How Josephine Baker Helped Save Post-War French Fashion

The Huffington Post

imageMy front-page article about how style icon Josephine Baker became a post-war savior of the House of Dior, who really invented her deliciously scandalous string of bananas, and how she became a “guest editor” at Vogue (without the in-house editors ever knowing it).

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Let’s Bring Back: the ‘American Woman’ fashion edition

The Huffington Post

imageGazing at the glamorous finery of eras past in the Costume Institute’s new ‘American Woman’ exhibit, as usual I found myself wishing back certain flourishes and trappings, from hand-held fans to white gloves to turbans. So, I decided, why not do a special Let’s Bring Back edition, devoted to the historical fashions showcased in the show?

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American Women: Fifteen Trailblazing Ladies Worth Celebrating

The Huffington Post

imageTonight Vogue and the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute will co-host their annual gala—this time celebrating their new exhibit “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity.”  In this front-page feature, I celebrate fifteen of my favorite trailblazing ladies, each of whom exudes that quintessentially American sense of strength, resilient spirit, and crossed-frontiers.

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Let’s Bring Back: The Culinary Delectables Edition

The Huffington Post

imageDecadent Champage towers, fruit hats, three-martini lunches, and other divine culinary delectables from the past … my latest Let’s Bring Back feature, in honor of The Huffington Post‘s brand-new Food section.

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From Quaint Luncheons to Big-Top Extravaganzas: A History of the American Fashion Show

The Huffington Post

imageToday’s adrenaline-pumped fashion shows are a relatively recent phenomenon.  In eras past, designs were presented to clients at chic poolside presentations or at delightful little department store luncheons (Waldorf salad, rather than global outreach, was the order of the day).  This special edition of Let’s Bring Back looks at the fascinating evolution of the American fashion show.

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The Joyous Eccentricity of Alexander McQueen: A Remembrance

The Huffington Post

imageThe death of British designer Alexander McQueen makes me wonder if there simply isn’t a place in contemporary culture for his brand of theatrical creativity anymore—especially in an era in which fashion houses rely on corporate ownership to survive and thrive.  A front page feature.

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Why “Marry Mr. Good-Enough” is Dark Ages Nonsense in a Modern Disguise

The Huffington Post

imageIn her new book Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, journalist Lori Gottlieb perpetuates the stereotype that the American woman is really just a brain stem attached to a ticking womb.  It’s been a long time since I wanted to jab my eyes out after reading something, but this book has me reaching for the closest pair of scissors.  A front page feature.

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Adieu, J. D. Salinger: An Appreciation From a Glass Family Junkie

The Huffington Post

imageWhile most of Salinger’s readers outgrew him upon graduating from high school, I’ve held a candle for his characters well into my thirties.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also come to realize that the 1950s and 60s New York City portrayed by Salinger—filled with smoky jazz clubs, jumbled classic-eight apartments, Vaudeville veterans, and “Little Shirley Beans” records—epitomizes glamour to me.

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Rare Glimpses of Screen Legend Audrey Hepburn

The Huffington Post

imageSome Hollywood stars seem to shimmer on the horizon forever, and Audrey Hepburn is one of them. Reverence for her style still runs deep, as evidenced by the recent $96,000 auction sale of a black cocktail dress she donned in 1966 film How to Steal a Million.  Now a newly-released book showcases rare cover images of the actress, and here are some of the loveliest, most amusing, and insight-giving shots.

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Whimsical, Recession-Proof Holiday Gift Ideas

The Huffington Post

imageHopefully the recession has immunized us to blowsy marketing, and made us smarter and more thoughtful about the way that we express our holiday appreciation for our loved ones.  Last year, we ran a recession-friendly list of holiday gift suggestions. Without further ado, we present the 2009 edition. As usual, it is long on whimsy and easy on the pocketbook.

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Aspic, Hot Dogs, and Boiled Mutton: State Dinners of Eras Past

The Huffington Post

imageA special edition of my Let’s Bring Back column, honoring the Obamas’ first state dinner tonight.  The Kennedys touted the virtues of aspic, the Franklin Roosevelts scandalized the polite world with an all-American entrée, and George Washington gave new meaning to the phrase “no frills.”

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Twelve Glamorous Role Models Talk about Their Role Models

The Huffington Post

imageIn which Glamour magazine’s “Women of the Year”—including commedienne Amy Poehler, news anchor Katie Couric, Ambassador Susan Rice, California’s First Lady Maria Shriver, designer Diane von Furstenberg, and other luminaries—tell me about their early female role icons and mentors.

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The Runways of Yesterday: Nine Designers Worth Revisiting

The Huffington Post

imageFashion Week is underway in New York City, and American designers are showcasing their visions of the future. I’m watching the proceedings with great interest, but also thinking about celebrated designers of bygone eras, whose works once shimmered on runways.  In this special edition of Let’s Bring Back ..., let’s wind back the clock and spend some time with Paul Poiret, Elsa Schiaparelli, Oleg Cassini, and six other colorful designers of yesterday.

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Karl Lagerfeld Called Me “Ugly”

The Huffington Post

imageThe designer at Chanel puts his well-clad foot in his mouth when he calls feminists “ugly” in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar.  This “ugly feminist” would expect more from the ambassador of a brand supposedly devoted to elegance.

