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La · Vie · Belle · in · Manhattan


x Mlle Jehanne x

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OK, so I went to Paris. I went to Paris in April. And now I'm back home, in the good old US of A, ruminating on the fact that I am not in Paris. It's true that once you've breathed the air there, the rest of the world, even Manhattan, is completely ruined. It saps your will to live. You just gaze up at the urban skyscape, thinking, I should be in a boutique right now. Or building a barricade. Or building in a barricade while in a boutque. And then you remember the macarons.

Macarons are completely different from those coconut concoctions known over here as macaroons. Macarons are two colorful pastry shells filled with creme. They were first cooked up in 19th century Paris by famed patisserie Laduree. And how do they taste? They taste, believe you me, like God exists.

So now I have a problem. I'm back in New York, and I ate all my macarons. Laduree doesn't ship to New York, so I'm deep into research mode to find out if any pastry shops here make the damn things. I mean, they're even better than the Magnolia cupcakes, if such a thing is possible.

And then I found this site, so I calmed down. Slightly. It's the sugar high.

Paris, je te manque!!!
Humeur actuelle:
hungry hungry
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Veneers. Where to begin? My dentist finally removed the plastic "strip of tooth," and after giving me enough anesthetic to comfortably deliver a baby, proceeded to apply the permanent veneers. The process was faster than I expected, and the veneers, while slightly wider than my own, matched the rest of my teeth perfectly in color and texture. One of the incisors bulged a tiny bit, but I think this was because my own tooth was shaped that way, and my dentist didn't want to remove too much tooth structure. Basically, the teeth looked natural; like they had always been hanging in there. Of course, I wanted to faint when I saw the bill (The veneers cost slightly more than a semester at public college. Paying out of state tuition), but I loved the veneers.

And then, of course, the problems started. What would life, or dentistry, be, without problems? Four days after I got the permanent veneers, I woke up in the morning to find that one of the incisors had cracked, and half the veneer had come off. This happened twice. I was able to save the broken bit, but my dentist wasn't in that day to fix it. Fortunately, the broken spot wasn't too noticable unless you looked at my teeth from an angle, but I was still freaking out about the cost. I knew I shouldn't have to pay to fix it, but I am historically very bad at being assertive, and I didn't think the fault was with my dentist. Porcelain veneers are made in a lab, and all she could do was affix the veneers she was sent. Herein was the biggest problem. The lab offered to make me a new veneer, but to do it, the entire old one would have to be drilled off. Then a new plaster impression would be made of the tooth, and I would be fitted with a new temporary plastic veneer. (Just one, this time. Not a strip of tooth.) In two weeks, assuming the plastic thing hadn't fallen off by then, I would be fitted with the new permanent veneer. All this takes hours of office time, and requires being anesthetized twice. Unless, of course, I tell my dentist to fuck the anesthesia. It couldn't be that painful, could it?

My dentist was very apologetic, but she seems to be at a loss as to what caused the veneer to break so soon. One possibility is that I have bruxism, which means I clench or grind my teeth in my sleep. If this is the case, though, why didn't she tell me sooner, so I could have a mouth guard made? If I had known, it might have effected my decision to get the veneers, as I'm not sure I want to wear a piece of plastic in my mouth at night for the forseeable future. But I suppose it's better than having the veneers continue to break.

So, bottom line: I love the way they look, and I feel a lot more confident about my smile. I'm probably vain enough, although not rich enough, to admit that I would do it again if I had to. I am concerned about future problems, though, and who will pay for them if they arise. I think braces or invisalign, although they take much longer, might be a better option for most people. However, they would not have fixed my spacing issues, and they are much more painful than veneers, which are basically pain free, excepting the small pinch from the anesthesia. They look awesome, and perfectly natural. Better than my real teeth. If they stay put, it'll be a small miracle.
Humeur actuelle:
aggravated aggravated
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After years of living with an ever widening gap between my front teeth, I finally decided to spring for veneers. By spring for, I mean finance. I am paying for them myself, out of my student budget, and it will take several years to get them paid off at my current level of income. Perhaps veneers were a luxury rather than a neccessity, but I've been told in the past that I would probably never get hired for any position dealing with the public unless my teeth were fixed. Looks based discrimination? Yeah, probably. But the gap also bothered me: I looked in the mirror and saw a second grader staring back at me. While I do think our culture places way too much value on a woman's appearance, this was something that affected my self esteem to the point that I stopped smiling. Pictures of me are either sultry or somber. And it's too late to get braces, according to my dentist. The gap is already too far gone.

