For half a decade we put up with them, watching helplessly as they took over the zeitgeist: celebrities who were famous for doing nothing, restaurants whose tabs were the most noteworthy part of the experience, artists who netted millions marinating animals in formaldehyde. It was a consumerist moment like no other, and it seemed like it would never end. Until it did. Below, a cheat sheet to the recent binge and the eventual purge.
Paris Hilton: Because no one better encapsulated the way in which the rich got richer while people with actual talent were ignored. In a way, she was the perfect analogue to the Bush presidency: a person whose bloodline made her ascent possible, who was lampooned endlessly for her alleged vapidity and whose disapproval ratings by late 2008 hovered around 75 percent.
This story first appeared in the March 24, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Suze Orman: These days, the money lady is such a frequent presence on Oprah Winfrey and Larry King, she could practically be billed as a co-host.
The Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel
Momofuku Milk Bar: Where after-dinner cookies run $1.50 each if you buy half a dozen and the soft-serve ice cream is a modest (by New York standards) $4.
Distressed real estate
CNBC: Take it away, John Stewart! Wall Street’s unofficial mascot Jim Cramer was plugging everything from Bear Sterns to Wachovia, right before they went under. Maria Bartiromo, the network’s “money honey,” meanwhile, did a profile on Citigroup’s chairman Sanford Weill when she owned stock in the company. She denied allegations she was having an affair with Todd Thomson, the former chief of Citigroup’s wealth management unit, although she did fly all over the place with him on Citi’s corporate jet.
CNBC: Indignance is the flavor du jour, and many of the network’s newest voices seem to be gaining traction with the Republican Party faithful, who are eager to turn President Obama into the new villain of the financial crisis.
Oxygen facials with Tracie Martyn
Other Boom Artifacts:
Socialites without money: They showed up at virtually every envelope opening with a junior committee. Being sample-size meant design houses would lend them free things. They even got jobs there, in the p.r. departments no less, sending dresses to other sample-size, penniless socials on the scene as the party pages breathlessly followed their adventures.
The Core Club: The epitome of Millennial vulgarity, this club charged founding members $100,000 just to join. These masters of the universe were supposed to receive their money back after five years, but no dice. In November, Page Six reported the club had sent out an e-mail saying, “We have been progressively meeting with Founding Members to review a variety of programs to address this situation.” Translation? “I’m not getting my money back,” said one member.
27th Street between 10th and 11th: Marquee, Cain, Pink Elephant. It was, as BlackBook Magazine put it, “The Bermuda Triangle of debauchery,” a place where hedge-fund schmucks blew their wads on bottle service and girls in Jimmy Choo heels. Now the firms that employed these losers are downsizing themselves into oblivion and the party boys have to rejoin the human race. Welcome back!
Russian call girls
Balenciaga’s Spring 2008 Gladiator Boots
Louis Vuitton-Richard Prince Monogram Joke Bag for Spring 2008