Mr Blasberg
3:01 pm

I Love London! (Maybe Too Much) My #LFW Diary

21/02/2013, Fast + Louche

An obligatory tourist shot in the guard station outside St. James Palace following Tom Ford’s show in the Palace’s Stables

London fashion week wore me out. Literally. In fact, I’m whipping up this text whilst wearing a full body of thermal clothing and two scarves tightly wound around my neck. Somehow, between my aggressive New York fashion week and then the festivities you’ll see here, my immune system was beat up and I’ve succumbed to the evil germs of strep throat. Not that a little thing like painful swallowing (feels like glass shards, guys) will keep me from reporting from the highlights of this year’s collections.

Perhaps I should start with what was undoubtedly the biggest highlight for me and my St. Louis sister Karlie Kloss, which was a little photo op with Mick Jagger at the small dinner the rocker threw at the recently opened Café Royal Grill Room for his girlfriend L’Wren Scott after her show. Can you imagine, us two little ladies from some small town in Missouri eating grilled chicken with a Rolling Stone? Rita Ora was a big part of this season too. I had met her a while ago when she performed at a swanky Cartier party, but the Yugoslavian-born, London-based singer has absolutely blown up since then, showing up at shows like Henry Holland and Burberry. (She’s so lovely I’ll even forgive her for calling me Dave on Twitter.) Henry’s show was on the first day of the collections, and his afterparty was perhaps what set the pace for my immune system’s destruction in London. Can I blame it on jet lag? Or should I just blame Nick Grimshaw and Alexa Chung, who are the real culprits here?

Let’s talk about the fashion’s now. The best analogy of the London fashion spectrum was seen on the second to last day of the collections, with a 7pm Tom Ford show at St. James’ Palace followed by an 8pm JW Anderson show in the basement of the Tate Modern. For the record, both shows were memorable and sensational, from men with points of view. But how different were they? Tom’s was decadent, beaded, drenched in furs and beads and exotic everything in an actual palace with gilded chairs and spotlights featuring suited male models at the entrance and a runway full of supermodels. Jonathan’s was sharp, short and minimal, held in the basement of one of the most important modern art museums in the world. See, London has something for everyone! Erdem and Christopher Kane reminded why they’re at the top of their game in this town, and I loved Giles’ gilded girls. Burberry’s show too was one of my favorites, with their heart patterns (which I’m convinced were taken from the Instagram ‘like’), rubber trenches and sharp tailoring.

And finally, I have to give major props to Net A Porte’s Natalie Massenet, the recently elected president of the British Fashion Council. She didn’t mess around this season, making sure visiting journalists were well taken care of and that the schedule was running smoothly. (I won’t say which show it was, but there was one that was starting too late and I watched her march backstage and crack the whip, much to everyone’s gratitude.) I have spent a large part of my life in London, so I’ve always been a big proponent of the creativity and the people who work in this town. So it’s been exciting to see the city regain its position on the international fashion scene. Cheers!

 

Captions, from top: Rihanna’s stylist Mel Ottenberg (woop woop, big boy!), Henry, Nick Grimshaw, Miss Rita and me at the House of Holland after party at the Graucho club; Alexa at the Another Magazine party at Café Royal; Two Guinnesses and Glenda: Daphne, Glenda Bailey and Lulu; Two of the best Brits, Erden and Chris Kane; A Rolling Stone with me and Karlie Kloss; the charming and well choreographed lunch service at L’Wren Scott’s show; Carine and Olivier; Hanne Gaby at the Giles show; Kristina showing off her beloved Balenciaga rings; a beloved phone booth in Primrose Hill; me and one of my first bosses, Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley; Natalie and Rita flanking Will.I.Am at the Café Royal; Miss Aimee Phillips, who may be my favorite person alive; Harley and Leigh in bright colors at Burberry; Anja on the Tom Ford runway; Tom’s bow; Eugenie and Noor at the club LouLou’s, which is pretty fabulous and fabulously pretty; my drinking partners at Jonathan Saunders’ afterpaty, Jack and Alice Eve, and the Oscar-winning film director Tom Hooper; Cesar, Lily, Charlotte and me at the Another Magazine party; Annabelle Neilson and Sophia Hesketh in similar but not the same Alexander McQueen dress, narrowly avoiding a fashion disaster; Atlanta and Daisy at Giles; Yasmine Le Bon, who looks just as heavenly as she did when she ruled the runway in the 1990s, and Alice Temperley; the last supper of London fashion week, when Jonathan and Panos and I started dozing off at a dinner at Café Royal

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9:54 am

My New Fashion Crush: Bella Heathcote

19/02/2013, From Elsewhere

For the January issue of V magazine, I met my newest fashion obsession: The saucy, sweet and utterly Australian Bella Heathcote. Below are some of Ben Weller’s images of the actress and my story.