So, veneers. I went to Dr. ----- at VitalDent, and got impressions made. A few weeks later I was back in the dentist's chair to have my actual teeth reshaped (read: drilled a bit around the edges) so the veneers could be attached. I was given my temporary veneers, which were made of plastic. A long strip of plastic. I no longer had teeth: I had a strip of tooth. The individual porcelain veneers, which adhere to each tooth, will be ready in two weeks. In the mean time: the strip of tooth.

Except now it's a broken strip of tooth. I was sitting down to white pizza at my favorite little parlour in the village, when I felt something in my mouth that wasn't pizza. Sure enough, two of the six "teeth" had broken off the strip. Not wanting to be assymetrical, I quickly broke off the other end of the temporary veneer. Now all I have are two front teeth, like in the Christmas song. Only they're made of plastic. And my dentist won't be back to fix this travesty until Tuesday.

At least they cover the gap.
Current Location:
Manhattan
Humeur actuelle:
irritated irritated
Musique actuelle:
Canzonetta Sull'aria - my duet for class at Juilliard
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Best. Quote. Ever. Hit them with the hoopskirts! It's the people's revolt of platforms! ....

Regains sanity. Sort of. I'm just the slightest bit ill from buying this semester's textbooks. Why, oh why does every single business text have to cost in excess of $85? I know how to bind books, and I've hand sewn several. It can't be that expensive to produce the shiny, oversized pieces of shit. And then, of course, a new edition comes out three months after you buy it, and the bookstore won't buy it back. I've seriously lost count of the number of times this has happened to me.

I want to kill myself, and you, o 'Macroeconomics (McConnell and Brue)' are the reason!

On a happier, but poorer, note, I bought a gorgeous poster today at my favorite art store in the Village. The owner went antiquing and found a ca 1908 corset card, which he blew up poster sized and framed. It's a bit later than this one, but it rocks, nonetheless.

I got in some good shopping today at my favorite Brooklyn boutiques; Dear Fieldbinder, Bird, Noisette, Otte, and the brand new Zoe, which is gigantic, and contains a Zac Posen skirt I am salivating over and cannot have. I was well behaved, and bought only things which were 70% off. A pair of J Brand 10" skinny jeans, marked waaaay down, a Corey Lynn Calter voluminous black mini for $39, and a couple t-shirts from American Apparel. Love that sweatshop free ethic!

Fashion wish list:

Chanel shoulder pouch bag
3.1 Phillip Lim rosette coat
Phillip Lim t-shirt rose dress
Christian Louboutin satin sandal with snake motif
Repetto ballet flats in Or Noir
Marchesa goddess gown
Anything from Erin Fetherston's Spring 2007 collection
1870s dress, attributed to Charles Frederick Worth
16th C. Venetian Courtesan gown

Now, mes amis, you see why I can't afford textbooks. I'm a fashion schizophrenic.
Humeur actuelle:
envious envious
Musique actuelle:
A La Claire Fontaine- thanks, Eleonore.
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6:55 am, Monday: It's a truism that fashion people are never on time, yet alone early, so it's a bit of a jolt to be down at the tents at the crack of dawn. Eli and Shelley, my two new girls, get assigned to the Tent, which is the biggest venue at Bryant Park. It's where the most high profile designers show. I'll be going there too, but first, it's off to set up for the CFDA's Health Panel. The members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America have apparently deemed it necessary to rail at length about the dangers of anorexia and bulimia. Given the frightening skinniness of the models in recent seasons, how they do this with a straight face is beyond me. Designers could make their samples a size or two bigger without killing their aesthetic. Then the agencies would have to send bigger models. Like magic.

Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenburg, and Natalia Vodianova (co-chairs of the panel) are conversing a few feet away from me, and I haven't even had my coffee yet.

Jeffrey, volunteer captain in the Tent, is looking for us. It's time to help the PR staff set up for the Carolina Herrera show. We get to stuff program notes and arrange VIP chair nametags. It's truly glam work. The Carolina people are in a non-stop bitchfest, so we try to stay out of their way. They have awesome press gifts, though- full size eau de parfum bottles in gorgeous gift boxes. Not sold in the US! We're seriously coveting them.

Shelley and I take our places as the buyers, editors, and socials trickle in. I recognize Dr. Valerie Steel, director of the FIT Museum. It's against protocol, and could get me 'fired', but I go over and gush about her corset book, which I adore. Anna Wintour is apparently through denouncing anorexia; here she is, flanked by Andre Leon Talley, and Grace Coddington. Nina Garcia is also supposedly here, although I can't see her from my station. I do spot Kim Catrall, drowning in a sea of press.

At long last, the lights go down, and the girls start to walk. Carolina is all about shift dresses this season. Some hang loosely from the models' frames, while others are cinched high at the natural waist. Carolina's embracing some edgy colors, but she sticks to the classic lines that have made her beloved of the ladies who lunch. The bright pinks and metallics give the collection a younger feel, and a much needed infusion of spirit.

As the models are winding it up, Shelley notes one of the perfume boxes lying unattended in the last row. The second the lights come up, she dives for it, and throws it to me. The Carolina people would shit bricks if we, the unpaid workers, took any swag, so I rip the box open and tuck the perfume bottle in my pocket. Except I'm wearing a mini and leggings, and don't have any pockets, so I stash the perfume... in my bra. I'm wearing enough layers that no one will be any wiser. Shelley's got a bottle, too, hidden in her vintage belt pouch. I feel like a smuggler.

We clean up the venue, making mountains of newspaper and magazine debris left behind by the editorial set. The Oscar de la Renta people arrive, and they are far friendlier than the Carolina ladies. Too bad they have no swag.

Shelley, Eli and I race through the press packets, and take our places for the Oscar show. We're running almost an hour behind, and the well connected have started in already; I spot uber-stylist Rachel Zoe and actress Camilla Belle. Barbara Walters. And my heart skips a beat... is that Renee Fleming?

The Oscar de la Renta show is superb. Really is. He's heavy on evening wear, and for good reason- his creations really span the generations. Everything is belted and done up in heavy silks, brocades, gazars. Flounces and trains adorn all the longer looks. The last gown is the showstopper, though: a tea stained tulle ballgown with a jeweled bodice. The whole thing is lighter than air, and in a shape that will work on curvy girls. Too bad it'll probably retail for $12,000.

The celebrities are all gone now, and the place is trashed beyond all recognition. The girls and I are ankle deep in program notes. Wait, I spy something, as I'm down cleaning up the front row. Is that Grace Coddington's show invite? Oh, score.
Current Location:
Bryant Park, New York
Humeur actuelle:
amused amused
Musique actuelle:
inane, throbbing runway muzak
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"Pedicabo ego uos et irrumabo" - Catullus, Poem #16

I love reading over people's shoulders on the subway. This guy on my left is reading a pamphlet entitled "What are Sheol and Hades?" (sitting next to you with your singular lack of deoderant, buddy. -ed note.) I think I can tell you, monsieur. They are human constructs designed by the religious patriarchy to frighten you into towing the party line. Don't give them that success.

If a benevolent, supernatural God does exist, and I'm far from saying He/She doesn't, why the Machiavellian tactics? You would think people would refrain from committing acts of genocide out of simple regard for the holiness of life, yet clearly this is not the case. Either humanity is pedicabo (f--ked in the ass, loosely translated), or God has just said "blow me" to all of us down here. (irrumabo)

Catullus would so kill me.

