Monday, April 16, 2007

‘Label’ Suit

Am I the only one who noticed a faux pas in Friday’s Page Six of The New York Post? In Richard Johnson's absence (it is stated he is "on vacation"), the widely popular column is being edited by Paula Froelich with contributions from Bill Hoffman and Corynne Steindler. In the column headed, "Sightings", there was a blurb, "Italian designer Ralph Rucci, Dame Celia Lipton Farris and Town & Country publisher Pamela Fiori at the Palm Beach Historical Society soiree at Neiman Marcus Palm Beach". I had a knee jerk reaction to labeling Ralph Rucci an "Italian designer". The celebrated couturier is an American born (Philly to be exact) resident of New York who shows in both New York and Paris, and has a Soho atelier. His lineage may be proudly Italian, but to call him an 'Italian designer' is akin to beginning a sentence, "Jewish designer Ralph Lauren".

And ironically upon reflection, what occurred to me was that I was hard pressed to think of another designer who would be as difficult to define by his lineage (or country of birth) as Ralph. As an avid world traveler and global aesthete, one who not only paints and sculpts but whose artistic and architectural collections routinely meld and pay homage to different cultures, he defines the term ‘citizen of the world’.

Speaking of labels…this Sunday was “T”, The New York Times’ Style Magazine’s Spring 2007 Beauty issue, which was called, “Budding Beauty”. Though it’s labeled as a beauty issue, it is yet another curious yet admittedly entertaining and informative hybrid filled not only with columns devoted to new trends in lip and nail color, how to deal with that trip to a hair salon, spa trends, and aging, but covers all areas of style: fashion, shopping, accessories, people.

And talk about from going from the sublime to the ridiculous… it’s all about shock value and the element of surprise. In addition to pretty people, fabulous jewels, and arresting photography, there is Josh Patner’s engaging back page story, “Celebrity Endorsement: How to be 96 and look like Kitty Carlisle Hart” in which she admits her lifelong love affair with Nivea; you can find out everything about feet that you wanted to know, “Pedicure Junction” tells you why feet smell if you care to know, and who are the most famous foot fetishists in history; as well as which new fragrances may work as aphrodisiacs.

In “Dirty Tricks”, Chandler Burr announced with obvious surprise, that Agent Provocateur does not smell like “unwashed panties” (his words not mine) but rather, “crushed raspberries and black plums on hot skin”, L’Autre smells like “piles of spices simmering in the hot African sun, dirt on the street, and a hint of body odor” (yum????), Rese 31 will remind you of a “hit of armpit from a hot young woman”, or “something you smell between your sheets”.

-Marilyn Kirschner

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