Thursday, October 28, 2004

A Man of True Style: Joe Eula

I was so sorry to hear about the passing of the brilliant and inventive fashion illustrator par excellence, Joe Eula, at the age of 79. Part of Halston’s inner circle, and a good friend of Carrie Donovan, who was Senior Fashion Editor of Harper’s Bazaar in the 70’s, Joe was a fixture at the magazine’s offices. In fact, as a young Harper’s Bazaar fashion editor at the time, I was privileged to have Joe ‘share’ my office space when he made his frequent visits.

Completely natural, unpretentious, and irreverent, he would walk around the halls waving his hands, repeating the mantra, “I’m ‘b’ to ‘d’ with ‘f’…..(meaing, "I’m bored to death with fashion")…which of course, he wasn’t. He may have been bored with the business and political aspect of fashion, but certainly not with the creative style aspect. He would also sketch me while I was just going about my business or while I was on the phone, and would often play ‘secretary’ and mischievously answer my phone, making playfully embarrassing remarks that only HE could get away with. For example, in many instances, the caller would be somebody important from, say, Oscar de la Renta, Anne Klein, Ellen Tracy (one of the various houses I covered)…He would cover the receiver, tell me who was on the line, but before I could even take the phone, he would humorously tell the person on the other line, “Oh, she said she doesn’t want to talk to you.”

In Cathy Horyn’s obituary in today’s The New York Times, she quoted longtime friend and fellow fashion designer Fernando Sanchez as observing that both Elsa Peretti and Joe Eula "really defined Halston’s style and the idea that chic doesn’t necessarily imply money.” In fact, Ms. Horyn noted that at Joe’s Dutchess County home, even his “arrangements of summer vegetables betrayed a critical eye.” Now, that’s style! Joe was truly one of a kind, an original, and will be sorely missed.

-Posted by Marilyn Kirschner

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