Thursday, January 16, 2014

Anna Wintour Honored & IMG "Takes the Money and Runs"


Let’s "Face" It: Quite A Coup!

Anna Wintour
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Let's face it. Anna Wintour had already become THE "face" of the Costume Institute. Having help raised $125 million (she’s been a trustee since January 1999), she has co-chaired 15 benefits since 1995 and has raised the profile of the Met Ball considerably since her iron fist involvement. It is not only considered to be THE Party of the Year, with a glittery Who’s Who roster of guests from all segments of the social sphere, but has become one of the most “coveted” tickets on the social calendar. 

After two years of extensive renovations, the Anna Wintour Costume Center will officially open on May 8, with the inaugural exhibition, “Charles James: Beyond” (and its attending gala on Monday May 5th).And it promises to be even more blockbuster than ever thanks to yesterday's official announcement, confirming that The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be renaming the space occupied by The Costume Institute as the Anna Wintour Costume Center. While hardly surprising: she has indeed worked tirelessly in its behalf, by any standards, (and especially considering that this it first time the Metropolitan Museum of Art has actually named a space after an individual who has not donated money), this is an undeniable honor, coup, and quite an accomplishment, for the woman who has widely been considered to be the most important person in fashion today. It’s like being on the Mount Rushmore of fashion: she is now officially immortalized.


"America's Single Women" Harper's Bazaar March 1976
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All I can say is, congratulations! I worked with Anna very briefly, many many (yikes, too many) years ago at Harper’s Bazaar, where we were both junior fashion editors. She was hired in 1975 and her innovative, “controversial” shoots prompted editor-in-chief Tony Mazzola to fire her after about nine months. I never really got to know her or work with her, but she was a strong personality and definitely stood out. This was perfectly exemplified when senior fashion editor Carrie Donovan had all the attractive single editors pose for a double page spread shot by the famed Bill King for the March 1976 issue (it had the cover lines, “America’s Single Women”). We were given identical long sleeved t shirts with the Harper’s Bazaar logo imprinted on them to wear, and while a few of us wore necklaces, and one wore a shirt beneath, Anna was the only to wear a vest (by Kenzo if I remember correctly), as though she wanted to practically cover the logo. The only thing missing was a touch of fur and of course, her signature shades.

Anna Dello Russo

FYI, as for the colorful Prada mink coat with the mural art inspired face design from spring 2014. I have to say I’ve been obsessed since seeing the group of them coming down the runway last September. They are truly collectors’ items, and recently, I found myself wondering who would wear it first: Anna Wintour (a great friend and customer of Miuccia’s), Anna Dello Russo, or Miroslava Duma (the two street stars with a penchant for eye popping put togethers). As it turns out, Anna Wintour gets the prize. She was photographed wearing it last week, when she attended the ‘Girls’ premier (how appropriate!). Though Anna Dello Russo was just photographed by Tommy Ton for www.style.com wearing a version while attending the men’s’ fall 2014 shows in Milan; and it’s a no brainer that Miroslava Duma will show up at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week with yet another version. It’s a sure bet that the three of them (and perhaps Giovanna Battaglia), will wear them all at the same time during the upcoming shows. What a photo op that will be. Talk about a fashion ‘face-off’. Out of curiosity, I called the 57th street Prada 5th avenue store (724 5th avenue, 212 664 0010), and asked if they have any in stock. I was told there was one. The price? $43,000.



 Marilyn Kirschner







IMG: "Takes the Money & Runs"

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IMG announced via an email the other day that all credentialed media would also need a designer's seated invitation to gain access even to the lobby at Lincoln Center. So the question begs to be asked.  If writers and other members of the media need a valid invite to each show - then what function does the press credential perform? 

Anyone with a invitation to a Mercedes Benz New York fashion show does not need or is required to pay for a credential. So what are we, members of the "paying media" (forget the irony of having to pay for the honor of reporting on the shows) get for the $80 besides being included in the IMG  press list mailed to designers? (Original fee was $35) Lets face it, the "A list" editors & American Express card holding guests are not going pay for credentials, and they can be safely ensconced in some VIP lounge before the shows. So it just remains for the rest of us poor schnooks to pay IMG for wearing what amounts to an albatross - a badge with our picture hanging from our necks with no discernible function.

"IMG is going to make it even more difficult for the many, so as to make it more comfortable for the few, and as a result make all our jobs that much more difficult to do."

When the shows first began at Bryant Park, it was far different event than today. The registrants were treated with more good nature and respect. New York fashion week was truly a twice annual industry event and the only time when everyone in the industry could get together (journalists, designers, retailers, stylists, buyers) to meet, socialize, network as well as report on the shows. The open bar each afternoon stretching into the evening was fun, perhaps a little too loud at times, but it still brought us a sense of being in the "industry".  In recent years, there were no goody bags, no opening party, limited open bar, no free coffee, and more VIP areas than ever before. All IMG has really done since arriving at Lincoln Center was to create non inviting and sterile venues that closely resembled an airport waiting room and, in name of greater and greater profits helping to promote the mass exodus of designers from showing at their very venues.  Now, in the name of making the shows more "exclusive", IMG is going to make it even more difficult for the many, so as to make it more comfortable for the few, and as a result make all our jobs that much more difficult to do.

Some other concerns come to our minds. What is going to happen with those who want standing room tickets? Is IMG going to keep them waiting outside the venue? Can people once into the venue stay there all day, or are they going to be forced out without a current ticket?  How do the sponsors feel about limiting the number of people who can access the lobby? Does Anna Wintour and others on the "A list" really care about looking at the cars or other sponsor offerings? And realizing that many PR firms pad their clients' invite lists with people to fill up seats who really have little or no relation to the industry, how much more exclusive does this new policy make the shows?

These and other questions were directed yesterday to IMG public relations manager Andrew Serrano but he declined to discuss it on the record. In the words of a former long time "employee" of the shows, the entire event has become a "train wreck". So, in the end, you pay your money and accept the fact when it comes to IMG -- less is more.





-Ernest Schmatolla

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