29 December 2009

Tavi Takes Bazaar

A couple weeks ago I wrote about how Tavi Gevinson would be contributing a piece to Harper's Bazaar and how I worried that the integrity of the magazine might be compromised by this unusual addition. I did, however, insist that I would read her piece with an open and curious mind when the January issue finally arrived in my mailbox. Well, the issue has arrived (with a dazzling cover featuring Kate Hudson, I might add) and I have kept my promise.

I just wish Bazaar would have given us more to absorb. The piece, titled "Tavi's Take," is so short that I could neither get a sense of her writing style (edited, of course), nor fully access her ability to review the fashion collections. So, I was disappointed that Bazaar did not give its readers more exposure to the young blogger, actually. I'm surprised that I just typed that last sentence, but it's true.

In the brief intro to the very brief article, Tavi introduced herself and explained that she had only been blogging since March of 2008. Therefore, she has only really been following fashion since March of 2008. What could someone who hasn't even been following fashion for two years (??!!!??!!) possibly have to say about the collections that would be of interest to the highly fashion-literate readers of Harper's Bazaar? Well, not terribly much in this case. Tavi wrote that the Spring 2010 collections were all about being an individual. OK. "Don't get caught up in what other people think," she suggested. OK. Not exactly ground-breaking reflections, but we'll take it. That advice is certainly true when it comes to her own personal style, which, as I have said before, is honestly refreshing and original. The late Isabella Blow or fashion eccentric Lynn Yaeger would both be proud.

Anyhow, back to the collections. Not surprisingly, her favorite collection for next spring was presented by Rodarte, the label which "discovered" the young blogger and custom-made tights and other delights for her. She also briefly touched upon collections from Viktor & Rolf, Jil Sander, Francisco Costa, and Miu Miu. Nothing ground-breaking, though.

All in all, I was left disappointed with the piece, but only because it was so short. Couldn't Bazaar have given her a little more space? I want to know if she really is potential Carmel Snow material, or just a passing trend, as I suspect is more accurate. Alas, we couldn't determine this from the short article alone. Now if Anna Wintour calls Tavi and asks her to contribute a piece to appear in Vogue (not Teen Vogue; Vogue), I'll have to eat my words.

28 December 2009

New Year's (Fashion) Resolutions

"Doing more with less." This was the motto of my former boss in the U.S. Senate. It was a terrific slogan for his organization and, it turns out, it is an even better philosophy when applied to fashion. Since we could all benefit from learning how to do more with less, I thought that would be the best New Year's resolution I could make (fashion-wise, at least) for 2010. So, here below are my suggestions for doing more with less in your own wardrobe.

** Purchase clothes the way the French do. Buy fewer, but better pieces of higher quality. You should only need a few new pieces each year. That's it.

** Become a mix-master with prints. Etro and Pucci are the inspirations here. The more pieces you are able to mix and wear together, the better (and more interesting!) your outfits will be.

** If you must have a staple, make it your most interesting piece. The piece in my wardrobe that I wear the most is not a black skirt or a navy blazer, but a crazy, green cap sleeve turtleneck with rouching and white polka dots that I bought in Warsaw for 77 zloty. It doesn't sound like it would be versatile, but it's hands-down the piece I wear the most. Learn how to incorporate a psychedelic piece like that into your wardrobe and the outfit combinations will be infinite. It's also a heck of a lot more exciting than building a wardrobe around a black skirt!

** Learn how to dress without black. This may sound earth-shattering to some, but I've found that the people whose personal style I admire the most are those who are able to turn heads and create memorable outfits without sticking to basic black. You'll be able to do a lot more with less once you leave behind the comfort zone of wearing black head to toe. Lighten up. Add color.

** Build outfits around creative accessories. Printed scarves, costume jewelery, textured tights. These are all fantastic ways to add depth and interest to even the most basic of outfits. Accessories truly do transform outfits, and they can be purchased at any price.

** Step out of your comfort zone just this once. Switch up your style. Remember when Tinsley Mortimer and Vogue fashion-writer Florence Kane traded styles? If you're always decked out in dresses and feminine pieces (like Tinsley), try adding some preppy pieces to your wardrobe the way Florence would. You can always switch back!

