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EXQUISITE GLAMOUR

The annual fashion exhibition at the Met, which is kicked off by the Costume Institute Gala Benefit, is always one of the most anticipated openings each year. “Beyond Fashion,” this year’s retrospective about America’s first couture designer, Charles James, promises to be just as grand as it features 75 of the most notable designs produced by the self-taught New York native over the course of his career, from the 1920s until his death at the Chelsea Hotel in 1978. This exhibit spans two locations inside the Met: The first floor features James’s ball gowns from the ’40s and ’50s, worn by such clients as Austine Hearst, Millicent Rogers, and Dominique de Menil; the second part takes place in the new Anna Wintour Costume Center and features the designer’s biography through archival pieces including sketches, pattern pieces, swatches, ephemera, and partially completed works from his Chelsea Hotel studio.

Mondays-Sundays, 10 a.m. Starts: May 8. Continues through Aug. 10, 2014

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GOOD BILL HUNTING

“I have said many times that we all get dressed for Bill,” says Vogue ruler Anna Wintour. “And it’s one snap, two snaps, or he ignores you, which is death.” Wintour speaks of the great and charming Bill Cunningham, the beloved New York City photographer who has captured the essence of the human spirit through his love of fashion. “Bill Cunningham: Facades” looks back on an eight-year project he began in 1968, in which he paired models, including his muse, fellow photographer Editta Sherman, decked out in period costumes Cunningham found in thrift stores, auction houses, and street fairs with historic settings, such as Grand Central Station and St. Paul’s Chapel.

Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m. Starts: March 14. Continues through June 15, 2014

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TEEN BEAT

Tavi Gevinson is the ultimate cool girl. In 2008, the 11-year-old started the fashion blog Style Rookie. Three years later, she sported silver hair while chatting up Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld at New York Fashion Week. Now she’s in charge of Rookie, an online magazine written primarily by teens, for teens, with only the hippest guest contributors (Rodarte, Thom Yorke, etc.). See what all the fuss is about at Rookie Magazine’s Yearbook 2 launch party, which is part of The New Yorker Festival. Music, ice cream, a reader talent show, and surprise special guests are promised. Want more Tavi? She’ll also be interviewed by the New Yorker’s Lizzie Widdicombe on Saturday.

Sun., Oct. 6, 3 p.m., 2013

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Mademoiselle C Looks at Life, Post-Vogue

“Must like fashion,” or at least, “must like music videos about fashion” could be the tagline to Mademoiselle C, a documentary about the life and times of the former French Vogue editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld. The model-turned-stylist-turned-editrix-turned-visionary abruptly left the magazine at the end of 2011 after 10 years. Although such a sudden departure could be career suicide, Roitfeld was rumored to be a replacement for Anna Wintour and her decades-long reign at American Vogue. Mademoiselle C explains what Roitfeld has been up to ever since her Vogue exit—mostly doting on her first grandchild, hosting a lavish benefit, and putting out her own magazine, CR. It’s hard not to compare Mademoiselle C to R.J. Culter’s 2009 documentary The September Issue that beautifully opened the tightly guarded doors to the house of Vogue. Both films focus on fashion publishing under the dictatorship of a female editor. The September Issue exposed what it was like to publish such an iconic magazine, and it still left many viewers coveting the Vogue lifestyle. Mademoiselle C, however, shows the reclusive style guru as the antithesis to the infamous fashion queen, and Roitfeld comes across as quite goofy and actually relatable. The film dethrones the “muse” title that so many fashion trendsetters have given her.

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FULL OF GRACE

While the fashion world has known her for years, the rest of us first fell in love with Vogue’s creative director Grace Coddington via The September Issue, the 2009 documentary that followed the making of the magazine’s biggest issue of the year. The film briefly touched upon her teen modeling career, the tragic car accident that left her disfigured at 26, and her career at Vogue, which has spanned more than 40 years. Her new book Grace: A Memoir gets deep into her remarkable life, from her childhood in Wales to her teen years at Catholic school and first encounters with British Vogue in the ’50s to her appointment at the U.S. edition in 1995 and the truth about working for the infamous Anna Wintour. Tonight’s book appearance includes a talk with fellow Vogue-r Hamish Bowles.

Mon., Nov. 26, 7 p.m., 2012

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Miss Piggy, Hot Firefighters, And Kim Kardashian All In One Night

Just the other night, swarms of people took to the streets in victimy outfits, grasping for nearness to a little fabulousness like fashion zombies searching for fresh blood. The Republican National Convention? No, it was Fashion’s Night Out, the annual citywide capitalism celebration whereby every major department store and boutique in town hosts a gala event, mainly because if they don’t, FNO’s instigator Anna Wintour will throw battery acid in their face while withholding the proper eyeliner.

