Julie Albertson: Exposure In The Land of Shoppes and Frocks

Donk’s piece in The Guardian:

I’ve never been in combat, but I’ve seen GI Jane, and from the looks of it, fashion weeks like last week in New York, or opening today in Milan, bear more than a passing resemblance to a regimented boot camp, in the middle of a highly organised, unrelenting mosh pit of well-dressed editors, reporters, buyers, models, photographers, press and flaks with competing agendas.

Six years ago, when the now-famous New York fashion week was still held under huge white tents covering Bryant Park on the chaotic, touristy intersection of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue, I attended my inaugural fashion show. Just 23 then, I sat fourth or fifth row and gaped, slack-jawed, at the models parading the clothing of a designer I’ve forgotten. My first impression was the ultimate industry cliche: “Goddamn, these models are really skinny.”

Four years later, as the editor-at-large of STAR magazine, my boss asked me to cover fashion week. I had never covered fashion before, and I had absolutely no idea what or how to do so. I got there with my videographer and my press pass and expected it would be no trouble. And it was quite a bit of trouble indeed.

Unless your last name is Wintour or Roitfeld, covering fashion week requires stamina, fortitude, old-fashioned wiles and a substantial amount of (preferably unassailable) self-esteem, because it will be rocked heartily by the jockeying and politics of the fashion week pecking order. You think you’re important? You’re not. You think you’re thin or attractive? You’re not. You think anyone cares whether you get your interview? They don’t.

Many regulars fight this paradox: they adore fashion week, but they also count down the days until it is over and congratulate each other on “making it through”, as if it were some sort of painful experiment involving dark green vegetables.

It’s been seven long seasons since I first stumbled with my microphone into the tents, and there are certainly stages to the experience. First, uncomprehending wide-eyed wonder as the glamorous chaos swirls around you, coupled with a palpable fear of doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, sitting in the wrong seat, arousing the attention or ire of the ubiquitously lean, black-clad PR girls. Then a gradual onset of confidence begins: yes, only the neophytes ask Anna Wintour for a photograph. Press requests are made early, but there is no such thing as a confirmed interview. Ever. You’ll be body-checking people – literally – to get that soundbite, and that’s just part of the job. One has to prepare for bruises, blisters, even blood (my camera guy once started bleeding after he was shoved in the giant pit of photographers that stand at the base of the runway).

You have to become a liminal figure; too aggressive and you piss people off, too passive and you won’t get any coverage whatsoever. It is crucial to dress in subtle designer frocks, but never jeans (unless you’re an editor) and always unconscionably expensive, outrageously high heels (they are regularly studied). Too showy, and you’ll attract attention as an outsider – only front row celebs and total newbies dress like it’s a red carpet – too casual, you’ll look out of place.

Fashion week may sound frothy. In reality, it is anything but. It is a multibillion-dollar global business. The best comparison I’ve come up with is that of 90 weddings, with 18 to 30 brides each. All in the span of eight days. This season I asked designers, “Do you consider fashion to be an art or a business?” It is both of course, but it’s also entertainment. It isn’t, after all, a fashion tell. It’s a fashion show, which isn’t limited to what walks down the catwalk, or the lighting and thumping music. The show is in the seating, in what the editors are wearing to the shows. It’s also an enormous art presentation: the installation being the tents, and the art being attenders, their arrangements, interactions and the way they react to the clothing (I have seen standing ovations before). The way a beautifully constructed dress can actually make a crowd gasp. And to a certain extent, it’s also an incredibly nuanced, unbelievably complicated multi-layered competition – who will get the most press, the choicest front-row seats, the hottest celebs and most powerful editors in attendance? What results is sometimes a battle of egos, sometimes a celebration of craftsmanship.

Astounding creative visions are realised here. It’s this mix that makes fashion week so defiantly brilliant, so exhaustingly frustrating. But sometimes you’re cold, bored, you’d rather be in sweats and trainers and your ego is wounded because some PR lady put you in the third row and you couldn’t think of anything else to ask Diane von Furstenberg other than “what was your inspiration?”. And if you did make it into the first row by some chance, isn’t it true that your thighs are simply too big to be there and everyone will be judging you against the backdrop of 0% body fat and oh God, why are you here anyway? You’re a fraud. You just want to go home and eat chocolate bunny from last Easter.

And I’ve done that, too.

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170 Responses to Julie Albertson: Exposure In The Land of Shoppes and Frocks

  1. Bepelted Barnyard Animal with NPD says:

    This is horribly written, wtf. Why why why would anyone in Britain be interested in this? or in her?

    My favorite part was the last few sentences: “And if you did make it into the first row by some chance, isn’t it true that your thighs are simply too big to be there and everyone will be judging you against the backdrop of 0% body fat and oh God, why are you here anyway? You’re a fraud. You just want to go home and eat chocolate bunny from last Easter.

    And I’ve done that, too.”

    God, she sucks.

  2. Bepelted Braying Barnyard Animal with NPD says:

    also, FIRST!!!111

  3. Subtle designer frocks?!!! So that’s what Donkey was sporting! Now I see!

  4. Lonnie says:

    Um. Can the Guardian not afford a copy editor or proofreader or something??? What is this shit? I couldn’t get through the first paragraph.

  5. shamoolia says:

    She included the phrase “incredibly nuanced!”

    • RollsRoyceRevenge says:

      I was about to point that out. It’s as if she has some sort of mental Cobb salad she ladles out of her brain that involves a hearty melding of dressed pigeon, crumbled blue cheese and stock phrases that mean less with every bite.

