But first: a word about New York. Is it too late to write about Opening Ceremony? Maybe, but I went, and so I’ll do it: It was fun! Which means a lot more than what it sounds. Reading everything trying to “make sense” of the show really made me cackle. “WW CHARLES ISHERWOOD DO?” screamed all of New York. “DID THIS WORK AS A PLAY?” “WHAT ABOUT THE CLOTHING? IT WAS KIND OF UPSTAGED IMO.” And my favorite: “THE PLAY IS NOT THE THING”—an accusation that staging a play was too try-hard, too-cool.
Are we really so uncivilized that a play is a brazen act of pomposity?
Sitting in the audience, I kept thinking of 18th and 19th century British novels in which rich people, happy and leisured and fat with tea at their country houses, would put on plays together. Take Mansfield Park, where the team puts on the RACY and WILD Lovers’ Vow: two characters in a dangerous and semi-surreptitious flirt-off get to act out their sexual tension, and no one—not even our ingenue, the fussy gussy Fanny—can do anything about it because #plays. (Eventually Fanny’s parson uncle puts a stop to this immorality.) Plays have long been a means for diversion and a way to say what cannot be said or done IRL (hello, Murder of Gonzago!).
The Opening Ceremony play, staged by a brand that is most certainly fat and happy, and plunked in the high theatre that is fashion week, functioned in the same way. It was—to use that beautiful British upper caste buzzword—diverting! But it also allowed the brand to express that which they couldn’t say through a big catwalk and lights and a new specially commissioned song by MGMT, which was that their brand is a lot of fucking fun and they don’t take themselves too seriously and—most importantly—you’re going to buy and promote their clothing even if you don’t see it flitting by in a blurry runway moment.
Just because we don’t take in plays with the same appetite we take in movies or Netflix Original Programming doesn’t mean they are crusty old barrels of high seriousness. “Wow man,” everyone seemed to say this summer, “Tavi is in a play.” As if she’d written a philosophical treatise about whether Americans are facing a metaphysical crisis. Plays can just be fun. This one was a lot of it.
Supremely stylish Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is weighing a “happiness” grade for tourist-centric businesses. On the eve of PFW, Hidalgo, who is so beautifully put together that I think a Henry Mancini theme follows her to all her meetings, tells WWD she’s unsatisfied with the city’s unfriendly reputation. “We might consider, for example, a label rating the quality of the hospitality of places such as restaurants.” I love it. So European: while New Yorkers need to know if rats are unwittingly seasoning our hamburgers, Parisian brass is worried about whether the waiters ask if they can get you anything else. Is anyone actively canceling trips to Paris because the waiters are rude? Is this a crisis to which I am entirely unhip? And what’s this rating system going to look like? C if you get business as usual, B if the waiter asks before he brings the check, A if there are cockroaches in the kitchen but they bring you your entrée on a silver platter and bow? Is Ratatouille the new face of Parisian hospitality?! And: how do you earn an F? (WWD)
Jimmy Choo to issue IPO in London; are we in the age of the it-shoe? I dunno, maybe. Should we expect a Stiletto Cam at the next Emmys? Vanessa Friedman makes a compelling argument that the it-bag age is over and the shoe now reigns supreme. Shoes are even getting the Big Museum Show treatment in Brooklyn, an honor never granted at that level to handbags. (This interests me because handbags have a more dynamic relationship, I think, to the changing roles women play: as women have gained more equal footing, their bags have gotten bigger and bigger.)
Heels are more impossible than ever to walk in. Are we not walking anywhere, or could it be that shoes photograph work better for selfies than bags? Perhaps that sounds doltish, but the photogenicity of clothing has been driving design for some time now. Otherwise, why are we so suddenly invested in what we’re putting on our feet?
And finally, is this Peak Headline?