I looked in the mirror and what did I see?
A brand new image of the same old me
Oh but now I wonder why should I be surprised
I like the things about me…
— I Like the Things About Me, Mavis Staples
in his west of li column this month alan semerdjian reminds us of the connection between madonna’s “beauties” and the cone coverings jean paul gaultier made for her blond ambition tour. hard to believe you could think about one without the other, so poignant was the image of her wearing them. but what semerdjian is really talking about, and what gaultier is accomplishing, is that fashion is our connection between the imaginary realm of the art world and the reality of our everyday one.
i asked donna karan about it when i interviewed her for our cover story this month. the fashion authority gave us her perspective about this and the many other intersections in her life between the creative realm and the practical one. as a designer, she is dressing the world with classic styles. as a philanthropist, she is addressing humanity in a totally different (yet still creative) way. the harmony of donna karan (also the title of the piece) is about her ability to keep these two mutual halves of her self in balance.
right about now, the romance of autumn—and the ritual of fall preparations—is driving our appetite for new goods and the pages of this style issue are where to go to find them. our respective fall trend reports for men and women feature the accessories that will best complement the season’s looks. just shoes urges ladies to put their best feet forward, showing how the latest kicks will work just as easily on the sidewalk as they do on the runway. and of course, there’s our expanded fashion story, light fall. we took a trio of muses to the exquisite castle hotel in westchester to capture autumn’s best from day to evening to outerwear. we also got together with some friends: the fly guys of our men’s style guide. a handful of LI’s most stylish execs and entrepreneurs came out to nassau flyers, but this time it wasn’t about the flight lessons. it was instead to outfit them in fine haberdashery, pairing them with the aircraft matching their iconic looks. you may know some of these guys, influentials that they are, but you’ve never seen them quite like this before.
fashion can often be written off as frivolous or excessive or downright unnecessary. and sometimes that’s true (it might raise more than just your eyebrows if your attorney came to court wearing gaultier’s cones). nevertheless, fashion is a physical exercise of our individual attitudes. torn jeans and a baha poncho sends a far different message to the world than a structured armani suit. while the two may share a closet, the wearer picks his vestments carefully depending on whether he is going into battle in the boardroom or letting his hair down at the beach. we all pretend it has nothing to do with what’s underneath, but it does. not in terms of price tags and labels (that it most certainly doesn’t), but in terms of the simple statement of it, the colors that convey moods, the shapes that issue a state of mind and the fabrics that inform the tactile sensibility of it all. it’s why we don’t wear burlap, isn’t it? choose wisely.
Photo by Lynn Spinnato