      Still, it’s at least a stab at content.

  6. Weekend at Lily's says:

    I can’t read her writing long enough to slog through this entire thing, but wow her own issues really shine through. Basically this is an article about she wishes she was thinner and better looking and fashion week is a bad place for a bish with no self esteem. Great read.

  7. Stalker is the new Empurpled Pity Polyp ♪ ♫ says:

    FIRST!!!11

    also

    tl;dr

    also

    vommmmmmmmmmmm and is some sort of painful experiment involving dark green vegetables = BPC??????

  8. Undeniably Average, Surgically Enhanced, Totally Worse for Wear says:

    I attended my inaugural fashion show.

    Jesus Christ, just say ‘first fashion show.’ Goddamn her word salad.

    “Inaugural” is not appropriate here. FUCK FUCK FUCK. I can’t take it anymore.

    This writing, it’s atrocious. Is this what she meant by ‘literary’ writing???

    FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK!!

  9. The Freeloading Musketeers says:

    tpw;cr

  10. Princess WideStance says:

    “Unless your last name is Wintour or Roitfeld…”

    This is SUCH donkeyshit. If you are actually IN fashion, and are supposed to be there, then you won’t have a fucking problem. If you are a parasite, then yeah, you probably will get some attitude and put in your place.

    My god, the stupid. It burns.

    • Stalker is the new Empurpled Pity Polyp ♪ ♫ says:

      Hate the idea that Anna Wintour just sailed through life inheriting her position. I believe, maybe I’m wrong, that she worked her @$$ off to get where she is and if she makes it look easy that’s just a reflection of her expertise.

      • Bepelted Braying Barnyard Animal with NPD says:

        Tim Gunn’s recent spate of Wintour-dissing has given me the LULZies, though.

      • flotsam says:

        Bepelted: But he’s not saying she didn’t work to get to her position, though. Just that she has decided to act needlessly cunty now that she’s gotten there. A nuance missed by mindless apers like Julia, who are just like, “Ooooh, now people are turning on Anna Wintour so I should do! What a vapid witch! Why is she so special, amiright girls?!”

      • The Dopamine of Possibility says:

        My understanding is that Anna Wintour wanted to be Editor in Chief of American Vogue and wasn’t going to rest until it happened. Sure, she may have been a little ruthless at times, but I get the impression that she worked very hard for the title.

        BTW, anything I know about Anna Wintour was learned from reading her unauthorized biography at the beach last year. 😉

      • Stalker is the new Empurpled Pity Polyp ♪ ♫ says:

        everything i know about her is from reading “the devil wears prada” (i was NOT sympathetic to the “protagonist”)

        TEAM ANNA.

        lol

        I love tim gunn though too.

  11. SA says:

    I could only get through the first paragraph. Which, by the way, contains TWELVE commas and only one period. Pithy!

    • Well done, Juelzie says:

      I just don’t see how this was a nuanced piece. It’s just more navel-gazing:

      1- I’m not skinny enough (please tell me I am)
      2- I’m not pretty enough (please tell me I am)
      3- I’m not fashionable enough (please tell me I am)

  12. Naansociety says:

    Wow, that first paragraph is pretty tough to parse. It’s obvious she thinks that the way to “write” is just to string along a number of thoughts, sticking commas here and there. And while I think it’s silly to compare Fashion Week to boot camp, she could at least follow that up with some colorful descriptions and reasoning and examples of exactly WHY and HOW it’s like boot camp.

  13. Gem says:

    As a Brit, a country actually in the midst of London Fashion Week, I have no clue why Donk has been asked to write something for them! It’s badly written and has nothing, in my view, of what a normal person would think of fashion week. Liberty London Girl does it better as do 100s of other “actual” fashion bloggers. Waste of time reading it really

  14. Belle says:

    We all know Julia has dependency issues, but I didn’t realize that she was so addicted to the dependent clause. My grammar and punctuation are not perfect, but no one should be allowed to use that many commas in one article. In fact, that first sentence left me with a bit of a clause induced hangover.

    Also, I’m so tired of hearing Jackles complain about how tough it is to fit in to the fashion/tech/professional world. It’s tough for you to fit in because you try to hard, dress inappropriately, behave badly and use people to climb to the middle and then burn them like their matches.

    Hopefully, we won’t have to read too many more of these “reflective” pieces on how things have changed or not since she started in the “business” a whole six years ago. But then again, this is Narcissus’ ugly stepsister that we’re talking about, so she’s not likely to be able to walk away from her own self-reflections.

  15. Aw, all of these criticisms of her writing are mean! Once she finds that perfect word selection app, she will be able to eliminate any little nits that keep her articles from being the fluid yet concise masterpieces they were meant to be.

    • Undeniably Average, Surgically Enhanced, Totally Worse for Wear says:

      Jesus, i know!

      In the words of Eliza Dushku towards the end of Bring It On, “If you don’t got it by now, you don’t got it!”

      Or something like that.

  16. G.I. Sane says:

    Ah, yes. Well I HAVE been to boot camp. Boot camp is a friend of mine. And I assure you sir, Fashion Week is no boot camp.

    • Well done, Juelzie says:

      First of all, the commenter who wrote that it’s like a morning commute was more dead on than this dummy’s simile about “boot camp.” How is it like boot camp? Do you have to wake up early and get yelled at all day? Do you have like 5 mins to eat and then run back out and get yelled at some more? Do you have to make sure your appearance is impeccable and your surroundings are neat (bed you can bounce a quarter on)? Do you have the fear of God drilled in to you while you scrub furiously at your boots to make sure they are shiny and in order?

