Valerie Steele, photographed by Aaron Cobbett, courtesy of FIT

... the last time I went to New York I was lucky enough to meet and interview Valerie Steele, who, as you all will know, is director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and a wonderful scholar, theoretician, thinker - as well as an extravagant personality. The interview in German language is online here - but I still wanted to quote from the English original. Mrs Steele is the author of a very well-known, and rather controversial essay entitled "Why People Hate Fashion". When I had the opportunity to talk to her, I asked her for a short summary of her conclusions. Here we go.

A lot of people hate fashion. Many leftists, many feminists,

moralists – fashion has been viewed for thousands of years

primarily negatively in terms of vanity, waste, elitism, repression of women.

You need only compare how fashion is viewed with how art is constantly valorized.

Art is eternal, the true, the beautiful, the good.

Fashion is the ephemeral, constantly recycled,

a form of ugliness so extreme you need to change it every six months,

it's all a kind of conspiracy of the designers to try and part you from your money.

There is a tremendous number of negative things that are habitually said about fashion.

In society in general, not just among intellectuals, there are many people

who find fashion a totally frivolous, bourgeois, consumerist,

an unimporant if not actually pernicious phenomenon.

"Japan Fashion Now" is an exhibition curated by Valerie Steele for the Museum at FIT.
It's on until April 2, 2011

... voilà donc une citation plus qu'impressionnante d'une interview que j'ai réalisée avec Valerie Steele du Fashion Institute of Technology à New York. Madame Steele, vous le saurez tous, est l'un des personnages les plus extravagants dans l'univers de la théorie de la mode, et elle est une personne tout à fait charmante, en même temps qu'éminemment intelligente. Soit dit en passant. Puisque Madame Steele a publié, il y a quelques années, un article intitulé "Pourquoi les gens détestent-ils la mode ?", je lui ai posé la question : qui est-ce qui déteste la mode, et pourqoui. Eh ben, quelle réponse :

Il y a énormément de gens qui détestent la mode.
Des gens de gauche, des féministes, des moralistes.
La mode, depuis des millénaires, a été perçu sous le signe de
la vanité, du gaspillages, de l'élitisme, de l'oppression des femmes.
Il suffit de regarder l'art à côté et comment il est sans cesse valorisé.
L'art, c'est le perpétuel, le vrai, le beau, le bon.
La mode, de son côté, elle est éphémère, recyclée à l'infini, une forme de laideur si extrême qu'il faut la renouveler tous les six mois ;
la mode, c'est le complot des créateurs pour vous arracher votre argent.
Il existe un nombre immense d'arguments négatifs qui sont professés quand on parle
de la mode. Et cela, dans toute la société, pas seulement parmi les intellectuels.
Vous trouverez beaucoup, beaucoup de gens pour qui la mode est un phénomène frivole, bourgeois, consommiste, dépourvou de toute importance et même, pernicieux.

Incroyable, n'est-ce pas ? Mais peut-être, je dois le reconnaître, pas si faux que ça. Pas du tout faux, même ...



... the other day, right outside my apartment building, I took a closer look at the shop window of the Turkish tailor who I had alter my Yves Saint Laurent jacket two years ago (she didn't exactly do a brilliant job, but let's be generous...), and there they were - some brightly coloured, charming, hand-knitted slippers. So nice. And so cosy and warm. I know from a friend of mine that they're called PATIK, so really, as long as the winter lasts, get yourself a pair of patik, or knit them yourselv. If you're familiar with Turkish, here's a little instruction how to do it ...

... des chaussons tricotés à la main, à la turque - et tout cela, dans mon immeuble. Car il y a une couturière en bas (à qui j'avais demandé, il y a désormais plus d'un an, de changer les proportions d'un blouson signé Yves Saint Laurent), d'origine turque, qui doit avoir misé sur un nouveau pilier pour son business, et elle s'est donc mise à fabriquer ces souliers qui s'appellent PATIK, apparemment. Je les trouve trop beaux, et je suis sûr qu'ils sont archi confortables ...

... pantofole a maglia, alla turca - che si chiamano, mi è stato indicato dalla mia cara amica Gülcan che vive a Parigi, PATIK. In vendita dalla sarta a due passi dell'entrata del nostro edificio. Bellissime, 'ste pantofole, e caldissime, e coloratissime. Per chi vuole - il principio "fai da te" è applicabile, seguende le istruzioni che troverete qui, in turco, vabbe', ma lo spirito DIY non conosce confini, vero, o no ? ...



photo of a photo by Kira Bunse, published in Die Zeit

... Austrian designer UTE PLOIER, an extraordinary talent of course and successful enough over the years to collaborate with Topman, Gössl and La Redoute, is among the designers (the only one from good old Austria, mind you) who created a slogan tshirt (everyone familiar with the German tongue: read THIS ARTICLE which I wrote some time ago about slogan t-shirts - the online version features a really terrible version of a nice photo featuring a beautiful friend of mine...) for the current issue of Zeit Magazin. It reads "Einer gegen alle/One against all", and the typeface was created by Nina Ober. Lovely work. By the way, shouldn't you already know: Ute is, since November 2010, mother of a cute little baby-girl. Still, she managed to be present in Paris with a fall 2011 menswear collection, so really: hat off!

... en feuilletant le dernier nuéro du supplément de Die Zeit, j'y ai retrouvé un t-shirt créé par ma designer préférée, UTE PLOIER. Elle est la seule Autrichienne à être invitée pour ce projet, et le résultat et tout à fait formidable (le sujet a été créé en coopération avec la graphiste Nina Ober, soit dit en passant). Félicitions pour Ute, qui, depuis novembre dernier, est mère d'une jolie petite fille ...

