I can remember way back in the day when Liz Jones lost her job as editor of Marie Claire for – allegedly – complaining about having to use bulimic models. This was before she started her Daily Mail rant columns and pre-wrecking her own marriage by sharing every nano-second with Mail on Sunday readers. She wrote really openly and honestly about subsequently being turned away from fashion shows and watching others sitting front row while she stood, craning for a view at the back, if indeed she was allowed in at all. At the time, I remember being glad that she kept control of her almighty fall from fashion grace by telling anyone who’d listen the whole painful details and splashing it across national newspapers. At least that way, the whispering and back-biting became all a little pointless since she was literally bleeding out the news herself. Liz also leaked the finer points of soul-selling, gifting, you-scratch-my-back-etc games, the ego-jostling, cold shouldering and tantrums. At the time, I worked in beauty and it wasn’t my world at all…I was just a freelancer starting out…but even in beauty we felt the ripples of such searing honesty. Fashion folks were quaking in their Jimmy Choos; one misjudged moment and it was all over for her – and it could have been any one of them. Liz has subsequently made her anti-industry stance and brutally open confessionals her trademark, and seems to do very nicely, thank you, proving there is life after fashion.
Since starting a style page a few months ago (initially, I just longed to be writing about lipstick and have only just started to compile it with any degree of confidence or comfort), I’ve had my eyes well and truly opened. It’s not all awful either – in fact, ending up in Louis Vuitton on Fashion’s Night Out was the highlight of my week – it was buzzing with excitement and bursting with people who were thrilled to be there, just loving the atmosphere of the evening. On the flip-side, there were outrageously overdressed people there who literally swanked in and out just to be seen (since I didn’t have a clue who anyone was it was a gesture lost on me!) and a queuing system for general public and a ‘guest list’ that got you straight in if you were on it. It was also my first ever fashion blag, since I wasn’t on the guest list but winged it – and got in.
One thing though, that has cut deep is being dropped from the Chanel sample sale list. Ouch – that really did hurt. Despite a decade of slavishly following the brand, featuring the brand and actually really shopping the brand, I didn’t make the cut to whatever level it is you need to be on to make it through the hallowed doors. I suspect they’ve made it fashion only and not beauty but I’ll soon be able to tell if there’s a rash of Chanel bags at the next big beauty launch! My rational self says it’s all very shallow and I didn’t even want or need a cut-price bag really. The email said they were sure I’d understand. But my real self doesn’t bloody well understand at all, does mind – hugely – and really, truly did want that cut-price bag. It took ten years to get on that list; the only one I’ve ever cared about being on, and after two I’m off it again. Another bit of me is embarrassed to be admitting to being dropped – not sure you’ll hear anyone confessing to such a thing all that often; but that’s the point – I’m taking a little bit of a lead here from Liz in that I might as well say it myself. In an ironic twist, I was then invited to the opening of the revamped New York Chanel store – by the New York press office. But one thing’s for sure, confessing means that there’s no chance ever of seeing those double C clad walls again! We’re not supposed to discuss the inner workings, the quietly-nudged-off-the-guest-list shame….but we’re sure as heck supposed to shout it from the roof tops when they bring out a new lipstick. Bitter, much?! It’s genuinely more sadness than bitterness – I remember the day I got my very first invitation – I phoned my mum and literally SCREAMED down the phone! Then I phoned one of my best friends, Krista, and she SCREAMED for me! An extra jab was when, on the day of the sale, my twitter timeline was full of people heading off to said sale. Double ouch.
When I’m editor of Vogue, I’ll definitely be favouring Prada .