      • G.I. Sane says:

        Do you learn the warrior skills necessary to defend your country with your life? Do you learn the selfless teamwork required to make sure everyone comes home alive? Can you make one tube of cherry Chapstick LAST FOR 10 WEEKS?
        All totally true.

        I just say, Drill Sergeant.

      • Well done, Juelzie says:

        I’ve seen GI Jane. It sucked. This is a better portrayal of how it is…

        [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUc62jD-G0o&fs=1&hl=en_US]

      • Dr. Gary says:

        I’ll see your Full Metal Jacket, @Well done, Juelzie and raise you one Apocalypse Now (not a boot camp film, but a far FAR superior war/military film than GI fucking Jane):

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoodcDw6QuA

      • fuck camping! says:

        wut?! it’s not like this (grilled shrimp, fried shrimp, shrimp gumbo…)

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLkNPjbaPTk

      • Well done, Juelzie says:

        Well, then I have no choice but to go all in with…

        [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiIZLDeMOg0&fs=1&hl=en_US]

      • Well done, Juelzie says:

        @Dr. Gary – LOVE Apocalypse Now. Even more so when I learned it was a modern-day version of “Heart of Darkness.” Such a strange and dark story. My favorite kind.

      • Dr. Gary says:

        Damn YOU, @Well done, Juelzie. Damn you to HELL for thinking of An Officer & A Gentleman. How could I forget that one?

        (awwww…posting film clips reminds me of movie theme Saturday nights on Gawker, circa summer 2007)

      • Well done, Juelzie says:

        @Dr. G – What can I say? I am an olds…

      • RollsRoyceRevenge says:

        Well…there are boots…and there is a certain amount of camp…so…yeah.

        Boot camp.

    • LickedRandi'sCake says:

      Really.

      My son literally, literally, literally, I say – just got out of boot camp. He had a week’s pay taken away because his shirt was untucked when he went to chow and he dared to tell the Drill Sergeant that apprised him of this fact that he’d thought it was tucked in.

      Fashion Week is not boot camp.

      • Stalker is the new Empurpled Pity Polyp ♪ ♫ says:

        oh wow. My son would not last 30 seconds there.

      • LickedRandi'sCake says:

        Well, knowing my son, he didn’t say it nicely.

        And, I thought the same thing about my son, too.
        He is a bit of a ne’er do well. We told him it was either homelessness, the military o rhe make it big somehow out on his own because he wasn’t going to be allowed to live with us any longer. So, since he’s no Jay Z, the only choice was the military.

        Him getting in trouble to that degree right at the beginning was probably the best thing for him. He finally realized that he was in a place where nobody cared about his sense of entitlement. They’ve seen bigger, badder, tougher, louder than him and they were not impressed. And he seems a changed person because of it. Not that there won’t be backslides, I’m sure, but he finally seems to be getting it what we’ve always told him. NOBODY OWES YOU ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD.

        So, I am of the camp that, sometimes, kids will turn out one way, even if you raise them another. I never raised him to have a sense of entitlement. I never raised him to think it was ok to not work and sponge off of his parents. I am embarrassed he was that way. And embarrassed to say that it seems the Army did what me and my husband could not. But, no matter. The end result seems to be a positive one.

        So, as you can see, it rankles that someone would compare a week of parties, interviews, gift bags and sitting on your their butts watching a bunch of models walk down a runway to a boot camp. Boot camp is about stripping your ego away, Fashion Week is about ego and nothing else.

      • Stalker is the new Empurpled Pity Polyp ♪ ♫ says:

        sometimes, kids will turn out one way, even if you raise them another.

        that is the TRUTH!!!

        But don’t be embarassed, because it sounds like it’s working out for the best!

        My son gets the “I forgot” and “I thought it was” disease a lot. He’s not old enough to kick out yet though.

        I can see that it would rankle and I totally understand. Her bullshit comparisons are BULLSHIT. She doesn’t know SHIT about having it hard or boot camp or being “battered”.

      • mcakez says:

        This is going to sound terrible, LRC, but as a teacher, I sometimes wish we could ship the kids that are insistent about being complete and total turds directly to boot camp and then into their four years with the mil. It would certainly have a positive effect on classroom management bullshit.

        Of course, I also decided today that I want to run for Governor of California on the Double-Dog-Dare-Arizona platform, where in I don’t just ship off illegal immigrants, I ship of anyone who wasn’t fucking born here. Midwestern transplants and Arizona assholes who are clogging up my state, I am looking at you.

        (Politics have been making me especially ragey lately and I decided on this stance after listening to some asshole on NPR talk about how, “them illegals’ve been cloggin’ up California fer too long, ‘n’ it’s haagh taahm they get the boot like Arr-zona’s doin’.” Fuck you, hillbilly. Get out of my state and take your short-sighted, self-righteous, thinly-veiled bigotry out of my glorious hippie state.)

      • LickedRandi'sCake says:

        Doesn’t sound terrible to me at all. I come from a family with a very, very strong military background. Father, brother, husband, father in law, grandfather in law, a nephew (and I only have two) and my only son. I don’t believe every person will come out changed (there are those that will just be determined to be turds forever), but, I see what it’s done for the men in my family, and now my son.

        Haha…..I live in Arizona. But, if it helps, I’m an Arizonan who rarely visits CA. Have no urge. Other than the ocean, I just never understood the hype.

        But, then I would respectfully request that you keep your Californians out of Arizona as well. They all infected our state when they finally realized they were paying 10x what their real estate was really worth and they could live like kings in mansions over here for way, way less. They have made my morning commute a nightmare.