The result is frenetic, potentially oppressive, and often quite fun, even in—everybody now—this economy. Masses of sweaty people stampeding aimlessly through various boulevards and stores is actually the opposite of fashion, but their sheer lust for anything style-related is kind of touching, and the event ends up democratizing fashion by saying: “Come in! Gawk! Tweet! Just don’t steal!” (Some participating stores fill themselves with even more security guards than failed Project Runway contestants. The jaded call it Thieves’ Night Out, but I’ve only seen people stroke the garments longingly. Then again, back at Studio 54, I didn’t know there was sex in the balcony.)

And what a scene! Saks Fifth Avenue was a madhouse, where you pushed and kicked your way to the third floor—it was having some special event or other there—only to be told: “It’s closed off! Keep going up!” so you robotically headed to four before winding back to the lobby exit and running for air. It turned out Anna Wintour was on three, posing with a CEO, a basketball player, and Darren Criss from Glee. (For the show’s new season, Anna will help style Sarah Jessica Parker in her multi-episode arc as the editor of vogue.com, where the Chris Colfer character will work. I do know shit.) “Anna’s being nice tonight,” a photographer murmured to me later on, as if serving major headline news. “Well, this is her big night,” I responded. “It’s sort of like Elvira on Halloween!”

It was more like New Year’s Eve over at Lord & Taylor, where there was such a crush to get upstairs to see Kim Kardashian push her True Reflection perfume that people were begging me to help them sneak past the Russian Revolution–like crowds waiting for the escalator. Rather than risk death, I talked to former Real Housewife of New York Jill Zarin, who was safely promoting her jewelry line on the main floor. “My jewelry is for every woman,” Zarin told me. “It’s solution based. You can wear it with anything—casual or luxury. And even an $18 necklace gets a logo!”

I impressively stayed focused even as someone walked by luminously holding a bottle of True Reflection and a cup of champagne! They must have talked to Kim Kardashian!

Oh, well. I had bigger idols to fry, and True Reflection pales next to “True Colors” any day. So it was on to the Manolo Blahnik store, where music legend Cyndi Lauper was extolling Kinky Boots, the upcoming Broadway show she wrote the score for, based on the movie about the enterprising drag queen with a footwear fetish. Cyndi said the show “is a little story with a big heart. It’s about people changing their minds about other people.” And changing their shoes in the process.

Sporting haystack hair and personally made Manolos, Cyndi brought out Kinky star Billy Porter to sing the musical’s crazily catchy song “Sex Is in the Heel,” backed by cute guys lifting stilettos that would surely have helped me kick my way to the third floor of Saks. And then she did a pungent a cappella version of (yep) “True Colors” that set a whole new bar for West 50s shoe-store experiences.

But my favorite FNO event of all had another enduring icon—Miss Piggy—proving that sex is in the hoof by flirting with a bunch of toothsome NYC firefighters, who made sure things didn’t get so sizzling that we ended up with a big plate of bacon. It was a DKNY bash for Patrick McMullan‘s FDNY 2013 Calendar of Heroes, which is a pictorial compilation of the guys flaunting their bulging chests in a solution-based manner that’s quite heroic. “I thought: ‘This is the best shape I’ll ever be in my life. Why not promote it?'” cover boy Darius Dorsett confided to me in a corner. “And I like the cause.” “Me, too!” I gurgled. “What is the cause, by the way?” (Turns out the calendar benefits the FDNY Foundation. Oh, OK, good enough.)

“I fell in love with so many of them,” McMullan told me about the enviable audition process. “I had a few socialites look through the test shots and pick the ones they liked the best.” Just then, the biggest socialite of them all, Miss Piggy, entered, looked over the men, and cooed: “Do you have their numbers? I guess I can get ahold of them by just calling 911!”

McMullan promptly asked the little porker if Kermit is in or out (meaning her life, not the closet, LOL). “It’s safe to say he’s not here tonight,” cooed Piggy, evasively. Because she was unescorted, the firemen lined up to give Piggy a smooch (“No tongue!” she squawked) as McMullan warned the world’s most fashionable barnyard animal to only flirt with the single ones. “Maybe one will become single tonight,” Piggy said, devilishly. DKNY empress Donna Karan was getting feverish, too, announcing, “These guys are so hot I think I’m going to have to take them out of the fire department and put them on the runway this week.” Fine, as long as they bring their hoses.

