Exit Anna...

...with Patrick McCarthy from the Calvin Klein show today. the Daily gives us the scoop:

"About ten minutes before the first look walked out onto the runway...Anna Wintour...abruptly exited the building along with Fairchild Publications chairman and editorial director Patrick McCarthy. “Our society has become overwrought with an obsession over these blonde celebrities,” proclaimed Vogue editor at large AndrĂ© Leon Talley post show, referring to the starlets, which included Ashley Olsen, Melissa George and Alexis Bledel (not to mention the hoards of photographers with their backsides to Wintour) that peppered the front row directly across from Wintour’s seat. “It’s all about the photo opportunities now and no longer about the clothes. This is precisely the reason why my friend Mariah Carey would never come to a show for this exact reason.” Wintour was unreachable for comment."

[quick note: is a.l.t. still "mentoring" mariah carey then? because I haven't noticed much improvement/un-skankification so I assumed he must have given up]

...yikes, anna "nuclear" wintour sounds like she was pretty p.o.'d huh? (but she looks pretty friendly next to a.l.t. at zac posen's show) click the Daily link above to get the rest of their take on the situation, or click "complete post" to get WWD's analysis of the celeb/fashion problemo...

Calvin Klein: Anna Wintour and Patrick McCarthy walked out. Which is a shame, because this was Francisco Costa's best show yet for Calvin Klein, and clearly one of the highlights of the New York season. But it was staged in a manner that offered a microcosm of all that's out of control about the fashion show system.

We all know that the rules, the focus, the entire reason for fashion shows had shifted dramatically from an insider focus to an outsider focus. Once upon a time, fashion shows were really about unveiling new collections to retailers and editors so that they could plan their upcoming seasons. Now, it's all about the Lindsays, Ashleys, Mary-Kates, Parises and, should one be so lucky, the Umas, Catherine Zetas and Nicoles. And it's about letting in the legions of media, print and television, who cover those people as their primary role, pushing, shoving, stomping over anyone (especially unfortunate, given the editorial set's current impending baby boom) who might come between their lenses and Clay Aiken. (One show regular suggested that steel-toed safety shoes should replace the stiletto sandal as the front-row shoe of choice.)

"It's over, this overwrought fashion show, it's over," said André Leon Talley after the show. "I'm sorry, we cannot have celebs in the front row. I love celebrities, but it's over. It's for people doing their job. Retailers and editors are being treated like they're second class. This is unfortunate for Francisco. It marred and diluted his message. Press people need to address the situation and invite fewer people."

While the celebrity-obsessed design houses are primarily responsible for the change, we have all played into it gleefully at one time or another. But those whose job execution is hindered by the situation have long since cried "Uncle," while the designers expect us to continue on like the old days, business as usual. And like Pavlov's dogs, we do it. Add into the mix, fashion's traditional idiosyncrasies. In the theater, an 8:00 curtain means 8:00. In football, a 1:00 kickoff means 1:00. One can even guess with a fair degree of accuracy what time Alanis Morissette would finish last night at Giants Stadium, and the Rolling Stones would take the stage. Only in fashion does a 5:00 start mean, at best 5:20, at worst, somewhere near 6 p.m., but never, ever does it mean 5:00. And in what other industry do major players routinely throw events at which they expect people to get all dressed up in their au courant best and then push and shove their way into a venue — perhaps in an old, creeky, dangerous elevator, where they will sit in sweltering heat and sweat like pigs on overcrowded benches until the main attraction gets under way? On the flip-side, where else do people throw open-air bashes in January and February, leaving their guests to freeze while they're backstage with the heating units?

The world has many problems, and in the big picture, disgruntled fashion folk are not a sympathetic constituency. In our small world, however, we all know that the show system has spun into chaos; did you happen to catch those poor goats on Sixth Avenue on Thursday? What's needed is for cool-headed industry leaders to convene for some serious, constructive reevaluation.

The process should start with the Calvin Klein show at Milk Studios, the worst venue in New York, and among the worst anywhere. The elevators have long been a nightmare, and this time out, the busted air-conditioning contributed to the foul smell that ebbed and flowed through Section C. Still, after the show, Tom Murry, president and chief operating officer of Calvin Klein Inc., said it was too soon to comment on whether the firm would finally change locations. As for the frightening paparazzi commotion, Murry said: "The frenzy is part of the show, and the heat…I don't know what went wrong." Murry was unaware that Wintour and McCarthy had departed, but when told, said only, "I am sorry they left. They missed a great show."

Costa, meanwhile, seemed open to a move. "Maybe the space should change," he said. "I know that the elevator situation has always been an issue. But it's such a Calvin space, and being here, there is such a connection with Calvin."

Perhaps so, but while he was channeling Calvin, Calvin himself was in Rio. And in truth, Costa has moved on from the folly of trying to get into Klein's head, finally proving himself a designer of considerable weight. Thursday night should have been his time to celebrate, because he showed a fabulous collection. All about lightness and air, it featured two ongoing themes — circles and cables — which he integrated in both construction and decoration while focusing on shirt shapes and a white-based palette. In working those elements so precisely, Costa achieved something quite difficult: maintaining a minimalist integrity in quite complicated clothes.

Yet, when it rains, it pours, as they say, and a sour audience may not be Calvin Klein's only problem this season. Pre-show rumors suggested that this collection may not be produced. As part of a licensing arrangement, Vestimenta started producing the Calvin Klein Collection lines for fall 2003, and some sources speculate that the deal could end prematurely at the end of this year. The family that controls Vestimenta is said to be looking to exit the apparel business, leaving Calvin Klein Inc. with the task of finding a new manufacturer. Yet Murry downplayed the notion that the spring collection is vulnerable. "It will either be Vestimenta or, if we agree to transfer the license to another entity, it will be with them," he said, adding that Vestimenta has a long-term agreement that it is expected to fulfill until a new partner is found. "We are talking to several companies," he said.
— Bridget Foley

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