  17. Emily Gould's Trusty Google Alert says:

    so many adjectives

    • Unconscionably expensive Bakers says:

      Too much use of the thesaurus helper thingy in Word. I also love the veiled insult to BPC: “as if it were some sort of painful experiment involving dark green vegetables.”

      Having done that crazy expensive gave-me-diarrhea-that-squirted-all-over-my-office-hallway (no joke) I can, er, relate.

    • Dr. Gary says:

      …so little time.

  18. flatface says:

    Of course, she can only cover the event through her blinders. How she bumbled about. What she thinks. She couldn’t of course cover fashion week as a fashion event. And she couldn’t interview anyopne else about the scrum that is the shows, or the jockeying for social position. No. It had to be first person. It has to be essentially, about Julia Allison. Recounting her resume again, name dropping. Acting the expert.

    Am I old? Or does this read like an eighth grade book report? A field report. Like, fashion week explained as if for people who have been marooned Castaway-style on a mid-ocean island for the last, oh, 20 years. Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry? Reeeeallly Julia? Fashion is both business AND art? Reeeeallyy? I never thought of it that way! But it’s so true! Designers compete for fashion week media coverage? There is a show BEHIND the show?

    Fasci-fuck-inating.

    • Jacy says:

      I hate first person for a lot of reasons, mostly because I think it’s lazy. (Even in a lot of fiction, it bugs me). But the best columnists, even when stating their point of view, rarely use “I” or “me.” They tell a story or state a point and back it up with voices other than their own..

      Not our Jules! If she can’t make something about her, she’s not interested.

      • Expert Gay says:

        Agreed about first person in fiction, though a lot of writers to make it work (Nabokov in Lolita, Dickens in David Copperfield, etc). But Julia? Yeah.

      • fuck camping! says:

        but, but! julia got a text message that said ‘sex tonight yes ot no?’, and then she talked about it on VH1, people! this happened to HER*! they’re HER memories too!*

        *legalese disclosure: julia did not receive this text. her reader alexa did. xoxo bunnies.

      • I only hate first person when that person is Donkey.

    • Can-Swiss says:

      It really is a terrible piece. She said nothing remotely interesting or insightful. I kept waiting for the article to have, a UM – ERR – OOPS point.

    • Dr. Gary says:

      “Or does this read like an eighth grade book report?”

      Yes. Yes, it does. Good LORD that was painful to read. Why the FUCK did they publish this? It’s just awful.

      Even Mrs. Fluffernutter is a better writer. And she’s a CAT.

  19. It's Always Shitty in Donkadelphia says:

    “It is crucial to dress in subtle designer frocks, but never jeans… too casual, you’ll look out of place.”

    Now I see why Katrina’s Fecebook page has the SAME avatar as The Biggest Loser, seeing as how she’s in dire need of fashion Do’s & Dont’s from La Donk.

  20. Well done, Juelzie says:

    Here is the crux of the problem:
    “Six years ago…”
    “Four years later…”
    “It’s been seven long seasons …”
    It’s the inconsistency of the writing. First of all, how about start with when you began covering it. “Four years and seven long seasons ago, (Abe Lincoln play on phrases) this fashion neophyte braved the New York fashion tents to cover her first show. It was a “first” of many…” But no, she has to heehaw all over it.

  21. Fred Grott says:

    so Robin Baugher no longer edits?

  22. darling melissa sue says:

    Unless your last name is Wintour or Roitfeld, covering fashion week requires stamina, fortitude, old-fashioned wiles and a substantial amount of (preferably unassailable) self-esteem…

    Whoa. If you’re Wintour and Roitfeld, you don’t need stamina or fortitude? Is the implication here that they don’t work hard? Really??

    Also, you’re missing an indefinite article in that last sentence: You just want to go home and eat chocolate bunny from last Easter.

    • Well done, Juelzie says:

      Maybe she turns into a cavegirl after Fashion Week.
      “Me want chocolate Easter Bunny.” *stompstomp*

    • RollsRoyceRevenge says:

      She means it as a gestalt physio-emotional state. “You want to go home and crash.” “You want to go home and cry.” “You want to go home and eat chocolate bunny from last Easter.”

    • Julia's Fat Ass says:

      I don’t know how any of you got through this fucking drivel. ZOMG. I fucking hate her writing so fucking badly. STOP WRITING LIKE THAT YOU DON”T SOUND SMART< GAH!!!!!!!

      What the fuck are "old fashioned wiles??"

    • Julia's Fat Ass says:

      Also if you have a “substantial amount” of self-esteem, one would think it was ALREADY UNASSAILABLE. As that’s what self-esteem fucking IS, feeling good about yourself. And if you have it to a substantial degree, doesn’t it logically follow that its’ “unassailable?”

      Stop adding fucking adjectives to EVERYTHING. She adds adjectives to adjectives.

      • Peltergeist says:

        Sing it, JFA. I get into a rage when I read her stuff, especially the official stuff for publication. It is just so “try-hard.” I am disgusted with the Guardian…used to love that paper.

      • Julia's Fat Ass says:

        Haha, I’m always raging around here. It’s just high time people stopped hiring her to do anything, as she is piss poor at whatever she tries. If she really thinks this drivel is good writing, she’s even more delusional than I previously thought.

  23. totaljing says:

    tl;dr

    I stopped @ “You have to become a liminal figure; too aggressive and you piss people off, too passive and you won’t get any coverage whatsoever.” Liminal, you are doing it wrong!

