Sunday, February 9, 2014

Asylum

"Asylum" by Simon Doonan was the book he was signing when I went to Barney's to meet him.  Since that event I've been reading his column on Slate.  This book, which is split into short chapters, reads like the Slate column.  Doonan has such an eye and ear and I've been enjoying his writing.  Some of the chapters I liked better than others.  He brought up two points in the book that have stuck with me after finishing it.  The first is about money.  I had not thought about it but, back in the day, the women who actually BOUGHT the clothes from the designers got to sit in the front rows at the shows.  Not the bloggers or stars who get the clothes for free.  That got me thinking about money.  Really shouldn't I take fashion advice from someone who parts with hard earned cash to buy an item (even if they have A LOT of hard earned cash) rather than someone who gets so much for free that they don't even repeat outfits?

The second point is about sarcasm.  I had not thought about this issue at all until I read his book but I so agree with him!  People don't know how to handle sarcasm - either in the delivery, or the receipt today.  I think that is why "Downton Abbey" cracks me up so much because the Dowager Countess is so on point with her zingers.  I think that some people try to use sarcasm but it's too personal and becomes ugly.  Then you have the person on the receiving end who takes way too much offense and ends up blowing it out of proportion.  It is a lost art.  I am not good at sarcasm so know well enough to stay away from it but when it's done well it's very intelligent and insightful.  

I continued the fashion theme this weekend by finally going to the Chicago History Museum to see Inspiring Beauty 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair.  If you live in Chicago, or are visiting here before it ends in May, you MUST go see it.  You can't take photos of any of the ensembles or else I would have some to share here.  I was going to buy the program book but the clothes looked better in the display than they did in the book.  This event was also concerned with money and fashion.  When Eunice Johnson went to some designers to buy clothes for the Fashion Fair they turned her down because she was African American.  To have money and be told no!  So shortsighted on the part of the designers because Fashion Fair was not a one and done event - it was a 3 month, fashion show in every city, traveling event.  The designers included in the exhibit are ones everyone would recognize today - maybe because they did not discriminate against a fashionable consumer?  The clothes have stood the test of time!  There were only about 3 pieces that I thought look dated.  Everything else - I'll take two please!!!  Especially the amazing Winter ensembles (yes with fur - I'm good with vintage fur) that would look so chic in Chiberia.  Learning the story of Ebony Magazine and Johnson Publishing was also very educational.  Illinois residents get free admission to the museum every day in February (except Saturdays) and I'm thinking about going back since it was so much to take in during one trip.  There was one comment on one of the videos about thinking that maybe clothes are silly but when you look good, you feel good and can accomplish more.  I'm paraphrasing a lot with that one but you get the point.  

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