Fashion Week Sneak Peek #2: Ports 1961


Ports 1961, which creates simply marvelous fashion, sent a few sketches of their Spring 2010 Fashion Week presentation to your faithful correspondent this week. It has me simply craving to see them in person!

Ports Creative Director Tia Cibani has stated, that despite the economy: “Give
women beautiful clothes that represent value and quality and they will still find a way to buy them.” ‘Tis true, ’tis true.

Cibani is moving from boutique and online marketing to the Bryant Park tents, bringing the customers along with her. Spring 2010 will explore the concept of “craft meets innovation”.

See you under the tents!

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

A Fabulous Fashion Dude Thinks I’m Fabulous!


We interrupt our coverage of Project Runway to toot our own horn! Wilbur Pack Jr., an incredibly talented fashion designer, wrote a blog entry about moi in his blog, “I Am Fabulous: A Black FashionDude’s Odyssey”!

Here is the link:

We met last February, at a benefit for the McClellan Cooper Foundation (which featured Korto Momolu’s runway show, chronicled in this blog). I first spotted his sister in an astounding denim evening dress. When I gasped, “Where did you get that dress,” she indicated the tall, handsome man next to her and replied, “My brother designed it.”

A model, Wilbur Pack, and his sister (both dresses SKWilbur designs)

I am overcome, simply overcome. So you can look out for moi in the coming months in one of Wilbur Pack’s creations! (And do go to his website, see his latest line of colorful sportswear!)

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Metropolitan Museum Costume Gala Best Dressed 2009


It took a bit of doing to find women who were neither excessive nor simply idiotic in their choice of garb at Monday’s Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute gala opening for “The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion.” However, there were some absolutely stunning choices. And while mine may not agree with everyone, I’m certain that my first pick is one of the winners across the board:

Imam, who always displays the most amazing good taste, in a satin gown by Donna Karan.

Anne Grauso–so nice to see a real woman amongst the stick figures, in such a beautiful dress. If anyone knows who created it, please do let me know! (Although I am not a fan of skimmed back hair on high foreheads, but let’s not quibble.)

Speaking of stick figures, I know that jaws will drop all over the world at my next selection.

Anne Hathaway covers up her gaunt figure in a wonderful purple dress by Marc Jacobs, with a 60s inspired bouffant hairdo that transforms her from princess to wild thing. In my opinion, it’s a welcome change for her usual red carpet needing a glucose IV look.

And how gorgeous was model Oluchi Onweagba in her (of course) Oscar de la Renta black and white ballgown? I MUST own this one ASAP.

Here is Liv Tyler working a Jane Russell look in a dark blue Stella McCartney gown with smoky makeup to match.

Speaking of old Hollywood…

Special kudos to Marisa Tomei for wearing vintage ADRIAN!! She looks beyond beautiful, every inch the movie star. The designer would be so proud.

Sorry if there were fewer than expected, particularly at a fashion gala, but the truth is, there was less to choose from than I would have expected. For one thing, the Omnipresent Silhouette from the recent Fashion Week was everywhere: a tight waisted short dress with a bouffant skirt and overstated shoulders. Oh, there were variations…strapless, or one-shouldered…but not much inspiration, IMO. And yes, it looks beautiful on beautiful women, but how much effort does that take?

I also think I’m starting to suffer from Pose Fatigue. All of those hundreds of women standing in variations of two or three poses…hands on hips, hips forward, one leg forward, one hand on one hip…eventually they all start to blur together, dahlings.

Oh, dear, I really think I must lie down. Coming soon: entries about a new salon on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Isaac Mizhari, and anything else I feel like writing about. It is my blog-thing, after all.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

From Project Runway to ELEVEN MINUTES: Jay McCarroll’s Bumpy Ride


Rabid fans of “Project Runway” who have followed the show since its inception will certainly enjoy ELEVEN MINUTES, the story of how first season winner Jay McCarroll went on to design and show his first independent line at Fashion Week at Bryant Park two years later. For others, however, the appeal of this small exercise in cinema-verite (directed and produced by Michael Seiditch and Rob Tate) may seem puzzling.

For one thing, McCarroll, a rotund, baby-faced man with a goatee and an endless supply of flamboyant headgear, has charm but is not deeply compelling enough for us to want to follow him for the film’s 103-minute running time. In fact, the first third seems meandering and pointless. However, as one of my viewing companions put it, McCarroll has no subtext—whatever his subtext is, it comes right out of his mouth unedited. “I’m the fucking poster boy for angry insecurity!” he yells at one point in the film, and tells interviewers that his collection inspiration is “vaginal discharge.”