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GOP Chairman Ed Cox Knows More About Chick Flicks Than Your Girlfriend Does (And He Can’t Stand Barack Obama)

If there are three things that New York GOP Chairman Ed Cox loves they’re puns, chick flicks, and more puns!

In his latest attack on President Barack Obama’s proclivity for partying with celebrities, the chairman issued a statement this afternoon bashing Bam over tonight’s fundraiser at the home of Sarah Jessica Parker. Vogue Editor-in-Chief/inspiration for the film The Devil Wears Prada Anna Wintour will be in attendance — which Cox apparently sees as an invitation to pack as many pop-culture, chick-flick-based puns into a single press release as humanly possible.

Cox’s statement comes under the headline “Carrie Bradshaw May Be ‘Doing Fine,’ But New Yorkers Know the Obama Economy is Not In Vogue.”

(Badop-ching!)  

Cox’s statement includes the following (ahem) knee-slapper: “The devil may not wear Prada, but its certainly in the details.”

Read the full release below.

]

New York, NY…June 14, 2012 – Today, New York State Republican Party Chairman Ed
Cox commented on President Obama’s perpetual celebrity fundraising binge and failed
economic policies:

“Late last week, as unemployment rose to 8.2%, Campaigner-in-Chief Barack Obama
told us, ‘the private sector is doing fine.’ While Carrie Bradshaw may be ‘doing
fine,’ New Yorkers know the failed economic policies of Barack Obama are not in
vogue.

“Tonight, as the President hobnobs with Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Wintour at
an $80,000 plate fundraiser, 23 million Americans are either unemployed, underemployed,
or have stopped looking for work all together – reminding everyone how out of touch
President Obama truly is.

“President Obama’s failed economic policies have stifled job creation and stalled
economic growth, resulting in nearly half of recent college graduates being unemployed.
After more than three years of government overreach in every facet of our lives,
America need a President who understands how the private sector economy works, who
will cut taxes, reduce government spending, ease the regulatory burdens placed on
our job creators, and unleash the innovation and creativity of the American people.

“To paraphrase President Clinton, Governor Romney’s ‘sterling’ business and gubernatorial
executive background and message of ‘an opportunity society led by free people and
free enterprise,’ is a winning combination for a nation hungry for competent leadership
and a strong economy.”

The devil may not wear Prada, but its certainly in the details:

* 23 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed, or have stopped looking
for work.

* Unemployment rose to 8.2% in May and has been above 8% for forty straight
months.

* Half of recent graduates either can’t find a job or must accept a job they
are overqualified for.

* Foreclosures have reached record levels during the Obama Administration.

* New business startups are at 30-year lows.

* The economy grew at an anemic rate of 1.9% in the first quarter of 2012

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The NRA (That’s National Restaurant Association) Spends $843K On Lobbying; Anna Wintour Still Pissed About Miss Lily’s

Doug Zell, the founder of Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, has teamed up with an old frat buddy, the philanthropist and former real estate developer Robert Buono. Now the two will share the title of Co-CEO in an effort to expand the business. [Diner’s Journal]

No New York chefs will compete in a Lamb Board-sponsored cook-off this month, but the Meatball Shop and Dickson’s Farmstand Meats are among event participants. [PR Newswire]

The National Restaurant Association spent $843,000 on government lobbying during the second quarter of this year, mostly on issues like health care and immigration. [Forbes]

The crappy economy has been great for serious vegetable gardeners in places like eastern Kentucky, where they’ve been selling their crop at local farmers’ markets. [NY Times]

Anna Wintour isn’t over Miss Lily’s opening in her neighborhood, which was apparent when she was recently seated near the restaurant’s management at Da Silvano. [Page Six]

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Why I Hate Fashion! It’s To Die From!

Another Fashion Week is approaching, and I’m all dressed up in my hate and accessorized with some bitter bows on top. Here’s why I’m sick to my designer stomach:

The fashion biz always pressures you to lose weight, so you’ll have to buy a whole new wardrobe every six months. … The ’60s and ’80s are in a constant battle as to which decade will be the most regurgitated by designers drained of new ideas. … Women get to wear all the fun clothes, I guess to make up for the fact that they have to bleed and give birth. … The outfits that are mercilessly made fun of on TV and in the tabloids are always my favorite ones by far.

You can have the most incredible ensemble on earth, but according to the experts, it’s completely worthless because the shoes are all wrong. … The day after you throw out the gaucho jacket that’s been clogging up your closet for 10 years, you get invited to something where you need to wear a gaucho jacket. … I have more than 100 outfits in my apartment, but I always end up wearing the same three shirts and two pants (if not all at once). … The models who showcase the clothes to the world are underage, overworked bulimics who stomp the runway with an aggression that makes it hard to cotton to their fringed tops and chiffon pouf skirts.