** Save the money that you would have spent on an expensive pair of shoes or yet another handbag and add it to your travel fund. Trust me, it's a lot more fun to shop in London or Antwerp than it is in Anytown, USA. Since I have a lot of travel plans on my radar for 2010, I really need to take my own advice on this one! Plus, it's thrilling to come across eclectic pieces that you never would have considered buying elsewhere.

I hope these tips will inspire you to create beautiful and exciting ensembles in 2010. Thank you for your readership, and I hope to see you in 2010! Happy New Year!

24 December 2009

Merry Christmas in the Spirit of DV!

The weather outside may be frightful, but one of my dearest friends has some oh-so delightful tips for ringing in the holidays...in the spirit of Diana Vreeland, of course. Whether you are throwing a holiday party, preparing for New Year's Eve, or just having a quiet evening celebrating with friends and family, her over-the-top, glamorous tips are sure to get your holiday season off to a smashing start! Diana Vreeland would be proud.

Why don’t you ...rent the International Space Station for your New Year’s Eve bash this year?

Why don’t you... cover your entire bathroom in mirrored panels, to ensure that you’ve seen every angle before you walk into the parlor?

Why don’t you... perfect your ability to say “Happy Holidays” in every language imaginable so that you can send seasonal greetings to every head of state in the world?

Why don’t you... use the leftover Prosecco to wash your delicates? Flat is best.

Why don’t you... commission a broom made of horsehair from Derby winners? Cleaning up can be glamorous, too.

Why don’t you... crochet a fabulous new hair accessory for each of your holiday guests? They should be useful as napkin rings as well as lovely parting gifts.

Why don’t you... build a guest dormitory on the back of your house, so that there will be room for all of your guests after a night of too many G&Ts?

Why don’t you... hand dip currants halfway in white chocolate, and then dip the other half in dark chocolate? Leaving a beautiful ruby strip in between would tasteful as well.

Why don’t you... decorate your roofline with Gothic creature waterspouts instead of downspouts? A few flying buttressed wouldn’t hurt, either.

Why don’t you... hire a string quartet to play on your front lawn in time with your Christmas light show?

Why don’t you... carve utensils out of your turkey carcass to use for brunch the next day?

Why don’t you... install TV monitors into the children’s table, playing nothing but Reading Rainbow and Wishbone?

Why don’t you... garnish every dish with gold dusted parsley? Curly if you are serving ham - flat with turkey or beef.Why don’t you cut your rolls of wrapping paper into 2” squares, creating patchwork paper quilts around all of your presents?

Why don’t you... insist on a royal purple silk carpet leading up to your home when your guests arrive?

Why don’t you... switch the hymnals for Where’s Waldo books during an Advent service?

Why don’t you... place original Louise Nevelson collage pieces at every Salvation Army red bucket that you see?

Why don’t you... juxtapose lush organza and brushed flannel linens with miniature Christmas trees and yellow lilies for your tablescape? A few rocks, polished with sea water, can provide a geological edge.

Why don’t you... turn last year’s holiday cards into bows to place atop the original senders’ gifts?

Why don’t you... weave a new area rug out of holly & poinsettia leaves?

Why don’t you... hire a hot air balloon to throw candy and H1N1 vaccines down to the neighborhood children?

18 December 2009

The Decade's Best Dressed

I can only imagine how difficult it must be to select the year's best dressed, so imagine how daunting it must have been for the staff of Vogue to select the decade's best dressed ladies. Fortunately, they are asking for a little assistance from their readers in selecting the ten best dressed from 2000-2009.

For each year, ten memorable dresses have been selected, with the reader being given the option of selecting one. The categories in terms of who made the list can be broken down into five categories which I have dubbed "Vogue Regulars," "Models," Fashion Originals," "Hollywood A-Listers," and "Fashion Newcomers."

Among the "Vogue Regulars" we have Aerin Lauder, Marina Rust, Lauren Santo Domingo (where would any best dressed list be without Vogue's current reigning socialite?), Sally Albermale, Margherita Missoni (wearing, naturally, Missoni), Jemima Khan, and Dr. Lisa Airan (a Vogue regular ever since she was profiled in the magazine by Amy Astley). I'm partial to Lisa Airan in this category. She has impeccable taste.

For the "Models" we have Liya Kebede, Natalia Vodianova, Alek Wek, Kate Moss, Carolyn Murphy, and Gisele. It wouldn't be a best dressed list of any credence without Kate Moss included. Sadly, Vogue did not pick her best and most memorable looks, in my opinion.

