Editorial:”I’m Bored to Death with Fashion”

Doja Cat and Vetements designer Guram Gvasalia went on a shopping trip the day before the Met Gala, with the pop star wrapped in a white sheet – Photo Getty Images

The legendary illustrator Joe Eula was a periodic contributor to Harper’s Bazaar in the 1970s and a great friend of Carrie Donovan, the magazine’s Senior Fashion Editor at the time. When Joe was at our headquarters, located at 717 5th Avenue, he would often park himself at a desk in my office.

Right about now, I can perfectly imagine Joe as he walks through the halls exclaiming, “I’m b to d with f… I’m b to d with f (I’m bored to death with fashion), reaping this chant over and over again. My feelings exactly!

Donatella Versace wearing her own design at the 2024 Met Gala – Photo Getty Images

Is there any wonder fashion ennui has set in? Call it too much of a good thing. Or too much of a bad thing, depending on your point of view. Gala season is in full swing, and I’ve seen enough fussy, over-the-top dresses and hideous eveningwear (much of it borrowed, but that’s another story) to last a lifetime. Not to mention all the posers who are trying so hard.

Kim Kardashian on her way to the Met Gala in heel less heels and Maison Margiela’s tightly corseted waist

Not only do many of these women look horrible and contrived, but they also look uncomfortable. Wasn’t it YSL who proclaimed that true elegance is forgetting what you have on?

Amy Fine Collins – Photo by Getty Images & Lauren Levison – Photo by Craig Barritt for Getty Images

Notable exceptions are Amy Fine Collins, who always looks very at home wearing Thom Browne, as she did to the Met Gala; Lauren Levison, who looked divine wearing vintage YSL haute couture to the ABT Gala; and Uma Thurman, who arrived at the Cannes Film Festival in Burberry’s exaggerated trench coat, a signature piece that has become synonymous with the brand.

Uma Thurman wearing Burberry to ‘Oh Canada” premiere at the 77th Annual Cannes Film Festival – Photo Getty Images

The coat’s oversized silhouette added a touch of drama and modernity to the overall look, showcasing Burberry’s ability to seamlessly blend classic style with contemporary fashion. Thurman’s choice of Burberry for this significant event underscores her long-standing relationship with the brand and her keen eye for timeless pieces that resonate with her personal style.

But let’s face it, the red carpet is hardly reality. I’m more interested in putting effort into one’s daily wardrobe, and that does not have to mean getting dressed up to the nines in an old-fashioned, fussy way. Keeping it easy and sporty and having it look effortless is always appealing. With the summer Olympics coming up in July, sports and athletic wear will continue to heavily influence the fashion world.

Plum Sykes with “Ladies of Madison Avenue” Joshua Kamei – Photo Instagram

To wit, Plum Sykes, in town for the launch of her new novel, “Wives Like Us”, looks great whether dressed in Tom Ford’s perfectly tailored jacket, silk shirt and black trousers, (TF is now designed by her good friend Peter Hawkings), or more casually attired in Belstaff’s cropped jacket, Saint Laurent leopard scarf, cropped pants, and trainers.

Plum Sykes at Barnes & Noble in Brooklyn for a book signing – Photo Instagram

Plum also looks fabulous, dressed in a Tom Ford velvet jacket paired with white tuxedo shirt, jeans, and sandals, as she tours her glorious home in The Costwolds for Architectural Digest. One thing I’ll never get tired of, is seeing women with great personal style, who know fashion and fashion history, understand proportion, and have a sense of what looks great on them.

FYI, Plum penned an article in May Vogue, “Prep School”; in the 90’s she arrived in NY in “the thrall of preppy chic” and observes, it’s all coming back. Fashion is nothing if not cyclical, and right now, the mantra is, “Elevate the banal; make the every day special.”

This is familiar to me. It’s been my personal battle cry for decades. I’ve always believed in fostering a certain dressed-up, dressed-down aesthetic. Considering that we are heading into the lazy, hazy days of summer when we want to un-complicate our lives and pare things down to their most rudimentary, this is especially timely and relevant.

J. Crew Garcon Classic Shirt in White Cotton Poplin, $98, – Photo courtesy jcrew.com

I never grow weary of the enduring appeal of classic wardrobe basics (even better when they don’t break the bank), and there’s no question that accessories are pivotal. They add punch, pizzazz, and individuality to even the most basic of basics.

Vicki Turbeville assorted native American silver and Turquoise – Photo courtesy Vicki Turbeville

When you’re dealing with inherently plain and simple clothes, they literally cry out for statement accessories, preferably layered for heightened effect. Does anything look better with denim than stacks of authentic Native American jewelry?

“This season was about embracing personality and individual style with big, bold accessories standing front and center. We like to call it ‘accessories in excess,’ a refreshing departure from the pared-back aesthetic of spring,”

– Kate Benson, Buying Director, Netaporter.com

Unsurprisingly, bold accessories are performing well at retail, according to an article in WWD titled “Luxury Is Getting Louder, and It’s the Accessories Doing the Talking” (Samantha Conti, May 7, 2024).

Dylanlex Maxx Necklace, $980 – Photo courtesy dylanlex.com

You can’t get bolder than DYLANLEX, founded by Drew Ginsburg in 2013. The brand’s 18k gold plated and antique silver necklaces, chokers, earrings, bracelets, and belts are priced from $213 for the simple “Slater” chain to $3800 for the Limited Edition, hand-assembled Bodhi Necklace made of turquoise, glass, vintage scarabs, and metal all carefully sourced by team DYLANLEX.

In addition to their website, dylanlex.com, they have two retail stores. One is located in Los Angeles, and the other is in New York’s West Village, at 702 Greenwich Street, 213 797 2919.

Photo courtesy dylanlex.com

What appeals to me most about the brand is the cool and modern way it styles its pieces. They use wardrobe basics (t-shirts and tank tops, boyfriend jackets, tuxedos, oversized button-downs, slouchy cardigans, leather bikers, and denim) to emphasize the idea of being dressed up and dressed down at the same time. In addition, it occasionally uses unique vintage pieces for sale on its website.

Lauren Ezersky above featured in a DYLANLEX ad campaign – Photo courtesy DYLANLEX

A few months ago, they recruited the always marvelous and always bold Lauren Ezersky to wear some of their marvelous jewelry for an ad campaign, to offer life lessons, and weigh in on being fabulous. Lauren noted, “I don’t want to look like the chick next door to me, the Plain Jane. I like to do it up, be amazing, and try something different every day.”

A match made in heaven!

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Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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