When the bright-eyed and impossibly gorgeous 24-year-old actress Bella Heathcote made her red carpet debut in a splashy Gucci dress at the Cannes Film Festival last May, many assumed it was her Cinderella moment. Here was this fresh-faced new thing from Australia who got lucky and scored a part in cult filmmaker Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, as the love interest of none other than Johnny Depp. But to hear Heathcote tell it, the experience was hardly a fairy tale. “Oh, yeah, I remember that,” she laughs with a hearty twang. “The Gucci people didn’t want me to move off the carpet because they wanted a shot of the dress, but the photographers wanted me to get the hell out of the way because they wanted pictures of the famous people. It was hysterical and humiliating, which is how I think it should be.”

It’s a relief to hear some self-deprecation in her voice, to offset the beautiful-girl cliché. (Burton actually cast Bella after he saw her runway-caliber looks in a magazine.) Not only that, but she’s fun! Asked to define Australian culture, she deadpans: “We like to drink.” And she’s discreet. When pressed—and I mean really pressed—on some juicy Johnny Depp gossip, she’ll only profess that “he has a dark sense of humor, he’s really generous, he’s really normal, and he doesn’t have any pretensions. Look, he’s just a nice guy, okay?”



Heathcote grew up in Melbourne with a lawyer father who was hardly impressed by filmmaking and not much interested in his daughter making a vocation of it. “So I did a year of college, and he was happy I tried,” she sighs. Then she was off, making a few independent films and doing a brief stint on the cult TV program Neighbours. “That was a good learning experience. It’s a soap opera, so it’s a pace I’d never seen. One take, two takes if you’re lucky. They churn it out.” She played Amanda, a school bully. “That’s a tip: if you’re going to be on a soap opera, be the baddie. It was hilarious.”



Her road to Hollywood was a quick one, helped in no small part by a compatriot that she never had the chance to meet. In 2010, she won the Heath Ledger Scholarship, a fund for Australian performers set up after the actor’s death, in 2008. She credits the scholarship—for which she applied online, first sending in her reel and then meeting with a jury panel—with igniting her career: an unofficial benefit of the contest is the opportunity to network with nearly every Aussie in the business. The prize was $10,000 and a round-trip ticket from Sydney to L.A. “But, luckily,” she says, “I never had to use the return leg.”

She currently stars in Not Fade Away, which, ironically, she filmed before Dark Shadows. (Only in Hollywood can time be so warped that an independent film takes twice as long to finish as a big-budget production.) The film is set in the 1960s, and Bella plays Grace, the pretty, popular girl living in a New Jersey suburb who dates the football player in high school but falls for the moody, broody rocker when they graduate and their real lives begin. “I was drawn to her humanity,” she says. “She has real reactions to real things.”

When the actress first got to L.A., she went out for everything that came up. “But this was the first script that stood out, and kept getting better and better with every read. It was a part I really wanted.” What she liked most about it was the feeling of wonderment. It’s a tale of adolescence and the baffling process of growing up. “It makes you feel anxious, a bit anxious, unresolved. And that’s what growing up feels like.”

When we talk, Heathcote is prepping herself for the film’s promotion, a media ritual she would have liked a little more practice with back in her Dark Shadows days. She remembers another stop on the Dark Shadows premiere circuit, the one in London, where she had to trot down a never ending red carpet in a Pucci minidress, facing her own likeness on a jumbo screen, in the middle of Leicester Square. “I felt like I was in Hunger Games. It was surreal and so full on, and I was in a state of shock,” she says. “And then I had a drink. Remember, I’m Australian.”

