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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Back in the ’90s, young designers Isaac Mizrahi, Todd Oldham and Christian Francis Roth were fashion stars. They were awesome. They didn’t make enough money to stay in business, but they were awesome.

Mizrahi in a supermodel sandwich

I last wrote about these designing men in September, when Oldham was named creative director for Old Navy. Earlier this month, Mizrahi gave up his style-for-the-masses job at Target to give Liz Claiborne a makeover. These dudes are on the move, so where’s Christian Francis Roth? He’s the next guy who needs a big corporate job. Crayola needs to hire him! In 1990, he did a dress that looked like a box of crayons with “Rothola” on it. The crayon people got all lawyer-y on his ass till he agreed to pay them a few bucks. Personally, I think they missed a great marketing opportunity. They should have paid him to do a whole Rothola line AND they should have hired a pop star to sing the theme song: “Rothola, ola, ola, eh eh eh. Color with Rothola, ola ola ola.” The singer also could have modeled the Rothola makeup line.

“I use Violet Blue on my eyes and Cotton Candy on my lips eh eh eh.”

I still can’t find a picture of the crayon dress on teh Interweb. About 11 years ago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute had it in an exhibit called “Wordrobe.” Maybe I need to go prowl around the museum. At least I found this great film of a Christian Francis Roth show. Check out the top hats in the film!

Mary-Kate is bringing top hats back
Photo via Fashionista

This is on my mind because my gorgeous friend Alison invited me to an Old Navy party tonight. Sadly, Todd wasn’t there. I wanted to ask him if he has any of his old stuff at home and, if so, would he feel like giving any of it to me as a belated birthday gift. What?! God helps those who help themselves. Just praying for this skirt has gotten me nowhere.

WendyB needs this vintage Todd Oldham skirt

The Old Navy party was thrown to introduce the company’s new H&M/Topshop-ish fast-fashion strategy. They’re going to have new stylin’ styles every month, so you peeps who like to pounce on the inexpensive but happening looks will have another source. Of course, you could choose instead to put aside your monthly Old Navy allowance, save up for a couple of decades and buy a piece of Wendy Brandes jewelry. It’s up to you. No pressure.

At the party, the Old Navy folks previewed their new ad campaign, which looked way sophisticated and fashionable. The question in my mind was: Where’s Magic, Old Navy’s canine mascot?

Magic wants some kibble

I asked Alison about this and she said Magic was “living on a farm” where he was “running around” and “happy.” Yeah, that’s what my parents said to me when I was three and they got rid of my turtle, Churchy La Femme. Turtles don’t even run! I realized that yesterday. What kind of fool do those people take me for?

Anyway, I am teasing. I did not ask Alison about Magic and she did not tell me some shady story about a farm. She was being a good hostess and entertaining us with DJ AM and Natasha Bedingfield and giving us drinks with blueberries in them. But, while I am speaking of euthanasia — people, there IS no damn farm — I will tell you about my husband’s cat Loony. When Paul was 12, his family moved from Connecticut to New Jersey. His parents packed the station wagon with three small boys and all their worldly goods. The last thing to pack was Loony the cat. Since Loony was a bit nuts, Dad had taken the cat to the vet to have him sedated for the trip. Well, apparently there was a bit of confusion about exactly what it meant to put Loony “to sleep” and the vet guessed wrong. Everyone cried all the way to New Jersey.

This is a random cat photo that has nothing to do with the story.

If that happened to me now, believe me, this would be no laughing matter. I would get all lawyer-y on everyone’s ass and maybe kill a few bitches too. But since it happened to my husband half a century ago, I think it’s highlarious. Todd Oldham and I are totally going to laugh about it when I’m at his house trying on old runway samples. I can’t wait!

UPDATED TO ADD: Speak of the devil! Here’s the lovely Alison quoted right at the top of this New York Times story on beauty blogs. Why no mention of fish-feet blogs, Alison? Hmmm?

