Dec. 18 . Morning : C’est moi, c’est moi , Phyllis Stine. Sorry I haven’t written lately. But I have Holland Tunnel Syndrome. It’s symptomatic of the holidays: I can’t get over growing up in New Jersey.
Feeling très, très profil perdu in Carlyle Hotel flat. Divorce from Mr. Stine is official. He’s already engaged to P.Y.S. (Pretty Young Shiksa.) Looks like two Boardman sisters rolled into one. My holiday decorations consist of animated Santa Claus figure who twists to “Jingle Bell Rock” and Christmas tree with blue lights; I used to be Jewish. Keep on donning gay apparel: Dolce & Gabbana kimono and good luck Hanukkah charm bracelet–large dreidels in Christmas colors (about $300 from Zitomer Pharmacy). Have canceled plans for St. Barts redux with Mr. Salt and Mr. Pepper as (a) they have become obsessed about sun damage–a little too late I’m afraid–and (b) I have decided St. Barts–surf-to-turf music people–is over my new hairdo.
Dec. 18 . Afternoon : Receive pineapple tree as Christmas gift from Mr. Salt.
Dec. 20 : Dreamt I was in the green room waiting to go on Virginia Graham’s talk show but (a) couldn’t remember what I was supposed to talk about and (b) Madonna washed in and said she was scheduled before me. Madonna wore Prada bra and Gucci beaded silk denim pants (about $8,000.) I was naked underneath a poncho. Awful dream. Woke up in sweat.
Dec. 21 : Early supper at Da Silvano–white Ralph Lauren cargo pants, black Tse cashmere turtleneck, acid green Fendi croissant bag, Prada sport shoes, black, nylon Gucci ski jacket trimmed in fox (about $2,700) with good friend Polly Glott who was en route to Telluride with handsome author husband. Let it snow. We decided I am suffering from post-impeachment blues. Besides which, we decided the next time Robert Isabell decorates the White House during the decline of Washington civilization, he should insist on an on-screen TV credit.
“I’m also really worried about the KY problem,” I told Polly over my bistecca Fiorentina.
“I think you mean the Y2K problem,” Polly said.
What I should really worry about is the elections in the year Y2K plus 1, she said. “Or worry about what Tina Brown is going to wear when Talk magazine launches.”
Dec. 22 : Big news: It’s cold outside. Have much-anticipated appointment, with superstar psychic-healer Maria Papapetros on East 55th Street. Read about her in Women’s Wear Daily in November. Clients include Demi Moore, Naomi Campbell. As it is so cold, wonder if maybe Maria wouldn’t rather come to the Carlyle? Telephone 935-4441 and suggest this. She says No. Persist gingerly. She says No again. Will pay extra, I go. O.K., I’m told, how about $4,000? It’s a dare.
Never mind, $180 at her place as planned.
Spend morning cutting photographs of famous designers from Vogue and W as Ms. Papapetros works via psychometry–picking up vibrations from a piece of jewelry, handwriting or a photo.
Dec. 22 . Noon : What to wear for psychic consultation? Probably not Prada-whatever with magnet closures, as vibrations might pull in wrong direction. White looks right: white Michael Kors wool shell (about $450) and white Michael Kors pants (about $900). Prada sport shoes. An above-the-knee, tailored, white, sheared-mink coat (about $10,000 from Grosvenor Canada furs) evokes happy days of Jackie Kennedy’s Camelot.
Dec. 22. 2 P.M. : “Sorry about not making housecalls,” says Ms. Papapetros. “I even told Streisand No. Better people come here. It is enough for me when I travel to consult on movies.” She wears amber Calvin Klein turtleneck and pants.
Spread fashion designer photos on sofa where Maria sits. Sort of Belle-Époque-style room. “Never mind the doomsayers,” she says. “Fashion will always be fashion because it makes you feel good.” Maria was born on the isle of Crete. Her father was a healer. Two of her aunts were psychics. From the land of prophetic oracles! It’s all in the voice.
“Karl Lagerfeld will surprise everyone this year,” Maria predicts, touching his photo. “I see everything changing around him, but I wish he would pay more attention to his health. His stomach.” She picks up a photograph of Alexander McQueen. “This is his year. Very good. Very good. I see him in New York a lot.” Marc Jacobs? “If he is cautious about his personal life, he’ll have it all this year.” Helmut Lang? “Very good, very steady but he could surprise everyone by giving it all up and moving to the Bahamas.” Donna Karan? “She’ll get it together financially by October.” Isaac Mizrahi? “Very smart. Did the right thing. Knows what he’s doing.” Ralph Lauren? “May go into politics this year.” Tom Ford? “He might not stay at Gucci, but I don’t know if it is the right time to make a change.” Vivienne Westwood? “I’ve got all her bags. Will become better known in America. May shave her head.” Valentino? “Will introduce three new talents to fashion.” Jil Sander? “Up, up, up! Will make things available and affordable with more quality, not less.” Calvin Klein? “I feel happiness. I feel sadness. Has an incredible opportunity this year.” Bill Blass? “Should write his book before someone else does.” Carolina Herrera? “Perfume, perfume.” Oscar de la Renta? “Lots of golf.” Miuccia Prada? “Holding the scepter, wearing the crown. And for years to come. Jewelry and children–the home–will become new themes for Prada, too.
“I see major shifts in fashion geographically,” Maria says. “A major fashion miracle coming out of Hungary. Someone fabulous coming from Spain. Someone named Tommy–not Hilfiger but he’s O.K., too, this year. I see India. I see new technologies. Sporty. Plastics. Buttons. Lots of buttons. A-lines. Lots of light colors. White. I see white. More buttons.
“I see more actors on the covers of fashion magazines. With the new millennium, I see a new guard in fashion. There is so much uncertainty among fashion people, I know. Wavelengths are changing at the end of the century. If each person raises his, or her consciousness, they will be all right. If not … Fashion has to raise its consciousness, or it will go down. Designers, models, retailers … raise your consciousness so you won’t go down with the times,” says Maria. “I believe we have choices. I’m not a fatalist. People wake up with everything and feel nothing because there is no place to go. But there is. Real wealth is within. Look within.”
Dec. 24. Christmas Eve : Covered all the mirrors. Trying to look within. Makes me feel woefully dizzy.
Billy’s List: Quiz time!
1. On Dec. 18, French authorities introduced what perfume intended to transform the ambience of the Paris subway?
2. Who has the Arnell Group Brand Consulting firm chosen for Progressive Automobile Insurance’s driver safety ad campaign?
a. Angela Lansbury.
c. Cindy Crawford.
3. “Spoon” is:
a. a romantic new perfume from Carolina Herrera.
b. the house and garden shop opening in early March from the owners of Scoop, the women’s store.
c. Alain Ducasse’s new restaurant in Paris.
Answers: (1) a; (2) b; (3) c.