... la stilista viennese UTE PLOIER, forse in questo momento l'unica a essere conosciuta a livello internazionale, dopo progetti realizzati per Topman et La Redoute, è stata invitata dal settimanale tedesca Die Zeit a creare un'edizione speciale di t-shirt per l'edizione attuale (il motivo è stato concepito in collaborazione con Nina Ober). Mi piace tanto, è peccato che sia un pezzo unico, vero?) ...


MORE BERLIN NEWS - Anna Aichinger pops up

... what an oversight: the ever so lovely Vienna-based designer Anna Aichinger notified me of a special sale she's having in BERLIN together with Austrian label Julia Cranz and Baiba Ripa from Latvia. Last day is tomorrow (11 AM - 5 PM, Muskauerstraße 9, 10997 Berlin), as it were - so HURRY UP, Berliners ...

... la très douée et toujours très gentille créatrice viennoise Anna Aichinger m'a envoyé une invitation à son événement de vente pas si privée à Berlin - ensemble avec Julia Cranz et Baiba Ripa, dernier jour : mañana. Dépêchez-vous, les Berlinois ! ...

... domani, ultimo giorno dell'evento speciale di vendita della collezione della gentilissima, dotatissima designer viennese Anna Aichinger. Insime a Julia Cranz e Baiba Ripa, tutti i dettagli si vedono sull'invito (spero) ...


"Ick bin ne Jute" by Encode Fashion as shown on Facebook

... goodness gracious me, you wouldn't think that 2011 started in a very productive manner on PARISVIENNE, would you? But let me assure you: I've been so busy in my new old new job that blogging on top of that was OUT OF THE QUESTION. However, it's hard to resist one's urges, always, totally. When I went to BERLIN last week (and even though this was a fashion-related trip it wasn't for fashion week, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???), I came across this really funny, ever so BERLINERISCH shopping bag which reads "ICK BIN NE JUTE". To understand the joke, you should be familiar with the way people from Berlin speak German.

Even though it's always a bit tiresome to explain a PUN, here we go, roughly: "gute" (good one) is pronounced "jute" in Berlin, meaning that "Ick bin ne Jute" can mean "I'm a good one" as well as "I'm made of jute". Hahahaha! No? Yes!

the affordable Birkin bag

What's more, when my colleague Betrice recently came across this Birkin-bag-on-shopper thingy, which is called "All Together Now" and was created by the fashion label Thursday Friday - Beatrice pointed out that this was a REVERSE SNOBISM phenomenon (and Maria seemed to love the expression ...), I remembered the giveaway distributed on Rendez-Vous in Paris some seasons ago, a cotton shopper with a 2.55 printed on it, not to bad either, huh?

a Rendez-Vous giveaway from what feels like ages ago

Even though I'm to weak by now to translate this into French and Italian, wouldn't this be perfect for plastic-bag-less Italy? It would, I'm sure about that ...




... now, despite all of that ambitious FromParisToViennaAndBack ado, I spent my childhood and adolescence in a far from metropolitan context, in a tiny little town in the South of Austria. Sure enough, I still go there each and every Christmas. As a consequence, ten days or so ago, it came to my ears that the elect mayor of the city of Spittal in Carinthia recently discovered his healing powers and therefore, let's face it, his magic self. Isn't that amazing? And come to think of it, what could politics become if, say, Bertrand Delanoë, Klaus Wowereit, Boris Johnson, Michael Bloomberg, if all of them were endowed with the same supernatural powers. What a new dimension this could add to the discourse surrounding CREATIVE and POSTMODERN and LIVELY WORLD CAPITALS, don't you think? ...

... lors de mon dernier séjour dans le Sud de l'Autriche, en Carinthie (ouais, c'est bien la région dont vous avez entendu parler dans un contexte pas très agréable, en termes politiques), on m'a raconté que le maire actuel de la petite ville où j'ai passé mon enfance s'est découvert (comment ça s'est passé, aucune idée, mais j'imagine qu'il y a des choses en nous qui ne peuvent être ne pas découvertes tôt ou tard tout au long d'une vie ...) des forces surnaturelles, à savoir le pouvoir, disons le don, de stimuler en autrui les forces d'auto-guérison. N'est-ce pas formidable ? Et, allons même plus loin, si c'était aussi le cas pour Delanoë à Paris, Johnson à Londres, Bloomberg à New York, Wowereit à Berlin, alors qu'est-ce que ces villes-là pourraient bien devenir ...

... ma figuratevi - quando sono tornato in Carinzia per le vacanze, cioè piuttosto per il fine settimana di Natale (non si parla di vacanze quando di quattro giorni si tratta, vero?), mi hanno raccontato che il sindaco della piccola città dove son cresciuto (niente Parigi, Vienna, Roma, Londra per me, dunque, durante tanti anni...) si era scoperto un potere sovvranaturale di stimolare l'autoguarigione delle persone. Anche della città stessa, mi sto chiedendo? Ma chissà... E partendo di questa domanda, propongo di andare oltre e d'immaginare cosa potrebbero diventare Parigi, Londra, New York o Berlino se anche Delanoë, Johnson, Bloomberg e Wowereit facessero la stessa scoperta!!!??? Stupendo, non vi pare? ...




... I would like to wish everone a SUPER START into the twenty-tens (?). For our New Year's Eve smörgåsbord we went for a little bit of retro chic - as we'd already done some years ago, as it were. I loved the cherry tomato squad that guided us through the first part of the evening and into the new year ...

Je vous souhaite, à tous, un formidable début de la NOUVELLE ANNEE. Les années dix nous apporteront, j'en suis sûr, plein de formidables choses. A suivre ...

Vi scrivo da una Vienna invasa da turisti italiani, come tutti gli anni, alla fine dell'anno, e vi auguro uno stupendo ANNO NUOVO con tante scoperte eccitanti da fare, vero ? ...