Lacking the big names of New York, Milan, and Paris, London Fashion Week is always about creativity. Once designers make a name there, they can move on to New York, as Preen and Jonathan Saunders have recently done. But aside from spotting future stars, the fun of the week really lies in the fact that "creativity" is often just another word for "freak show."
Just when we thought Fashion Week held no more surprises, we discovered that, as usual, we were wrong. After all, if sharing air space with K-Fed, J.Lo, and Liza Minnelli (L.Mi?) wasn't enough to shake us out of our jaded, hard-hearted cynicism for a moment, nothing is. And though the last eight days were often exhausting and occasionally eye-crossing, they were also, as ever, tremendously fun. Here are a few highlights:
Big Names are showing daily, and the critics are quick to praise or pick apart. Diane Von Furstenberg's femme-fatale look was lauded, but Max Azria’s resurrection of the Hervé Léger label was mixed. Jonathan Saunders charmed most reviewers, but not Cathy Horyn. And Donna Karan’s time-traveling collection was confusing to all but WWD.
With day four under way, Sari Sloane, Intermix’s VP of fashion merchandising, took time out of her busy schedule to recap her favorite picks from the weekend. What will she be buying for fall? Hervé Léger’s knits, DVF’s flapper looks, and Jonathan Saunder’s crisp tailoring.
At last night's opening of Julian Schnabel's show at the Sperone Westwater Gallery, we ran into Alexandra Kerry (daughter of former presidential candidate John). She was there with BlackBook founder Evan Schindler, who is now running Tar Art Media, a socially conscious arts-media collective. Kerry is working with Schindler on some projects, including a narrative film of Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, screenwritten by the author's son ("We're doing a reading of it, actually, in February, with Alec Baldwin and Harvey Keitel and Josh Lucas!"). Since Kerry is a woman and political by heritage, we asked her, naturally, about Hillary's tears. "There has never been a politician who hasn't stood onstage and been moved at one time or another and affected by something emotionally," she told us. "I think it is very human and very normal." How reasonable! But surely it was all a ruse to trick us into voting for her? "The kind of pressure that each candidate is under is not something that I think the average person can understand, so I give her the liberty and the freedom to have her moment," Kerry said. "And I don't think that's something someone would act. I would like to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who is standing up there and running, particularly in the Democratic party. So I honestly have to say that I don't think it's my place to judge what her motivations are. I mean, it may be completely honest." A-ha! It "may be completely honest." Girl, you've got a future in politics. —Andrew Goldstein
Just kidding! He doesn't really. See, when we caught up with the stylist and 'mocialite at the Gay Men's Health Crisis Fashion Forward party, we immediately asked him if the news outlets that enjoy teasing him ever mix up his quotes. "The New York Observer, always, always," he said, rolling his eyes. "I literally could be like 'I love Jesus.' And they'd be like 'I love, dot dot dot, to have sex with, dot dot dot, Jesus' and I'm like, Where did that come from?" We don't know why anyone would ever want to doctor his quotes, because that was his answer to our first question, and as far as we're concerned, he hit it out of the park. —Amy Preiser
Michael Whiteman — the restaurateur who, with his late partner, the legendary Joe Baum, created the Rainbow Room, Windows on the World, the Hudson River Club, and a number of other historically important places — has issued his annual predictions for next year's restaurant trends, including "tropical superfruits," "ethical eating," and "wildly flavored chocolates." The list is pretty wide-ranging, but if we were handicapping all ten wrinkles, we'd say the odds are on "chef-driven steakhouses" (as Whiteman has persuasively argued), "Japanese small plates" (i.e., izakayas), and "burgers with pedigrees," like those promised by Joe Bastianich's Heritage Burger (which we announced the other day). The long shots for '07? Peruvian cooking, those spice-flavored chocolates, and the popularization of molecular gastronomy ("equivalent to a gastronomic IQ test in which typical diners are all below average"). Then again, no one ever said we were the oracle.
'Party-Colored Beets': 2007 Buzzword Preview [Eater]
Remembering Joe Baum [NYM]
Strollers crisscross with lawyers and Lenox Hill Hospital workers in the micro-micro-neighborhood centered around 72nd Street and Second Avenue. Indian and Mexican food are noticeably underrepresented, but you can still find damn good diner eats, tasty burgers, and above-average Chinese takeout.
Introducing the Underground Gourmet's Sandwich of the Week, a special contribution to Grub Street.
Nothing rankles peevish sandwich purists more than the compulsion among today's freewheeling chefs to improve upon a classic by substituting brazenly nontraditional upmarket ingredients for the tried and true (witness the Wagyu cheesesteak). Said purists, though, should swallow their indignation along with the spectacular "Three-Terrine Sandwich" that recently debuted on the late-night menu at Momofuku Ssäm Bar. The toothsome concoction is crafted from shards of succulent ham, chicken pâté, and a particularly heady veal-head cheese, all made in house and topped with pickled cucumbers, carrot, daikon, Kewpie mayo, and hot sauce. A gourmet bánh mì, for sure, but a bánh mì just the same, even if co-chef Tien Ho, its humble creator, abstained from using the name since he serves it on a Sullivan Street Bakery ciabatta instead of the traditional rice-flour-enhanced baguette. If only all sandwich maestros were such sticklers.
— Rob Patronite & Robin Raisfeld