The "Fashion Originals" included Sofia Coppola, Stella Tennant (also a model), Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jennifer Connelly (featured in her scene-stealing Balenciaga number), Hope Atherton, and Daphne Guinness. My vote in this group goes to Charlotte Gainsbourg. She always looks entirely original.

All of Hollywood's A-List was included, too. Nicole Kidman, Reese, Cate, Renee, Angelina, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kirsten Dunst (in beautiful Christian Lacroix), Sienna, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lopez (in that Versace dress), Audrey Tatou (in Chanel), Penelope Cruz, and Sarah Jessica Parker. My pick is Gwyneth Paltrow. I (almost) always love what she wears.

As for the "Fashion Newcomers" we have Emma Watson (in Burberry), Rihanna, First Lady Michelle Obama, Kate Bosworth, and Anne Hathaway. Michelle Obama certainly captured our attention as of late, but I'm not sure who the best dressed newcomer would be.

My overall pick for the decade's best dressed would have to be Kate Moss. Who else defined the decade in terms of fashion better than Kate? No one else comes to mind for me. Head to http://www.vogue.com/ to place your own votes and be sure to let me know who your favorites from the decade were!

17 December 2009

Long May Lagerfeld Reign

Near the end of "Valentino: The Last Emperor," Karl Lagerfeld says to Valentino that if he ever retires, Karl will never, never, never forgive him. He must continue working at least another twenty-five years or more, so instructs Lagerfeld. Longtime admirers of Lagerfeld feel exactly the same way. We'll never forgive him if he ever leaves Chanel. We have no problem with him leaving Fendi or abandoning his namesake line, but Chanel is sacrosanct, and there is simply no one who can replace Lagerfeld.

Why the concern over the prospect that Lagerfeld could be departing from Chanel in the near future, you might ask? Well, Lagerfeld is 76 and no longer, as my father would say, a "spring chicken." The Cut reported on this earlier in the week and, naturally, any headline with "Karl Lagerfeld" in it is bound to catch my eye. Is life without Karl Lagerfeld at the helm of Chanel even conceivable? If not Karl, then who? Who could guard the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel as well as Lagerfeld has? I have heard the name of Alber Elbaz tossed around casually, but his replacing Karl would only create another dilemma: who could replace Elbaz as the head of Lanvin? Is it possible that we have a drought of truly talented designers, those who are trained in the art of couture?

Since Valentino departed, "yes" seems to be the obvious answer. Cathy Horyn of The New York Times spoke of this concern in "The Last Emperor." If you didn't learn the craft of couture from someone who was working in the 1920s and 1930s, you are learning it from Lagerfeld's generation. Lagerfeld's generation learned this trade, of course, from Patou, Jeanne Lanvin, Cristobal Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Chanel, et al. Thus, it is up to them to pass on this craft. But, as this group of designers continue to age, the fear is that the craft itself will die.
Karl Lagerfeld is not the only remaining septuagenarian. Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren are both in their seventies as well. They might be leaving the hallowed fashion runways for greener pastures at some point, too. I would be deeply saddened with the retirement of either designer (especially for poor Ralph Lauren, since most of his clientele still continue to mispronounce his last name. It's Lau-ren, folks. Not Lo-ren, as in Sophia Loren. Geesh.), but the absence of Karl Largerfeld would truly signify the end of couture and, possibly, fashion as we know it. If you thought the death of Yves Saint Laurent or the recent abdication of Valentino was devastating, imagine what would happen if someone else was charged with preserving the legacy of fashion's greatest treasure. Unfathomable.

On the bright side, I'm fairly confident that, like my beloved chihuahua, Karl Lagerfeld is immortal, and will continue to reign at Chanel for many centuries to come. He really has no other choice.

15 December 2009

The Best of Beauty from the Beauty Expert Herself

My best friend is a bona fide expert when it comes to all things Beauty. She has used all of the best and most user-friendly lines. She experiments with the new, trendy shades. And, best of all, she has perfectly flawless porcelain skin, so everything works well with her complexion. Each time I'm at her apartment, I gaze into her makeup boxes like an explorer who has just discovered the missing link to humanity or something equally exciting. She has it all, believe me.

So, I thought it would be helpful if she narrowed done some of the best (and worst!) beauty products. It seems like the beauty section in stores ranging from Target to Saks grows infinitely larger year by year. Who even knows how to effectively narrow down the myriad of options?

