Tuesday, April 30, 2002

A Lookonline Editorial:

"Grunge is Back"

Ugly is beautiful while
childhood is profaned.
Sex clubs for the young
when perverts take over
the asylum.

More is never enough as
gossip replaces the Gospels.
God wears Gucci and carries
salvation in a Birkin Bag.

The poor do not inherit the
earth, only the dirt. They
wait for the ants to march
out of the ant heap singing

"The beat goes on..."

-Ernest Schmatolla

Sunday, April 28, 2002

It was sad to see the "editors choice" layout this morning. it's a shame that a newspaper as important as the NY Times did not have a more elegant concept. outside of the lead image of the guy in the white suit, it was pretty bad stuff. It didn't even have that edgy editorial feel to it. it was like taking a stroll through a garbage dump. was that what the editors were going for? and if so, why?

From The NY Times Sunday Magazine Style Section:

(click on image for enlarged view)

Bad Girls Or Just Bad Taste?

Just what message is this weekend's The New York Times Magazine Style section trying to send with this editorial on message t-shirts called 'What's Your Sign"? These models are either very young or made to appear very young. With overdone makeup and suggestive styling, the editors have painfully missed the mark.

Is the above feature part of the new face the Style section is struggling to create to remain relevant? If so, editor Amy M. Spindler is walking a thin line between cutting edge fashion editorial and child pornography.

In response to the above item goes are some observations e-mailed to us from a well known New York fashion publicist:

"It reminds me of the Calvin ads he did. You know the ones, deemed "kiddie porn" the shots were of young 'tweens and early twenty somethings photographed in a room full of paneling (though we did have paneling when I was young), but it was done in a pornographic sexual way...Too bad b/c that was a pr nightmare....I don't wish that upon any of my clients. Everything old should not be new again - and today the message that kids are sending whether written on their shirts or projected under globs of make up are an accident waiting to happen. These kids can not handle what they are walking into. And that isn't creative! "

Thursday, April 25, 2002

'Master's of Fashion' Video Interview with Bill Cunningham

Hintmag.com is currently featuring their interview with fashion photographer Rick Knight conducted by publisher Lee Carter. Their interview inspired us to again highlight our video interview with NY Times's photographer Bill Cunningham. Of course Bill is more than just a photographer, he is truly one of the most informed and respected names in American fashion. If you have not watched and listened to our extensive video interview (49 minutes total) with Bill you are missing a very important fashion history lesson! And our interview gives viewers the opportunity to make some interesting comparisons between how two sites differ in their approaches to an interview with a famous photographer.

The 'Masters of Fashion Video Series', hosted by Editor-in-Chief Marilyn Kirschner, is an exclusive feature production of lookonline.com. Go to our main news page to access previous 'Masters' interviews by Marilyn with Ruth Finley and Elsa Klensch. And don't miss the original video interviews hosted and conducted for us by Grace Mirabella with photographer Arthur Elgort and CEO Rose Marie Bravo in our archive section on our main news page.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

My first thought, upon reading in WWD that the spring 2003 runway shows are probably being scheduled for September 8 -14th, and that September 11th could be a day filled with fashion shows- was that it would be totally inappropriate for shows to go on as usual on this tragic anniversary. But....on the other hand.....doesn't that mean that they (the terrorists) win? After all, isn't their intent to scare us into changing our normal routines? So perhaps the best way to mark the occasion would be to hold a memorial of some kind, but not to reschedule Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week entirely, since that seems almost impossible in light of holidays and time constraints.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

Part 2 of Equal Time for Critics of Lookonline.com:

Lookonline.com is known for editorials criticizing others for their actions, contents or deeds. But if you dish it out, then you have to be willing to take it! So in that spirit we want to share with you, our gentle readers, part 2 of our all time classic "put downs" of us sent in to us or to others about us. We believe by sharing these "gems" with you, we will give you a good laugh and it may tell you as much about the sender as it does about us. We will continue to post additional items as they come in.

