Recently I have been writing at length about one of the main reasons this blog exists (on Thursday, my dear friend, Susan, Une Femme, and I collaborated on the subject): to talk about this special stage of our lives. This is a time when we’re posing questions, deciding how we will be moving forward, reassessing and for some of us reinventing our futures.
And, at heart, being the girls we will always be no matter what our age, we like the idea of getting dressed and getting out there for the adventures ahead. Regarding our most recent conversation, in response to Cece’s letter to Susan and me, plus the brouhaha over Susan Sarandon’s vestment choice at the SAG awards, I started thinking back on my years covering the fashion collections in New York, Paris, London, and Milan.
Depending upon my employer, I was sitting front row center — or not. In the fun-filled world of fashion, one’s last name is the publication, for example, Tish International Herald Tribune.
What I remember clearly is how much fun they were, the excitement, the way the women on the other side of the catwalk were so beautifully, crazily or creatively dressed and then the show. . . Here’s the thing though, most of the time the way the clothes were presented on the models was “for show,” for photo ops, and not the way real women would wear the clothes in the real world. And, that was often what made the shows such great theatre entertainment.
This brings me back to Cece’s letter in which she asked the two of us what magazines we read that feature clothes that we would consider wearing, and that made me recall clearly all those collections filled with “unwearable” clothes. But, of course, they weren’t unwearable. They were presented — and that usually included extreme makeup and hairstyles — in a way that drew us in and made the presentations lively and dramatic (sometimes even shocking). I quickly learned how to decipher the messages, how to see through the show to the clothes and how they could easily move from the catwalk to the sidewalk.
I mention this because I forgot to tell you the other day that twice each year I buy French Vogue’s thick, and rather expensive, hors-série (special issue), editions: Printemps and Automne/Hiver. I like them because they give me a one-stop overview of what is going on in la mode and both of the issues are available before we would be buying for the season.
I’ve collected theses series over the years and have a shelf in my office filled with them, which I use as a sort of historical reference.
With them in hand I can see the trends, the colors, the fabrics, the way some of the designers put the pieces together and then in the back of the magazines there are several pages filled with accessories.
When looking at fashion in this way I can “shop” in my closet to see if I have something similar hidden within its depths or decide that maybe it would be fun to seek out an accessory in one of the season’s primary colors, or maybe I would like a new jacket, or coat, or whatever.
When I look at clothes in this way, the notion of age — unless I’m looking at a micro-mini or a top slashed to the waist — doesn’t enter into my mind. I’m simply looking at “neutral” items that may or may not appeal to me.