It’s always somewhat uncomfortable to be a decidedly non-famous person milling about on a pre-show runway, waiting for someone actually famous to show up. It was even more awkward at Diane von Furstenberg‘s Spring show Sunday afternoon, when we found ourselves milling about in front of what turned out to be Valentino Garavini‘s front row seat.
Was this really happening? Were we standing less than a foot and a half away from Valentino, in a rapidly filling runway tent where none of the other occupants seemed to realize he had arrived? Yes, it was happening.
So we fumbled (our hands were slippery; the nervous sweats had already started) with our recorder, crouched down to his seated level and asked, “Um, excuse us, Mr. Valentino? Are you taking any questions? Like, could we ask you a couple questions? From Styleite? That’s our site. Please?”
He nodded his head calmly; clearly he’s used to dealing with people’s brains exploding in front of him. He’s very zen-like, that one. (Also, he politely ignored the fact that we called him “Mr. Valentino.” Perhaps it won him over. That shall be our new tactic. “Erm, excuse us, Mrs. Anna?”, etc.)
“Beauty, because [unintelligible due to accent and recorder fumbling] and she has great taste and why not? I expect to see beautiful clothes and I support her because she has lots of talent and she knows what women deserve.”
And then we moved on to the hard-hitting question portion of the interview: “Do you have any thoughts about the rumor that Marc Jacobs is moving to Dior?”
“I heard vaguely,” he nodded, zen-like again. “I don’t know. It can be very, very good.”
Sweating more heavily now, we pressed on. But did he think Marc Jacobs could handle it?
“Oh, yes. Absolutely.”
And then we thanked him profusely, stood, wiped our brow, and walked more or less into Oscar de la Renta who had just seated himself about four chairs down. Was this show for real? We approached de la Renta equally cautiously — designers are somewhat wild creatures, prone to snapping and growling if handled incorrectly — but to our dropped jaw amazement, he agreed to questions and then launched into the following monologue before we could even ask any.
I love Diana. We have been friends for a very, very, very long time and we are like family and I have tremendous admiration for Diana and she has been probably the best president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. You know, I feel Diana in many ways represents what a modern woman, a woman of the 21st century is and needs. I admire her terribly and admire the power of her femininity. It’s important that you show on a day like today, which is a very special day in this country, because, you know, Diana has had a lot of lives and is sort of like a girl that — you know, what happened to us on 9/11, this country is about hope and going on and loving life. And this morning, I was looking at the events of 9/11 on the news and I was in tears all the way through. And then I said, you know, this is what this country is all about it. All this here [gesturing] shows how strong we are.”
We guppy mouthed for a bit — the above transcription doesn’t do his sincerity justice; also, Diana? — then asked him what he thought of Jacobs at Dior because, you know, questions.
“I think that Marc will be an extraordinary choice for Dior,” he answered. “I think that Marc is a great, great talent and I hope that it happens and I think that it will be great.”
And with that, we took our seats.
this is some kind of spaceship or something.