First the good news:
Last Friday, my very good friend Amy Creyer of ChicagoStreetStyle hosted an event at Cynthia Rowley’s flagship store in Bucktown to showcase Rowley’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection. The party was much like other fashion events, champagne provided by Il Prosecco and chocolate by Vosges Haut Chocolat. There were manicures done by the MC (Master of Cuticles), Matt “The Gaudy God” Kasin, while Courtney Tippin and Anthony Maslo of Salon Soca provided tips for hair and mini-makeovers. I must say, the staff at the event were sweet and quite chic, tending to our every alcoholic whim and being demonstrably lovely and friendly.
When it concerned the collection, it was a home run (see? Even your own Indumentarian is catching spring training fever). Cynthia Rowley gave us wardrobe options in strong cuts, pastels and major embellishments. Heavy skirts were paired with light tops and peek-a-boo cutouts were prevalent in more of a modest (and therefore grownup) way than recent revelations in that trend. Balance was key. The look was reminiscent of Brutalist architecture, windows to the body exposed certain amounts of skin at the right intervals without being too skanky. However, the position of said attribute and other revelations confirmed that there was nothing matronly about the look. Far from it, it seemed to be made for that sort of woman who walks about town, confident in her sexuality but also confident enough to exude a specific sex appeal that did not require the exploitation of the dermis. I have to say that it was economically and historically relevant and very present in what 2011 will look like in months to come. Frankly, I wouldn’t put it passed this collection to be emblematic- a slice of mega relevance that teenagers twenty years from now will try to emulate in their almost vacant nostalgia.
Cynthia Rowley’s new collection was very sleek, almost in a Calvin Klein sort of way. However, with that minimalist approach to hair, makeup, and silhouettes came innovative jewelry that resembled the shape of side reigns. However this, potentially met with some suspect, is pulled off by having an air of strength and poise that could only be described as empowering. It met the neckline with complimentary geometry that further implemented the already ladylike futurism with further punch. The florals and prints were inspired and an interesting feature were the shoes: heels that were worn with shiny, sheer socks. All in all, a complete success when it came to the party and the collection.
The crowd was also a triumph. Mixed but not clashing, I think I can speak for everyone when I say that the good times had were a result of the interesting conversation, cozy setting, and sparkling wine that flowed like interjections and compliments. May it be known here first: Amy Creyer knows how to throw of hell of a party!
Now the bad news:
John Galliano, a genius in many circles since having become head designer for the influential power-house Christian Dior in 1997, had a bit of a Mel Gibson-style career ending moment. The details of the incident were a tad suspect but since British tabloid The Sun acquired video of a previous incident in the same bar, one cannot deny the authenticity of these claims.
It happened in La Perle, a bar and bistro located in Le Marais, an historic district in Paris that is spread across the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. The location of the event is quite interesting, as this district has had a historically Jewish presence, even having recently installed a “wall of names,” as reported by the BBC, to honor 76,000 Jews who had been deported during World War II. More recently, it has been growing in association with the gay community.
The incident, having happened to people who in fact were not Jewish, has sent shock waves throughout the world perhaps most notably since Natalie Portman, a Jewish Academy Award winning actress who is proud of her religion and even speaks Hebrew, is the current face of the Miss Dior Cherie perfume. When reached for comment at the Oscars, her people urged her to not comment and, instead, released a statement implying that she would much rather dissociate herself from Galliano and that “these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices ”
Eloquence aside, what is most troubling to me is the fact that many in the fashion community are jumping to his defense rather than calling him out on it. Patricia Field, famed stylist for ‘Sex and The City’ and costume designer for ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ was adamant about her defense of the fallen icon. “Why is it okay for Mel Brooks?” She asked referencing the humor found in ‘The Producers.’ Because he is Jewish, Ms. Field. And, frankly, his sort is out of jest since he is a comedian. There was nothing funny about what Galliano did and he is no comedian.
The level of acceptance in the fashion community of this flagrant intolerance for such an extreme act is heavily offensive and I cannot believe that people would jump to the defense of such monstrosity. Sure he’s a sartorial genius and a fashion icon (if you’re into to the whole flamenco hooker look) but honestly, this does not excuse his actions. If this were any other industry he would be taken out of the loop, never to be heard from again but, no, this is the fashion world. Supporters continue to hold him in such high regard, most notably Nicole Kidman who wore one of his designs to the Academy Awards.
What the real issue here is that not only are these acts deplorable but in France, they are illegal. Galliano can serve upwards to six months in prison for the offense and rightly so. For a nation and continent that has a very explicit history with anti-Semitism, these types of things are not taken lightly. This is truly a light flickering in the wind that shall be blown out as tragically and as iconically as it’s wick- years after the flame had been hit by the treacherous wind it came across.