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Fashion In Film: Romy & Michele's High School Reunion

            I’m almost embarrassed to admit how long it took me to get around to watching Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion (1997) for the first time. But given the weather and my dwindling Netflix queue, I had no excuses for not doing so on a recent chilly evening. And now that I have finally seen the light, I can honestly say that my life was not complete until now.  

The cult classic is filled with eternally quotable one-liners and bang-on captures the whole girl-power style movement of the late ‘90s. Michele (Lisa Kudrow) and Romy (Mira Sorvino) are the kinds of friends who’ve been attached at the hip since birth. After graduating high school they move to Venice Beach, CA together where they spend the majority of their time re-watching Pretty Women and getting their groove on in fabulous outfits. After running into a former classmate, Romy is informed of an upcoming 10-year class reunion back in Tuscan.

Deciding that it would be a blast, she and Michele decide to attend. However, looking back at their yearbook they realize that they hadn’t actually been very popular in high school. In fact, many classmates (most notably, the ‘A-club’ girls) aimed at making their lives a living hell. Well, fine! They would go back and get their revenge by showing them how successfully their lives had turned out despite their torment.

Only, when going over the logistics of the most effective way to rub their awesome lives in the faces of their former classmates, it dawns on them that maybe their lives aren’t actually impressive. In an attempt to make up for lost time, the girls scheme to get better jobs and score hot boyfriends before the reunion.

            When that plan doesn’t pan out as well as they had hoped, they decide that the best way to make their classmates jealous would be to invent a success story. Romy & Michele would pose as serious businesswomen for the weekend (they invented the post-it, if you were wondering), complete with the requisite businesswoman mini-skirt suit and flip phone.

Obviously, things don’t go over too smoothly, but the girls learn a valuable lesson: In the end the most important thing is to be yourself no matter what others think. And above all, dress for yourself!

Romy: "This is like the cutest we ever looked.
Michele:"Oh, It is definitely the cutest."
Romy: "Don't you love how we can just say that to each other
and we know we're not being conceited?"
Michele: "Oh, I know we're just being honest."

I am getting some Jeremy Scott / Moschino vibes from their workout looks.

another important life lesson: If you have the choice of either being unemployed or working at a bargain basement, you choose unemployment. 

If you're noticing the similarity between the costumes in Romy & Michele and Clueless, it's because the two films share a costume designer: Mona May. 

Weekend On The Farm

            Well if anyone had any doubts that I am a city girl at heart, a recent expedition to the midlands of England should expel any residual uncertainty. A friend of mine who studies at Uni in LA came to visit me in London. Her Mom grew up and now lives in a small town called Melton Mowbray, near Nottingham, and graciously invited the two of us up for a weekend. Little did I know that a "weekend in the country" was code for uncompensated manual labor. 

            Honestly, I admire people who live in the country. People always ask me if living in the city is hard or scary, but I think it’s just the opposite. Silence and too much open spaces are what really terrify me. I need the constant orchestra of traffic, drunken brawls, and noise restaurants to keep my sane. 

            Nonetheless a weekend on a farm was something new and really got me out of my comfort zone. I rode a horse! I caught a runway (naughty) chicken! I fed the birds! The only downside was getting very excited about these accomplishments and then witnessing my friend’s three-year-old cousin do the same things in half the time. Living on top of a 24/7 Duane Reade has really sheltered me from the real world, huh?

We also took a side trip to the lovely town of Eton: Let it be known that should I ever have a son he will be getting shipped off here for school. 

Who Wins When Fashion and Art Intersect?

            Unsurprisingly, the worlds of fashion and art have a lot in common. They’re both aesthetically minded industries that rely on the desire of wealthy patrons to strive for and support their continued growth. So it makes sense that the two would come together and lend their resources to each other when necessary.

Such is the case in Italy at the moment as many of the countries’ top luxury houses rally to aid in the refurbishment of many of its beautiful but crumbling monuments. However, while these brands may stress that their incentive to get involved comes from a place of cultural responsibility rather than a marketing push, ulterior motives may be at play.

            Fondazione Prada, a non-profit organization founded by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli in 1993, is slated to open its newest wing on May 9th. The large exhibition space will be located in Largo Isarco, an area just south of Milan’s city center. The space, which was designed in collaboration with OMA and Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, will consist of three main sections: an auditorium, a museum tower, and an exhibition space, all connected by a large open courtyard.

