Alas, the day has come to part with dear Suzy Menkes. Sniff. I leave you with these last notes . . .
When AAU's executive director of fashion Gladys Perint Palmer said she's witnessed Suzy cover her ears when the music is too loud at a fashion show, Suzy said: "Music is the food of fashion. Music tells the designer’s spirit in a collection."
So what gets her blood boiling? "Imagination, originality, and execution. And it's a real joy seeing people from the very beginning," she said, referring to the likes of Alexander McQueen and Zac Posen, whom she's followed from the start of their careers. Aw, that's sweet!
No doubt, we live in a nonstop world where some people claim that in fashion, one day you're in and the next day you're out. What do you think? When AAU's Gladys Perint Palmer touched the topic of longevity in the fashion industry with Suzy Menkes in San Francisco, we were pleasantly surprised to hear speak so passionately about sustainability, fast fashion, and luxury. When asked how she felt about fast fashion, Menkes stated, "Fast fashion has become too fast, too violent," explaining that people are buying disposable clothes not realizing the impact it has on our environment.
This takes us to the topic of sustainability where Suzy disapprovingly says, "The food industry has beat the fashion industry in sustainability." However, she believes change for a more environmentally conscious fashion industry will happen, slowly but surely. In case you missed it, Suzy took action on that belief and participated at the Sustainable Luxury Conference in New Delhi in March. She also will be hosting a TechoFashion Summit in Berlin, November 2009, where she will be talking about the future of fashion.
When asked about the power of luxury, Menkes proudly proclaimed, "Luxury is a deep, important part of fashion," explaining there's something magical about putting on a garment and feeling an unexplainable sensation. We hear you, Suzy.
One of the greatest discoveries I made about Suzy Menkes during her Academy of Art University Q&A was that she has quite the sense of humor. Aside from making a joke about Twitter, she reminisced about the olden days — before she was well-known — when she would crash fashion shows. Below are her tips on getting into a fashion show, whether not invited or if you only have standing. Disclaimer: it always worked for Menkes but AAU's executive director of fashion Gladys Perint Palmer claimed it never worked for her. Good luck.
- Buy colored crayons, pens, silver and gold stars. Basically, whatever you need to replicate the tickets of those with seats.
- Lurk among invite-holders to memorize their invitations.
- Rush to the restroom, white out "standing room" and write in/draw whatever you saw on the tickets of those with invites.
Our next Suzy Menkes series covers a topic very dear to our hearts — blogging. There we were, sitting anxiously in our seats waiting for Suzy's response when AAU's executive director of fashion, Gladys Perint Palmer, asked her if she read fashion blogs. Her response? "You should be asking me if I Twitter," said Menkes, bringing an uproar of laughter from the audience. Of course, she's joking because she doesn't have time to Twitter.
However, she does read blogs and likes their spontaneity and how it can attract an exponential amount of readers. Writing to a large audience is a big responsibility. That's why Suzy is very adamant about bloggers "keeping up the standards of journalism." I concur. Phew, glad we got the a-OK from Menkes!
When we heard International Herald Tribune fashion writer Suzy Menkes was going to speak at the Academy of Art University San Francisco, we decided we must get ourselves there, even though technically we're not students. But really — isn't one always a student of fashion? I think so . . . We really wanted to get to know Ms. 32,000-words-per-year Suzy in a more personal way. Not only did we make small talk (she reads Fab!), we discovered her sense of humor and grew more impressed with her every word. During the discussion, Suzy touched on the green movement, luxury, Karl Lagerfeld, and reminisced about the past. More to come on those, but first I want to share her thoughts about fashion revivals and Marc Jacobs.
On the subject of referencing other designers or the past, Suzy said she's "tired of revivals." For example, she has no aesthetic problem with big shoulders — a la Balmain — but to her they're forced because they don't stand for anything like they did in the past, when women donned big shoulders to let men know that they were shoulder to shoulder with them. To make matters juicier, Suzy was forthright about her disapproval of Marc Jacobs when he created an entire collection based on a 1991 Bruce Weber photograph. Ouch, but we all know Suzy and Marc are no strangers to quarrels. Do you agree with her that revivals are lame or is she being overly critical?