Here is where Emily comes in, dear readers. Below are her picks for the best of the best, with even a demerit included for fun. Enjoy!

1. Origins Never A Dull Moment facial scrub (http://www.origins.com/, some Macy’s stores). I started using this in college, and have flitted to many other scrubs since, but this is always a winner. Gentle enough to use more than once a week, it’s not super grainy and sets your face up perfectly for a mask. I use this once a week, followed by an Origins face mask.

2. Bumble and Bumble hair products. Yes, this is more than one, but I really can’t choose between prep and thickening hairspray. Together, they are a fantastic duo. And I am not a Hair Girl—I would much rather play with make-up than do my hair. But these two products make my hair do amazing things, and make me look like a Hair Girl.

3. Bobbi Brown blush (http://www.bobbibrown.com/, Nordstrom, Macy’s). “I love blush!” declares the makeup artist in one of her books. So it’s no surprise that her line has a rainbow of natural colors, in a variety of finishes. For myself, I prefer pale pink, pink sugar, or washed rose, followed by a swipe of her pink shimmer brick compact (which can be blush in and of itself.).

4. Bath and Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar body scrub. Smells divine, low cost, easy to find. What more can you want?

5. Bobbi Brown concealer/foundation/powder: Again, more than one thing. But the entire face system is great. The concealer is the best I have found for covering dark circles; the foundation matches your skin, no matter how pale or dark you are, and yellow powder does amazing things for the complexion. Plus, a bottle of foundation will last a good long time. The foundation also comes in a cream to powder compact and in a stick (great for the office or travel).

** And one thing I don’t get….Maybelline Great Lash. I keep reading about how wonderful it is. And I’ve tried it. And I don’t get it. I think it makes your lashes look scary—way too thick and clumpy. Plus, you look like you have maybe four lashes, and it’s impossible to comb through. For my money, Clinique, Lancome, and Cover Girl make much better products.

*** I completely agree with Emily regarding Great Lash. I bought it once and my eyes were so irritated that they were red for a month and so sore from itching that I couldn't wear eyeliner.

11 December 2009

Oh, the books you'll read!

Since the end of the year is almost upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to take inventory of the year as it was in books, along with a look at what is on my book-radar for 2010.

So, here are my top ten books from 2009 in no particular order:

1. "A Dash of Daring: Carmel Snow and Her Life in Fashion, Art, and Letters," Penelope Rowlands. This was hands-down the best biography I have ever read. It made me wish that I had been born in the 1930s so I could work with Carmel Snow and the other talented people who inhabited her life (Conde Nast, Jean Lanvin, Jean Patou, Poiret, Vionnet, Balenciaga....the list goes on!). If you love fashion as much as I do, I promise that you will love this book.

2. "The Sea, the Sea," Iris Murdoch. My obsession with Iris Murdoch began with this book. It was an amazingly gripping psychological thriller. Suspenseful, complicated, and philosophical. My love for this book led me to read five more books from Murdoch this year. If you haven't read any Murdoch, do start!

3. "Jude the Obscure," Thomas Hardy. Perhaps my favorite book of all-time. Set in a fictional city modeled after Oxford, young Jude dreamt only of attending Christminster. His ambition to overcome the many hurdles keeping him from his dream were touching and inspiring. Let's just say that I can easily relate to Jude. The setting of Christminster, with all of the Oxford references, made it that much more entertaining for me.

4. "Possession," A.S. Byatt. Another of my all-time favorite books. Probably the most romantic story imaginable.

5. "The Great Railway Bazaar," Paul Theroux. This was the book that defined the modern travel narrative. Now I understand why. Theroux makes you feel as if you are along for the ride- and you will want to be.

6. "The Alchemist," Paulo Coelho. Picked up from the library on a whim, I finished this short little book in one sitting. Inspiring and encouraging. This book, while maybe a little cheesy at times, will you push you to go for your dreams and to see "the world through your own eyes and not someone else's."

7. "The Waves," Virginia Woolf. One of those rare books that one could read a dozen times and take away something different from it each time. I viewed it as a metaphor for life, with life occurring in stages or seasons, like the tide, and not as a race to the finish line.

