The ‘SAGGING’ Awards

While every magazine’s ‘Big Fall Issue’ seems to have the EXACT same ads and the EXACT same editorial stories (you know the drill by now: layers, leggings, military, capes, black, tough chic, platforms, egg shaped coats, knitwear, boots and booties, etc.) “T”, The New York Times Women’s Fashion Fall 2006 edition, “Indie Darling”, was indeed “indie” and managed to distance itself from the pack by virtue of several things. Not the least of which was their clever word play on the very costly (what else is new?) medieval, coat of armor trend which they dubbed, (“Spendalot”), fashion individualist Lynn Yaeger’s always witty and personal observations (“Age Appropriate?”), this time focusing on the ‘pitfalls’ of wearing vintage over a ‘certain’ age. (Though I must say I took issue with her surprising point of view, and on a personal level, can think of many label and non label vintage items in my closet (and in other collectors’ closets) that are far from moldy, oldie, and dusty, and qualify as highly modern, up to the minute, and forever chic. Is there anything more modern than Bonnie Cashin?)

And of course, nobody but The New York Times could boast a picture of Elizabeth Saltzman in her exhibitionistic, early Vogue, Pre-Vanity Fair years (the mid 80’s), club hopping at Area with date in tow, wearing nothing more than a see thru plastic ‘dress’ over a white lace bra, panties, garter belt, and stockings, (“Culture Club” by Glenn O’Brien). Though to be honest, I don’t know what was more shocking – the picture or the fact that she sort of pulled it off and managed to look somewhat elegant, rather than vulgar, and had the amazing the body to do so I might add.

And speaking of the fall and seasonal trends (layers, capes, fur trim, egg shaped coats, leggings, and skinny jeans, military and medieval),the one place you are guaranteed to NEVER see trends du jour materialize is on the red carpet. And that was certainly the case this past Sunday night when we were all ‘treated’ to an early pre-Labor Day Emmy Award ceremony telecast from Los Angeles. We all know that with few exceptions, the only thing that really changes within this genre from season to season, year to year, is the color and fabric of that typical floor length, form fitting, plunge front glamour gown that is more often than not chosen by stylists to grace the bodies of their high paid, high profile celebrity clients.

Regardless of the mutterings by fashion (‘experts’?) who excitedly proclaimed that plum is the ‘new black’ based on the sighting of so many plum, purple, and aubergine-hued dresses, what I saw was yet another sea of boring, predictable, prom worthy gowns (including some that were downright awful and some that tried too hard), upswept dos and sagging boobs (yup!); so much so that the Emmy Awards could have been called the ‘Sag Awards’. I really don’t get it. Don’t these women believe in wearing bras? Don’t their high paid stylists have eyes? Don’t these stars look in the mirror?

Interesting (or maybe not), the worst offender in this category was Melissa Rivers, Joan’s daughter. This was one evening where Joan (in black lace) actually looked younger than her sidekick offspring who chose a pale, bias cut satin gown with cowl back, cowl sides, and unfortunately for her, cowl front. The end result (or the front result) was that she appeared to have two watermelons down to her waist. Not only was it highly unflattering; it was aging.

But speaking of Melissa and Co,I did agree with them on one of their best dressed picks of the night, Sandra Oh, who chose a romantic vivid blue Vera Wang gown whose neckline was accessorized with masses of necklaces in different metals. The result was charmingly individual and appeared to be hand picked by Ms. Oh as opposed to her stylist. I also applauded any woman who dared to be different, such as Kelly Macdonald, who won for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress in a mini-series or movie’, and who chose a knee length flapper-esque dress for the occasion.

Other ‘winners’ on the style front were Julia Louis-Dreyfus in chic and elegant black and white Narciso Rodriguez and Megan Mullaly in long sleeved navy silk Badgley Mischka with deep v neckline. Speaking of which, I never understand why more women don’t opt for covering up rather than choosing those tired, ditsy stoles over their bare top gowns. Not only are these stoles rather cumbersome and awkward, they are terribly aging, as illustrated by Blythe Danner, a good looking woman over a ‘certain’ age, who took the stage to accept her Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama. Of course, going a different route and covering up does not always guarantee good results. While presenter Candace Bergen gets high marks for trying to break the mold in her Ralph Lauren white cotton blouse, turquoise mermaid hemmed skirt, Navajo Indian turquoise and silver belt combo, unfortunately, she resembled a stuffed derma when she took the stage.

-Marilyn Kirschner

Publisher’s note: And speaking of Elizabeth Saltzman, I will never forget the day she walked into a Jennifer George fashion show wearing waist high rubberized wading boots and suspenders. At the time, she was one of those high profile New York editors promoting the “Grunge” look to designers like Marc Jacobs. And who can forget Marc’s last “Grunge” show for Perry Ellis which was such a disaster it closed the women’s line. Elizabeth has come a long way since her days of dancing on top of tables, now she is a conservative matron with a dream job at Vanity Fair. Just what does a ‘Fashion and Style Director at Large’ do? One thing for sure, if Anna Wintour ever does decide to retire, Elizabeth has positioned herself nicely to be next in line for the job – and that is no accident. Just ask her Mum.

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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