New Item: Lucire.com Publisher Jack Yan Goes "Bonkers" Over Lookonline.com Publisher's Criticisms:

Background: We are indeed guilty of not thinking much of Jack Yan's Lucire.com "global" fashion site and telling him so. In fact, after we read some of the sorry things he said about our site in an article he wrote ( unsigned for a another site that he was both a contributor to and sponsor of)) last year about fashion sites on the web, we went back and took an even harder look at his site. Sorry Jack, but we think your site stinks! Let's just say we have serious questions about, among other things, your continuing obsession with running so many press releases about women's underwear as editorial. Alas, you can't be loved by everybody. We suggest viewers take a look at the site and make up their own minds. We e-mailed our critique of some of his "articles" to his editors and to him on a regular basis via his personal e-mail address and to his site's public feedback link (which he claims respects privacy) and we have set up a major link to his site from our main page with the description tag "so awful it is not to be missed".

He did not like what we said. But not satisfied with responding to us personally - a simple "fuck you" would have made the point - he has filed several complaints with our web hosting company accusing us of sending spam - among other crimes - and imploring them to remove our site from the Net. But not satisfied with that Jack has just taken an even more dramatic step. Below is a letter (slightly edited - we changed the name of the organization to "XXX" - and reduced the length) he sent to the Executive Director of America's largest fashion organization with a series of complaints about us so severe that, if true, he could even count on lookonline.com for support. Indeed, if Jack Yan wanted to circulate a petition to have Ernest Schmatolla run out of town (virtually), based upon what he claims the publisher is guilty of, we would sign the petition and he could put us down for a $100 donation to help prevent such a scoundrel from ever being near our women and children!!!

Well Jack, let this be a lesson to you. The fax was sent to us and we are under no obligation not to make it public. We have no way of knowing how many of these letters you has sent so we want everyone to read what you have said about us in your own words. But we can say for a fact that at least one person of note who got your fax takes none of this too seriously. Here is Jack Yan's letter; the complete fax is available, with his signature, if anybody really wants to read it:

"A FEW MONTHS AGO, we were informed, through illegal unsolicted commercial email or "spam" that XXX has an association with a web site called The Look On-Line. Concerned about XXX goodwill, we wish to alert you to the fact that The Look On-line Inc is guilty of harassment and highly unethical marketing practices, in case there is an outside chance that its email is true.

We are additionally concerned as we have staff who are XXX members. (One of our magazines has consistently supported XXX with coverage whenever we can, including last year's 'Night of Stars', which was Lucire's cover story.) We fear emotional harm to XXX members who are claimed to have access to the Look On-line site ... His stalking-like behavior is highly suspect. We have a 83 pp. file of his email actions since March 2001 which we know of. Detectives at the NYPD's Computer Investigation and Technology Unit have a copy...The file contains mostly his messages, unedited, supporting our allegations. It contains one incident involving a member of the public who was spammed and then abused by Mr Schmatolla.

His fixation is unnatural, bordering on stalking through the internet. The only reason we have not issued suit is that other publishers and editors advise us to ignore him. However, when respectable organizations are duped into an association with a company whose methods are akin to those of multi-level-marketing schemes and internet pornographers, we become concerned. This letter is confidential, so we insist that our name not be mentioned. I may be contacted via email at my work address, jack.yan@jyanet@com, and will be pleased to discuss this sensitive matter with you.

Yours very truly,

Jack Yan, LLB, BCA (Hons.), MCA
Chief Executive"

She has a point. But we did make the corrections!

Please, please. please allocate some of your budget
for a proper copy editor -- at the very LEAST, the
designers' names should be spelled correctly, don't
you think? Pat Field, not Fields. Ghesquiere, not
Guesquiere. Narciso Rodriguez, not Narcisso.

I don't think you realize just how much these kinds of
mistakes detract from the overall presentation, and
how incredibly unprofessional and third-rate they make
your web site look.

