond money. Being treated thusly should have come as no surprise: more than one person has observed this week that what really killed Alexander McQueen more than anything else was the fashion business. If such a worthy, deserving eminence of this particular world should be made so miserable by it, why should a “nobody” like me – even with the supposed correct credentials for a paltry B-list event – expect any better?
Yet it’s the artistry of those rare talents like McQueen which will always make fashion compelling and, desperate to see some real clothes, I went to his boutique on 14th Street. A not overwhelming but tasteful amount of floral tributes and cards lay on the ground in front of the store, which I have never seen as busy as it was that day. Before McQueen’s death, it always had that chilly, empty ghost town look to it, but now it was as abuzz as any Marc Jacobs shop on Bleecker Street. The staff – which I heard had been in tears when a friend of mine went there a few days before – seemed invigorated by the business and their friendliness felt genuine, as well as sweetly touched with rue.
A jock-ish straight guy -yes they have their fashion victim moments, too – was struggling to get into a tailored blazer which frankly looked ridiculous on him, eliciting a salesperson’s comment: “You’re built like a linebacker!” I marveled at the gorgeous prints of the designer’s final Darwin-inspired collection, which resembled the vertebrae undersea creatures, and was everywhere struck anew by the edgy elegance which was always a hallmark of McQueen’s vision.
And then I French Vogue editrix Carine Roitfeld, solo and fully living up to her rep as perhaps the world’s chicest woman, working vicious bondage strapped heels and a tailored Tom Ford coat, fiercely sprouting fur. She had the intriguingly predatory aspct to her as she prowled the racks, looking like she’d just stepped out of some Helmut Newton fever dream of a dominatrix layout. I’d always imagined her to be more accessible and less famously icy than her American counterpart, Anna Wintour, and wanted to approach her for a comment about McQueen. I was, after all, wearing one of his signature 1990s 18th century-inspired frock coats in pine green wool over a whole lot of Galliano. But, as I tried to catch her attention, she merely looked right through me, in that ever-so-slightly disdainful, studiedly incurious way that has become the engage-me-not norm of the more exalted present-day members of the fashion flock. Indeed, a far cry from the time when icons like Issey Miyake, Antonio Lopez or Loulou de la Falaise warmly, approvingly would check you out, giving you instant entree for even the briefest of pleasantries if not much more…..