On Thursday, Sept. 4, before hitting the Bryant Park shows, I made a beeline for my neighborhood optician to check up on business. I had expected to see hordes of women snapping up those smart-lady Tina Fey glasses, the very same ones that had endowed Sarah Palin, the Republican candidate for vice president of the United States, with such an air of faux gravitas the night before. Thirty-seven million people of varying political persuasions watched the bespectacled Alaskan overachiever deliver her acceptance speech! Eyewear, and the unwitting marketing thereof, has never loomed larger on the American landscape. If this political stuff does not work out, Ms. Palin is definitely in the running to become America’s next top eyewear model: not Miss Congeniality, but Ms. LensCrafters. Anybody can see that.
And let’s call a spade a spade: The having-it-all hockey mom was mesmerizing, albeit in a hilarious, if-John-Waters-had-invented-a-Republican kind of a way. If Sarah Palin weren’t anti-choice, anti-Darwin, anti-gay marriage, and overly fond of killing large animals with horns, then I would definitely vote for her. I would plonk her caribou-skinnin’ ass in the Oval Office in a hot second. But she is and therefore I’m not.
Meanwhile back at my local LensCrafters: There were no crowds. There was no frenzy. And the sales associate laughed derisively at the notion that Mrs. Palin’s nifty face furniture might ignite a trend. To counter this naysaying, I extracted a sheaf of images of La Palin from my monogrammed Goyard man-bag and plopped them on the counter, at which point the resident optometrist appeared and took a long hard look at the convention hottie.
“Well, she may or may not start an eyewear trend, but I can tell you one thing: I see no evidence of magnification or minification,” said the good doctor; she added, “There may be astigmatism, but, looking at these pictures, I would say there is no prescription.” No prescription!
My knuckles went white. SCOOOOP!!!!!!!!! Could the Palin gravitas be even more faux than I thought?
Fuel was added to the fire when, later that day, a source of impeccable credentials whispered to me that she heard Ms. Palin had undergone Lasik surgery “eons ago.”
Could Sarah Palin be trying to mess with our heads? Is she trying to make us think she is smarter than she is? If so, she’s been succeeding! Sheesh! If she will stoop to this kind of duplicity now, who knows what devilment awaits us were she to be elected?
Wednesday, Sept. 6
The day before my LensCrafters investigation, Fashion Week got off to a Democratic start when I hosted a lunch in honor of Michelle Obama’s favorite designer (and mine): Isabel Toledo, the recipient of this year’s Fashion Institute of Technology’s Couture Council Visionary Award. Mrs. Obama has been buying Isabel’s frocks for years and is now regularly Toledo’d up on the campaign trail. Republican conspiracy theorists would probably attribute the Obama/Toledo rapport to the fact that Isabel was born in the eye of the Cuban Revolution, blah, blah, blah … extreme lefties sticking together, etc. To those nutcases I would say, “The lunch at the Rainbow Room was extremely bourgeois, totally fun, and wildly un-communist.” Example: India Hicks, Lord Mountbatten’s granddaughter and hostess of the new Top Design show, was my date.
Thursday, Sept. 7
When Charlize Theron elbowed me in the throat, I felt a bit like one of Aileen Wuornos’ poor johns. It was an accident and it didn’t hurt very much at all. And it was my own fault for shimmying up behind her in order to horn in on her photo op.
The gorgeous Ms. Theron and her hubby, Stuart Townsend, were at Barneys hosting the launch of Benjamin Bixby, the new sumptuously preppy men’s clothing line designed by Andre 3000, a.k.a. Andre Benjamin, a.k.a. the good-looking vegan bloke from Outkast, still best remembered for that song lyric “Shake it like a Polaroid picture!” (That particular kind of Polaroid picture is, alas, now defunct, much to the fashion world’s distress.)
Friday, Sept. 8
What’s up with Sarah Palin’s kids’ names? Bristol, Piper, Track, Willow, and Trig: These monikers sound suspiciously like acronyms. While waiting for the Rag and Bone show to start, I passed the time by attempting to decipher them. Here’s what I came up with:
TRACK = Totally Rad Alaskan Caribou Killer
BRISTOL = Breeding Right In School Totally Ovulating Loudly.
During the show I glanced at my line list—that hastily assembled document which tells us fashion professionals who is wearing what—and saw that all the models had eerily Palin-esque names, e.g. Lasse, Tavone, and Naty. Might this shed some light on the Palin child-naming enigma? Maybe, rather than acronyms, the strange Palin names are simply model names. Maybe the hockey mom wants her sprogs to grow up to be models, as in spokesmodels, as in possibly LensCrafters spokesmodels.
Re the show itself: Marcus Wainwright and David Neville had a Brit ’60s moment, evoking my teenager-hood spent in Reading, England, when all the mods went all Quadrophenia and started wearing Doc Martens, two-tone suits, and Ben Sherman-esque gingham button-down shirts, ultimately morphing into skinheads. Very menacing. Very Track.
Saturday, Sept. 6
I’m sure Sarah Palin, relentless frontierswoman that she is, would have figured a way to get to Alexander Wang’s far-flung show at Eyebeam Studios on 21st Street, perhaps hitching a ride on a passing moose. Not moi. With not a cab in sight, all I could do was stand in the rain feeling a bit like Dirk Bogarde in Death in Venice. Having just come from lensing a Full Frontal Fashion commentary, where liberal dollops of makeup were applied to my face, I actually looked a lot like him, too. I refer to the scene where the creepy and aging protagonist’s maquillage slides of his face and into a Venice canal.
Sunday, Sept. 7
It being the Lord’s day, I did a Sarah Palin and thanked God. In my case, my prayers of gratitude were offered to Style.com. Thanks to this Web site, I was able to catch up on the previous day’s missed shows, including Alexander Wang (love the color and the leather bits and bobs for the beach) and Band of Outsiders (Kirsten Dunst is the muse for the totally chic B of O “Boy” collection, which is for girls and, one assumes, transgender boys).
In the afternoon, I managed to make the Diane von Furstenberg show, where the theme was “Rock Goddess.” After the show a perky gal from The Daily asked me to name my all-time-fave rock goddess. “Siouxsie Sioux,” I replied without batting an eyelid or missing a beat. Her blank expression revealed that she had no idea to whom I was referring. Feeling helpful, I began to sing a few bars of “Christine.” She looked at me as if to say, “Please stop singing, you geriatric old former punk.” I stopped singing and caught the bus home down Fifth Avenue. Still no line outside LensCrafters. Maybe all the Palin groupies went to Cohen’s Optical?