This past summer I went to an Hérmes store on rue St-Honoré in Paris, with the idea of buying a cardholder. The one I wanted was sold out, so I decided to browse the store, which was already full of shoppers at ten in the morning. I was almost on the way out when a thin black leather cuff with a matte black leather buckle caught my eye. Attracted by its subtle elegance, I bought it on the spot. By the time I was done with my tax refund process, the sales associate who was helping me magically appeared at my side, with the cuff gift-wrapped and swaddled inside the iconic orange shopping bag. This was one of my most pleasant shopping experiences of the past several years, and an increasingly rare one.
“The real issue is that in the fashion business, it’s almost against the law to tell the truth, and anyone who steps behind the silk curtain to show how raw the business is can expect a rough time. Designers go to grotesque lengths to exaggerate their concepts to the press. And the press is just as guilty when it swallows the bait and spews forth huge headlines. The self-importance of our profession is appalling.”
So wrote John Fairchild in his 1989 biography, Chic Savages (quoted in Teri Agins’s book, The End of Fashion). Fairchild being the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Women’s Wear Daily for decades, I see no reason not to believe him. Another reason not to believe him is that over the past ten years I have increasingly come to feel the same.
Throughout the history of contemporary fashion there has raged a recurring debate about whether fashion is a form of art.
Covid-19 has raged through America and the rest of the world for a while now, allowing for a lot of so-called reflection from the fashion media.
With each video I watched, the same questions kept popping into my head. What exactly am I supposed to review?
I am straight. This must be stated for the purpose of this article, because it’s about my history of buying women’s clothes.
It’s August, the lull before the storm of the fashion month that will start in early September in New York and will end in early October in Paris.
During this past fashion show season one of the most talked about collections was the runway debut of Bottega Veneta under its new creative director, Daniel Lee.
Last year the blogger Venkatesh Rao coined the term “premium mediocre.” He was referring to a segment of economic activity largely dreamed up by marketers to give the consumerist masses an illusion that they are consuming luxury, when they were doing nothing of the sort.
The recent scandal involving the staff at a Balenciaga corner at Printemps, the Paris department store, in which it allegedly discriminated against a Chinese shopper, is reprehensible in its own right.