8. "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar," Paul Theroux. Theroux decided to retrace the tracks of his ground-breaking travel narrative. The reader discovers that while the journey has remained the same (with a few alterations due to strife in certain parts of the world), the traveler has changed. Just as fascinating as the first, which started it all.

9. "Bonjour, Tristesse," Francoise Sagan. I loved this book so much that I also wrote a blog entry on it. Fantastic coming-of-age story set in the south of France. Not to be missed, in my opinion.

10. "The Time Traveler's Wife," Audrey Niffenegger. I wasn't planning on reading this book, but everyone kept raving about it, so I decided to check it out. I'm truly glad that I did. This was one of the most romantic and touching books that I've read- the rare book in which the characters stay with you long after you have finished the actual book.

And, on my radar for 2010:

1. "Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky," Chris Greenhalgh. I'm always excited to read more about the life of Chanel. I'd like to see this film, too.

2. "Alice I Have Been," Melanie Benjamin. 2010 is shaping up to be "The Year of Alice," with everyone's excitement for Tim Burton's recreation reaching extreme heights. I'm curious about it, too.

3. "The Elegance of the Hedgehog," Muriel Barbery. I've wanted to read this for awhile, so I finally added it to my library queue. It's set in Paris, so you really can't go wrong.

4. "Committed," Elizabeth Gilbert. This book, which doesn't come out until January 5, 2010, has already generated a lot of buzz, probably due to the success of "Eat, Pray, Love" and the forthcoming movie of the same name. I'm curious to hear what she has to say on marriage after vowing never to marry again. Plus, I loved her advice in Elle to those under 25 who plan on marrying: "Wake up, slow down." Amen, sister.

So, there we have it: the year (and upcoming months) in books. I'd love to know what you've been reading! Also, feel free to send any interesting recommendations my way.

10 December 2009

What's up with Harper's Bazaar lately?

First, it was the Twilight-themed cover for the December issue. I'll admit that I liked the subscriber cover and even thought it was interesting and artistic. And, OK, I read the interview with Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, though I know absolutely nothing about the Twilight series, save for one very long e-mail summary my friend Emily sent me once. But now, The Cut has reported that Harper's Bazaar has commissioned thirteen-year old blogging sensation Tavi Gevinson to write a column about the spring collections. At first, I thought the announcement of Harper's Bazaar was clearly a typo. Surely, they meant Seventeen or Teen Vogue, not Harper's Bazaar, the magazine that gave us Edward Steichen, Carmel Snow, George Hoyningen-Huene, and Louise Dahl-Wolfe, some of the greatest fashion luminaries to ever grace the page. No, it just couldn't be.

Oh, but it is.

Why has Harper's Bazaar felt the need to hop on the gimmick bandwagon in recent months? Are sales down that much? Is Glenda Bailey just being ironic? I don't get it. This period of oddness goes back to the Angelina Jolie cover for which Bazaar used an old photo of Ms. Jolie and photo-shopped it into a cover, along with a corresponding article for which Ms. Jolie provided no quotes or comments. I do not believe that concept was well-received and I doubt Bazaar will do that again. True, the cover came during a "J-month" (i.e. an unexciting month in fashion), but I was still a little disappointed with the lack of imagination exhibited by that cover.

I am so distraught over the idea of a thirteen-year old writing a fashion column for Harper's Bazaar, of all magazines, that I don't know if I'll ever be able to take an active interest in Bazaar again. It's nothing personal against Tavi, of course. I've visited her blog many times (awesome use of photos and images, by the way!) and I wholeheartedly believe that her personal style is unique and sensational, incredibly impressive for someone so young. Aren't kids that age usually swathed in look-alike Abercrombie & Fitch? So, kudos to Tavi for expressing herself through fashion. Virginia Woolf would certainly be proud.

With that being said, I just don't know how credible the fashion advice or commentary of a thirteen-year old could be. She's been following fashion for, what, a year now? Some of the people reading Harper's Bazaar have been following the fashion industry for forty or fifty years, often longer. It just feels insulting to those loyal readers to have their fashion advice come from a child. What sense of the history of fashion could she have? Let us not forget that even Sally Singer (Sally Singer!) was once lambasted by Karl Lagerfeld for "having no sense of the history of fashion" for making a poor comparison between the work of Mr. Lagerfeld and that of Olivier Theyskeins for Rochas. Karl Lagerfeld was so offended by this that he felt the need to send off a heated letter to Vogue. Hence my ability to quote from that letter. So, if Sally Singer, Vogue's fashion news/features director, is lacking a sense of fashion history according to Karl Lagerfeld (someone who knows fashion!), I think we can deduce with absolute certainty that a thirteen-year old is as well.