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Ten of the World’s Most Beautiful Older Women: The People’s Choice Edition

The Huffington Post

imageTwo months ago, we ran a feature titled ‘Six of the World’s Most Beautiful Older Women’. To our amazement, nearly 900 comments poured in and the piece went widely viral. Clearly a nerve had been struck.  Today we offer up Part II of that series, this time a list chosen by Huffington Post readers. 

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The World’s Most Beautiful Older Women

The Huffington Post

imageI just saw a recent picture of comedienne Joan Rivers that made me want to throw up. With so many ghoulish post-plastic surgery results on display these days, I decided to seek out examples of natural-looking, beautiful women of a certain age.  Helen Mirren, Sophia Loren, Gloria Steinem: a shortlist of some of the world’s loveliest older women. A front page feature.

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Let’s Bring Back: Gracious White House Hostesses

The Huffington Post

imageSince moving into the White House, the Obamas have thrown poetry slams, hosted glittering galas, and planted a First Vegetable Garden. Michelle Obama in particular has ushered in new era of style and entertaining – and she’s chosen to include us in the fun.  This special edition of Let’s Bring Back celebrates several of the White House’s most inclusive hostesses, including Lucy Hayes, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

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Model Citizens: A Look Back At The Earliest Faces Of Fashion

The Huffington Post

imageThis special edition of Let’s Bring Back—my recurring column that celebrates personae and rituals from past eras—looks at some of the twentieth century’s most prominent models, from Lisa Fonssagrives to Twiggy to Iman.

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Shopping Showdown at High Noon

The Daily Beast

imageThe Gilt Groupe, an online designer discount site with daily sales at noon, has a million members and caused an epic shopping craze – even in a recession. Why are women so obsessed?  A three-day front page feature.

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The Media’s Lost Generation

The Big Money

imageThe media business has always been a deeply competitive bastion of ambition.  Yet today’s journalists—including both those sidelined by layoffs and those still clinging desperately their workplace desks—have been left to wonder whether ambition makes sense anymore.  How do you get ahead in an industry that can’t see its own future? A front page feature.

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Grey Gardens: What we can learn from the Edies

The Huffington Post

imageAmericans have always had a tenuous relationship with the idea of eccentricity.  With a new Grey Gardens film premiering tonight, will this generation hold Little Edie and Big Edie up as objects of fascination – or ridicule?

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Glossed Over: Why Can’t Magazines Get the Web?

The Big Money

imageWhat happens when magazines are no longer profitable, and publications companies haven’t built a bridge to a new medium? You get to where the music industry is: billion-dollar companies trying to figure out a model in a free fall. A front page feature. (Reprised and updated on January 26, 2009, under the title “Is CondeNet Dead?”)

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Let’s Bring Back: Traditional Anniversary Gifts

The Huffington Post

imageNo anniversary should have to endure the saccharine waft of Hallmark cards and roses. Let’s bring back and reinvent traditional anniversary gifts. Here are some whimsical and unlikely suggestions, from cotton teepees to red silk parachutes.

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Keeping Score [PDF]

Vogue

imageFor fifteen years, rival pianists Cassie Yukawa and Rosey Chan competed against each other but never exchanged a single word. But then they shocked the classical musical world by becoming its most astonishing new piano duo.

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Interview with Candace Bushnell

The Huffington Post

imageIn which Bushnell orders a hamburger and coke, dodges the Sarah Palin bullet, and tells women to make their own damn money.  Let’s face it: she’s not giving advice that she hasn’t followed herself.

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Fall’s Five Key Looks: A Cheat Sheet

The Huffington Post

imageThose phonebook-sized September issues of Vogue and Elle scare the hell out of me. So to learn more about what the fashion world has dished up for us this fall, I took the easy way out and called up A-list stylist Kate Schelter. Prepare to feel fat—very fat.

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You Are What You Wear

The Huffington Post

imageEveryone claims to be going green these days. But for the few fashion houses and designers who are truly dedicated to environmentally and socially responsible principles, it’s a huge commitment that requires tremendous dedication and patience.

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We’re Europe’s Bargain Bin

Slate

imageThe dollar’s down, the Euro is king. An article about the pain of watching foreigners buy up Manhattan—should we feel bitter or grateful?

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Let’s Bring Back: Duels and Other Useful Diversions

The Huffington Post

imageThese days, litigation is too bloody cost-prohibitive, and it takes so long. So let’s bring back duels, and get things done quickly and with great fanfare.  Also due for a comeback: honeybees, elevator operators, and eloping.

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Sex and the Cash Register

Slate

imageIf the television series was label-heavy, Sex and the City the movie is positively heaving. But the zeitgeist has moved on, taking consumers with it.

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Camelot 2.0

The Huffington Post

imageMany Americans are in a palpable frenzy to revive Camelot and cast Obama as a JFK reincarnate. But substance—not charisma—should determine how we vote in the upcoming election.

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The Latest Insult to Women: ‘Settle for Mr. Good-Enough’

The Huffington Post

imageIt’s been a long time since I wanted to jab my eyes out after reading an article, but Lori Gottlieb’s creepy feature “Marry Him! The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough” had me reaching for the closest pair of scissors.

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Why Hillary Won’t Vogue for Vogue

The Huffington Post

imageAmerican women shouldn’t be hang those navy blue power-suits just yet. We’ve made many advances, but let’s not delude ourselves: the world still has very masculine associations with success and leadership.

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