Ever since Fashion Week moved to Lincoln Center, fashionistas have been forced to look at posters for operas and ballets they’ve never heard of. Their quizzical looks clash with their handbags. … If a designer comes out with a jacket that zips down instead of up, everyone acts like it’s the height of nonconformist brilliance, practically a cultural revolution. … A few months ago, I wore a five-dollar shirt to a party and everyone kept oohing and ahing and asking me if it was Comme de Garçons. “Yes,” I beamingly replied, sensing more than ever that the whole fashion thing is a crock. … Old designers who’ve been vehemently closeted their whole lives end up doing documentaries about their beautiful and inspiring relationships with men.

I distinctly remember the night before 9/11 shook things up, when the fashion crowd was bitching that they had no water, and the show was starting late. … Every five years, they put a fat black lady on the cover of Vogue, figuring that pretty much covers it. … The designers who take out ads are the ones who get editorial and vice versa. … “Up to 95 percent off” sales usually mean one pair of rainbow-colored mittens is 95 percent off, and everything else is as is.

Once, when a model’s earring dropped onto the runway during a show, the impresario patronizingly gestured for me to pick it up. (I just sat there, defiantly determined to be a highly fashionable bitch. I’m not the help!). … The brilliant McQueen exhibit at the Met had people snaking around for miles to get in. Where were they for all the other shows? (Oh, the designer didn’t kill himself, and his label didn’t go on to do Kate Middleton’s wedding dress?). … Too often what’s supposed to be a form of expression turns into a form of oppression. … Every gay man on earth is suddenly wearing red gingham. … Everyone in fashion enables Calvin Klein’s life choices.

Chinatown knockoffs are illegal, but it should be the overpriced originals that are illegal. … Models always want to branch out into acting and singing when they should actually just keep strutting until their heels wear out. … Most of what you find at Century 21 looks like it was left over for a reason. … If you buy something at H&M, you will soon enough be seen on the street next to a thin 16-year-old wearing the same thing. You will lose. …You always hear about the most amazing sample sale the day after it’s finished. … Everyone’s caught on to the sartorial tricks people use, so if you’ve always got a hat on, you must be bald, and if you constantly wear a solid black shift, you’re obviously a cow.

Anna Wintour never says hello. … I once had a dream where I wore pink in India, and someone said, “That’s our navy blue! We hate navy blue!” … Polka dots are the new stripes. … I finally made peace with the fact that I usually get second row—until last time, when the front row had a special gift bag complete with a talking Ken doll. (I managed to finagle a couple anyway.) … A girl in a McDonald’s once yelled at me for wearing an old rabbit-fur vest, clearly forgetting that she was patronizing the biggest animal-murdering institution in the history of civilization. (Plus, she was wearing a leather belt!)

Couturiers stopped coming out with designer chocolates when they realized their customers couldn’t fit into their clothes anymore. … It costs more to dry-clean most of my outfits than to buy them. … Karl Lagerfeld spits out his Nutella. … Seemingly every city on earth now has a Fashion Week, so editors are seriously torn between options such as “Seoul or Pittsburgh?” … All that air kissing creates a wind effect that wreaks havoc on your makeup.

Fashion-show DJs still play “I’m Too Sexy” as if it were the height of au courant wit. … If everyone loves your outfit, you have to make a mental note to not wear it again for another year, or you’ll be thought of as overplaying your hand. … Fashion’s Night Out has become Thieves’ Night Out.

But what I really hate about fashion is that I actually adore all the zany, fashiony people who set the trends and establish the hemlines and … blah blah blah. Well, you know the rest by now. Insert happy ending—but make sure it matches the shoes.

musto@villagevoice.com

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SARTORIAL STORM

If you’re not into shopping, clothes, celebs, and free goodies, you might want to clear the streets and hide to avoid the annual stiletto-wearing stampede known as Fashion’s Night Out. Anna Wintour’s ambitious dream-that-could, launched in 2009 to help spur spending amid the recession, has become a full-fledged international fashion holiday that kicks off Fashion Week in the fall. Just about every retailer, from big department stores (such as Bloomingdale’s and Barneys) to major fashion houses (such as Diane von Fürstenberg and Chanel) to small designers and boutiques (such as Churoncalla and Condemned to Be Free) will be celebrating FNO with special discounts, giveaways, performances, block parties, makeovers, celebrity appearances, and much more. The only dilemma tonight is how to do it all, so get out of our way!

Thu., Sept. 8, 2011