Everybody clench! Spring 2002 Fashion Week is here, and the
mode-obsessed media is shoving the spring trends into your every orifice with
unprecedented ferocity. How rude! And how irrelevant to you, the ordinary woman on the street.
After all, you won’t be able to buy the stuff for another four or five months,
so why do you need to see it endlessly dissected on TV and in print? You should
be focusing on this season. You know what I’m talking about … all that fall
stuff that has been endlessly over-hyped for the last six months and arrived in
the stores in June.
Let’s face it, girls, this season’s merch-the schmattas that
are actually hanging on the racks right now-are, thanks to the craven,
accelerated fashion system, already looking like ancient history. Sauvage , equestrian, military: Even to
people like you, the ordinary woman on the street (OWOTS), these over-heralded
trends seem as if they’ve come and gone without ever actually existing!
But you can’t not buy anything! So
let’s cut through the miasma of bull and figure out exactly what you need from
this fall’s offerings. Start by treating New York like your own personal flea
market-i.e., forget about labels and simply root around for well-priced,
non-victimy stuff, and do your best to create an individual look. With this
approach in mind, here are my 15 must-haves for fall 2001:
1. The belt. This is the season of the Jim Morrison handcrafted rocker
belt-or, rather, the second season of the overpriced Jim Morrison handcrafted
rocker belt. I’m down with this trend, but under no circumstances
should you cough up more than 50 bucks for a belt. If you can’t find one at the
26th Street flea market,
the Gap has a fab selection, including a very heavy-metal Courrèges-style
off-white number with oversized grommets ($32).
2. The Balenciaga
purse. It’s hard to open a magazine without Balenciaga designer Nicholas
Ghesquière’s gypsyish countenance smoldering back at you, or without being
stared down by a chick in one of his intensely worked, obscenely expensive
garments ($3,800 for a top). Compared to his clothing designs, Nicholas’
gothic-rocker purses are verging on remotely affordable, which is just as well
since they just happen to be the bag of
the season . The “Retro” style ($935) in pebbled caribou is my fave. Don’t
freak if they’re sold out at Barneys, Linda Dresner or Kirna Zabek: As I write,
more caribou is being pebbled and three more bag shipments are expected before
3. The boots.
This fall, every chick in Manhattan
is going to be booted up in black, kinky high-heeled boots. Look for something
different. Tips: Flat-heeled riding boots are not flattering; the over-hyped boot trend won’t last forever, so don’t spend a
fortune; get your boots taken in so they are tight. My pick: Ferragamo’s
beige-suede, high-heeled, musketeerish boots with buckles ($610). Don’t worry
about them getting dirty; wear them to death and then chuck them out in the
4. The hospitable gay
couple. If you’re a politician who’s not particularly welcome chez vous , then your must-have for fall
2001 is a hospitable ( i.e., rich) gay couple. Didn’t you read Frank Rich’s New York Times Op-Ed piece about Rudolph
Giuliani and his “doting hosts,” Howard Koeppel, a gay 64-year-old Queens
car dealer, and his partner, Mark Hsaio, a 41-year-old who works at the city’s
Department of Cultural Affairs? While he sorts himself out, our Mayor has been
“a frequent sleepover guest” at the sprawling East 50’s apartment of these two
upscale queens. Bill’s been at it as well. This summer, while in London,
ex-President Clinton crashed at the Holland
Park manse of Elton John and his
consort, David Furnish. Quel fromage !
5. The cape. The
most gorgeous one comes from Fendi. It’s knee-length, nursey-but-luxe and
$1,500; see this month’s Harper’s Bazaar
(page 339). This chic cape will make you look less ordinary on the street and
therefore is your most important purchase. If money is tight, skip the Balenciaga
purse, but get this cape. It’s not available until November, so you have six
weeks to raise the cash.
6. The cobble-plaid
duster. The bargain of the season, by Mossimo for Target
($29.95 at Target.com). It’s not really winterized, but can be worn
under your Fendi cape.
7. The fur hat.
Buy one that’s already dead, as in vintage. Cameron Silver of Decades in L.A.
is offering, through Barneys, a major collection of vintage Yves St. Laurent
ready-to-wear and accessories formerly owned
by a certain longtime, now deceased Y.S.L. Rive Gauche directrice named
MadameMarie-Madeleinede Neuville. Included in this comprehensive collection is
a Czarina raccoon hat ($600). Call 826-8900 and put
dibs on it today.
