Monday, February 23, 2009

The Scene
Monday. Meh.

Thank god for fashion bloggers. Specifically FashionIntelligentsia. She posted about an amazing lecture she planned to attend tonight. At the Hammer Museum titled “Conscientious Consumption: Sustainability and the Future of Luxury.”

The panel was going to include Kate Mulleavy of the sister duo behind Rodarte. And it was going to be moderated by Sally Singer, current Fashion News and Features Director at Vogue. She had me at Rodarte, Vogue and the Future of Luxury!

Showed up about 20 minutes early thinking I'd be one of the first people in the auditorium. WRONG! The line of fashionistas was already wrapped around the building. Ugh.

Decided to stay tho and take my chances on getting in. Partly because Gossip Girl was going to be a repeat AH-GAIN tonight. And partly because it was the best heeled, Voguette crowd I'd ever seen anywhere near an intellectual event.

Unfortunately, the discussion only skimmed the surface of the title's heavy concepts. Sally Singer (in her SICK Rodarte heels) was the best part of the evening. So articulate, thoughtful and lovely. Was incredibly impressed with how well versed she was not only on the creative side of fashion but on the business implications of consumer behavior.

Unlike most fashion editors I've met or heard about from friends in the industry, she made me proud to be a fashionista. She made me feel like I was in good company. She reminded me there are intelligent, well mannered people in the fashion world. That yes, it can be frivolous but, like art, it is influential and referential and aspirational.

Was entertaining hearing from one of the Rodarte sisters. About how Donnnie Darko influenced their Spring collection (is that why Reese wore it???) and Frankenstein was the reference point for Fall 2009.

Was cool to hear about how she and her sister watched the Oscars last night on a "fuzzy screen" at their parents house after working on one of the dresses in a garage.

And how today was the first day they had ever received calls from customers wanting a specific dress - the dress they had seen on a celebrity the night before.

She talked about graduating from Berkeley and preferring Los Angeles to New York and how odd it was to be anywhere talking about Rodarte without her sister and how she believes "there is a lack of connoisseurship in fashion." Hmmmm.

She struck me as one of those book smart, creative, nebbish girls that would know about all the latest indie bands and hate anything too mainstream.

Also pretty counter culture was jeweler Tom Binn. Rumor going around my side of the auditorium was that he was super sauced up on stage. F. Didn't contribute much to the conversation except comic relief. Called out Angelina for wearing those emeralds last night. Said she can't call herself "punk rock" and wear jewels like that. HA!

He is based in Venice Beach, was the CFDA Accessory Designer of the year in 2006, is a favorite of Michelle Obama and works solely with materials he finds. Check out his work here. Truly exquisite.

Adriano Goldschmied, the man behind the premium denim craze, was also part of the panel. He called the Bush years the "sexy jean era." Predicts that jean styles will loosen up in coming seasons. He said people want to feel comfortable now amidst all this economic turmoil. Interesting, no?

During the Q&A I wanted to ask Sally about the sustainability of the print editorial fashion world given the rise of fashion bloggers and the immediacy of the Web and the shift in advertising dollars. But I didn't. Wah.

My big takeaway from the evening was that the experts predict this economic moment is going to usher in a reversal of what Dana Thomas chronicles in Deluxe. That true luxury is going to go back to being for an elite few. It's actually going to be about luxurious unique handmade couture instead of mass production. Craftsmanship and quality are going to be the name of the game again.

Click here for FashionIntelligentsia's recap of the evening and another one at A Material World. And the full discussion is now available on the Hammer Museum website here.

The Outfit
Forever 21 dress
Vintage trench coat

The Accessories
Banana Republic necklace
Forever 21 belt
Marc Jacobs bag
Hue tights
Steven wedge gladiator sandals

The Grade

The Commentary

Today's outfit was inspired by all the black last night.

Started with the jersey black dress

Then added the belt (and the bangs)

Then the tights and sandals

And finally the necklace followed by the coat and bag.

Think the effect was pretty fierce for a Monday. Got lots of once overs from the fashionable crowd at the event. Especially the necklace.

Especially proud of the tights with the open toe sandals. Not sure why that is so thrilling for me but it is. I need help.

Loving how similar my shoes are to these Givenchys

And this Jeffrey Campbell.

Can't wait to pair a light colored sandal with dark tights next. Seriously, I need a life!!!


WendyB said...

I'm okay with luxury being luxurious again.

Jean Bean said...

Two thoughts. I am highly skeptical that the publicly held manufacturers of mass luxury are going to stop churning it out, because the mass market's taste for luxury brands is not going to go away that easily...
(OMG read about this shoplifter:
...and because they have an obligation to their shareholders to keep increasing profits. That means they need to sell even more, even cheaper stuff. I'm seeing companies responding to the economy by lowering the entry level prices for their goods. This fall Gucci will offer PVC bags; LV will have nylon. Versace is bringing back Versus. Counterfeits will continue to flourish. Therefore luxury brands will get more and more devalued, IMO.

As to your unasked question, magazine publishers are inevitably beginning to suffer the same convulsions as newspaper and book publishers, not to mention record companies and Hollywood studios, TV networks, basically all traditional media. Mag publishers who like to talk about the "tactile experience" are kidding themselves because people in their 20s and under don't give two shits about that. However, there is for now a saving grace, at least for the likes of Vogue. The internet has not been able to replicate the impact of glossy print when it comes to luxury advertising. Sure, you could view the same ad online, but the economy of that actually diminishes the appeal of a luxury brand. Luxury consumers want the box, the ribbon, the tissue paper, and yes, they want to see brands dumping money into glossy paper. Brands have trained consumers to equate luxury with waste. Until we learn to equate it with sustainability, Vogue will be fine.

Sable Crow said...

What a great post, and an amazing follow up by Jean Bean.

I agree also with Wendy: I'm fine with luxury being luxurious again and I'm also fine with exclusivity. The fact that I can't rightly justify a single stitch of Botega Venetta or Hermes actually comforts me: at least I know there's something more to work for.

On the Rodarte "heels" of Sunday's Oscar post, this was a nice follow-up.

WeezerMonkey said...

Heh. I totally thought of you when I saw this lecture in my inbox.

amber said...

i'll leave the industry commentary to the folks who know this stuff, but i will say that your outfit was FIERCE!

Style Maven said...

i loved this post. so informative! i wish I would have known about this, I so would have been one of those girls waiting in line. :)

MissJordyPants said...

I was forced into (by my bad packing strategy and unplanned shopping spree) tights and open toes in Vegas. I felt super sexy all night long.

Love the Monday Fierce!

Anonymous said...

Great post + thanks for the shout out! I wish I would've seen you there so we could've chatted about all the cranky girls in that awful line.

Re: sally "She reminded me there are intelligent, well mannered people in the fashion world." - What a breathe of fresh air, right?

Also, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster totally destroyed a lot of things for me. I am so glad that book was written!


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