Editor’s Letter | Sept. 2012

Mary Hilliard

“If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater, suggest he wear a tail.” —Fran Lebowitz

No one needs reminding of the insanely “unstylish” times we sometimes are forced to live through, but this weekend, on the eve of closing the current issue, I was really reminded of just HOW STYLE-CHALLENGED—aren’t they all. Take the piece in The New York Times on Charlie Sheen. Curled up on the sofa with my newspapers and magazines, I thought, Hmm, do we really need to read yet another 2,000 words on Charlie and his journey to wholeness? But then, admittedly, I couldn’t put down the train wreck, with such details as the fact that Charlie has an employee among his posse who acts as manager of his (now-defunct) Twitter account. Alas, with unemployment being serious business, I guess I should instead be thinking, Nice work if you can get it. Next up Sunday morning: a New York Post article on a feud at club W.i.P. (no, I’ve never been and have no intention of ever going) between rappers Chris Brown and Drake in which $2,000 worth of bottles of something called Ace of Spades was being hurled across the room. Ace of Spades? I’d never heard of it, so I did what we all do: I Googled. FYI, it’s a Champagne whose greatest claim to fame is its bottle, with a fancy pewter label that Jay-Z made popular in a music video.

None of this is to say that Charlie or the other two are without talent. I thought Charlie was brilliant in Oliver Stone’s Platoon and later in Wall Street, but, alas, I never bothered with Two and a Half Men. It’s just not my thing. As far as Chris and Drake go, some seem to think they, too, had their “lyrical” moments, but…please.

The problem is, everybody tries too hard these days to be stylish in so many ways. But in matters of fashion, it sometimes appears that the Italians, despite global economic woes—theirs in particular—have an easier time of it. In our annual September Style Issue, we’ve devoted 12 pages to Italian style for men. And we didn’t have to look any further than Saks Fifth Avenue president and chief merchandising officer Ron Frasch, master maker of the modern department store. In Milan, during men’s fashion week in June, he told us over dinner at El Porteño (wow, the Argentinean beef) how one of the biggest American fashion houses has moved its manufacturing out of China and entirely to Italy. But then, as New York Times reporter Guy Trebay recently put it, the Italians “demonstrate the deeply held native belief that just because the world might end, there is no excuse for looking less than one’s best.”

Behind the Scenes in Madrid

In her first issue since becoming Departures’ first-ever Fashion Director, Amanda Ross spent four days in Madrid with photographer Anders Overgaard shooting Carolina Herrera and her daughters, Patricia and Carolina Jr., for “Carolina Herrera’s Own Private Madrid.”