All irreverence aside, I have to go sleep, because I'm due at the tents at Bryant Park at 7am tomorrow. It's fashion week again! I'm going to wear black leggings under my Behnaz Sarafpour (for Target! yayness!) miniskirt. This, despite the fact that it's going to be about 8 degrees. You can take the girl out of the fashion... I'm not sure, but I think I'll be working either Nanette Lepore or Carolina Herrera, as both are showing tomorrow morning.
Humeur actuelle:
mischievous mischievous
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Where to pick up? The past few months have been, for lack of a better description, intense. I'm in my 6th semester at FIT, and my 2nd at Juilliard, where I study voice in the evening division. I also found my calling in the SCA, where I've been sewing pretty garb and singing pretty music. Well, less of the sewing pretty garb, and more of the ruining $35 a yard silk. I'm working fashion week again next monday, for old time's sake, since I have seven classes this semester and don't know how I'm going to get anything done. Internship? What internship? I probably should start looking for the summer- I'm still freaking out that I won't find a job when I graduate, or worse, I'll be offered a chance of a lifetime, only to discover that I can't live on $22,000. Even in, like, Jersey City. I love my life in Manhattan, but I have no illusions that it's cheap, or even within reason. I'll probably need to make $40,000 right off the bat, or else lose my home. Sigh. I'll be like every other new grad; with a pile of debt and nothing to show for it. The difference is that the transition won't be so great for me; I've already lived on my own in the city, managed (in a very warped sense of the word) a budget, and run the dating gauntlet. I know people here. As long as I stay in the fashion industry, I likely won't be moving to a new city. I have exactly three semesters and a summer to figure it out. Think of all the fabric I can ruin in that time.
Humeur actuelle:
worried worried
Musique actuelle:
Nel Puro Ardor from Jacopo Peri's Euridice, ca 1600.
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Among other things. I can't decide what I want. I'm like a ghost ship that will take the first fair wind, because any wind is better than stagnation. I've been sick for a week now. I keep picking things up and reading them, from Sam Harris's provocative "The End of Faith", to my roommate's anthologies of contemporary theatre monologues. (O God no more Tony Kushner I can't read that.) I have to get well in the next 12 hours, as I have a flight to LA that can't be missed. Ma petite soeur and I have tickets to see Anna Netrebko in Manon at the LA Opera. She is too, too divine.

Life in New York. Mmmm. The other night Isabelle asked if we were not risking our very lives to live here. From the narrow viewpoint of self preservation, perhaps we would be better off in North Dakota. One nuclear strike, one bio-warfare attack on the subway, and it's over, it's finished, everything. There won't even be a chance to build barricades.

I told her I would rather die honestly, here where humanity in all its shades is celebrated, than cower in fear in some intolerant backwater. New York is gritty, and it's dirty, and it's overpriced. But home. It's home.


*********

Before I came down with consumption, Christophe and I went out to Le Cirque and gorged on clam soup and rack of lamb. We shared a bottle of Navarro, then proceeded to savage overpriced restaurants in general, and this one, in particular. Yes, the nouveau Francais cousine was amazing, but why the attitude? And seriously, I've had better service over a $4.99 order of tandoori chicken.

But it was lovely to see Christophe in a jacket. Really, lovely to see him in general. Every girl should have her own Frenchman.
Humeur actuelle:
pleased pleased
Musique actuelle:
Random French pop music from itunes
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I just read something very disturbing. According to Newsweek, the CIA has admitted to using a torture practice called waterboarding on terror suspects. Waterboarding, or forcing large amounts of water into a person's nose and mouth to simulate drowning, was less recently used by agents of the Spanish Inquisition. Yeah, I shit you not. Enlightenment principles? What are those?

As much as I despise routine, my life has settled back into one: Wake up as late as possible, do some reading, go to class, call the boy, regale the roommate with stories from FIT's crazier denizens, drink some wine, go to sleep as late as possible. Fortunately, this schedule leaves little time for reflecting on the fact that I still don't have a job. I've sent out my resume to several companies on the FIT job board, but nothing yet. I did get a call from a designer who needs trade show models. Though I fit in a sample size (usually a 2/4) I'm really not tall enough. 5'7" is petite in the fashion world. It's really too bad, because even promotional models make decent money, and I could use some. I have less than $100 to my name. (I feel awful about this, because I promised an old friend I would send her money as a wedding gift, and I have nothing to send.)