  24. This isn’t journalism. This is a therapy session. I cannot believe they published this. How is this point of view any value to the Guardian’s readers?

  25. Sausage Snappers says:

    Couldn’t get past the first sentence. Stop talking about yourself! Stop using “I”! Take yourself out of it! JOURNALISM 101!!!!!!

    And she isn’t the only journalist these days that could stand to relearn that lesson. Media today is a joke.

  26. “It is crucial to dress in subtle designer frocks.”

    Um. . . her Fashion Week wardrobe was subtle?!?!?

  27. ay yai yai says:

    Ugh, now she’s tweeting Cindi Leive about it?

    “@cindi_leive – your front row fashion tweets inspired me as I wrote this up! Hope you have a foot massage scheduled :)”

    She clearly crapped this out for the Guardian as a way to her hoof in the door with Glamour. I’m just disappointed the Guardian took it–yeah, their editing for their online content is usually lacking, but I typically find the writing interesting and 50x better than Donkey’s.

  28. "Pilot" is the new "keynote" says:

    What’s scary is that they clearly edited SOME of it to dumb it down for the local audience (I’m pretty sure Brits know what sneakers are, no need to change it to “trainers,” guys). Imagine being the poor sub-editor assigned to this.

    Also, why hasn’t anyone noticed that SHE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT FASHION AND DOESN’T EVEN CARE ABOUT IT??

  29. RollsRoyceRevenge: Queen of the TL DR says:

    Yeah, but the above is the edited version.

    Unedited went as follows:

    I’ve never been in combat boots because I am not a lesbian (although if you are, hey, whatever—ain’t like you’re edging me out of the game or something), but I’ve seen GI Jane (lesbian? Totally! You know how Lost Boys is gay? GI Jane is the lesbian version of Lost Boys), and from the looks of it, fashion weeks like last week in New York, or opening today in Milan, bear more than a passing resemblance to a regimented boot camp, with very shiny nice new booties that I would like to perhaps talk about on my blog if only somehow I could afford them to make sure that they fit right and don’t give my ankles contusions. I was struggling through the middle of a highly organised, unrelenting mosh pit of well-dressed editors, reporters, buyers, models, photographers, press and flaks with competing agendas and then I thought “why the hell do I always forget that there is no through-way concourse in the Conde Nast Building?” So I left the lobby and just cabbed it.

    Six years ago, when the now-famous New York fashion week was still held under huge white circus tents covering Bryant Park and Jessica Simpson on the chaotic, touristy intersection of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue, because for some strange reason tourists can’t get enough of the Verizon Building, I attended my inaugural fashion show. Just 23 then—a mere pup!–I sat fourth or fifth or possibly the back row and gaped, slack-jawed, tongue lolling from side to side, flies buzzing in and out, at the models parading the clothing of a designer I’ve forgotten. My first impression was the ultimate industry cliche: “Goddamn, these models are really skinny. I mean UGLY skinny. I mean, like, I should probably offer them a nice sandwich and the use of this chair. I mean TJ’s pancakes of eggs? More appetizing than this.”

    Four years later, as the editor-at-large of STAR magazine, cough, cough, my boss asked me to cover fashion week. I had never covered fashion before, and I had absolutely no idea what or how to do so. I got there with my videographer and my press pass and expected it would be no trouble. And it was quite a bit of trouble indeed. Tribble-levels of trouble, in fact, minus the cute fuzzy aspects.

    Unless your last name is Wintour or Roitfeld, or you are a screamy fat gay guy who knows “Perez”, whoever the hell that is, covering fashion week requires stamina, fortitude, old-fashioned wiles and a substantial amount of skin moisturizer and hand sanitizer, because you will be shaking claws with some of the weirdest fucking looking people you have ever seen. You think you’re important? You’re not. You think you’re thin or attractive? You’re not. You think anyone cares whether you get your interview? They don’t. You think all of them wash their hands after their trek to the porta-potty for their “coke break?” Who wants to test fate?

    Many regulars fight this paradox: they adore fashion week, but they also count down the days until it is over and congratulate each other on “making it through”, as if it were some sort of painful experiment involving dark green vegetables. By the way: three weeks on Blueprint and I think I’ve shat my way down two sizes!

    It’s been seven long seasons since I first stumbled with my microphone into my tits, and there are certainly stages to the experience. First, uncomprehending wide-eyed wonder as the glamorous chaos swirls around you, coupled with a palpable fear of doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, sitting in the wrong seat, arousing the attention or ire of the ubiquitously lean, black-clad PR girls. Then you do all those wrong things and learn to snarl at the PR girls: “Look, back off you obnoxious, heroin-addled cunt, or I’ll break you in half.”

    Then a gradual onset of confidence begins: yes, only the neophytes ask Anna Wintour for a photograph. But what, pray tell, is wrong with neo-phytism? Press requests are made early, but there is no such thing as a confirmed interview. Ever. You’ll be body-checking people – literally – to get that soundbite, and that’s just part of the job. One has to prepare for bruises, blisters, even blood (my camera guy once started bleeding after he found himself between Andre Leon Tally and a table with coffee and donuts on it).

    You have to become a liminal figure; too aggressive and you piss people off, too passive and you won’t get any coverage whatsoever. I suggest the first of the two if the choice must be made. But really, limining is the ideal. I actually practice limining for a week beforehand by going to cafes that are not quite fashionable anymore and pretending to be the last famous person in the room. It is crucial to dress in subtle designer frocks, but never jeans (unless you’re an editor) and always unconscionably expensive, outrageously high heels (they are regularly studied). Too showy, and you’ll attract attention as an outsider – only front row celebs and total newbies dress like it’s a red carpet – too casual, you’ll look out of place. Again: EMBRACE THE FIRST OPTION IF THAT’S ALL YOU’VE GOT.