The Fondazione’s space will also feature a kitschy bar designed by film director Wes Anderson that is meant to resemble a traditional Milanese cafĂ©. In addition to the exhibition space available to contemporary artists (in the past Prada has sponsored shows from the likes of Francesco Vezzoli and Steve McQueen) there will be ample room for special displays and events hosted by Prada.

            Also wishing to give back to its hometown, Fendi has partnered with the city of Rome as a part of their Fendi for Fountains venture. The most notable restoration will take place on the Trevi Fountain, the landmark made famous in Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita.

            Pietro Beccari, Fendi’s chairman and chief executive, was struck by the idea while driving through Rome listening to the radio. An announcement asking for citizens to donate to the cause inspired him to take immediate action. “I asked the mayor to accept our offer, and he was extremely supportive of the idea.” Mr. Beccari says, “This is not any type of sponsorship. Of course it is marketing to show our wish to tie ourselves to Roman culture and to associate Fendi to Rome as a city that represents a lifestyle.”

            Despite Mr. Beccardi’s claims that the project is not a PR-push, there will be a silver plaque mounted on the fountain for four years to acknowledge Fendi’s patronage.

            Versace has also laid its claims on Italian heritage by donating to the restoration of Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and opening a new boutique within it’s halls. The refurbishing of the century old landmark is expected to be completed by April 2015, just in time for Milan to host the Expo 2015.

            While these brands represent the most recent contributions, many other Italian luxury houses have also been donating to myriad repairs/upkeep.

Ferragamo has been working with the famous Uffizi Gallery in Florence to reopen a number of its rooms for future exhibitions. In 2012, Tod’s donated a record $25 million to fix up the Coliseum. Bulgai, in recognition of the brands 130th Anniversary, donated $2 million to help with the necessary improvements of Rome’s Spanish steps, located down the street from their flagship store.

            Preservationists and historians have expressed their skepticism about the consequences of these contributions. Their main concern lies in the potential threat of such donations to leading to commercialization of Italian heritage. Although both the government and fashion houses involved have made it clear that no advertising will be allowed on/near the actual monuments, there is still potential for profit margin. ““A brand cannot just showcase beautiful products and fashion shows,” says Mr. Beccari, “making a difference in the wider world is what divides a true luxury company from the rest.”

A weekend in iAmsterdam

            I had a bit of a whirlwind trip to Holland recently where I was able to spend a few lovely days in and around the Amsterdam area. Although I’ve been to the city before, this was my first time really getting to explore it (sadly last time I was sick and had to spend the entire trip in my hotel room). What stuck me the most was the contrasting lifestyles that exist coherently to make up such an enchanting town.

            I will admit that when I first thought of Amsterdam I ignorantly pictured its more infamous side consisting of their notorious coffee shops and red lights district… neither of which I was into. But when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised to discover that an entirely different kind of lifestyle was also available.

Veering off the heavily beaten path, it’s difficult not to fall in love with the charming city. Despite weather that wasn’t much better than it is here in London (chilly and damp), the streets were filled with locals. Strolling along the canals, drinking wine on their front stoops, and biking down the street; the thing that stood out to me the most was their general sense of calm.

Being used to New York, it almost made me uneasy to witness such a relaxed and easygoing way of life. Where were the angry businessmen powering down the street? Why weren’t people on their bikes constantly screaming at passerby’s to get out of their lane? There was a sense that if I were to have stopped anyone for directions not only would they be happy to help, but they would also be glad to chat, no matter where they were on their way to. Practically terrifying for a New Yorker!

I was also taken aback by their preference for fresh, all natural ingredients. I had read about a salad place called SLA before I arrived and was dying to try it. I’d been missing my weekly trips to Sweetgreen back in America, but after trying SLA, I’m not sure I will be able to settle for Sweetgreen in the future! I could eat SLA’s grilled eggplant and sweet potato covered in olive oil for days…

We also took a little day trip to the town of Edam, which was about 15 miles outside of the city center- although it felt worlds away. The tiny town, which is famous for it’s cheese production (hello free samples everywhere!), was practically desolate on a Saturday morning. Wandering through the maze of streets and canals however, you can easily see families and older couples enjoying the day from the comfort of their kitchen tables. While Edam didn’t seem to be behind on the times, there was feeling that its inhabitants were happy to go without technology in favor of enjoying the present.  


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Caroline Mason: 20. Native New Yorker (and one time North Carolinian). Assistant to Derek Blasberg. Just a girl who is OCD about all things fashion, drinks way too much coffee, and has an affinity for late night talk shows and travel books. FIT class of 2016. Previously with Karla Otto PR, Lori Goldstein and Lester Garcia.

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