Karma’s a biatch. Delighting in other people’s misfortunes is terribly naughty and will always end in tears. I once laughed unsympathetically when my mother’s best friend broke her thumb putting on her girdle, and now, lo many years later, God has seen fit to punish me. I’m laughing on the other side of my face, for I too have incurred a FASHION INJURY!
It’s hard to say if my affliction is more or less embarrassing than that girdle-mangling horror of yore. I will let you be the judge. Here goes: I was felled by a man-bag, a Goyard man-bag at that. It happened right before Christmas. After two or three years of lugging round my luxe accessory by the handles—à la runway—I incurred a nasty case of bicep tendinitis. Though not quite on a par with Isadora Duncan’s silk scarf/sports-car-wheel strangling—the ne plus ultra of fashion injuries—mine is a painful and immobilizing condition involving months of rehab. And it has impacted my finances, big time! As a result of my fashion injury, I was obliged to buy a gorge new Goyard arms-free messenger bag, and a really naff shoulder strap for the old bag.
Old bags notwithstanding, fashion injuries have no respect for age or gender. Since going public about my catastrophe, I have been deluged with empathetic me-too stories from fashion lovers of all ages and thumb strengths. Permit me to share:
At a New Year’s Eve party, Palm Beach mega-realtor Burt Minkoff told me of the emergency-room drama that ensued after he wore a fluffy sweater and—wait for it!—a tuft of angora wool lodged itself under his contact lens. Oh! The agony of angora!
My pal Karen Boltax, a gallery owner, told me about the evil white wooden Paul Smith mules—“they look just like the ones I wore as a punk teenager”—which, suddenly last summer, gave her a nasty dose of what a Canyon Ranch doctor recently diagnosed as “tarsal tunnel syndrome.” Ms. Boltax has been slow to recover: This is probably due to the fact that she spent the holidays aggravating her condition by dancing her brains out in Michael Kors platform heels at Jose Ignacio, a new hot spot in Uruguay.
Allure editor in chief Linda Wells told me how she was once attacked and imprisoned by a velvet Prada turtleneck. “There I was in the dressing room, trapped in a designer straitjacket, mortified—fortunately, [former creative director] Polly Mellen rescued me after a 20-minute tussle,” she said, adding intriguingly, “I still can’t understand how one can get into something but not get out of it.”
Not all fashion injuries have such happy outcomes. One of Ms. Wells’ Allure colleagues, a gal who preferred to remain anonymous, once bought a pair of leather pants that were “so tight, she got thrombosis.”
Due to the current mania for skyscraper footwear, the most common fashion injuries involve falls. The trick is to turn the moment into a spontaneous Helmut Newton photo shoot. When Us Weekly magazine’s Sasha Charnin Morrison was leaving a Versace show, she had what she described to me last week as “a bronzed, bare-legged fashionista fall.” Fortunately for Sasha, Terry Tsiolis, fashion photog du jour, was on hand to capture the moment. Did she at least get flowers from Donatella as compensation for her glamorous-but-public humiliation? “They gave me a band-aid with ‘Versace’ written across it,” Ms. Charnin Morrison said.
Brace yourselves for this coming season! Offering an unprecedented explosion of new shapes, colors and floral prints, spring is nothing less than a minefield of potential fashion injuries. If you do not get blown off a cliff in a sail-like Lanvin frock, you will probably be attacked by a swarm of pollen-crazed killer bees while wearing your Balenciaga floral tunic. My advice? Don’t be selfish: Make sure there is a photographer present to capture the moment for the amusement—and subsequent bad karma—of others.