Just saw it. Walked out with the most overwhelmingly visceral reaction I’ve had to a film since I don’t know when. It was “What the FUCK are these SNEAKERS doing on my FEET and where are my STILLETOS?????? I couldn’t get home fast enough to be with my Shoes. hahahahaha. As much as I enjoy living in LA, I certainly do miss being able to DRESS UP for life. Worst thing about people in LA, other than their unbearable flakiness, is how they always think anything other than jeans is “dressed up.” As a Seventh Avenue escapee, I can attest to the veracity of that film. It is, after all, based on a book, which is a tell-all thinly veiled as fiction to protect the author.
While I was fortunate enough to not work directly with Ms. Wintour, the closest I ever got to her was sewing a button onto her coat, which had been sent down to the sample room without her in it, to be repaired. This was when I worked for Isaac Mizrahi, back in the mid 90’s, and his career was completely dependent upon her. Since he didn’t actually sell much clothing, he relied on good press for his sustenance, even though that doesn’t actually pay the bills. She’d come to the studio a week before the show, and the head patternmaker would go upstairs and take notes of all the changes she requested. We’d work even more overtime than usual to ensure that Anna’s visions were brought to life flawlessly. It always bugged me, since she wasn’t actually the designer. I couldn’t figure out why Isaac would give her so much power. But now I know, he would never have existed on the fashion map without her. Or even be selling us charming items at Target, for that matter.
Off to bed to fall asleep remembering all the most glamorous moments of the shows that made all that (unpaid, of course) overtime seem worthwhile. The shows and the after parties were always so much fun, even working backstage. Great food, all the free Evian you could drink, and plenty of booze for the drinkers. There’s something about having a camera crew film you hemming a pair of pants with a supermodel in them that makes any job seem fun and exciting. The much-needed and extremely sensuous backrub from some Rockerfeller (not Roc-A-Fella) guy, making eyes across the room with Lenny Kravitz’ cousin, sneaking into Paris shows and getting away with it. Except when I was kicked out of Christian Dior, for being too tall to blend in with the short (French) crowd. I’ll never forget the way he said “Christian Dior did NOT invite YOU!” as if I were just entirely too offensive to be there. In the same week, getting to crouch at the base of the Galliano runway in Paris and take some amazing shots as a “photo assistant” while a real photog threatened to call me out. My cheap camera was a dead giveaway, and space was tight. Moving to NYC and rushing to the Richard Tyler for Anne Klein show, so concerned with being late that the security guards didn’t even ask for my invitation. Which of course I didn’t have, leading me to suspect that all this time what really did the trick was an air of importance and a chic black outfit. Polly Mellen screaming out “I love the pants!!!” during a Mizrahi show, and beaming with pride. I was the pant specialist there. Betsey Johnson allowing me to take home one of the fake Rolexes used in the last show I did with her, right before I moved to LA. I told her I’d always think of it as my retirement watch. Here’s a shot from that show, of me with one of my creations. I didn’t just make the pattern, I also did a lot of the beading, as the sewers were too busy by that point and most patternwork was finished. That day at tavern on the Green was the end of innocence for a lot of us. The next day was 9/11/2001, which certainly ripped the blinders from my eyes.
“the sewers were too busy”
Ah, the poetic possibilities…
I got laid off on 9/10/2001. No one seemed to care, including me.
Just saw the movie. Really liked it. And now I can say I know someone from the inside who says it’s accurate. I just need to find someone who cares.
Oh, I do care, baby. Thanks so much for remembering! It’s funny, I had just this morning decided to use the whole Anna Wintour-Isaac Mizrahi relationship for a school project where we have to talk about how something nasty at work taught us a lesson…. Lesson being: Even the top designers have to answer to someone else.