Thursday, July 20, 2017

HIP REPLACEMENT




Past present
There comes a time in all of our lives when one
realizes they are passe'. While once cooler than
cool suddenly their style ratio is tepid... at best.
Working in the retail and fashion business has
always provided a constant bitch slap of reality.
However constant reminders on one's inability
to keep up with the latest trends ultimately are
tiresome and NOT inspiring. All of the above
said, today's blog is not about my inability to be
consistently relevant in an ever changing world.
Rather, it's the fact that many MUCH younger
simply have no clue. Or they couldn't care less.
And whatever the reason, they're NOT shopping.
Trick or treat?
Fashion is all about relevance. In the end
it's about providing solutions. Some folks
need to make a statement. To draw a line
in the stylistic sand. Or to maximize those
assets they feel aren't up to the job. Many
designers cater to this clientele. Providing
costumes rather than functional coverups.
Most of their customers think they appear
unique. Yet in the end they only succeed
in looking like somebody else's vision not
their own. Hence most of these people are
labeled "fashion victims." And if anyone
is to blame it's said lambs led to slaughter.
Lost in the translation
Meanwhile the balance of society seems to
have NO idea what to wear. Thus they don
a mish mash of melange on a daily basis.
The problem is that a retailer's job is to sell
FASHION. In the end we must speak the
lingo of whatever target audience we need to
communicate with. Which can be beyond
challenging within the construct of such a
stylistic tower of Babel. All excuses aside,
I find it fascinating how most purveyors of
goods forget that fact. Rather than talk the
talk they speak in archaic terms that nobody
understands like "social" shoes or "fancies."
Out of touch
Today the concept for an ad crossed my desk.
It's target audience is fashionable young guys.
The product featured were "moto" inspired
shorts and tees. Therefore in theory all that's
required is to tell it like it is. Sadly, the writer
did exactly that. Somehow "HOT BUYS FOR
GUYS" didn't get the message across. So this
old man asked them to revise it. A day later I
received an update entitled "SUMMER HITS
GREAT FITS." Now I don't know about you
but the last time I chatted with a metrosexual
under thirty it was not about "fit." Why can't
we say "FUCK YEAH" and sell, sell, sell?
What the pluck?
The majority of young men I've met have one
goal. And that is to dress to impress. As our
modern world continues to grow more casual -
many guys have taken personal grooming to
new heights. Their eyebrows are plucked, any
stubble is carefully honed, and they're wearing
whatever shows off their best assets. In truth
nothing could be fussier yet the last thing they
want is anybody reminding them that they've
plucked their asses off. Thus one must speak
to them a tone that makes them feel MACHO
in a world where women are their equals in
more than hair removal. Think psychotherapy.
"The hip bone's connected to the..."
Why do I have to be the bad guy? Like it or
not our job is to connect with the customer.
To inspire them to purchase something that
will enhance their lives. I've often lamented
the loss of "allure" within the retail arena.
Yet whoever authored that headline has no
idea what I'm talking about. The idea that
some young buck thinks a category callout
sells style terrifies me. The only good that
comes out of such a revelation is that age has
nothing to do with being relevant. Rather all
one must do is relate to the audience at hand.
Thus it's about connecting the dots... right?!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The light at the end of the tunnel