(name withheld on request)

Friday, April 19, 2002

Woolite threw a 'little' lunch at Le Cirque to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and the official launch of their 2 new products: Woolite Dark Laundry that helps maintain the color of black and dark laundry (perfect for us black clad urbanites) and Dye Magnet dye trapping sheets that helps trap loose dye in the wash. Isaac Mizrahi was special guest, and was the après luncheon entertainment. In addition to the various questions that were fielded to him by those in attendance (including Bridget Foley and Terry Agins), the one that was most timely (in view of all the current hoopla over Guesquiere), was asked by our publisher, Ernest Schmatolla, "How do you feel about designers copying other designers?" His response? He first quipped that he really "didn't know", but then went on to say,"I copy designers all the time... but I hate it when designers copy me". He also recalled how one of his most "favorite" collections was practically a line for line copy of the designs of Oleg Cassini! Well, I've got to hand it to him- at least he's honest!

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Not to be missed...

Monday May 6th at 6-9PM: Eighteenth Annual Fashion/Beauty Benefit by Citymeals-On-Wheels at Martini's Restaurant, 810 Seventh Avenue. Honorees Diane Von Furstenberg, Lesley Jane Seymour, & tribute to Pauline Trigere. Dine on gourmet cuisine buffet & raffle. Chairman Ruth Finley. Tickets: $200. Contact: 687-1234 or 289-0420.

This event always gets a large turnout. Buy a ticket and come to one of the best run fashion benefits in New York. The food is great and it is a real opportunity to meet some of the "stars" of our industry. And the really nice thing about this event is that since all expenses (food, restaurant, etc.) in running the evening are donated by friends of Citymeals every dollar raised from ticket sales and raffle goes directly to the charity.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

"The world according to Carine".....hmmm, I guess 'everyone' will be in black tights come fall!
The Fashion Canonization of Carine Roitfeld

"While Anna Wintour may not have lost all her celebrity star power, her status as a fashion icon has been seriously challenged by Carine Roitfeld, the editor in chief of French Vogue " - Marilyn Kirschner, March 17th edition of her New York Fashion Report.

Now today in the fashion section of The New York Times Guy Trebay devotes almost a full page to paying homage to this editor. It sure took them long enough; it was over a month ago that WWD said about the same thing. And is it just me, or have other readers noticed the increasing use of religious references in The New York Time's fashion coverage? Carine is called a "Prophet" by Trebay, and this past Sunday Amy Spindler piously referred to Nicolas Ghesquiere as inheriting "The Keys to the Kingdom". I guess the editors think they speak for or with the authority of God?

Of course not everyone agrees with the new fashion orthodoxy regarding Carine Roitfeld. The following note (original posting March 12th) is from an editor and friend back from the Paris Shows: "Word here is that Carine Roitfeld is out at French Vogue and will be back working with Ford at YSL. Her last issue was a real stinker in the eyes of a lot of people here, and while her personal style is certainly emulated on some runways, it is by no means universally appreciated. She was still clunking around in last season's YSL gladiator sandals and even SHE knew she could do better (trust me on this one Ernest, it's an editor's intuition)."

Our friend continues "The only editor more reviled is probably la Wintour, for the big mess she started in insisting on jamming all the shows together and hurting the younger designers tremendously by flagrantly ignoring them. Marilyn and I are obsessed with discussing Wintour, and I'm sure you'll be going 'oh no, not this again' but no one touches Wintour for appearance among the top journalists and editors. Carine looks like a lost school girl" (or as another well know editor told us today: "like a doe in the headlights wearing seriously sexy threads").

Sunday, April 14, 2002

The Agony & The Ecstasy of Nicolas Ghesquiere

It has been quite a week for Ghesquiere and his dealings with the fickle fashion editors of The New York Times. What do we find this weekend in The New York Times Magazine but an article written by Amy Spindler piously titled 'Keys to the Kingdom. A fashion fairy tale wherin Nicolas Ghesquiere finally inherits the throne.' Forgetting Amy's mixed metaphors, Nicolas may have gotten the keys to the throne, but thanks to Cathy Horyn's earlier piece 'Is Copying Really a Part of the Creative Process?' Ghesquiere will never walk in the shoes of the fisherman. Talk about having it both ways...

