Contrary to the failure that was last Wednesdays discussion (see Rebel Rebel: Waste of Time), Thursday’s interview with Suzy Menkes, editor of the International Herald Tribune, proved to be quite insightful; I had always wondered what was happening underneath that signature pomp of hers. The audience listened with rapt attention to the relaxed conversation between Menkes and Gladys Perint Palmer, Executive Director of Fashion at Academy of Art, whose voices were projected ever so softly from the auditoriums potentially powerful speakers.
Marching fearlessly into an open explanation of a very current and close to home topic to us bloggers: e-commerce and internet journalism, Menkes was articulate, knowledgeable, and even used the word ‘blogosphere’ which I have since reinstated to my vocabulary repertoire. Her understanding of media’s influence on fashion was impressive and surpassed that of any over-confident twenty-something by a landslide. Atop of that, her knowledge was by no means one-dimensional; she covered topics from the direct link between fashion shows and online shopping (see Tokyo Girls fashion show) to the endless opportunities to diminish the waste created by fashion (Monsoon’s return policy) and even the evolution of the tribal headdress to the logo and beyond.
Perhaps the most thrilling part was being privy to a few of Menkes’ theories about the fashion industry. Who else would have claimed that the current silhouette of models and the drive to be thin can not be accredited to designers nor journalists but to the lack of means to differentiate ones self from the masses? According to Menkes, the “extreme body modification” that is paraded down the runways is really just a replacement for the clothing that royalty and the elite were once identified by.
Not to say that the interview was monopolized by heavy, hard to swallow concepts – when asked about her opinion on Lady Gaga, Menkes responded by saying, “I don’t think anything is going too far in fashion.” Not to say that Menkes’ own style was Gaga-inspired – to the amusement of the audience, she added, “Well, I can’t wear a telephone on my head because of my hairstyle.”