UPDATED IN MARCH 2010 TO ADD: Dang! This blog post led to a wild ride for me. It prompted Christian Francis Roth to get in touch with me to tell me he was introducing a new line called Francis. First I designed jewelry for his September 2008 runway show. I went on to write a whole separate blog for his brand from June 2009 to December 2009. I also did private-client sales. Then we went our separate ways.  At this time, he’s still working on his Francis line and recently presented Fall 2010 at a trade show. Like a lot of designers, he didn’t do any more runway shows after the economy crashed.

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24 Responses to “Mizrahi, Oldham, Roth, Magic and Loony”

  1. Poster Girl says:

    Sounds like a great party, I can’t wait to see what Old Navy has in store. How does one exchange links with you, btw?

  2. bitterbabe says:

    I really want to see a picture of this dress!!!

  3. evie says:

    i only need to save up a couple of decades for a wendy brandes design? skull ring here i come! 🙂

  4. Olga says:

    So happy to have you back!!!!

    Sooo, now it’s a new quest? And again Christian Louboutin, eh? One Pair of Shoes to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. :))) I hope scary fish shaped shoes are not forgotten!

  5. Olga says:

    PS: Ash louboutin durbatulûk, ash louboutin gimbatul, ash louboutin thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.


  6. Suze says:

    You are hysterical. Of course not that part about the mix up with Paul’s cat. That was very sad and I will absolutely not repeat that story at work today. Nope, not gonna do it.

  7. WendyB says:

    Olga, I will never give up on scary fish shoes, even though I don’t know what kind of chant you are doing on my blog here. That was like reading This Lady’s blog, where most of the words employ the numbers 3 and 7.

  8. Lynette says:

    You and your life continue to amaze and entertain. Thanks for the chuckles your comment at my blog caused just now. It’s bound to come back to me today, as sustenance.

  9. jen says:

    How amazing are those pants Daria is wearing in the photo accompanying that article?
    Anyway it will be interesting for Old Navy to do that. I don’t think I’ve ever shopped there before but when they did the knockoff leather hooded jacket from mike&chris I wanted to go there badly. (I didn’t and that’s why I don’t have a leather hooded jacket!)

  10. Lynn says:

    Awww… my heart goes out to the kitty… if that had happened to me the whole country would know about it. When my Louis went missing for 3 days I went absolutely nuts and vowed I’d never have another cat again, thank God a neighbor found him!

    Your ela ela ola was like a remedy to the sinking feeling I had. Hillarious!!

  11. pistols at dawn says:

    You are a pioneer in fish-feet blogs. You’re like their Lewis or Clark, whichever one was more stylish.

  12. Olga says:

    easy, this the return instructions written on your shoe’s sole :))


  13. LBIC says:

    I watched Unzipped with I.M. and it made me yearn for the 90’s.

    Anyway, I’m with bitterbabe, I really want to see a picture of that dress as well!

  14. Iheartfashion says:

    Have you checked out Old Navy Creative Director Landis’s blog, Two Dog Blog? He’s funny and gives previews of what’s new and happening at O.N.

  15. PinkPiddyPaws says:

    Isaac is a crack up… I still haven’t forgotten the whole “felt up Scarlets boobies” at the last red carpet shindig he did interviews for. Dude….stop jiggling her tits..that’s just wrong! ha..ha.ha..

  16. Lucio says:

    Oh! my god I remember when Tod Oldham was a fashion star in New York,I think that now he is a furniture seller.

  17. Susie Bubble says:

    I only know two of these American greats.. shame on me *slaps wrist*

  18. GeorgeB says:

    Last time I saw Churchy he was out swimming and moving at a brisk pace with the current.

  19. La Belette Rouge says:

    As soon as the NY Times writes about fish feet you will be listed as THE definitive blog.

  20. jennine says:

    you are a deeeelite!
    i love this post

  21. Princess Poochie says:

    Did I tell you I found a pair of the fish feet shoes on ebay but they were too big for you.

    Is it worse for you to know and not be able to have or to not know.

    Except now you know so, I guess the point is moot. Ooops!


  22. ThatBeeGirl says:

    i met todd oldham once in new york in the mid-90s at his boutique. very very nice guy, and totally seemed down-to-earth.

  23. Sister Wolf says:

    Wait. You mean that my dog, Rebel, who my mom gave away to a Nice Family one day while I was at school…I don’t believe it.