Saturday, April 13, 2002

Congratulations to Bismarck Communications & Media (212-741-0141) for having just announced that their firm is now doing all the press and invitations for Louis Vuitton's events. This New York pr agency was founded in 1999 by Carrie Ellen Phillips and Vanessa von Bismarck. And yes Toto, Vanessa is related to that Bismarck the General and not the battleship!
Well, I will chime in for the first time. I think it is really Ghesquiere, and all the editors that have hailed his Spring collection as so brilliant and "original" the ones who should be "embarrassed". The book, "Native Funk and Flash" has been out for over 25 years and anyone who takes the time to research the history of ALL fashion (including the book "Art to Wear" by Julie Schafler-Dale) was not surprised by the Balenciaga revelation. If you copy someone else's work and take credit for it to the tune of millions of dollars, the consumer eventually has every right to know they are being duped and made to look like a fool. Was Watergate irresponsible reporting? Was exposing MIlli Vanilli? It's time to focus on designers who have something trully original to offer and if it can be said that nothing is original, then fashion must take a much deeper look into the cause of the disease and not just its symptoms. Reinterpretation is fine. Copying to the last thread is really not.

And as a woman who BUYS fashion and fits into the exact target demographic that all these modern fashion houses aim for, I am thrilled to see the truth come out.

Maybe there is a little, umm, too much time spent blasting other magazines. Wasn't it Elsa Klensch in her interview with Marilyn Kirschner the one to say, "Don't worry about other people's products"? Wise words indeed.

Friday, April 12, 2002

It looks like we are not the only ones to wonder about Cathy Horyn's attitude towards fashion and the people in it. We spoke out earlier this week on her article "Is Copying Really a Part of the Creative Process?" that seemed to have gone overboard in publicly humiliating Nicolas Ghesequiere. From WWD website comes the following promo for a lead article in today's WWD: "Do the New York Times and its Cathy Horyn hate fashion? That's sparking a huge debate over the CFDA's choice of Horyn for its (Eugenia Sheppard) journalism award?" What is even more ironic, was it not Eugenia Sheppard who said if you cannot say something nice about someone then say nothing at all?

And let's not forget that other fashion editor of The New York Times Amy Spindler who helped promote Horacio Silva's "down & dirty" fashion gossip a la Chic Happens. How many of you remember last year when Amy ran almost an entire page of past "Chic Happens" columns in the fashion section of the Sunday Magazine? You think she was posting holy writ. And don't get us started on the subject of crediting sources with some of what ran in those columns! The question is why both Spindler & Horyn would put the integrity of the New York Times on the line for such crap? Perhaps they are trying to push their bosses into a more "in your face" style of fashion reporting?

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

More on Cathy Horyn's article on Nicolas Ghesequiere:

We have just been told that Horacio Silva has been taken under the wing of the New York Times Magazine editor Amy Spindler since he interviewed her last spring. If this is true that he is working at the NY Times Magazine almost full time editing and writing for the entertainment and fashion supplements, why was this not referenced at the beginning of the article? One guess could be that Cathy was trying to get a little distance from the NY Times being so directly involved in the public humiliation of Nicolas Ghesequiere? Either way it looks like Horacio's fingerprints were all over yesterday's article. The question is, does this article herald a change in fashion coverage at the Times to a more "down and dirty" tabloid style of journalism?

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

The Public Humiliation of Nicolas Ghesequiere

The New York Times ran an article in the fashion section today written by Cathy Horyn on the revelation first reported by Horacio Silva & Ben Widdicomb of hintmag.com that Nicolas Ghesequiere copied the work of a little known designer named Kaisik Wong. Putting the merits of the issue aside for a moment, Horacio & Ben have made a name for themselves and hintmag.com by obsessive reporting on the troubled personal lives and public demeanor of some of the fashion industry's biggest names. While much of what they report is presented in the name of entertainment and has already been reported elsewhere first, it is also true that their gossiping comes at the expense of publicly embarrassing others. One thing about people in fashion is that they have a very long memory. If these two fellows continue to "bite the hand that feeds them" they may find access to more and more events being closed to them. And worse, by continuing on trashing others they open themselves up for the same kind of treatment. What goes around eventually comes around...

