MUSIC MAKES THE PEOPLE COME TOGETHER: “We kindly request that all attendees be under 40,” said a tiny postscript on the invitation to “Intersextion: Rock & Roll Runway Retrospective.” But apparently, that didn’t apply to the speakers at the panel, held Monday night at Carnegie Hall, since four out of the six (Patricia Field, Tommy Ramone, Simon Doonan and photographer Mark Seliger) are over that age. Zac Posen and Damon Dash rounded out the sextet, making for lively exchanges on music and style that at times resembled a fashion “McLaughlin Group.”
There was some disagreement about the grunge look, with Posen pointing out, “There’s definitely a thing of disheveled glamour, grunge, that’s in the air right now. It was on Marc Jacobs’ runway.” Dash’s rejoinder? “I never understood that. Like, it’s cool to be dirty?” The night was also fueled by some personal revelations: Ramone admitted to “buying women’s clothing and putting it on” during his pre-punk days in a Seventies glam-rock band. When moderator Doonan asked if there were photos of the getups, Ramone admitted, “They exist, unfortunately.”
And when queried about the style icon of the decade, Field protested. “I don’t think so much in decades — to me a decade is like a breath of air. I think in eons,” she said, eventually settling on Cleopatra as her choice. (As for Doonan, he noted, “All my style icons are dead — beginning with Nancy Cunard.”) But perhaps most importantly, Dash explained the allure of baggy pants for rap artists: “Let me give you the secret about loose clothes and hip-hop. Before 50 Cent and LL Cool J got all diesel, everyone was kind of overweight.”
MIDDLE EASTERN PROMISE: Marc Jacobs and Robert Duffy’s annual holiday party is one of the most anticipated events of the season — not least because of the different theme each year, the imaginative costumes, a costume contest and, well, the punctual start. After venturing to Venice last year, Jacobs and Duffy have made “Arabian Nights” their theme for the fete at the Rainbow Room on Dec. 12. The invited guests should note to be extra creative with their wardrobe choices. According to the invite, contest judges will include Lawrence of Arabia, Genie in the Bottle, Ali Baba, Aladdin, The 40 Thieves and Princess Jasmine, and “Anyone not in masquerade will be flown away on the magic carpet.” No word on whether Jacobs himself will design the rug.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: The Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Business Service Network kicked into full gear on Tuesday with a breakfast at the Carlton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. There were eight tables hosted by different inaugural members, and those in attendance were encouraged to move around and make connections. “It’s kind of like speed dating,” joked Steven Kolb, the CFDA’s executive director.
The initiative was conceived by CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg, who didn’t make it because she was participating in a governor’s conference with Maria Shriver on the West Coast. That didn’t stop more than 100 designers and business executives from showing up though, including Andrew Rosen, Charles Nolan, Lord & Taylor’s Richard Baker and LaVelle Olexa, Yeohlee Teng, Esteban Cortazar, Vera Wang’s Susan Sokol, Zac Posen’s Susan Posen, Karen Harvey and Designers & Agents’ Ed Mandelbaum and Barbara Kramer. Duckie Brown designer Daniel Silver used the opportunity to introduce himself to J.C. Penney’s president and chief merchandising officer Ken Hicks to make a case for a potential secondary line at a lower price point. “You don’t ask, you don’t get,” Silver joked.