The New York ‘Connection’

Le Book proudly claims to be “the first and only trade publication for the fashion, beauty, design, entertainment, publishing, and advertising industries” and also happens to be celebrating its 25th anniversary. The brainchild of Parisian Veronique Kolasa, its first New York edition was in 1995 and last night the Puck Building proved to be the perfect venue for a party hosted by the CFDA to fete the opening night of Connections by Le Book. Connections is the first of its kind trade show for the ‘creative community’ and on June 27th and 28th, the Puck building will subsequently house 62 booths which will enable photographers (or their reps), illustrators, and hair and make up pros, to show their portfolios to seasoned industry insiders, and hopefully, make a creative ‘connection’.

The event’s benefit committee included some of the most well respected and recognizable fashion names today (Narciso Rodriguez, Isabel and Ruben Toledo, Vera Wang, Julie Gilhart, Reed Krakoff), and among the attendees milling around, enjoying the champagne and hors doevres were Yeohlee, Stan Herman, Steven Kolb, Betsey Johnson, Joseph Abboud, Jill Stuart, Mary Ann Restivo, Ruth Finley. (By the way, Ms. Finley told me that she is working on the Fashion Calendar scheduling of shows for the upcoming spring 2007 collections in September and as I looked around the open space of the Puck Building, I couldn’t help but note (and mention to her) that this was a great place to stage shows).

The highlight of the evening was a silent auction (at 9:30 sharp) of 25 lithographs by Yohji Yamamoto entitled “Talking to Myself”, some of which already appear in the Yamamoto designed 2006 edition of Le Book. All proceeds will be donated to Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, a worldwide charitable initiative of the CFDA,

In the meanwhile, “The Devil Wears Prada” has not even opened to the viewing public yet, but there appears to be no shortage of opinions surrounding this movie – and I’m not even referring to the acting (how bad could it be with Meryl Streep as the star?), but rather the eye candy – the fashions. It seems almost every fashion writer (worth her weight in Prada) has weighed in on just how successful (or not) Patricia Field was in her clothing choices for the movie’s characters.

In an article in Sunday’s New York Post, “The Devil is in the Details”, writer Danica Lo wrote, “The devil wears Prada and her assistant wears …Chanel. That’s just one of the many details leaving some top magazine editors flabbergasted when it comes to the accuracy of the highly anticipated film set to hit theaters Friday”. Well, I guess you can count me as one of those who is not “flabbergasted”. And as a former fashion assistant at Seventeen Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar (where I subsequently became a Senior Fashion Editor), I feel qualified to voice my opinion.

Ms. Lo quoted Diane Salvatore, editor-in-chief of Ladies’ Home Journal, “If I had an assistant who was dressed that well, I would assume she was involved in an online identity theft scam.” The point being ( according to Ms. Lo), is that given an assistant’s lowly salary, she could never possibly look as good, be as well dressed, or stylish, as her highly paid boss. I beg to disagree. Actually, when I was an editor at Bazaar, there was a fashion assistant who wore Chanel (head to toe) on a daily basis, and whose boss also wore Chanel quite frequently. And may I add that this assistant managed to pull it off in a much more youthful, offhandedly stylish way. While I’m not suggesting that all assistants outshine their bosses, there certainly are cases (and not few and far between) where assistants have more personal style and savvy than their higher ups.

In addition, everybody knows that “dressing better” (whatever “better” is) is not a function of how much money one spends, or what designer label one wears. There are plenty of high ranking magazine editors (you know who you are) wearing the top labels and trends du jour, who still never seem to get it right. A young stylish woman clothed in H&M, vintage, or flea market finds has the ability to look as good if not better than her designer label clad boss.

And let me point out that even though fashion assistants don’t make a great deal of money, they are not exactly from deprived, low income households – some are even from families wealthy enough to buy and sell Conde Nast or Hearst if they wanted to. (Well, almost). Vera Wang was once a fashion assistant at Vogue (and she routinely flew to Europe to fill in her amazing wardrobe and buy her Fendi furs), and Tory Burch was a fashion assistant at Harper’s Bazaar. Need I say more?

-Marilyn Kirschner

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.

1 Comment
  1. puck is an awfulplace to show, low ceilings, bad aircirculation and difficult access

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