Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fashion Forward

The 92nd Street Y is a NYC venue that offers some of the best events, lectures and classes around. When I noticed that their Fall programming included a panel entitled "The Future of Women's Fashion," featuring such illustrious participants as Isaac Mizrahi, Ashley Olsen, Robin Givhan (fashion writer for the Washington Post), and Cindi Levie (Glamour's editor-in-chief), I knew I HAD to go.

I rallied my friends DG and SS (check out her fashion blog, HERE) and we had a wonderful time. To kick-start everything, we were seated across the aisle from Justin Bartha (Ashley's boyfriend and the star of "The Hangover") and Mary-Kate Olsen, who wore a terribly beautiful embroidered velvet jacket.

You can just make out MK's face in this photo.
(NOTE: I once read that the Olsens were taught to say "prune" when they smile, and years of practicing that posture certainly seems to have stuck...)

But back to the panel!

We were treated to a great mix of expertise and personalities.
Cindi and Robin (above far left and above left, respectively), are more in tune with consumers' needs and viewing fashion through the lens of hard numbers. This gave their opinions a lot of practical merit; perhaps even TOO MUCH for the dreamers in the audience like me, who wish only for fashion to be about art and beauty...which is where Ashley and, especially, Isaac come in.

Here are some gems from Isaac:

About being fearless with fashion: "If only we could be as brave about our own work as we are about, you know, playing Monopoly. That's what I always say."

About the role of the designer in dressing women: "Embracing that women look beautiful already, not that 'I'm gonna make you look beautiful' but 'You are beautiful already.'"

On determining the difference between fashion and design: "Fashion happens, but design is eternal. I don't know what fashion is supposed to be anymore: The red carpet? The cover of a magazine? But there's NO excuse for bad design."

On opportunities for entrepreneurs in the current economy: "Perhaps it's not a good time for greedy people to make a lot of money off of something that's not even good."

I adore Isaac, for obvious reasons. If you've never seen his documentary "Unzipped" you should run to Blockbuster or your Netflix queue and make it a priority! Among other simultaneously hilarious and wise tidbits he shared, he announced that he will be selling many new products on QVC, including CHEESECAKE ("it's a family recipe!").

Ashley Olsen was more sly, avoiding answering the question of which fashion trend she wishes would die ("I pass on this question!"), and omitting to tell the audience some major news that would be announced only a day later: that she and MK are launching a clothing line at J.C. Penney called "Olsenboye."

Robin Givhan made some interesting sociological commentary on the state of women's fashion, and even offered her theory of its biggest hurdle:
"People condescend to fashion because it's a woman's industry."
Hmm. Perhaps.

Like many panel discussions (and I recall numerous of these from my Princeton days), there wasn't much of an arrival at consensus or conclusion by the end. Nevertheless, all will agree that it was an entertaining and special occasion.

And don't forget to order your Mizrahi cheesecake...

Links to more info, insight, and better pictures from this event:
The Huffington Post
Just Jared

1 comment:

BLC :o said...

Oh my word!!! This post and the one below ... every fashionista's dream!!!! Thanks for sharing CJM. Xoxo-BLC