Go For The Gusto

The fashion industry requires tough skin.


I think fashion people in general have a tendency to live in their own world. All of their friends are somehow in creative businesses, all their friends are in the entertainment biz, the fashion business, or they're in the art world, so you kind of end up in this small bubble. With a lot of fashion people if you're like, "Oh, are you excited about the Super Bowl?" they'd be like, "Oh, you got a new bowl?" They have no idea what you're talking about! So, the minute these women turned the corner it's like, I don't know anything about this, the only wrestler I can name is Hulk Hogan! I couldn't believe the kind of caricatures that were in front of me. It blew my mind. I also laughed out of nervousness because I knew the designers must have been having a nervous breakdown! This is not real life; it's easier to dress your second grade teacher.This was a costume challenge, because they have a persona and an image that befits a costume. But, it's a costume that, unlike a costume you would be designing for a character in a film, which can be unflattering as long as it's right for the character, has to be flattering and sexy, and she's gotta be able to move in the thing. There are 90 things going on. I think it was a very, very difficult challenge, and I think it was taking fashion people out of their usual realm. Their idea of curvy is Heidi and Carolina and Giselle. You tell a fashion person to dress someone who's curvy and they're like, "Sure! I'd love to dress Heidi Klum."

This challenge was akin to doing a red carpet gown for someone who might not be your usual client, who has a very strong opinion, and who has a public persona. They've got to hold up this image, that's what they're famous for. You're not gonna put Courtney Love in a black sheath and a strand of pearls. It's figuring out all of those things and hopefully still maintaining your point of view. I think this was a great challenge, and an interesting challenge to deal with at this point.These women want to be caricatures. The reason they're doing this is to get noticed. So, to give them something that kind of hangs on then and looks normal like she just ran to the mall and picked up a swimsuit, kills the whole idea. Quite honestly, these women are willing to go for it, I mean, this is not a shy group. There are women out there who are like, "No, I only wear khakis and grey flannels," whereas these people are willing to wear dental floss and a feather. I was kind of surprised, as I had been previously with Ricky, that if you're experienced in the lingerie world, it's all about the body. That's what you do. So, the simple truth is, to come up with this generic, non-descript, bland bathing suit and say, "This is a costume?" I don't know -- to me it looked like she was just ordering a pina colada. There was nothing special about it at all.

I'm pretty sappy, and I cry at television commercials; I hear the music swell at the credits of a sad movie and I'm the first person to get choked up, but to get choked up constantly about fashion? I don't know how you're gonna have a career. If this is how you respond, what happens when you get slammed in the newspaper? Cry? You can't, you just can't. I appreciate someone who's sensitive, but if you're gonna cry you've gotta learn how to cry internally. Because you're going to have no choice, you're going to have employees, you're going to have clients, you're going to have to deal with the press, and everyone is going to expect you to stay upbeat, regardless of what happens. I do think fashion people have a tendency to be very sensitive, but it's about figuring out how to turn it into something that's internalized and private, or, if you wanna cry and bitch and moan, you can do that with a friend, but not in public.

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