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9:23 pm

The New York Collections, Fall 2013: Derek’s Diary

15/02/2013, Fast + Louche

That’s a wrap, fashion fans! After more than a couple dozen shows, about that many parties and countless air kisses and compliments I probably didn’t mean, the fashion pack is rolling out of New York. It was a whirlwind week, to say the least. I don’t even know where to start. On the tip of my mind is Marc Jacobs, because his postponed show took place last night and he made me want to wear silk pajamas every day all day. Riccardo Tisci was in town this season, and I saw him out and about (a cameo at Alex Wang’s unofficial afterparty and then with Ciara at his arm at Carine Roitfeld’s CR party) and in a more official capacity (when he made a very early presentation with Anna Wintour and Lauren Santo Domingo to kick off the new Punk exhibit at the met’s Costume Institute). I would never deign to say I had a favorite show, but I have to give a shoutout to my buddies Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez because their Proenza Schouler collection was so stellar and sophisticated it made me want to move to the Upper East Side. The two people I fell in love with this week? Net A Porte’s Natalie Massenet, because she not only didn’t squirm when I asked for a bottle of tequila at dinner but joined in on me; and Cheyenne Jackson because he give me the juice on playing Michael Douglas’ boyfriend in the new Liberace movie when we were sat next to each other at the Michael Kors show. (He also said there are some intense sex scenes with Matt Damon, but I’m not sure I’m ready to think about that yet.) The week ended in an appropriately fashionable way: Valentine’s Day with Valentino. Giancarlo Giammetti had a few friends over for a decadent Italian dinner at his house, which was the perfect way to wind down after the festivities. Not that I’m taking time off just yet. In fact, I’m off to London (literally, I’m at JFK airport), so be sure to check back soon to see what’s happening on the British fashion scene. Until then, enjoy these snaps from my New York fashion week.

Captions, from top: Marc and Cara goofing off after the designer’s show at the close of fashion week; Alexa and I goofing off at amFAR, which signaled the debut of fashion week; Giovanna (with Luisa in the background) at her and Vlad’s housewarming party; Lauren and Nessie are smoking hot; Riccardo getting kisses from Carine and Ciara; Paola, Sasha and Anja at the dinner for 25 magazine; my new favorite person, Net A Porte’s Natalie Massenet, at the 25 magazine dinner; Samantha, Kelly and Marjorie doing their best impressions of downtown girls; my favorite fashion week couple, the artist Cyprian Gaillard and Terry Richardson; a pair of Lily’s: McMenamay and Donaldson; perhaps the highlight of my fashion week, sitting next to Cheyenne Jackson at Michael Kors; Karolina Kurkova twirling on the Bowery; Kristina O’Neill, the new editor in chief of WSJ. Magazine, with Stephen Gan; My Missouri next of kin, RJ; Carol and Humberto from Opening Ceremony with Vanessa Hudgens, the star of my not-so-secret High School Musical obsessions; Alessandra with Chelsea Handler, who is a genius; Andre and Tom at the Purple magazine dinner; Boys night out: Harry, Lazaro, me, Jack and Petey; Alison Mosshart after her DJ set at the Marc Jacobs afterparty; Trish and Michelle at Marc’s party; Natasha Lyonne, who is back and better than ever, or so I have proclaimed; Hilary Swank and Karlie backstage at the Michael Kors show; Dan, Jen and Nate and the Proenza Schouler show; Lazaro and Jack with Lizzie and Liv after their stellar show; Lily vamping it up at Acme; the cutest man in fashion, Bill Cunningham, still shooting at the Ralph Lauren show; and my Valentine’s dinner companions, a true Italian fashion trilogy: Giancarlo, Franca and Valentino

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7:40 pm

Me and My Valentine: My Kid Sister, Karlie Kloss

11/02/2013, Fast + Louche, General

The fine folks at Opening Ceremony have been rounding up this city’s real world Valentine’s. Now, I’m a lucky guy who has the joy of having a few ladies in my life. But this year, my special someone on the 14th of February will be my St. Louis sister Karlie Kloss. (It helps because it’s also the last day of New York Fashion Week, so I would have been with this leggy lady anyway.) Team O.C. found us on the street last night on our way to a date night, and got to the bottom of our friendly love. And in case anyone is wondering what the perfect Valentine’s Day gift would be, can I suggest a handwritten letter in the mail? Conveniently, I can even help you out in sending them: Buy my special line of Derek Blasberg for Opening Ceremony stationery Valentines at a store near you, or here on line.

