Thursday, April 30, 2009

Trying 'Times'...

You've got to be kidding! I was left speechless and dumbfounded after reading Cathy Horyn's front page Thursday Styles article, "You're Choosy. So Are We", which was alternately offensive, insulting, and insensitive, as she recorded her collaboration with three high profile stylists (two of them with high fashion magazine backgrounds) on hunting down "age friendly looks that are worth the investment, and "chic pieces for the 40-plus customer". Do you mean to tell me that the best they could do was to come up with an assortment that included such pricey items as a Miu Miu cotton poplin shirt for $925, a Lanvin/Acne denim trench for $1360, Vera Wang cotton stretch pants for $995, Martin Margiela platform sandals for $745, a Rick Owens washed leather jacket for $3,025, an Alaia zip-front cotton dress for $2600, and a L'Wren Scott blouse for $1655?

From my point of view, most of the pieces and looks were rather unremarkable and unexceptional, especially when you factor in the hefty price tags and designer labels. With all the great looking and moderately or inexpensively priced clothing and accessories options available to everyone these days (and yes, for all ages), Cathy & Co could have done a lot better providing more of a service to their readership.

While I did like the timeless Michael by Michael Kors trench for $200, trenches are literally all over the market, and many are available at half that price. And though I agreed the Barneys New York A.L.C. draped jersey dress looked more expensive than its $473 price tag, and thought that was a 'steal' if you were looking for a glam evening dress, the $3,025 little pale gray leather bomber by Brunelllo Cucinelli was a joke, and too closely resembled a $30 heather gray cotton sweatshirt hoodie from the Gap (in the photo, anyway). Just the thing for a recession, no? (NO!)

And puleeeease...gladiator sandals are SO last year! Haven't we seen enough of them by now? And do we really need to see a pair from YSL that are priced at about $800 when there are hundreds of designer knockoffs these days that look the same and are priced so much lower? Oh and, by the way, speaking about sandals and footwear in general, Ms. Horyn keeps talking up the over 40 factor, and what is age appropriate or not. Well...what about those dames who are over a 'certain' age, with less than perfect teenage feet? You know...bunions, corns, calluses, etc. And do I really have to mention, that in these 'hard' times, not everyone can afford to pamper themselves with a weekly or monthly pedicure (and not everyone is a magazine beauty editor who by definition, gets lots of freebees)...Need I say more? Why do fashion magazines and designers, insist on showing those god awful, hookerish sandals? What is wrong with showing some attractive shoes that are not necessarily dowdy and overly ladylike, but still cover those feet?

As a former fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar, I can attest to the fact that spending some time in the fashion world, especially within the rarefied walls of a fashion magazine, can do funny things to alter one's perception and, after awhile, it starts playing tricks on one's sense of reality, particularly where prices are concerned. But really, at this moment in time, does anyone with a brain really have to question out loud if $1400 on a print silk dress is "expensive or not" (Ms. Wolf admitted it was a "good buy" as well as a $2100 metallic leaf patterned Marc Jacobs coat).

I'm glad Ms. Wolf is fortunate enough to have the luxury of obsessing over the stitching and edging of a t-shirt, which explains why she is willing to personally forego the $15 Topshop t's in favor of her beloved $80 James Perses but, let's face it, the same little details that magazine editors typically obsess over tend to elude the rest of the world. Especially nowadays, when the average woman has more important things to worry about, like being able to feed one's family and afford the necessities of life. And really, at this economic juncture, including those kinds of quotes in the article seemed to show a complete lack of sensitivity on the part of the powers that be at the Times, and they would have been wise to edit them from the article.

-Marilyn Kirschner

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