Sure, novelties are fun, but they also grow old and tired.

I'd like to see Harper's Bazaar return to what it does best- cutting-edge fashion, spectacular artistic design (what Bazaar has always been known for), award-winning editorials, and influential journalism. Too much is at stake for Bazaar to follow the bandwagon off into obscurity.

I'll read Tavi's column with an open and curious mind when Bazaar arrives in my mailbox in a couple of weeks, but I still expect more from my favorite magazine. And, quite frankly, its readers deserve more.

08 December 2009

Rodarte Misses the Mark for Target

The Mulleavy sisters of Rodarte are the newest design collaborators to offer a lower priced line for Target. Though the collection will not be appearing in stores until December 20th, images from the line have been all over the Internet, ripe with anticipation for the collection's release.

The Cut finally provided a slide show of the collection, and I must say that I was pretty underwhelmed in viewing it. The clothes looked more like Halloween costumes than the artistic, creative frocks we have come to expect from Rodarte. Lace seemed to be a big part of the collection, with the black lacy tights paired with each outfit. I'd much rather have the ripped Rodarte tights from runways of past than that pair! Then there were the mustard cardigans, leopard dresses and belts, lacy cardigans, the blue Swiss dot dress (???), and more leopard and lace. The only pieces that I am remotely interested in trying on are the tulle and lace navy skirt, which could be flattering, and the sequined rib cage dress, just for fun. With the exception of those pieces, I was really disappointed with the collection.

Then again, I've been disappointed with nearly every design collaboration for Target, with the few exceptions being Luella Bartley (back in 2006) and Thakoon. It's fun to wear something affordable from your favorite designer, but if the clothing is cheaply made and undermines the design integrity of the collaborator, what's the point? More than anything, the Go Collections and design collaborations for Target, H&M, Kohl's, etc. further cement that it's not necessarily just the name, but the quality of the craftsmanship behind the apparel that matters. Sure, you can slap the Chanel logo on a cheap black and white tote, but there's nothing even remotely close to Chanel about that bag. It's the same with the knock-offs at Central Park and, sadly, it's been the same story with the recent bridge lines.

When Rodarte was nominated for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund back in 2006 (they were runners-up to Thakoon that year), Kate and Laura dazzled with a vibrant collection of, yes, lace, ruffles, and organza. "In some ways I do feel like we design these dresses for ourselves, because they come from our imagination. And we always kinda live in our imagination," Kate Mulleavy was quoted by Jane Herman in the November 2006 issue of Vogue. The dresses from that collection were certainly dream-weavers- nothing at all like the dresses in the Target collaboration. The more I review their collection from 2006, the less I see of Rodarte in the Target collection.

A slide show pictorial of nine outfits is available on The Cut, so check it out and see what you think about the collection. I'd love to know if you believe the design integrity of Rodarte was upheld in this collection. Hopefully someone other than blogger-of-the-moment Tavi Gevinson is excited about this look book.
I remain skeptical.

03 December 2009

The return of the Etiquette Grrls!

I like to think that good etiquette is an inherently vital part of life (and fashion), so I hope my dear readers will excuse me for wandering a bit off topic just this once. My best friend just informed me that two of our most beloved authors, Lesley Carlin and Honore McDonough Ervin, who comprise the Etiquette Grrls, have returned to blogging and keeping the world free from tacky and obscenely out-of-taste dilemmas. The EGs had left their blog quite a few years ago when one of the EGs had a baby. Now it seems that both EGs are finally back, and I couldn't be more excited.

If you're not familiar with the work of the Etiquette Grrls, fear not, as it will not take you much time at all to read their two excellent books on etiquette: "Things You Need to Be Told" and "More Things You Need to Be Told." I would certainly urge you to make a beeline to your nearest library or bookstore and begin reading at once! And, of course, their new blog is: http://etiquettegrrls.blogspot.com/. Check it out post haste!

