Tuesday, July 31, 2007

When Bad Fashion Happens To Good People


I was leafing through Vogue, the "Age Issue," as they call it. While I myself have absolutely no idea of my chronological age (through circumstances I have explained in this very blog-thing), it's an interesting read. Who knew the world's chicest 52-year-old is a tycoon who makes Chicken Tenders for Burger King and other health-destroying foods? Of course, she herself dines on spinach salad...let the poor folk have the cholestorol.

In any event, I was thinking about age-appropriate wear, whatever that term may mean. When I was last in New York City, I could not but notice how many women are wearing tops that are meant to look too tight, especially in the stomach area. These are worn with low-rise pants or skirts riding the hips. It's bad enough on young girls, but women over 25...words fail one. Noises, yes, words, no. Bleagh.

No, don't put that in, you idiot! Nonverbal communication is just that, nonverbal, and has no place in my blog-thing!

I tell you, as soon as I get a computer that can type itself, my personal assistant is gone.

Pardonnez moi. Back on topic. That train of thought led me to a dear friend who, alas, is somewhat taste-challenged when it comes to her wardrobe. Although she is well past forty and quite plump, she enjoys wearing camisoles with contrasting bras and low-rise jeans. More power to her, I think, trying not to look at the lumps of flesh oozing over her waistband--or hipband, more to the point. After all, I am a plus-sized female and therefore should support a woman's right to ooze.

However, the piece de' resistance was a golden gown she purchased while traveling, custom-made, mind you. She rhapsodized about it, making certain that I knew exactly the astronomical amount of money it was costing (this is another trait I generously try to overlook). Apparently it was a masterpiece of the dressmaker's art, in fine Italian satin. I couldn't wait to see it. What woman doesn't love gold?

I should have waited.

I went to her country estate, she flung upon the armoire, and there, mes enfants, hung a dress that would not have been out of place on the clearance rack at J.C. Penny's after prom season. It was gold, sleeveless, with a gaudy, huge rhinestone triangle just under the plunging neckline. With a false smile of admiration, I asked to examine it (what can I say, years as a clothing seller has made me a bit compulsive.) As is my habit, I opened the neckline to look inside at the seams.

As I touched the fabric, a shock went through me.

The fine Italian satin, that had cost thousands of dollars...

was polyester.

I had not the heart to tell my bosom chum. Why burst her bubble, when she was so delighted? Why tell her that the seamstresses knew they had a rich American for the taking?

More to the point, why hadn't she taken me along? I would have led her down the path of Fashion In The True Sense, where silk is silk and not something made out of plastic.

But one must let people make their own mistakes--

So you can gloat about them later.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Largely Ignored Fashion Phenomenon...


Forgive my long absence. I have been simply swamped by houseguests at my fabulous (featured in Architectural Digest) oceanfront mansion! The rain on Monday meant everyone was trapped inside the house, which, magnificent though it is, can feel a tad claustrophobic when you have twelve fashion movers and shakers with nothing to do but drink Cape Cods and argue about what exactly constitutes a maxi-dress.

I checked over on (ugh) Ebay, to find a heated debate about a lovely 1950s Anne Kaufmann dress, and one seller commented at length. She/he/it said it was a "skinny girl dress," and ah, that brought back memories! So I thought I would do a little Internet digging and give you the straight skinny, pardon the execrable pun.

Skinny Girl Dresses were a largely ignored though widespread fashion phenomenon. Expressly made for Audrey Hepburn impersonators, they combined fashion with comfort, as the clacking of all of those fragile bones made for distracting noise when a Skinny Girl walked down the street. The wide scoop necklines revealed bony clavicles, while the full skirts concealed both the knobby knees or the more unfortunate "thick leg syndrome" which afflicted roughly one in 200 Skinny Girls.

There is a website, SKG dot com, which always says "under construction" but if you click the almost invisible wisp of gray against the white background (a symbol of Skinny Girlhood) it will take you into the site.

However, the site can accurately guess your body mass index by the touch of your hands on the keyboard, so if it's more than 0.01% body fat you will be locked out.

Back to my guests..."Mad Men" is over and they're back to arguing whether or not the leading man's haircut is authentic enough.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ebay Is Going To Drive Me Simply Mad...


If it is not one thing, it is another. First false Martini and Shaheen dresses, and now I found my personal assistant staring dumbly at the laptop when I walked into the office. (This is not an unusual occurence, but there was something about the expression on her face that warned me we were in for heavy weather.)

"What is it? Out with it?" I said.

"Ebay groups...you know, the groups where Ebay members get together and chat privately...Ebay has completely screwed up--I mean, messed up the format, Miss DeCarlo! I belong to a group--it's called---well, never mind what it's called, you'd only get angry--none of it makes any sense any more." High-strung thing that she is, she burst into tears, but not before I saw her quickly hit a button to log out of a group called "Personal Assistants Who Work For--"

I didn't see what the last word was.

Briskly I bumped the weeping moron out of the desk chair and logged on, and then went to the group I lead, Too Fabulous For Ebay.

Or rather, attempted to. After trying for fifteen minutes to log on, I gave up and went for a relaxing swim. Later that afternoon, I tried again, and after signing in six times, I made it into Ebay Groups.

And was confronted with a blinking, pea-soup green nightmare. Once again, rather than spend the money to hire someone who could spot fakes in the Vintage category, or perhaps implement a way to put the Stores in the Search function, Ebay has chosen to spend scads of money on more useless "improvements"

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fake Designer Vintage, Sold With Ebay's Blessing!


