Sunday, March 29, 2009

What's That About?!

Remember when Jonathan Franzen, the author of The Corrections, made disparaging remarks about Oprah Winfrey's literary taste? Somehow he felt that Oprah's choosing of his novel for her book club would commercialize his appeal and devalue his elitist leanings. According to the October 29, 2001 edition of The New York Times, Mr. Franzen suggested "that appearing on her show was out of keeping with his place in ''the high-art literary tradition'' and might turn off some readers." Subsequently, Ms. Oprah quickly rescinded her invitation for him to be a guest on her hit daytime television talk show. Well, I recently had a similar Oprah-ish moment. No, she did not call me to do a televised runway presentation, but if ever asked I would certainly jump at the chance.

Over a year ago I spotted the cutest accessory on the pages of New York and Teen Vogue magazines. It is a flower pin, but very unique. Since I am working on a new collection of denim cocktail dresses (see breaking news from the Diva-at-Large), I imagined this flower pin to be the perfect embellishment for one of my designs. I was so excited to contact the designer and immediately went rummaging through my back issues of Teen Vogue. Once I spotted it, I promptly googled her name and found her website. I discovered that Kate C. is wonderfully creative. In addition to the flower pins, she designs necklaces, bracelets, and costumes as well. She is awesomely talented. I was so psyched that I typed her an email which read like this:

Hello Kate!

My name is Wilbur. I am a fashion designer based in New York. I fell in love with your pins when I saw them last year in Teen Vogue and New York magazines. I am designing a one shouldered denim cocktail dress and immediately thought that your creations would be a lovely touch. I checked out your website, and, unfortunately, you don't offer any in the shade of blue that I would need. Would you consider doing 3 in 2 sizes to adorn my sample? Please let me know. My contact info is listed below. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

I anxiously awaited her reply, but by 3 the next afternoon I had heard nothing. Maybe she had not received my email. So I called her. I was thrilled when Kate C. answered the phone. I introduced myself and relayed the story of how I found her and explained how great it would be to collaborate on this project. After all, Murakami worked with Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton on handbags and they had a best seller! The possibilities for me and Kate C. were endless. But I soon learned that she was less than thrilled or impressed with my offer. In fact, she informed me that she had indeed received my email, but was still mulling it over. She confessed that since the flower pins were all handmade she was overwhelmed by the idea of mass production. Silly girl, once you get orders there are factories that can manufacture in large quantities! She continued, "I checked out your website, but there is nothing that resembles a cocktail dress." After I told her that this was a new endeavor, a launch in fact, she asked me to email her images. And I obliged. But my bubble had burst. Her cool reception caused me to recoil. I am no longer interested in working with Kate C. I will employ somebody else who is interested in working with me to create that perfect accessory. I am not sure if she was having a Jonathan Franzen moment or if she was scared of the potential income that this could bring her. All I want to know is, "What's that about?!"

Peace & Fashion!

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