Unlike most conventional documentaries, ELEVEN MINUTES contains no flashbacks and almost no back story, other than the stated fact that after McCarroll won “Project Runway,” in his words, “the cord was cut.” The film stays completely in the present moment from start to finish, during the eight frantic months it takes Jay to design and prepare his fashion show.

Once the actual planning, etc. starts, the film gains momentum, as we watch Jay’s friends (all working for free), and see how truly enormous the creative process behind a show like this is. Unlike reality TV, with its scripted conflict and contrived setbacks, this is reality; where conflict arises from exhaustion, frayed nerves, and no money. The setbacks are genuine (will the shoes arrive in time for the show? Will the factory be able to make the dress he designed that has 140 individual pieces of fabric?). It also exposes the enormous cruelty within the fashion business on every level, from model selection (“she’s old!” Kelly Cutrone says of one candidate) to seat selection for the show. There are the “Front Rows” and behind them, the “Who Gives A Shits.”

McCarroll is caught between worrying about the mass production of his designs, and worrying about how that affects his design aesthetic. (One thing McCarroll must be applauded for: as he says, “No emaciated models! I want one with a boob!” ) The showing of his collection, called “Transport” after his obsession with hot air balloons, is the eleven minutes the film refers to.

The majority of documentaries about creative people are about genius, and extolling that genius (for instance, THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON, although nobody will ever convince me that Johnston is a talented musician). ELEVEN MINUTES, however, is not essentially about the ecology of creativity; it is essentially about the ecology of business. Jay McCarroll knows that his personality/notoriety is a more marketable commodity at this stage than his actual design talent. As he says at the beginning, “I have a short shelf life.” For this niche film, there is definitely an audience in the fashion world. But for the general public, this shelf life might have already passed.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Official website:

Fashion Week 2009 Wrap Up, Dahlings!


I am simply wrung out, exhausted, barely able to move. I am dictating this blog-thing to my assistant while getting a foot message and pedicure (there is another masseuse giving Bucky a full-body message…the poor little dog had been banged around in so many different bags by frantic crowds! I do hope she remembers to put a muzzle on my darling before she paints his nails).

Because of my extreme weariness I shall simply give some thumbnail descriptions of various shows I visited during the past week. First of all, Diane von Furstenberg’s show was delightful, the dresses flowing, airy and comfortable. And many of the models were SMILING! Mon dieu! How refreshing! (Methinks Diane has found a man to have sex with, unlike her husband?) DVF even created a way to conceal Coco Rocha:

Brava, Diva!

As regular readers know, Marc Jacobs is not one of my favorite designers. However, one must reluctantly admit that his collection was…yes, I can say it…marvelous. Over the top, colorful, but so well-edited and with a sense of humor. It was at the Armory, and actually started on time! Last time spectators had to wait hours, and then MJ went ballistic, as they say, in the newspapers no less. One must do some reconsidering.

I am not usually a woman who is wrong, but in this case, I won’t say I have been wrong, but I will say that I have reconsidered. It was one of the best collections of the week. Cathy Horyn of the New York Times mentioned, that in this year of women in elections, perhaps some of Jacobs’s outfits were referencing turn-of-the-century suffragettes. Of that, I can only approve. And Cathy is simply one of the best, if not the best, fashion interpreters out there today.

Out of sheer curiosity, I would have gone to Michael Kors’s show, but participating in the New York Reality Television School the night before (how ironic!) left me reluctant to leave my bed until the Oscar de le Renta show.

And of course, your faithful correspondent was in the front row, across from the luminous Jennifer Lopez, who for some reason was wearing a black strapless ball gown for early afternoon (I mean, there are photo ops and there are photo ops, but really.) and Rachel Zoe. About the latter, my lips are sealed, friend-snatcher. Of course I wore Oscar from head to foot (well, not foot, because I have to have my shoes custom made, but I had managed to color coordinate my stilettos). So that I wouldn’t look too—I despise the phrase—“matchy matchy”, I carried a Louis Vuitton carrier for Bucky and a bright yellow Toblerone, extra large. One of those bars can get one through an entire day, provided one also brings a Red Bull or two. Yes, I do get a bit snappish at times—


Ahem. Je ne souffrent pas des imbéciles heureux.