    Fashion week may sound frothy. In reality, it is anything but. It is a multibillion-dollar global business: sweatshops, pollution issues, mafia involvement, the works. The best comparison I’ve come up with is that of 90 weddings, with 18 to 30 brides each. All in the span of eight days. And all of them have just walked in on the groom fucking the best man two minutes before the wedding guests show up.

    This season I asked designers, “Do you consider fashion to be an art or a business?” It is both of course, but it’s also entertainment. And sometimes it is a high-speed sport. And a clown show. And feeding time at the zoo. It isn’t, after all, a fashion tell. It’s a fashion show, which isn’t limited to what walks down the catwalk, or the lighting and thumping music, now I can’t get that fucking Mike Posner out of my head, thank you so much, Vera Wang.

    The show is in the seating, in what the editors are wearing to the shows. The way a beautifully constructed dress can actually make a crowd gasp, laugh and sometimes moo. And to a certain extent, it’s also a START PROGRAM incredibly nuanced, unbelievably complicated multi-layered competition – folks, I just generated that last sentence using I-pad’s new cliché-o-matic option. That Steve Jobs, what a hot of slab of genius. What results is sometimes a battle of egos, sometimes a celebration of craftsmanship, but usually a pounding stress headache and feet that feel as if they’ve been pushed through a ball-point pen.

    Astounding creative visions are realized here. The realization sometimes comes in the form of “hey, guess what—layered organza over puce leather looks like something a talking giant eggplant would wear to the Rocky Horror Picture Show”–but still! It’s this mix that makes fashion week so defiantly brilliant, so exhaustingly frustrating, so ineffably adjectival. But sometimes you’re cold, bored, you’d rather be in sweats and trainers and your ego is wounded because some PR lady put you in the third row and you couldn’t think of anything else to ask Diane von Furstenberg other than “you know your husband is gay, right? I mean, you did a lot of drugs, but you’re not that looped that you haven’t figured that one out, right?”

    And if you did make it into the first row by some chance, isn’t it true that your thighs are simply too big to be there and everyone will be judging you against the backdrop of 0% body fat and oh God, why are you here anyway? You’re a fraud. You just want to go home and boil a bunny like Glenn Close did. And leave it in Mr. Crazy-ass Redacted’s glove compartment right next to the meds he never fucking took.

    And I’ve done that, too.

  30. Stalker is the new Empurpled Pity Polyp ♪ ♫ says:

    hee 🙂 going to cafes that are not quite fashionable anymore and pretending to be the last famous person in the room.

    wow

  31. NuttyGrannyMoneybags says:

    RedMutley
    22 September 2010 5:06PM

    These are precisely the sort of people that firing squads were invented for.

    RedMutley, you are my hero.

  32. married, still says:

    i read this: glued on extensions stretch your scalp and can make your face look droopy

  33. Helena (Call Me Beauty) says:

    I didn’t read her “article for the Guardian” because I don’t care, but I’d like to remind everyone that it was published in the “Comment is free” section of the online Guardian. That is NOT the same as a “regular article for the Guardian.”

    Also, from the comments:

    pacosez
    22 September 2010 5:54PM

    Was this piece edited at all? It is riddled with grammatical errors and just overall poor writing.

    I expect better from The Guardian.

    • fuck camping! says:

      wow. i’ve read a lot of julia’s writing, and this was one of the worst.
      ah, so it sounds kind of like mary’s thing with the chronicle. ‘oh look, i’m a blogger/columnist for the chronicle’, when in fact anyone can ‘publish’ (un-edited) under the chron banner, similar to this guardian ‘comment is free’ section.

      • Well done, Juelzie says:

        Well, that’s probably why she wrote that piece. To “one-up” Mary. Just like the passive aggressive tweets about “Downtown Girls.” I mean, I am bored to death at work most of the time, I am not a jetsetter by any means, but I think I can think of better ways to spend my time than trawling for articles on fringe-dwelling people’s reality shows.

    • Stalker is the new Empurpled Pity Polyp ♪ ♫ says:

      what’s the difference?

      • Helena (Call Me Beauty) says:

        I think FC basically nailed it in the post above when she (she, right?) compared it to Mary’s “columnisting” in the Chronicle. Don’t get me wrong, someone must have thought the Donks article was interesting in a way, but it’s really nowhere near getting a REAL article in the REAL paper. The Cif section is a BLOG, and various weirdos have appeared there. Check out their “About Us” page or their FAQ:

        “The idea behind the blog was to allow a more diverse range of voices than is possible in the space-restricted and intensely-edited paper. As editors we want to have a broad spread of views on the blog and as far as possible try to give bloggers leeway to express themselves as they want. We are also publishing very rapidly, often at half-hour intervals. As a result we will edit for sense and grammar, but less than we would in the paper for structure and length.”

        “Comment in the paper is commissioned with the newspaper readership in mind. This means it is not written with a view to an open, interactive exchange with readers, so there should not be a presumption that the columnist or other author will engage in threads. Newspaper pieces also appear on the site without links to other websites. Pieces written for the blog are shorter, contain links and authors are asked to watch their threads and engage with posters. This does not, of course, always happen and many authors prefer not to respond in their threads, but the editors encourage bloggers to take part in the discussions prompted by their blogs.”