Name: Derek Blasberg
Occupation: Writer
Neighborhood: Tribeca
Describe the first time you and Karlie met? Although we grew up in the same neighborhood back in St. Louis, Missouri, we didn’t meet till she was living up here in New York. Everyone said I had to meet this sweet girl from St. Louis because I’d love her, and they were right! We were instant family—she’s the little sister I always wanted!
What is she currently obsessed with? Cookies. Or, should I say Kookies? Have you tried her Karlie’s Kookies yet? Mmm, good.
What is her pet peeve? People who expect her to be on time.
Favorite celebrity couple of all time? Bacall and Bogey, of course.
Describe the best first date you’ve ever been on: It’s been so long since I’ve been on a date, they all seem good.
On Valentine’s Day, we’ll find you: Attending New York fashion week. Romance isn’t dead, but it’s work. I’ll get to see my Valentine, though, so there’s a silver lining!


Name: Karlie Kloss
Occupation: 6-foot-tall giraffe (aka model)
Neighborhood: West Village
If Derek was a song, what song would he be? “Meet Me in St. Louis” by the one and only Judy Garland. We are both from the same small town in Missouri, so it is practically our theme song.
What is he currently obsessed with? Spin class. Not exactly a bad obsession, hey? These days, he has better legs than me!
What is his pet peeve? Tardiness, which happens to be my specialty. Maybe that’s why we get along so well. Opposites attract, right?
Favorite celebrity couple of all time? I have to agree with my big bro on this one. You can’t beat Bogey and Bacall. They’re the ultimate power couple.
What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever gifted or been gifted? I recently received a very special Valentine in the mail from Derek! It was written on his fabulous new stationery line.
On Valentine’s Day, we’ll find you: Hopefully, spending the entire day with my Valentine, Mr. Derek Blasberg. And maybe a few runway shows somewhere in between.

-

Photos by Brayden Olson

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4:02 pm

Bon V Vants: Women of Influence in V Magazine

08/02/2013, Fast + Louche, From Elsewhere, General, Observations

In the January issue of V magazine, which stars Kristen Stewart on the cover shot by Inez & Vinoodh with an article written by my buddy Sarah Cristobal, I debuted a new column on the last page: ‘Bon V Vants.’ (I also interviewed an icon of mine, Penelope Tree, but more on that another time.) Since the theme of the entire issue was inspired by women of influence, for this debut column I dug through my personal photos to find the sorts of people I thought had inspired me. So, who did I come up with? First was my Mom, of course, and I had a shot of her with another influential female, Chloe Sevigny, which was taken at a fundraiser at the St Louis Contemporary Art Museum when Chloe came home to Missouri with me in 2010. Then there was the fash pack that included models Natalia Vodianova and Kate Moss (taken at the Love Ball in London with Mario Testino), and muses Amanda Harlech and Daphne Guinness with Courtney Love (at the reopening of the Chanel Soho store). Lady Gaga (at a MOCA gala), Mary J Blige (at Michael Kors 30th anniversary party at the Residence of the US Ambassador to France in Paris) and Grace Jones (at the launch of a Viktor & Rolf perfume) have left an indelible impression on both music and fashion, and I think Lisa Eisner (with Tom Ford at a gala in LA in 2009) is the ultimate stylish artist. And when it comes to female designers, is there anyone more influential than Miuccia Prada, who I snapped with Francesco Vezzoli and Marc Jacobs at Dasha Zhukova’s 29th birthday party in Venice? Last but not least, I had to include Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen, seen here with Karl Lagerfeld in his studio at Chanel headquarters on the rue Cambon. Whenever I hear the word Influence I think of those smart little ladies because I helped them with their book of that very name way back in 2009. Jeez, time flies when you’re dealing with women of influence.