Ignorance is bliss
I try to accentuate the positive - eliminate the
negative. However that's easier said than done.
External phenomena beyond my control often
hinders my path to happiness. Yet I find that
if one is truly open to inspiration, capricious
discoveries await. Historically I was NEVER
politically oriented. I didn't watch the news
and only read the Style and Arts sections of
the Times. Now I find that I'm consumed with
politics. So much so that it's totally poisoned
my perspective. As dear "T" just reminded me,
Donald Trump ended up in my blog about the
color yellow. Hence my need to REFOCUS.
Rise above it
Thus for the past few days I've been trying to
change my outlook. Remarkably I've found
much to inspire within just a few blocks of
my apartment. During my last "vacation" in
Montana Frank planted two specimens of a
new variety of white wisteria in his "secret"
garden. A risky proposition given our winters.
Which seems odd given here it grows like a
weed or Kudzu. Meaning a healthy vine can
literally drag down a porch as it extends it's
reach. As proven by this ancient wisteria vine
that obscures a townhouse along East Sixty
Fourth. Given it's verve I now have HOPE!
Tread lightly
Sometimes one must look down rather than
above for inspiration. A few weeks ago "T"
and I came across this pebble mosaic terrace
at a former Chinese educational institution.
Last Sunday I walked past the Frick on my
way to brunch at the Mark. It's raised garden
faces Fifth Avenue and is closed to the public.
However one can enjoy it's splendor from the
sidewalk below. I've always been intrigued
by it's Italian inspired walkways carefully
constructed out of pebbles. For many reasons
we could never have one in Montana. Yet all
I want is what I can't have. So I'll DREAM...
Open a new window
It's so easy to walk through familiar territory
with blinders on. Hence I went by Bergdorf
Goodman several times before noticing the
amazingly FABULOUS windows by artist
and designer Benjamin Shine. Diaphanous
faces created out of tulle counter couture in
a way that literally stops many in their tracks.
Yet at night they take on a life all their own -
in part because one's view isn't blocked by
masses of tourists in shorts, tees, and other
crimes against humanity. To me such night
visions affirm that elegance still exists in
our rather compromised world. Just LOOK!
Pales by comparison
I must admit that I adore summer in the city. With
most locals at their country or Hamptons homes
life is so much easier in the Big Apple. I'll admit
that it's still hot and sticky. However if one strays
beyond the typical tourist traps the crowds thin
out significantly. Inevitably once Monday arrives
the swallows come back to Capistrano. Usually
tan post their time in the sun. I'll admit that as
I've aged I now consider such extremes out of
context. I like a healthy glow but too much of
a good thing seems "off" in a business context.
It's akin to wearing a scanty Speedo in the board
room. Could it be I've finally seen the LIGHT?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

BIRDS OF A FEATHER


Oh... deer
Living in rural Montana we often dealt
with native fauna and feathered friends.
We even built seven foot walls around
our yard to keep out predators. All to
insure our flora wasn't devoured by a
lock of famished fawns. While Bambi
may be charming from afar once a few
deer ones nibble on your arborvitae all
you think of is committing MURDER.
However for some reason it's against
the law to purposefully eliminate such
urbane interlopers. Hence I spent years
in futile pursuit of errant critters.
Uninvited visitors
For whatever reason I assumed that I was rid
of such hassles here in Manhattan. At least in
my neighborhood most rats reside out of sight.
Given a building such as mine maintains tight
entrance criteria for it's tenants I've never seen
a cockroach. However since summer arrived
and I set up my eleventh floor perch I've been
beset by pigeons come to roost. For whatever
reason they've decided that my "all weather"
rug is the perfect spot to crap their guts out.
And while inevitably shit happens... in return
I've decided the only elimination that's going
to occur on my balcony is THEM!
Repeat offenders
The problem is how does one get rid of such
free range squabs?! First I tried to shoo them
away. But obviously pigeons are a rather crafty
lot. Thus after I've sent them on their way they
sit somewhere and wait till I fly the coop. Then
immediately return to the scene of their crimes
to once again mark their spot. Once I spy them
again, I open the door and rush out screaming
like a maniac. Only to watch them frantically
bump into the glass railing as they try to flee.
Nothing would make me happier than to ring
their necks. Yet I don't want to be a jail bird
thus I have developed a legal exit strategy.

Full circle solution
As with most problems in life I immediately
hit Google for a solution. Some advise that
one position an open jar of liniment near the
scent of their crimes. To date I haven't found
any that rubs them the wrong way. Others
suggest moth balls which I've now placed in
trays beneath the furniture. Sadly said scent
is so over powering that even I can no longer
catch a breath of fresh air on the balcony.
But happily since said installation they've
disappeared. Hopefully they've found a new
place to nest. However I'm doing whatever
it takes to make sure they're gone forever!
Layaway plan
There are all sorts of electronic contraptions
that emit sound waves and faux calls to scare
them away. But I doubt that they'll do much
more than drive up my Con Ed bill. So after
much research I think I've found the answer.
Who knew that instead of frequenting "BG"
that I'd end up as a regular at "Bird-B-Gone"?
Yesterday I ordered fifty feet of polycarbonate
spike strips which I'll attach along the balcony
perimeter. Establishing a impenetrable barrier
against any winged adversary. ANYTHING
to insure they fly my coop so that I can perch
eleven stories above 57th street in peace!