        They obviously screwed this one up as far as their philosophy of picking pieces “on the basis of good ideas, relevance to current events and good writing” goes, but please, please, throughout the years to come when the Donk is going to bray endlessly about being “a writer for the Guardian,” keep in mind that her shit was published in Comment is free. There is a major difference.

      • Stalker is the new Empurpled Pity Polyp ♪ ♫ says:

        Thanks Helena! 🙂

    • ShesJustStupid says:

      What exactly is the “comment is free” section?

    • Well done, Juelzie says:

      This is kind of embarrassing. I don’t know when her shenanigans will end. This is a blog post, plain and simple, but she touts it as if it were a legitimate “print” article. I can’t say I don’t feel a twinge of pity for the person who tries to prove themselves so hard, but why even bother linking to this? Hell, I used to get paid (very little but still) to write articles for an online magazine and never linked to them unless people asked me to. I also rarely talked about it.

    • bitchface says:

      if she were honest about it, it might even draw people to her, but she’s slimy about everything. I tots thought she was publishing a real article/ really being published/printed.

      gross. I need a shower.

      • Helena (Call Me Beauty) says:

        I’m not a HUGE fan of the Guardian, but I’d be reeeeally surprised if they thought the Donk was print-worthy. Seriously. The paper is out of many better writers’ league, not that it’s so hard to be a better writer than La Burra.

        Glad I could clear this up!

      • cupcake rawr says:

        she does NOT get paid unless the article was commissioned or gets featured on the frontpage. i don’t think Cif should be dissed though … it’s a great platform for non-writers to have their say on their area of expertise and it’s not like they’ll just accept submissions from anyone. i know plenty of people who have published smart pieces there though (and they’ve rejected a couple of my pitches, which i like to think were pretty good, bc someone was already covering my beat). i’m not sure why a veteran journalist would ever submit there though …

      • Helena (Call Me Beauty) says:

        @ cupcake awr: No, no, I absolutely didn’t mean to diss Cif. As I said, interesting and relevant authors can be found there. My point was that, as you said, it’s (mostly) a great platform for NON-WRITERS; having an article published there is something completely different than what people hear when you say “The Guardian published my article,” and we all know that is what JA is going to say about this, *whilst* the term “Comment is free,” let alone a proper explanation, will be conveniently dropped, like a phone. Legalese, once again.

        Also, as I said somewhere below – the Guardian got REAL FW coverage from REAL journalists, which in itself makes JA’s position rather clear.

      • cupcake rawr says:

        @Helena

        No offense taken, just don’t think Cif is quite the same as Houston’s truly free for all blog. And I don’t know how I feel about publicizing this as being published in the Guardian. To be fair, the people I know who have written there don’t bother to say that they were published in the Guardian’s blog either, nor do folks I know who have written exclusively for online editions of women’s mags … i see how this is infuriating coming from JA though!

  34. IamLA says:

    I love how she uses imagery to paint a vivid picture that brings clarity to her arguments.

    “…regimented boot camp, in the middle of a highly organised,
    unrelenting mosh pit”

    An organized mosh pit. Right, I see those all the time. And boot camp in a mosh pit totally makes sense.

    “…as if it were some sort of painful experiment involving dark
    green vegetables”

    Oh sure, painful vegetable experiments. -Now- I see what she means.

    “It is a multibillion-dollar global business. The best comparison I’ve come up with is that of 90 weddings, with 18 to 30 brides each.”

    Wait, are mass weddings a global business? I’m confused again. I need more metaphors.

    • fuck camping! says:

      new username alert: Painful Vegetable Experiments.

    • Well done, juelzie says:

      Her best analogy had to do with weddings. Because everyone has huge weddings. How about a more relatable cross-cultural reference. It’s great that she wrote this a week after it was over.

    • Julia's Fat Ass says:

      Her adjectives make me want to kick babies. They NEVER make fucking sense. Like “unassailable self-esteem,” as opposed to self-esteem that is easily assailable, no longer making it self-esteem.

      Just shut the fuck up already.

      • IamLA says:

        “ubiquitously lean PR girls” is my favorite, I think. I don’t even know what she thinks “ubiquitously” is modifying. Extra points for the condescension.

      • Undeniably Average, Surgically Enhanced, Totally Worse for Wear says:

        How can one be ubiquitously lean?? Would not that be ubiquitous, lean PR girls? (not that i would ever write that, but you know what i mean?).

        That’s just weird. There is no fat to be ubiquitous in that phrase. The lack of fat is ubiquitous?

        The mind boggles.

  35. bettedavis says:

    “It’s been seven long seasons since I first stumbled with my microphone into the tents, and there are certainly stages to the experience. First, uncomprehending wide-eyed wonder as the glamorous chaos swirls around you, coupled with a palpable fear of doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, sitting in the wrong seat, arousing the attention or ire of the ubiquitously lean, black-clad PR girls. Then a gradual onset of confidence begins: yes, only the neophytes ask Anna Wintour for a photograph.”

    That last sentence is a direct insult to Mary. Cuntface Donkey.

    http://julia.nonsociety.com/post/78694365

  36. Julia's Fat Ass says:

    “Astounding creative visions are realised here.”

    HAHAHA. I just really can’t anymore. The most I can do is make myself GLANCE at this article, and every sentence my eyes focus on is dumber then the next.

  37. Julia's Fat Ass says:

    “The way a beautifully constructed dress can actually make a crowd gasp.”

    Pretty sure that’s a sentence fragment. Well done, Julesie. Well done.