8. The book.
Creep yourself out with The Selected
Stories of Patricia Highsmith (W.W. Norton & Company, $27.95, or $19.56
on Amazon.com). This gorgeously malevolent collection (over 60) includes one of
my personal faves, “The Button.” This heinous story is about the accumulated
rage of a parent with a disabled child who finds an outlet by murdering a
complete stranger, from whose garment he yanks the eponymous button.
9. The sweaters.
You need two: a cashmere Laverne &
Shirley sweater with your initial
intarsia’d into it, from the Barneys New York Collection, and a fantastically
groovy Julie-Christie-in- Darling Aran
sweater, hand-knitted on the Isle of Aran to your chest size. (Call
011441770-302137.) Perfect under the cape, or under the
duster under the cape.
10. The jumbo-pearl
cocktail ring. M + J Savitt’s silver ping-pong-sized faux-pearl cocktail
ring ($340 at Goodman) completes your look-i.e., the cape, the fur hat, the
buckle boots; it’s a look that says bonjour !
Apropos of pearls: Designer Janis Savitt has a Jackie Collins–y tip for you: “I
was having dinner with some guy at Le Bernardin. I had this scheme to get him
to buy me a piece of jewelry. I sent a pearl over ahead of time to the kitchen.
We ordered oysters-the pearl was inside. It worked. He found it and felt so
clever, he had it made into a necklace. It was a small pearl. I didn’t want him
to crack his teeth.”
11. The trompe l’oeil trend. Moschino and
Cacharel did great trompe stuff for
fall-as in great for fashion editorials only. My fave option: trompe your bloke in the privacy of your
boudoir with Anna Sui’s Pop-Victorian corset-printed camisole ($75) and
knickers ($40) (113 Greene Street,
941-8406). Encourage role-playing: put your bloke in goofy trompe T-shirts. Log onto http://www.tshirtguy.com and choose from the
police officer, the classic tux-with-red-rose T-shirt, the photographer, the
doctor, the businessman and the hairy chest ($16 each).
12. The drug. Are
you suffering from PMDD? No, it’s not a rap
collaboration between P. Diddy and P.M. Dawn! PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric
disorder) is the American Psychiatric Association’s new term for PMS, and they
have it classified as a mental disorder! If your menstrual cycle is turning you
into Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction ,
ask your doctor about Sarafem, the new PMDD drug from Eli Lilly. Caution:
Sarafem is repackaged Prozac. If you’re already on it, you may have to switch
13. The jeans.
The avalanche of trendy denim continues, but which is the really groovy jean? I
audited some of the great thinkers of our time-i.e., second-string fashion
editors-and they all concurred: Seven Jeans are still the ne plus ultra of
grooviness ($99 to $117 at Intermix, Scoop and Barneys Co-op).
14. The cap.
Gamine corduroy caps from Old Navy kids ($8.50) in sienna, fishing green and
dirty navy. Wear with the cape, the Seven Jeans and unkempt hair.
15. The face. The look for fall 2001? Keep your face exquisitely clean
and, for God’s sake, get yourself a pair of false eyelashes. It’s an
authoritative ingénue look that will afford you an entirely fresh worldview.
Pop into Pat Field’s (10 East Eighth Street)
and get one of the “girls” to instruct you on application thereof. Not the
drag-queen lashes! Ask for the New Look No. 320 ($7). Re lips: The collagen
thing is over ; normal lips are back . If yours are insanely thin, you
might want to try the new “volumizing” lipsticks from Molton Brown in Naked,
Nude and Naughty($20from Barneys).The good people at M.B. claim, audaciously,
that if used three times perdayfor30 days, their product will pump up to 40 percent
more volume into your lips. Now pucker up and start shopping.
P.S.: Sick of watching spring runway shows on the telly? The
New York Renaissance Faire is, coincidentally, in tandem with Fashion Week,
going full-throttle through Sunday, Sept. 16. (Call 845-351-5174 for info or
check out http://www.renfair.com.) Throw on your buckle boots and hightail it up to
Tuxedo, N.Y., for the concluding high jinks.