And speaking to Cathy Horyn is it really necessary to so publicly humiliate Nicolas Ghesequiere? Like you did not know that designers use earlier works by others as inspiration or out right copy them. What are all those designers doing in the flea/vintage markets every Sunday - looking for bargains? I would say that copying is as much a part of the creative process as editors accepting free gifts, travel, goody bags and other perks from designers who they are supposed to be reviewing. And worse, we know of one NY Times Company fashion & beauty editor who for years and years not only took and took everything that was offered to her, but actually had a guy she would give the "loot" to to sell for cash. I can just imagine what those two media whores from Hint would do with that story.

We just can not understand why you would stoop to this kind of article. It is not like you came up with the info on your own. Were you afraid that someone else would get the story? Is there a promised or implied payback coming for these two "columnists" in a future story about them in your column? It is going to be interesting to watch and comment on.
The news that Julio Espada is out, as head of design for the recently LVMH acquired house of Pucci, is hardly a surprise (especially to me). I have been saying all along, that he would not last....and that the last thing this company needed, if they were really trying to recapture the aura of its hallowed legacy, is a designer who wants to downplay signature splashy prints and colors.

And in case you were wondering what happened to former New York Times fashion reporter, Constance White, who did a brief stint at Talk Magazine when they first launched....she is a correspondent on MetroChannel's newly expanded 7 days a week FullFrontalFashion. During the hour episode I watched last night, she appeared in two slots, reporting on a variety of trends, news, etc. In general, this show has improved since their inception...they seem to want to pack it with clips, interviews, fashion shows, and assorted newsworthy snipets.... Perfect if you are a fashion-a-holic and can't get enough of the subject!

Friday, April 05, 2002

Bravo, Diane! I could not agree more with what you said in your op ed column about the Oscars. But I also think that we have just come to expect TOO MUCH of these stars. They are not perfect, and they are not fashion experts. The entire evening has just become TOO overblown - almost nobody could live up to those standards. Your comment about Halle Berry was also very true. Let's face it, this woman can wear a paper bag and look beautiful, but her choices often look like costumes.....what a shame for us fashion people who want to see (or hope to see) exceptional fashion translated exceptionally off the runway! Well, there's always next year.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

A fun upcoming event: Woolite is celebrating their 50th Anniversary with a luncheon and a special preview of the future in fabric care at Le Cirque on Thursday April 18th. The special guest for the occasion is Isaac Mizrahi. For more information or to RSVP contact Alexandra Riabov of Brushfire Marketing at (973) 386-1486 Ext 214. See you there!

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Joe Eula's tribute to Yves St. Laurent ('Au Revoir, Yves') which appeared in the magazine section of the Sunday New York Times, is the best one I have seen yet, and stands out in a sea of tributes. It was expressive in mood and spirit, and captured the essence of the designer. It was a collector's item!

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

An Invitation: On April 19 and 20, the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show, will be held at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 110 19th st, between 6 th and 7 th Ave. 40 of the nations most prestigious vintage clothing vendors will show a vast array of high style fashions from the 1850's - 1970's. admission $15.00. COME SEE WHERE THE DESIGNERS GET THEIR INSPIRATIONS. For more information visit manhattanvintage.com or contact David Ornstein 518 434 4312.
Coming up this week on lookonline.com is Diane Clehane's special report on the events and people surrounding the Oscar 2002 Awards. Diane, who is our contributing entertainment editor, writes regularly for TV Guide and People Magazine. She has great access to all of the events surrounding the Oscar's, and her 'inside the industry' style coverage is a "must" read by other top editors in the entertainment media.

Next update to our daily New York Fashion Schedule for our members only will be online Thursday. Our next scheduled New York fashion Report by our editor-in-chief Marilyn Kirschner is this coming weekend.