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11:14 am

Mr Blasberg Ballroom Dances with Chloe Sevigny: THE BLOOPERS

06/02/2013, General

“Oh, shit!” That’s essentially the theme of this video of bloopers from a short video that Chloe Sevigny and I did for our friend Dasha Zhukova. But we meant mainly as a term of endearment, if not just a wee bit of frustration. But learning some swing choreography in a few days and then being thrust into filming was a bit manic, especially for me since, well, I’m not a Golden Globe winning and Oscar nominated actress, like Chloe. Oh, but what fun we had! A little background on the original film: In 2012, the fashion photographer Nick Knight commissioned Dasha, the museum founder and magazine editor, to participate in a series of short films called Fashion Fetish for his online platform, SHOWStudio.com. Her concept: A woman goes to a crappy store party and feels dispirited, until her imagine is caught by a Prada dress on a rail. We see her fantasy sequence, when she is charmed by a handsome stranger in 1920′s swing style. She snaps back to reality at the end, but realizes sometimes a dream can be a dress. So she takes it. This was one of the most fun and most fabulous things I did in 2012. And it gave me a whole new respect for those Frenchies who made The Artist.

And in case you missed the finished product, here it is:

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1:19 pm

Derek Blasberg for Opening Ceremony: Valentine’s For Everyone

05/02/2013, From Elsewhere, General

Red hearts, chocolates, flower shops, scented candles and sex shops be on high alert. That’s right: It’s Valentine’s Day time, sweeties! And with Opening Ceremony, I’m doing my own little part in participating in a holiday that is all about love to some, and corporation sponsored commercialism to others. I’ve done my part to serve both, for the record. The Derek Blasberg for Opening Ceremony special editions Valentine’s are here, both in stores and online. (GO HERE TO BUY THEM!) Just like the original line of stationery (WHICH YOU CAN SEE HERE, IN CASE YOU MISSED IT LAST TIME), I had a blast putting these together. There are love notes for significant others, secret admirers, family members, close friends and even those sour sorts who hate the holiday – but still deserve to be told they are loved. Here’s an example of those lost three, with the letters I sent to my Mom, and my friends Chloe and Karlie.

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3:30 pm

Don’t Get Weak This Fashion Week

04/02/2013, From Elsewhere, General, Observations

Last Thursday, the New York Times ran an article entitled ‘Illness Walks the Runway.’ It was an amusing piece on the frenzied — and immune system challenging — pace of the international collections, which start at the end of this week in New York and then move to London, Milan and Paris, written by Tim Murphy. I was quoted in the piece: “Fashion Week season is a nonstop assault on the immune system,” was one line, as was, “You don’t want to sit next to anyone coughing, because if you get sick, you’re screwed.” My mom will be so proud I managed to say “you’re screwed” in the New York Times, surely.

I have been asked if I think fashion week is too crowded. Many people are quick to say yes, but I’ve always been a little hesitant to show disdain for the (yes, it’s ridiculous) schedule. Am I often pooped? Totally. Do I think some of the shows and presentations and parties are frivolous? Definitely. In fact, when someone asks me if they should do something during fashion week, I always tell them it’s a terrible idea. Most of the events get lost in the shuffle, forgotten in a long stream of handsome waiters holding sponsored cocktails and fatigued publicists working overtime with swollen ankles from standing at doors for too long. Much better to do an opening or a party or a press appointment at a different time in the year, when people aren’t so zonked out.

Another reason I would hate to say that fashion week is too crowded is because it would seem like we aren’t supportive of this industry. I love that everyone wants to participate in the dialogue of getting dressed, of expressing ourselves through clothes. I like that people are crashing shows and dressing up and have a vested interest in this industry. We’re in a recession, and if people stop caring about fashion, I’m out of a job.

At any rate, I had a splendid time thinking about this article, and I thought I should share some of the other things I told Mr. Murphy. First, I told him most of my friends have a joke about fashion week: That by the end, you’re fashion weak. Fashion fatigued. (That’s pronounced “fat-ta-gayed.”) And I told him that there are two kinds of people you don’t want to sit next to at a fashion show: Someone who smells like a bar, which is another epidemic during the shows because socializing is such a big part of the business; or someone coughing, because if you get sick during the shows you’re screwed. It was at this point where I managed to slip in the “screwing” to the Times.

But while many are quick to complain — and I’m sure my day will come when I’m over it, when I’m a bitter fashion queen who can’t crack a smile even when a girl trips on the runway — but as for now I’m still enthralled by the industry. I still get giddy when the lights go down at a fashion show. I still want to know the new models names and go check out whatever young designer everyone is talking about. It’s insane, yes: Early shows, late dinners, everyone crammed into tents and airplanes with other people. Talk about fashion fat-ta-gayed. But I’d be happy to mop the floors at a fashion show if that’s as close as I could get.

