Category Archives: Fashion

NYC & SJP

As New York braces itself for the release of the Sex and the City movie, could the city in question be generating a backlash already? The answer is a resounding yes if last week’s cover of Time Out is anything to go by. Thanks to some clever (if blatant) photoshopping the ubiquitous Carrie & Co. were rendered speechless by strategically-placed duct tape, while the headline read, “NO SEX! ENOUGH ALREADY–we love ’em, but it’s just too much. Inside: 1,965 ways to enjoy your New York, guaranteed Carrie-free.

Last weekend I went to Steve & Barry’s, located somewhere within the ghastly Manhattan Mall near Herald Square, but which happens to be the only store carrying Sarah Jessica Parker’s clothing line, Bitten. In giant billboards surrounding the store SJP claims that fashion should not be a luxury for the privileged few, which is why all Bitten items cost less than twenty dollars. Clearly word of this had got out by the time I arrived, as the actress/fashion icon’s attempt to please the masses had clearly backfired, leaving nothing more than the debris of scattered coathangers and empty shoeboxes.

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Who’s The Mack?

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In late January I began another marketing internship at Mack Industries, an event branding agency located in SoHo. After a joint interview I was hired on the spot, probably by virtue of having not finished high school last week. I was excited from the moment I stepped inside the lofty, open-plan office. I filled out my application on a leather couch, as The Cure blasted from an iPod hooked up to a stereo. Other employees arrived on skateboards, while at one end of the room a man paced up and down speaking French into a telephone. The walls were adorned with oversize prints of Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono and other icons of popular culture. A series of blown-up images of John Lennon shooting hoops with Miles Davis hung behind the desk of Willie Mack, the company’s jet-setting, flip-flop-wearing boss.

I was immediately attracted to this position, even though I was vague about the job itself. Sadly I quickly learned the “job” was not all it seemed, and it soon transpired I was basically being used as a plumber, decorator, locksmith, DIY expert and general errand boy. In two-and-a-half months at Mack I changed a bathroom fitting, painted an exterior wall, changed a lock, fitted a curtain track rail to the ceiling, ran all over town fetching and buying equipment, and spent an entire day in the snow handing out flyers for a ridiculous “event” called Absolut Machines, in which the Swedish vodka giant had sponsored the creation of an ludicrous if ingenious internet-operated music box, housed at a what a colleague infuriatingly referred to as a “space” on the Lower East Side.

High points did include interviewing models at a Morgane Le Fay fashion show, in which I came up with the killer question, “Which is tougher: becoming a model or dating a model?” and even met a bleary-eyed Brittany Murphy. When I wasn’t running all over town, I was working on writing for Mack’s proposed online newsletter, but even that was impossible. Willie was mostly absent, and so there was little clear direction in the office. Sometimes meetings were held which only served to cloud issues further. No-one ever seemed to know what they were supposed to be doing. Equally infuriating was the office’s insistence on using Instant Messenger for all conversations. When I would ask a question to colleague (sitting three feet away), they’d reply, “Just IM me it, darling.”

I was surrounded by the very type of young person I loathe, and was mad at myself for having been fooled into thinking the place was cool. I wasn’t going to waste any more precious days performing menial tasks for young urban narcissists. On what turned out to be my last day I was sent to organize the picking-up of Willie’s new designer sofa. The following week I quit, demanding the money I’d been promised (I had yet to receive a cent from these guys). A very talented and yet-to-be-paid colleague had warned me early on that the company was “bulls**t” — I should’ve listened to him.

Party Like It’s 1977

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On Saturday night I was invited to a roller disco on Staten Island by my friends Annie and Andy who were in town from the UK. I hadn’t ever been much of a roller-skater (I prefer ice), but what the hell — I’d never been to Staten Island. But when I arrived in Dumbo it seemed the original plan had already been ditched in favour of a 70s-themed party at the large open-plan former industrial space apartment where my friends were staying.

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Andy had gone to great efforts with his costume, even paying a special visit to American Apparel, to create a somewhat garish outfit which seemed to owe more to the 80s aerobic craze than anything else, but which he pulled off with a certain panache. So we spent the evening seeing how many different foods can be dipped into fondue while classic Brooklyn movie Saturday Night Fever was projected onto the wall. On the subway back home I wondered if people will one day host 2007-themed parties, and if so what would they involve? Somehow I can’t quite imagine it. Maybe it takes a while for a decade to define its identity, but in this post-everything age, is there anything about the present popular culture (besides reality shows and the internet) that will have any relevance thirty years from now?