After a Fashion

Versace tidbits, Christ on the catwalk, etc.

VERSACE WHO? It would be an understatement to say I was revolted at reading a quote from PETA's Dan Matthews, in which he nominated murderer Andrew Cunanan for Man of the Year, "... because he got Gianni Versace to stop using fur." Sentiment like that makes him no better than the "murderers" his organization seeks to stop. The handsome, boyish, very queer, and very sanctimonious Matthews spewed this drivel in the current "Men We Love" issue of the usually admirable Genre magazine. It would appear that Genre perpetuates the same ugly fallacy rampant in gay society that cute = admirable.

No less disturbed by Matthews' words was our close friend Naomi "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" Campbell. The former PETA covergirl and Versace sidekick, who now appears draped in fur as often as possible, said last week, "I am doubly thrilled to not be associated with" PETA. Miss Campbell, whose relationship with PETA has been acrimonious for some time now, has a track record of turning her back on causes she previously favored -- after volunteering to film a public service campaign for Boys/Girls Clubs of America, she walked away after they made her wait more than an hour. The poor dear sniffed that she wasn't feeling well and "no one had been sensitive to her needs." With her cause-of-the-minute attitude, I suspect PETA's glad to be rid of her, too.

Also on the Versace front, an auction at Sotheby's in London of works from Gianni's collection of Picassos brought a cool $17.5 million. The collection hung in Versace's South Beach palazzo where he was murdered. Rumor has it that all is not well at the House of Versace. Though riding high at the time of Gianni Versace's death, the problems stem from the appointment of sister Donatella Versace to the helm of the design team. Morgan-Stanley, who had been signed to coordinate their initial public offering, urged the Versace company to hire a strong designer for the position, which generated $500 million a year. Undoubtedly, Donatella's appointment was a sentimental reaction but seems to have proven that just because she wore her brother's clothes well doesn't mean she could design them. There is no longer any talk of an IPO. ("Knock, knock" "Who's there?" "Versace" "Versace who?" "See how the fashion world is?")

HOLIDAY CLOTHES A Berlin photo exhibit by French photog Bettina Rheims features the controversial images of Jesus wearing a Helmut Lang T-shirt, Mary wearing Jean Paul Gaultier and Manolo Blahniks, and the disciples wearing Naf Naf. Sounds as if there weren't Three Kings in attendance, but Three Queens. The French and German clergy are all distressed by this blasphemy, and Christian groups are protesting. The thing that really bothers me is that if they had dressed that nicely the night Jesus was born, they probably wouldn't have been turned away at the inn. But, I suppose if that happened, people wouldn't have manger scenes in their front yards at Christmas; they'd have to re-create a suite at the Four Seasons Bethlehem.

STEAL THIS MAGAZINE Passed on by Chronicle music writer Ken Lieck is GoodLookin, a Chicago publication apparently devoted to the joys of shoplifting. Including many testimonials to this nefarious pastime, photographs, and how-to guides, the magazine is full of charming ideas, such as attaching "Sticky Hands" inside your clothing to hold your purloined merchandise. They even include a free "Sticky Hand" to get you started! Retailers must be thrilled, especially since the increase of holiday shopping means an increase in holiday shoplifting.

Also on the shoplifting front, local department stores report this is a banner year. While it is always in the store's best interest to have merchandise displayed in a "customer-friendly" manner that is easily accessible, that very accessibility is an open invitation for said merchandise to walk out of the store unpaid for. While jewelry, cosmetics, and clothing are the most common items for thieves, an interesting development seems to be the theft of huge pieces of Waterford crystal. With Waterford's stunning millennium collection on display across the country, the enormous bowls, vases, champagne buckets, and nativity figures disappear in the blink of an eye -- or a blink of the shoplifter's eye.

THE READER BOARD Reader I. G. writes of another heartwarming example of excellent customer service, this time from Santa Fe Optical. He tells us of traveling from West Texas (a forbidding, arid climate noted for its dearth of fashion eyewear) for glasses. Upon making an appointment, I. G. explained that he was only in town for the weekend, and Santa Fe went the extra mile and had the Yohji Yamomoto glasses ready on time for him. Bravo to Santa Fe for the good work and thanks to I. G. for the report -- and the excellent recommendation.

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