What I love most about the Etiquette Grrls is that they deliver practical, useful information in a fun and witty way. I'll admit that some of their advice is often a bit out-dated or just too conservative (i.e. their advice on fashion, which I'll address in a moment), but for the most part they are spot-on with their recommendations for living a proper and inoffensive lifestyle. Some might say that they are too pretentious or that their advice is only a cover for sheer snobbery. To those folks I would suggest both lightening up and developing a sense of humor. Sure, the EGs use random capitalized words, sprinkle their prose with the occasional French word or two, or make recommendations about music/literature/art, but their advice, while acerbic and caustic at times, is meant either in jest or to be adopted as it fits into your own lifestyle.

Now, the one piece of advice that I overwhelmingly ignore is their etiquette as it pertains to fashion and dress. The EGs are a bit out-dated in this respect, suggesting that it is a faux pas to wear white after Labor Day among other archaisms. They also frown upon the fashion sense of the ladies of SATC. Yes, at times, Carrie et al may have been dressed in poor taste, but overall, no other television show has been as progressive when it comes to fashion, nor has any other show ever made fashion as mainstream as SATC did. Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin can surely attest to that fact. Thus, it is best, in my fashionable opinion, to dismiss the advice of the EGs when it comes to fashion. Read their advice for yourself, and perhaps you'll agree.

With that being said, I still highly recommend the wit and wisdom of the Etiquette Grrls. Their books and, no doubt, new website are thoroughly entertaining and educational. You will enjoy them. I promise.

02 December 2009

Whatever happened to the Vogue Supplement?

I've been doing some fall cleaning this past week and I came across my Vogue archives from roughly 2000-2003. I've taken great pleasure in re-reading all of my favorite articles and, of course, looking at how the masthead has changed over the years. I'm not sure if anyone pays quite as much attention to the masthead as I do, but I love seeing how the magazine and the writers themselves have blossomed.

Anyhow, in sorting through these old issues of Vogue, I also came across several supplemental issues to Vogue. Unfortunately, there is not a year or month on the supplements, so I can't pinpoint the exact date for you. (A couple of the supplements were available back before Stephanie Winston Wolkoff was the Director of Special Events, if that tells you anything.) Long-time subscribers to Vogue will probably recall the supplement with the Beckhams gracing the cover (one of my favorites since I love, love, love Victoria Bechkam!), the one with Karolina Kurkova titled "The Winning Hand," and some might even remember the nondescript cover titled "Entertaining from Maine to Moomba."

I really adore these supplements. When they were issued, they were only available to subscribers, which was a real treat. Other magazines not only provide similarly coveted supplements, but some magazines even provide different, artsier covers for their subscribers. Both Elle and Harper's Bazaar do this with the cover for the subscribers usually having a model, as opposed to the celebrity of the month. I consider this to be an enormous perk and something I wish Vogue would emulate. The supplement was really the only perk available to subscribers, aside from the low price of receiving the magazine in your mailbox, as opposed to the newsstand.

I came across a few sartorial delights in the supplements. Though there weren't any layouts in the short supplements, there were excellent highlights from the runways, behind-the-scenes photos, and designer spotlights. One of the supplements had a short article on the opening of the posh Ikram boutique in Chicago. Who could have predicted the overwhelming success of Ikram? Well, Vogue, of course. And who could forget the screw-heeled shoes that graced, er, troubled the Alexander McQueen runways in 2001? Well, there was a fun photo to remind readers of those terrifyingly dangerous shoes that only Kate Moss was brave enough to wear. Vogue wittingly declared that those shoes deserved the "Most Dangerous Footwear" award. Touche.

The ad campaigns were pretty thrilling, too. These supplements were obviously printed during the height of the careers of models Anouk Lepere (one of my favorites!), Caroline Ribeiro, Maggie Rizer, and right around the beginning of the careers of Karolina Kurkova, Carmen Kass (my all-time favorite model), and Gisele.

I wonder if it would be possible for Anna to resurrect the Vogue Supplement? We subscribers would love the perk of having a limited-edition keepsake again. European and Asian editions of the magazine still provide supplements, often big and glossy additional photospreads, too. It would be easy to say that the supplement was eliminated because of the recession, but that's hardly the case. I couldn't find a supplement past 2004, so the supplement's disappearance had nothing to do with the current recession. I am not sure why it vanished, but I would welcome its return.

So, Anna, if you're reading this, will you please bring back the Vogue Supplement?

** Note on the photo: I couldn't find an image of one of the Vogue Supplements, so I went with Karolina's first Vogue cover instead.**