Monday, July 17, 2017

S'IL VOUS PLAIT


Surprenant
You probably assume that I'll never agree with
President Trump on anything of consequence.
Yet my dear friends I must confess that you're
quite wrong. Post Donald's short but effusive
jaunt to the city of lights I find that we actually
agree on one thing. Which is that the French
are fabulous. However I can't help but wonder
what President Macron and his lovely wife truly
think of our forty fifth leader. Watching them
interact with the Trumps was akin to viewing
acrobats walking a precariously narrow tight
rope. Skillfully balancing with the knowledge
that at any moment they could fall from favor.

Courageux
Somehow the french face every challenge
with élan. They handle the most dire of
circumstances with elegance and panache.
Thus when repeatedly faced with a rash of
barbaric terrorist acts they bravely carry on.
Hence one has to admire them even if at
times they can be a bit intimating. Having
studied French for years I'm still unable to
speak the language when in Paris. Afraid
that any faux pas will lead to ridicule. Yet
in truth Parisians are much like New Yorkers.
Once one breaks through their harsh exterior
one discovers a warm and kindred spirit.

Intemporel
Yesterday "T" and I dashed over to the "MET"
(Metropolitan Museum of Art) to experience
the Irving Penn Centennial exhibit. The most
beguiling of images were those featuring the
still inspiring haute couture of the fifties and
sixties. While Balenciaga was a Spaniard by
birth, he was the consummate master of the
French runway. Mr. Penn's photographs of his
masterpieces prove that even fifty years later
Cristobal was a genius! Yet sadly it seems that
there are no such greats in today's fashion arena.
When was the last time you saw something that
literally took your breath away?! Mon Dieu!

Classique
Post worshipping at the Penn stations of the
cross we drifted like love drunk fools over
to the Wrightsman Galleries. Once again we
stood in awe those lovely eighteenth century
French rooms. While as familiar as beloved
old friends they're as intoxicating as one's
first glass of Bordeaux. Part of that is due to
their beguiling hues. Greys, greens, taupes,
and blues that are so subtle, so elegant, and
thus all too charming! One of my favorites is
the diminutive boudoir taken from the Hotel
de Crillion in Paris. Measuring just nine by
fifteen feet it proves that LESS IS MORE!


Parfait
Thus my friends - my true confession is that
I'm a total francophile. My favorite florist in
Manhattan is L'Olivier Floral Atelier. Olivier
Giugni and his team combine flowers in ways
that enhance nature's beauty. Which is about
as French as one can get. You see simplicity
is the true embodiment of chic. Thus one must
edit the key elements in one's home, wardrobe,
and even kitchen to manifest le style francaise.
Most Gauls innately have the gall to limit their
options to only the best. The result being the
ultimate lesson in unsurpassed restraint. And
in doing so inspire us all to greater things.

Mise en garde
My hope is that our President learned his lesson
while in Paris. Which is that all that glitters may
not be gold. Rather than emulate the Sun King
he should approach his new role with humility.
That's how President Macron is assuming his
role as servant of France. Brash bravado tends
to repulse rather than engage. Thus might we
suggest that Donald tone it down a bit? As an
ingenue it may be better to stop, look, and listen
rather than behave like an ugly American. So,
please do us all a favor Mr. Trump and join the
French in practicing the art of restraint. Isn't that
what diplomacy is all about? Merci beaucoup!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

7th Day Surprise: HEAT WAVE


HOT ENOUGH FOR YOU?!

Here in Manhattan
it's been hotter than hades.
Thus by the time one comes home
after a long day at the daily grind 
all you want to do is chill.

In a nice cold shower that is.
And how cool is that?!