10 May 2010

Suzy Menkes Conquers San Francisco

suzy menkes

There was a small British invasion of sorts in San Francisco last week, when the Academy of Art University invited famed International Herald Tribune columnist Suzy Menkes as its guest of honor for the school’s annual student fashion show, thereby convincing the mayor’s office to declare May 6th, “Suzy Menkes Day in San Francisco.”

“It’s difficult to know what to wear in the circumstance,” an overwhelmed Menkes told Grazia Daily, before joking, “I think to celebrate I shall go out and blow my own trumpet in the middle of Union Square in the sunshine.”

The journalist, who has a son living in town, spent her namesake day speaking to students  in a symposium before we caught up with her to discuss the on-going journalists vs. bloggers debate, and, specifically, Tavi.

“With all of these blandishments and all of the big designers around her, I feel for her,” said Menkes. “I don’t fear for her, because I think she has a lot of spirit. But being flown in for the couture by Christian Dior... It’s going to be a struggle. The fashion industry is so cruel. You’re the new and exciting 13-year-old blogger and next you know you’re 17 and there’s another 13-year-old coming up behind you.”

suzy menkes alexander mcqueen

Unlike other old school journalists, however, Menkes embraces the new breed of fashion bloggers, seeing them as an important part of the future of fashion -- a future that she feels will especially miss the presence of Alexander McQueen.

“It’s certainly very sad for fashion,” she says of McQueen’s untimely passing. “And it’s particularly sad because Lee was so committed to the new media. The show he did in England working with SHOWstudio and live-streaming it was so advanced and so brilliant. He got the whole three-dimensionalization of the world. He got Avatar before it was out. He got everything and I think that’s where he’ll be so missed.”

As for the future of fashion in San Francisco, a city not known for it’s sartorial prowess, Menkes is hopeful.

“I would love for San Francisco to do for the fashion world what it’s done for food,” she says. “I think it’s really amazing that the farmer’s markets that were here [decades ago] were considered a joke around the world. Now there’s a real push for people to understand green eating. I would love for someone to do that for fashion and I think this would be a great city to do it from.”

-  Katie Hintz-Zambrano

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