posted in: Fashion 0
Yellow chiffon dress, 1968.  Image: Maison couture Jean Dessès via Wikipedia.
Yellow chiffon dress, 1968. Image: Maison couture Jean Dessès via Wikipedia.

On the drive back from Beaver Dam to Chicago this evening, I stopped at Gurnee Mills. Gurnee Mills is a collection of small pond mills set in the rolling countryside of Illinois. Just kidding; it’s an absolutely enormous shopping center outside of Chicago off I-94 and a couple times a year for one reason or another, I’ll pass Gurnee Mills in an automobile. I’ve pulled off the highway to visit the Old Mill a couple times and both times, I was sad and happy.

Because they have a Neiman Marcus Last Call store there. The Neiman Marcus Last Call stores are where all the stuff that didn’t sell at Neiman Marcus Regular Stores goes to die. You’ve got your Dolce & Gabbana cocktail dresses here, you got your Fendi paperweights there — you get the idea. They price everything relatively low, low, low, but “relatively low” when you’re talking about Stella McCartney is still “relatively ridiculous.”

But lo, the siren song of discounted high fashion called to me and, as I was not able to lash myself to my own Toyota Corolla rental car, I had to exit and find a parking spot.

The dresses I tried on would make you crazy. Crazy with lust. With desire. There was the Akris shift with the hand-dye. There was the Isabel Marant snap-front mid-length thing that was a little tight but in a good way. The Jil Sander. The other Jil Sander. I kept thinking about restaurants I’d go to if I had this one, about various charity functions where that one would work, etc. When you try on clothes, you try on a life.

Now is not the time for dresses, though. I’ve got bigger things on my mind and don’t have the dough. Changes are afoot, comrades. More will be revealed and it’s a whole lot of more. I did buy a cute little jacket. It was 65% off the lowest marked price and is the hottest pink.

Confession: I also bought a chicken sandwich for the ride home. Jesus, take the wheel!

[The management would like to point the new reader’s attention to a three part story from April about a girl in a pretty dress.]

Hero: Diana Vreeland

posted in: Art 0
A picture of Diana Vreeland in my "Why Don't You?" book. Photo and fingers: Me
A picture of Diana Vreeland in my “Why Don’t You?” book. Photo and fingers: Me

One of my heroes is Diana Vreeland who is counted among the most influential magazine editors of all time. Diana edited the most important fashion magazines in the world: Harper’s Bazaar from 1936-1962, Vogue from 1963-1971. She was fabulous the entire time, and there are many witnesses.

I love the way this woman spoke, walked, behaved. Throughout her time at Harper’s, Vreeland wrote and ran a list called “Why Don’t You?” in every issue. The “Why Don’t You?” list was full of ideas that Vreeland had about how you should approach your closet, your dresser, your very attitude toward life, vis a vis fashion and home decor. The “Why Don’t You” ideas are frequently absurd and it’s kind of hard to tell if Diana was putting these suggestions out in an ironic way or if she was entirely serious about every last one. (See: ermine bathrobe.)

Tonight, a few of my favorite “Why Don’t You” ideas, taken from a short biography called Diana Vreeland: Bazaar Years, by John Esten. I take this book down when I need some air.

Why Don’t You…

turn your old ermine coat into a bathrobe?

wear loose velvet gloves in wonderful colors — the right hand in violet velvet, the left in burgundy? These gloves at the theatre emerging from a beautiful fur cape would be very effective.

waft a big bouquet about like a fairy wand?

wear fruit hats? (currants? cherries?)

use Battersea enamel saltcellers as ashtrays?

have boxes copied after Russian Easter eggs in dull enamel and jewels to keep on your afterdinner coffee tray for saccharine for all those who do not take sugar?

use a gigantic shell instead of a bucket to ice your champagne?

*Readers of Quilty magazine may recognize that I put a “Why Don’t You” list in early issues of the magazine.


Some People Get All the Cool Jobs.

posted in: Day In The Life 1
Beyonce performing in Barcelona, 2007. Photo: Wikipedia
Beyonce performing in Barcelona, 2007. Photo: Wikipedia

I was walking along yesterday, looking down at my feet and the brick sidewalk underneath them when out of the clear blue, I thought: “Someone is Beyonce’s lawyer. That’s their job. When someone asks them, ‘So, what do you do?’ that person actually says, “I’m Beyonce’s lawyer.'”

This thought kept me occupied for at least forty-five minutes. I had to go to CVS. I decided to get a hamburger. I almost went in to the library to renew my library card but decided that was too much work. But all of these activities took place in the background of my brain as I thought about someone whose job it is to be Beyonce’s lawyer. It was bitterly cold, so I had my wool hat pushed down low and my big scarf wrapped around twice and pushed up high, so all I was was a walking puffy coat with two eyes blinking out, thinking about Beyonce’s legal team.

It’s a team for sure: there’s definitely more than one lawyer servicing Beyonce. I googled “how many people on Beyonce’s legal team” but nothing turned up. There’s got to be at least twelve: two senior attorneys are in charge of contracts, probably, and they both have at least two assistants. Another guy leads the team fielding all the lawsuits against Beyonce, Inc. from serious ones to wack-a-doo ones; another pursues lawsuits Beyonce, Inc. is filing against other people (probably legit) — and they’ve got their own assistants, too. And maybe there’s just one lawyer who serves as her advisor only; Beyonce’s consigliere, whispering in her ear.

The more people the better, I thought, because then there are more people on the planet who can say, “Oh, I’m Beyonce’s lawyer” as they take another cheese cube from the snack table. If I was the one who asked that person, “So, what do you do?” and they said, “Oh, I’m Beyonce’s lawyer,” then I would say:

“Wow! Seriously?? That’s amazing! Wow! Beyonce’s lawyer. How about that. Do you like it? I mean, that’s a really exciting job description!”

He (I don’t know why it’s a he, here, but it is) would shrug and say, “Well, it’s a job. I mean, long hours and the usual stuff like anybody else, I guess.”

My eyes would get big and I would say, “No.”

“No what?”

“You are Beyonce’s lawyer. Beyonce. You are her lawyer. That is amazing. You help Beyonce. You help her live. Beyonce is your boss. She pays you money. You have Beyonce as your boss. You’re a lawyer for her.”

The guy would stare at me and swallow his cheese cube before he was completely done chewing it. “Y-yeah, I mean… It’s definitely cool. Absolutely.” Then he would say it was nice to meet me and lift his glass as he took off. “Cheers, nice to meet you.” He would move quickly.

Then I would stab a strawberry with a toothpick and eat it, shaking my head. “Jerk,” I would think. And, just to be petulant, I’d use the same toothpick to stab another strawberry but I wouldn’t eat that one.