In a series on New York Fashion Week, Journal writer Elizabeth Holmes takes us inside the closets of the uber-sub-strata of shoppers who are willing (and able, clearly) to pay full price for the latest runway looks.
Holmes profiles a couple of gals looking for their perspective on the costs and benefits of being fashion forward. Most of them are in the 40 to 50 year-old age range and lead lifestyles that necessitate a lot of gala-going.
Do the math – Cindy Rachofsky, for example, is a 54-year-old Dallas philanthropist and art enthusiast. She considers her wardrobe “a collection that she is curating” … adding that she hopes “someday someone will find it important and significant.” In recent curatorial activities, Ms. Rachofsky has purchased pieces from deceased British designer Alexander McQueen including a $12,000 gown for a charity event as well as 13 other garments. (14 X $12,000 = $169,029)
That’s Cindy in the photo above, wearing an important and significant Alexander McQueen jacket from the Fall 2010 Collection. In addition to the fact that the design is possibly inspired by something out of Acme Tent & Awning, I think we can all agree that Ms. Rachofsky is looking very happy, and arty,… we’ll even give her “philanthropic” in those pricy designer threads.
The thing is – and this is my issue with most designer runway looks – I don’t think they look good on regular people. Compared to the runway version (scroll down in linked article) which is paired with over-the-knee black scrunched boots and a turtleneck (extra points for that, btw), the look somehow moves from “colorful, edgy and eclectically austere” to “curious get-up.”
It’s not personal. As far as I can tell, Ms. Rachofsky is a lovely woman … beautiful eyes and smile … decent bone structure … nice figure, etc. But, I don’t care who you are, the minute you step out of the suspended context of the runway and strut your stuff into the real world, an outfit like that looks ri-dic-u-lous.
Well, and paired with dyed-to-match shoes and custom-made earrings? We don’t need to know who Stacy and Clinton are to know that matchy-matchy-ness is so “what not to wear”! (Even our man Tim Gunn couldn’t make this work.)
The Take-Away: Fashion is fun. I secretly enjoy fashion. Truth be told, as a lowly writer (unlike artists, musicians and curators, we’re SUPPOSED to be dowdy … ) my station and pay grade don’t afford me the opportunity or wearwithall to indulge my inner fashionista as thoroughly as I might like. Plus, it’s not my gift. Anyone who knows me knows that most of my attempts at fashion are confined to boxy, off-the-rack, black or grey sweaters.
Post-Note: The WSJ article also offers this jewel of insight from the young, hip and serially fashionable Christine Chiu. Apparently, Ms. Chiu, who is married to the founder of Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery, goes to events every night of the week — often making multiple wardrobe changes in a single night. She cautions,
“If you’re going to a gala for some kind of disease and then you go to a hip art event, you can’t wear the same thing.”