  38. Natface says:

    Ha, did she change realized to realised or did The Guardian? Probably the latter, but I can’t stand when Americans affect British English.

    • flotsam says:

      I’m pretty sure, if it went through any kind of editor at all, they did it (I’m not British, but it happens when I publish things in British publications – I write like I always write, because I can’t keep track of all the differences, big and small, and the next time I see it, all the “z”s that should be “s”s are “s”s, the “ass”es are “arse”s, etc.).

  39. Helena (Call Me Beauty) says:

    Hah. Can the real ArundelXVI please stand up?

    ArundelXVI
    22 September 2010 9:51PM

    @alisdaircameron : “Glad to see the fashion world retains its sense of perspective. ”

    Ha ha. Julia Allison is not in the fashion world. She wangles press passes and does her fashion reports on spec- no one hired her to do them. She admits being a peripheral figure on the scene, but even that’s generous.

    Did anyone see that the first sentence of this article has no less than twelve commas?

    ——————–

    BTW, lest anyone believe that The Guardian relies on the Donk as far as their FW coverage goes, which I’m sure is her interpretation: please compare and contrast. They have real journalists doing real work.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/newyorkfashionweek

    • I actually began to register so I could comment but abandoned it because I did not want my email address as my identifier. I really wanted to link pictures of her “unconscionably expensive shoes” and “subtle designer frocks.” I couldn’t tell if that’s allowed, though; didn’t see any links in other comments.

    • NorseHorse says:

      Helena, that’s moi. I ran over there after reading here, I’m already registered. Anyway, I was being pretty delicate there because the Guardian is not averse to pulling comments. Glad to see it’s still there, glad you noticed it! I did my bit, any chance to expose/embarrass her internationally must be taken!
      🙂

    • Our Lady of Bray says:

      Sorry but this bitch, with, this, CRAP, actually, thinks, she could, write a PhD. She can, suck on mine haters.

      Wow, I am, really, really, wound up, this… morning. Is, she, now, saying, via twitter, that, the, paper, put, in her, G.I. Jane, reference.

      Like I said, she can suck on my “4 years of pain researching and writing in another county in another language on a subject that so many academics before me had written about so the scrutiny was intense” PhD.

      Carry on crazy cat ladies, I love you all.

      • Our Lady of Bray says:

        Sorry, forgot the ?

      • Jacy says:

        This, made, me, laugh, so, hard.

        P.S.,

        DONKEY

      • Mini Driver says:

        Lady Bray, I interpreted the tweet “They illustrated my Fashion Week article in The Guardian with … GI Jane. That’ll teach me!” to mean, “After the layout artist couldn’t get through more than my first sentence, she grabbed a promo photo, of the only reference she had caught, to a 17-year-old Demi Moore movie, how, stupid, do, I, feel about not using something, more, current?”

  40. diluted brain says:

    Her writing gets profusely worse (similarly to her botoxed face) as the years pass. . . or her Mom was just a more interesting writer back then.

    I can’t even get through a first paragraph anymore of hers, just too painful. It’s kind of sad / pathetic to turn a fashion week story into yourself. She needs therapy for her insecurity or to embark on a career outside of the limelight.

  41. JuLIAR Allison says:

    Is this a Robin Baugher effort? I didn’t think Donkey was capable of decent writing.

    Boring and unoriginal topic – yes – but written with a fair degree of coherence with only a *hint* of Donkey showing off (six seasons at FW). Nicely done Momsers.

    • IamLA says:

      Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast Heather?

      • Dr. Gary says:

        Grow up, Heather. Bulimia is so ’87.

      • JuLIAR Allison says:

        Eh – I just didn’t think it was as bad as her previous work. Normally I’m in choking fits when I read her “articles” but it didn’t happen this time.

        Don’t get me wrong, the contetn is shite, but the writing just felt a little more… ordered, I guess. Like Momsers was able to corral Donkey’s ridiculous ideas and put them in paragraphs that indicated the presence of rational thought.

        Maybe I’m just feeling charitable this morning. It happens so rarely, I find it hard to name this curious feeling. 🙂

        PS. A true friend’s work is never done.

      • bitchface says:

        you better watch it, IAmLA, or it’s keggers with kids all next year.

  42. XX says:

    “ubiquitously lean”? What a feat!

  43. New Year New You says:

    OT but these have got to be Kuntrina’s ugliest shoes yet

    http://katrina.nonsociety.com/post/1167455753/its-time-for-closed-toe-shoes-these-are-my-go-to

    Clompfootsociety.com

    Yeah, yeah, I’m jealous, they’re McQueen, I’m jealous, I don’t know what I’m talking about, yeah, yeah.

  44. Dr. Bobby Is Hiring says:

    I am still stuck on “…as if it were some sort of painful experiment involving dark green vegetables.”. Is this secret code? Is Julie actually a spy communicating important coded messages?

    I mean, I assume she’s talking about Butt Juice, but only because I read here. If I was just sitting down to read that article, as a Julia noob, I’d be so confused: did she try to stick zucchini up her butt? Did she try to staple pieces of spinach to herself? What. the. fuck.

  45. JA: Running Joke of LA says:

    ATTENTION RBNS CATLADIEEES:

    I’m going to New York in a few days for a week (my first time off in years!). Hooray.

    I was about to start researching compiled lists of places that are interesting and restaurants that are new/exciting/delicious, but then I remembered the kind of people who write said lists… Julio… Mario… Jordo…

    We KNOW how good their opinions are. How will I know who to trust?

    I know my fellow catladees can give me a hand. Any suggestions?

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