Still, live goes on, as it has for at least the past six millenia. Isabelle gave me a copy of Jean Anouilh's Antigone, with which I am now obsessed. It's exactly the kind of thing I would do. I am also obsessed with my friend K's new play, Jean et Jeanne, about French Resistance hero Jean Moulin and Jeanne Darc, the Maid of Orleans. K is so talented. If there were anything I could do to help her get produced...

I am off to Statistics, which against the odds, I am actually good at. Afterwards, I shall apply to be a fitting room attendant at Barney's. Glamorous, right? At least I'd get a nice discount...
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Bryant Park, New York, NY: The show: Michael Kors. The time: 7:00 am. I arrive at the Volunteer Trailer and head to the Tent, largest of the show venues at Bryant Park. The show won't begin until 11:00 am, but we have a lot of work to do. The runway, which is in a U shape to accomodate two rows of "Front Row" seats in the center, is originally mirrored, but the lighting designer nixes that idea, so we cover the runway in white fabric. Next we get to do the seating cards. The PR girls are frantic. What if someone raises a shitstorm about their seat? I take a rare moment to peer around the Tent. Anna Wintour's seat tag is sandwhiched between Grace Coddington's and Andre Leon Talley's. Ah, Vogue. The editors in chief of Elle, Glamour, Harper's Bazaar and Women's Wear Daily also have Front Row. I spot several people from the New York Times. Every socialite worth her Manolos is also coming, along with Rachel Zoe, Patricia Field, and - oh, the media will really have a shitstorm now, assuming they show - Hilary Duff and Usher.

But back to the work at hand. I'm in the midst of distributing Michael Kors press kits when I hear a strangely familiar voice. I whip around, and... damn, that voice again, from Project Runway. Michael Kors is standing not half a dozen feet from me instructing the lighting crew. I don't get star struck easily, but that one gave me goose bumps.

Half an hour till we go over the top. Yes, I'm using WWI parlance to describe what happens when Security opens the doors and lets the guests in. The other girls and I receive our deployments, and I go to stand in the front row aisle between sections F & G.

It's Hurricane Katrina in here. I mean no offense to the victims of that storm, but it really gets insane when the crowd enters. Videographers are talking to Glenda Bailey, editor of Harper's Bazaar, who is among the first to arrive. A bunch of Social girls are milling about the center, and I see a crowd of buyers, and the CEOs of Saks and Macy's, who hold court for at least twenty minutes before taking their seats. Chicly attired people are everywhere. The air is thick with designer-clad humanity...

Anna Wintour and the other Vogue-ettes take a seat. From where I'm stationed, I can't see if Hilary or Usher have arrived, but the Tent is crawling with paparazzi, so they've probably gotten someone they wanted. (Although I don't see them, I later learn they both showed up, hence the paparazzi firestorm.) Anna Wintour talks animatedly with Grace Coddington, then she puts on her trademark sunglasses.

At last the brights come on and the music starts. I recognize, with a thrill, the intro music from A Chorus Line. (I'm such a music nerd!) Gemma Ward and Freja Beha are walking. And the clothes! Michael has nary a misstep. This stuff is what American sportswear is about. He does casual in shades of black, white, camel, and rose pink. Everything is pared down and sans ornamentation, occasionally cinched with a ribbon empire waist. The menswear, which he also shows, is very monochromatic. Even straight guys will be able to put this stuff together. A pink chiffon ball skirt with a train draws a gasp of admiration. There are some 62 looks in the collection. Finally, Mr. Kors comes out for his victory lap, and he gets, I swear, a standing ovation. Even Anna Wintour is clapping. Up close, she appears very human and solicitous of the designer. A second later, however, she is obscured by the crowd's departure, the honeymoon is over for us, and it's time to clean up.
Humeur actuelle:
artistic artistic
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