Absolutely beautiful, dahlings. One can always count on Oscar to deliver the goods.
And while we are at it, compare Oscar’s swimsuit to Yigal’s

Francisco Costa’s collection for Calvin Klein seemed a wee bit bizarre to your faithful correspondent, but he was going for an “architectural” look. For those of you who criticize moi for suggesting many of the models might have Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, Serena Williams and Tyra Banks were in the audience… what a relief to see “real” women!

Christian Siriano executed a marvelous collection. He is truly growing as a designer, even though he’s almost as small in person as Bucky. (Seeing him stand next to my ex-friend Andre Leon Talley is seeing Mutt and Jeff personified, pardon the antique reference.)

As for the Project Runway show, my lips are sealed. You’ll simply have to wait, dahlings.


Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Fatigue Sets In At Fashion Week 2009…


Because of my evening at the New York Reality Television School, I missed the ho-hum Halston collection. No great loss, as my friends at the Bryant Park Hotel told me when I stopped by the Zimmerman Spring Preview.

But I did manage to take in three earlier shows (although how anyone expects an important, busy woman to get up at dawn to attend a 9 AM collection, no matter by whom, baffles me).

Speaking of ho-hum, my day started with the Monique Lhuillier show in the promenade. Maybe it was fashion fatigue setting in, but this collection seemed dull, derivative and uninspired, even if many of the fabrics were lovely. This poor model was absolutely wall-eyed with exhaustion and hunger.

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As she passed , I was nibbling on a chocolate croissant, and for a second I feared she was going to attack me, as Natasha Poly had a few seasons back. Fortunately, as always during Fashion Week, there were paramedics stationed at perimeter points armed with Ensure, cigarettes, and crystal meth.

But back on topic, haven’t you seen varations of this dress in catalogs a hundred times?

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Next, it was over to the Betsey Johnson show, where I was quite pleasantly surprised. Ms. Johnson and I do not have the same style sense by any means. But this collection was a delightful campy romp, and there were giant cupcakes for all of us in the front row! The big-little-girl dresses and adorable wigs brought back strong memories of my childhood. Particularly since dear, darling Mama forced me to pretend to be eleven years old for ten years.

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As Maurice Chevalier sang, “Ah, yes, I remember it well.” By the time she allowed me to turn twelve, I was far more zaftig than any of these models, I can tell you that. Ms. Johnson herself astonished me by coming out looking quite chic before she did her trademark cartwheel.

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The final show I had time to attend was Dennis Basso, who obviously does not believe personally in the gaunt aesthetic he promotes. Basso profundo, indeed! More like Basso gigundo.

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My idol Anna Wintour was in attendance, as was Nina Garcia of “Project Runway,” and a galaxy of socialites. Basso’s clothes were lovely, but could any model have looked more miserable than Cecilia Mendez?

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It made for a bit of cognitive dissonance. However, I made a note to order this stunner for myself. Imagine it with a real body inside!

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Oh, damn, I hear whining from the bedroom, and Bucky is curled up at my feet. It must be my assistant. She gets SO confused at the simplest instructions; all she has to do is lay out my five outfits for tomorrow, with matching shoes and jewelry! Is that so very much to ask?

Must dash –

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Fashion Week Part Three – all hail Francisco Costa!


Before I write about any more of the shows, I must tell you about last night (well, some parts of last night). My assistant was missing when I came in this evening, it’s quite annoying. She was supposed to lay out my ensembles for tomorrow! She’s been in a royal sulk since I informed her she was far too low-class to be seen out and about with me at Bryant Park.

But enough about my domestic troubles. After the shows, it was off to the party of parties, the grand event, the 40th anniversary of Calvin Klein!Of course I had to change in the limo, but I’m an expert at that by now. It was into, of course, a vintage Calvin long chiffon gown (you thought I would wear his vintage jeans? Quel stupide!). This gala event was exactly what your faithful correspondent needed to soothe her jangled senses. Fortunately, I was able to avoid Vincent Gallo. Don’t ask me why, but I wonder why he is allowed to live.

The party was held at the High Line, three stories high on 10th Avenue, where I’m told some railroad or something used to be. There were white roses and Calvin Klein adverts everywhere, overwhelming the senses. (And the nostrils.) Our host was the sensational Francisco Costa (I might replace Andre with Francisco, if he is willing!).

If you had laid every celebrity and fashion maven end to end…you would have had what the party looked like by the time it broke up. Here’s a glass of champagne to you, mon bien-aimé lecteurs, I only wish you could have been there with me.

Or maybe not.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog