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« In Which Fashion Is Our Passion »

40 Secrets I Have Learned from
Reporting on the Fashion Industry


• Carine Roitfeld looks exactly like Iggy Pop and is incredibly sexy.

• This is a pair of facts which can’t be reconciled. 

• The fashion world is full of facts that can’t be reconciled.

• Here's another one: High fashion has always been a struggle between aesthetic values and market values.

• Success in the marketplace requires compromise.

• Artists do not, as a rule, like to compromise.

• Therefore some designers can seem to have an aura of hostility toward the market.

• This tends to demoralize the average consumer. 

• Nobody can help that.

• Runway shows are startlingly brief. About five minutes long.

• A lot of models have bad tattoos.

• Examples of bad model tattoos: smiley face, skeleton morphing into a woman on a diagonal axis.

• A lot of male models have chest acne.

• Most models, male and female, are pleasant.

• It is hard not to be pleasant when so little is asked of you.

• You can stare at models as much as you want, because that’s what they’re paid for. The normal rules of human conduct don’t apply.

• They are also habituated to it, so they barely even notice you looking.

• The amount of stuff a designer can do to a model for a runway show depends on his status.

• For example, you'd have to be a pretty big designer to get away with shaving blue mohawks into everyone's hair.

• Spring and Fall are the two main collections. 

• Stores demand more frequent infusions of new stock, so there are also “pre-fall” and “pre-spring” (resortwear) collections.

• This is why it seems like there is always a Fashion Week going on. 

• Resortwear is not clothing that you wear on a cruise.

• Economic failure doesn’t carry the taint in high fashion that it does in other creative industries, such as Hollywood. 

• But nor is it like Silicon Valley, where failure is an asset.

• A failed fashion show is always embarrassing.

• Fashion PR people tend to talk like press releases.

• Fashion press releases tend to be confoundingly dumb.

• For example, I am looking right now at a press release from a couture house in Paris. 

• The verb tenses change at random from past to present to future conditional. 

• Words are capitalized for No reason.

• It is 900 words long.

• The number of extraordinarily rich people in the world continues to grow.

• For this reason, luxury fashion brands are doing quite well.

• Even in a global recession.

• LVMH — parent of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, etc — predicts this year's sales to reach $33 billion.

• 85 percent of women in Japan own a Louis Vuitton product.

• Unlike the rest of the world, fashion industry people do not assume that Hollywood celebrities have inherently good style.

• This assumption is largely correct.

• Designers are choosy about which celebrities they will dress.

• "Dress", in this case, means "give free clothes to".

• As one editor put it to me, "No one is lining up to dress Melissa McCarthy."

• The world is an ugly place.

Molly Young has written about fashion for GQ and New York magazine. She is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can find her twitter here and her tumblr here. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here. She last wrote in these pages about living in New York.

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Reader Comments (19)

". • For example, I am looking right now at a press release from a couture house in Paris. 

• The verb tenses change at random from past to present to future conditional. 

• Words are capitalized for No reason.

• It is 900 words long. "

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Please link to, or scan and post the press release with the variant tenses! Oh please!
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