After a Fashion
Stephen lays down the law in his own style
RUNAWAY RUNWAY There is an unfortunate misconception that Your Style Avatar is obliged to promote and/or attend every little fashion presentation that comes down the pike. It is an incorrect assumption. I recently had an unpleasant e-mail from a publicist regarding my failure to mention her tenuously fashion-related charity event for a second time in my column. Apparently unaware that I'd already mentioned her event once, she registered her disappointment with me in an aggressively worded epistle, practically demanding that I run an item in my next column. I was stunned by this misstep and executed the coup de grâce of sending her the link to the previous mention. I can't explain why, but my interest in her event dwindled and I forgot to mention it ever again and for the rest of my life.
The fact of the matter is that I love to review fashion shows but stopped trying to attend all of them a couple of years ago. I have occasionally missed shows that I regretted terribly, but not many.
I skip some of them because I already know exactly what we'll be seeing (and have seen already), and some I skip because I know from the people participating that the show is going to be a nightmare. Often these are nightclub fashion shows, which I loathe. The atmosphere and the crowds attracted by nightclubs are not my idea of a serious fashion venue.
There was a fashion show at a magazine party a couple of years ago that I begged one of the people involved to get me tickets to because I knew it was going to be so absolutely wretched that I just had to see it. Of course, I shredded it in this column, laying out its guts for the world to see, but only for the sheer entertainment (and enlightenment) of my readers. The reality is that if the public hadn't read about it in my column, they never would have heard about it at all, so I felt I provided a community service by this warning.
I worship that kind of badness in a twisted sort of way sort of like the same way I worship Showgirls. But as with Showgirls, I can only bear its badness every once in a while.
I was even involved in an absolutely hideous fashion show about four years ago. Even though I had been involved, I was deeply embarrassed and had nothing nice to say about it publicly.
And woe is me if I give a bad review to a fashion presentation that is a benefit. The producers always gasp and say, "But it's for charity!" Like that makes it sacred. If you're going to throw a show to raise money for a charity (which is so often an afterthought to the show), don't you think your donors deserve the best you can give them? Perhaps your best doesn't really make for a good fashion show, but don't let that stop you! Sure, to you, your skills in whatever (producing, directing, publicity, design, retailing, choreography) are in top form. As we know from recent experience, anyone can produce a fashion show. Still, unless you're presenting to aliens who have never seen a fashion show before, you're better off assembling a team of professionals to guide you (people who have actually already done that kind of work for a fashion show). Otherwise, I consider it fair game.
Then again, fashion is only part of what I like to talk about. Longtime readers know that from my very first column more than five years ago, "After a Fashion" has been an opinion column primarily and that I consider all subjects to be fair game. Unfortunately, the title "After a Fashion" is interpreted too literally sometimes, and it is often implied that if I don't attend Brand X fashion event, then I'm not doing my job. To me, "After a Fashion" translates to In My Own Style, and that, my devoted readers, is the only thing I guarantee.
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