Now this is too much. Too, too much, even for moi as I sit here in my fabulous (featured in Architectural Digest) oceanfront mansion. This place ordinarily has a calming effect on my nerves. The Atlantic ocean crashing against the beach, the cries of the gulls, the wails of the cook when she reviews the list of foods my guests refuse to eat…tres relaxant.

However, as you well know, I sell on (ugh) Ebay. One strives to bring you fine, AUTHENTIC vintage. Genuine vintage clothing that was once worn by bona fide people. Clothing crafted by seamstresses, tiny factories, et al. with dressmaker details that have fallen by the wayside in today’s ready-to-wear world.

There is a separate category on Ebay, for Vintage Reproductions. In which sellers are welcome to make custom-fit dresses for those customers who cannot find halter-back Marilyn-style frocks in a size 24 or Southern Belle gowns in precisely the right shade of hot neon pink. It is highly profitable, and entirely appropriate. The category was created to prevent sellers from listing new items in the Vintage category.

HOWEVER, for some years, Ebay has been PLAGUED by sellers who, for want of a better word, LACK ETHICS OF ANY KIND. I am not talking about shill bidding, misrepresentation of garment condition, or anything of that nature. At least those sellers, squalid as they may be, sell VINTAGE.

Other sellers, on the other hand, are NOT. They are selling reproductions. Fakes. But not only do they have the GALL to list their items in the VINTAGE category, now they have taken to listing DESIGNER NAMES—DESIGNER NAMES, My God! —in their listings!

(I apologize for shouting…I caused one of my guests to glance up from his copy of W and my personal assistant ducked, thinking I was going to throw an object d’art at her in my rage. )

But this is simply unforgivable. This, mes enfants, is PASSING OFF COUNTERFEIT AS REAL. BY EBAY POWERSELLERS.

Even Bucky The Wonderdog is outraged by this!

This putrid practice takes shameless advantage of those innocent customers who want a Shaheen or ‘Martini’ dress. The buyers think that by purchasing these FAKES that they are getting anything LIKE the actual, the rare, the PRICELESS garments that are Fashion In The True Sense. Dear readers, I have sold Martini gowns and Shaheen dresses. I know whereof I speak.

One of my first sales was of a beautiful 1950s Martini strapless evening gown. It was boned all the way around inside, with a shelf bust, lined with black satin, and covered outside with Chantilly lace trimmed with shining bugle beads, so subtly that you didn't know why the gown sparkled as it did until you examined it. The bottom flared out on all sides below the knees in an avalanche of black tulle.

Martini did not make unlined stretch Lycra jersey slip dresses in Ur Sz, as the title so elegantly states it.

IF these sellers were advertising Dior copies, or Vuitton copies AS SUCH, they would be heaved off Ebay so promptly, systems would crash all over America.

However, by targeting lesser-known but highly desirable designers (and the design elements that made them famous), these disgusting worms are crawling out from under the rock of regulation…they imagine.

Which is why moi, the Fashionista, is taking it upon her broad shoulders to EXPOSE these sellers immediately. Sellers of authentic vintage have reported these frauds to Ebay again and again, only to have it thrown back in their faces. Once again, on Ebay, money talks, even if it is in the language of obscenity.

THAT is how strongly yours truly feels about this.

But credit where credit is due. There are many other sellers working to stop this practice behind the scenes. Their anonymity must be protected. Auctions have been reported on the slimmest of evidence, reputations blackened, all because authentic vintage sellers wish to have only authentic vintage listed in the Vintage Clothing Category. Seems simple enough, does it not?

Please, if you are reading this, register your protests with Ebay, assuming you are registered with Ebay. Even if not, if you love fashion, you can email them. Do not buy from these sellers! (I will only say that they are not located in the USA or China, and all of their listings are of vintage reproduction dresses in Ur Sz. They do not deserve added publicity. )

Oh, dear, I'm quite over-exerted. I need a mojito, and to go look in my closet at the fabulous REAL vintage contained within.

Elisa and Bucky the Wonderdog

Monday, July 02, 2007

Out in the Hamptons With The Ultra-Fashionable


Bucky and I are happily esconsced in my exquisite (featured in Architectural Digest) oceanfront mansion. I was reading the Easthampton Star, but I find myself gazing out at the Atlantic Ocean as the sun gleams upon the whitecaps. I have a large contingent of guests here, some of the most famous names in the fashion community. However, they have asked me not to reveal their whereabouts for fear of being swarmed by the paparazzi when they go to the local market. Especially the little stout man who likes to start his day with a six-pack of Budweiser. He has to buy it himself every day because I refuse to put such a common brand on my shopping list!

Each guest tries to outdo the others in fashionable beachwear...quite amusing when one female guest wore one of those stylish outdoor oversized straw hats to the breakfast table. The brim dipped into the Eggs Benedict and we had such a laugh!

As hostess, my only rules are:
  • You are not allowed to be boring
  • No thong-style bathing suits, no matter how much work you have had done on your buttocks
  • Do not try to pick up Bucky and give him a kiss; he looks cute but he will rip your nose off*
  • You are NOT allowed to try on my fabulous wardrobe, even if you are male
I believe that is rather liberal of me, don't you? Particularly among people in the fashion industry, who can come to blows over the exact meaning of "bubble dress."

Speaking of which, two of my guests are arguing who is less relevant, Paris Hilton or Lindsey Lohan. That comes under the subject of boring. Excuse me.

Elisa and Bucky the Wonderdog

* My guests have to sign a waiver to that effect.