And it isn’t completely dire. It’s not exactly nuclear warfare. One can prepare for this extravaganza, after all. A lot of my friends like to de-tox before they re-tox, so to speak. Lots of green juices, vitamins and sobriety happening in the weeks leading up to the shows. Organization is crucial too: That’s why so many editors plan their outfits in advance, and print and laminate their schedules. They want to be able to let their body rest until the last possible moment, and then get up, get dressed and get going as quickly as possible.

The reason I think some people get sick is good ole fashioned hedonism. So, my suggestion is: Pick your nights out and, just as importantly, pick your nights in. And always go home before you’re entirely inebriated. The one thing to remember when it comes to fashion week is that it it happens twice a year.

Illustration from the original New York Times article, published on January 30, 2013, by Rowan Barnes-Murphy

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11:48 am

Making Hunger Stop With Michael Kors: My Very Brief Appearance

01/02/2013, General

I’m a big fan of Michael Kors. Not only does he have one of the most wicked senses of humor in all of fashiondom (including great impressions), his fashion shows are one of my favorites of all of fashion week. Pounding music, women stalking runways in furs, boys in short shorts, glamour. What’s not to love? I’ve done a lot with Michael, too. From helping him celebrate his 30th anniversary in New York and Paris with this video to wrangling some of my philanthropic friends to watch him get a well deserved award from God’s Love We Deliver. It was at the gala for the latter that I filmed my (extremely brief) appearance in the above video for the United Nations World Food Programme’s fight to end “the world’s most solvable problem”: Hunger. To do your part for the campaign, text ‘MKHUNGER’ to 50555 to donate $5.00 to the World Food Programme.

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7:46 pm

Paris When It Was Really Not Haute: A Chilly and Chic Couture

27/01/2013, Fast + Louche

The haute couture shows are a thing of extremes. Especially this most recent season. It was some extreme weather in Paris: It was like the French had never seen snow before when the city was blanketed in a beautiful layer of the fluffy white stuff. But really, it was like they didn’t have a single plow or a bag of salt. (They probably didn’t, actually. Plows don’t work on cobblestones, and all the salt is for sure in the butter.) But in the city’s paralysis there was a new form of beauty. The other extreme of this season’s couture, of course, is the designs. As Daphne Guinness once explained to me, the haute couture is fashion’s laboratory, the upper echelon of fashion when designer’s experiment with their most grandiose and delicious ideas. And what a feast it was! Raf Simons stretched his legs at Dior, Donatella turned her eye for fluorescent to fur minidresses and Karl Lagerfeld presented two lesbian brides in his winter wonderland for Chanel. After Paris, I headed to Milan for Dolce & Gabanna’s top secret couture show for their line, Alta Moda. Pictures of that breathtaking show are embargoed and reserved only for their VIP clientele, but what a presentation! Check out some of my pictures from a decadent week.

Captions, from the top: Watching a throne with Hamish Bowles, Lauren Santo Domingo, Bianca and Coco Brandolini and Giovanna Battaglia; Carine and Karlie at Paris’ Natural History Museum; Paris in the snow; a gown in Dior’s haute couture finale; Chloe Sevigny’s kisses with Andre and me; Natalia and Antoine; watching the snow come down and the sun go up with Sean Avery; Karl at Chanel’s haute couture bow with his lesbian brides; Dita waiting for her car; Vanessa Traina with her fabulous mother, the novelist Danielle Steele; Lily at the Berlutti presentation; me and kid sister Karlie; Petey and Harry Brant with Kristen McMenemy at the Versace dinner; Giambattista Valli at his dinner; Mary Charteris in Harry’s Balmain jacket; Tallulah and Laura at Chanel; Lindsay and Andre at Le Baron; Julien, my fashion week buddy; a leggy look at Jean Paul Gaultier’s haute couture show; Bianca, Coco, Domenico Dolce and Lauren in Milan; Carlos and Mira; Eugenie in the Woody Allen suite at Le Bristol; me and some fabulous Versace boots; Queen Giovanna takes a couture nap.

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