The City Recap: Anne Slowey Tells Whitney She’s Not a ‘Real Designer’

By
Photo: Courtesy of MTV
Show
The City
Episode Title
Fashion With a Capital F
Season
2
Episode
6

The City reached so many new, fantastic levels of bitchiness last night. Olivia continued to regress in her career, while Whitney’s career progress — landing a meeting with Joe Zee and Anne Slowey at Elle — was in itself a regression. The more people she shows her clothing line, the more tell her it's lousy. What’s the lesson? Give up and live off a reality-television nest egg or strive forth and try to convince the world that reality television is your side job, not your career? Whitney will strive forth, of course, for the sake of us having a show to watch on Tuesday nights. But she needs to do two things: grow some callouses and start making better clothes. Thankfully Olivia is much more of a disaster in her career, which makes Whitney look better. But more on that in this week's lessons.

Lesson 1: Working.
Do: Things superiors tell you to do. Erin, who may not be Olivia’s boss but is still senior to her, tells her she has to cover the party Elle is hosting for Guess. Olivia doesn’t say “okay,” like a new hire should, but rather “I’ll speak to Joe about it.” The fashion industry is full of power trippers. Anyone who has worked in the industry for a reasonable amount of time would know not to risk making someone you work with hate you by undermining their authority, perceived or real. Erin doesn’t seem like this kind of power tripper, but Olivia should know better than to essentially wage a campaign to get everyone in a fashion office to hate her as much as possible.
Do: Be polite. Olivia may not be trained to earn her own money — a job comes with no tangible stakes since, if she loses it, she won't go homeless. But she acts like she’s well-bred when she wants to be. When Erin tells her Whitney is coming to the party, she feigns a smile in that jaw-clenching way that she has, and says Whitney is “more than welcome to come if you invite her.” Everything about the way she said it screamed, “I hate that bitch because she has a fashion line and I don’t,” but at least that didn’t come out.

Lesson 2: Helping your co-worker pick out clothes in an advertiser’s showroom.
Don’t: Badmouth the label. Erin drags Olivia to Guess to pick out an outfit for the Guess party. Elle probably has a precious relationship with the company as an advertiser and doesn’t want to fuck that up, which is why it’s important that Joe’s girls follow his orders and wear the clothes like they actually like them. Olivia manages to restrain verbalizing her actual opinions in the Guess showroom, though she’s clearly disgusted by the clothes and the thought of wearing something that’s not designer or vintage Luca Luca. Would Eric Daman fuss over her in Guess? Of course not.
Don’t: Tell your co-worker how you really feel. Most girls know you have to be pretty close with a girlfriend to give your true opinion on clothes they think they want to wear. You can only tell a really cool, good friend, “I don’t think that’s for you.” And even then it can be iffy. They might throw a tantrum and say you called them fat! And storm out in tears! Swearing they’ll go into hiding — you go to the party alone! They'll be home with their FAT! Olivia doesn’t call Erin fat, but she does something just as bad when she tells Erin the dress she wants to wear “would be nice on you with a big chunky sweater.” No, that would make her look like a librarian, but most important, on a lesser level of cuteness Olivia doesn’t feel she would have to compete with. The comment results in another classic Erin expression that makes us think she’s doing all she can not to turn into a werewolf and bite Olivia’s face off. Erin WIN!

Lesson 3: Prioritizing fake life or real life.
Do: Prioritize real life in public. At the Guess party, Olivia had to make a decision. Does she pretend to be an Elle employee for the sake of her reality show or does she go as herself for the sake of not humiliating herself in her real life? It was a real party, after all, and as we saw, there were tons of people there. If she went as an Elle employee she would have had to wear Guess — the horror — and not promote herself by giving interviews to LX TV on the step-and-repeat. She would have had to wear Guess to interview people on-camera for Elle.com, which would have left her on-camera for two outlets in Guess. Olivia chooses to be the real socialite she is, wears Bensoni and Diane Von Furstenberg, and doesn't do her little fake poser interviews for her little fake poser job. If we were her, we'd do the same thing.
Do: Prioritize fake life in private. Olivia is terrible at making it seem like she cares a little bit about her fake job. Of course she can't get fired, because the show wouldn't be nearly as awesome and hate-filled without her, but she might at least act like stakes were at play. Isn't that what these shows are all about? ACTING? When Joe acts like he's pissed at her for not wearing Guess, Olivia smiles, which we did, too, when Joe said: “I just want you to know how serious the situation is.” But save the laughing for when the director says cut, toots!

Lesson 4: Plugging lines at market appointments.
Don't: Lie about a line just because it's your friend's. When Roxy shows Paper's Mickey Boardman the Felder and Felder line, she suggests he check out Whitney Eve because it's girly and "rock-and-roll cool." No it's not. It's slutty Easter-party wear.

Lesson 5: Accessories.
Don't: Wear a sparkly headband on any other day than that of your naughty Easter party. Whitney wore one to the Guess party, which was not a slutty Easter party.
Don't: Carry a handbag that looks like a cat carrier. When Whitney and Roxy get coffee and Whitney's freaking out over her meeting with Joe, we can barely focus on what she's saying because her handbag looks like it was meant to hold a cat. It would make sense: No one on this show can do enough hissing and scratching of their own lately.

Lesson 6: Letting someone know how you really feel.
Do: Bring Anne Slowey along to do the dirty work for you! We were thrilled to see Anne make a cameo on the show, finally. She probably has no idea what it's about, but Joe brings her along because he's too nice to tell Whitney what her line is really like. Enter, Anne!

I'm seeing a lot of stuff that, um, I think people would like. But, you know, I think there's maybe a little bit of focus lacking, in terms of fashion with a capital "F," uh, point of view. You know, to hear [that] you want to see yourself alongside someone like a Phillip Lim or an Alex Wang, you know, I mean, they — they are real designers. And I think that it doesn't mean you can't be a real designer someday. I'm not sure that I'm really getting a point of view. For instance, you know, this is — you know, this is a great dress. And I think a girl who would buy this dress would buy this jacket. But I'm not quite reconciling how it ends up in the same collection. I mean, this is — i haven't seen this before. I've seen all that before. I'm not interested in seeing anything I've seen before from a new designer.

Joe adds:

When I look at this, and I think it's really cute, that's not really a collection, because it's just items. This is the case with all young designers. It's, like, you know, learning.

Don't: Cry. The look on Whitney's face after this meeting was a little, well, sad. She's definitely been working on her acting, though she can't cry on cue. But she needs to do more work on her line!

Lesson 7: Developing a thick skin.
Don't: Crumble in front of industry people. That's what they want. Kelly hates people who whine and cry, so it's a wonder she puts up with Whitney, who tells her over lunch, "I don't know how much more criticism I can take before I can't handle it anymore, you know? Like, it's such a tough industry, and I feel constantly beat up at the end of the day." Fashion will do that to people, since the industry likes to feel like their work isn't as frivolous as it is, which is why Whitney needs enough of an attitude to rise above the bullshit.
Do: Tell your buddy how you really feel. What Whitney probably wanted to say is, "Anne Slowey is such a bitch." This would have felt good, and been better for her image than dragging into lunch like a sad bunny with a gimpy hop.