Archive for February, 2009

Check out my hosting gig on LOGO’s PopLab

Posted in The Fierceness on February 26, 2009 by jackmax2

picture-115

Watch the video and scroll down for all the segments.

thanks!

New York Fashion Week with Karl Lagerfelt

Posted in The Fierceness on February 25, 2009 by jackmax2

If you have been following my blog entries for the past week or so you know that I have been lurking around the tents at Bryant Park watching as many fashion shows at my sleep-deprived brain could handle. What I forgot to mention is that throughout the entire week I have been sneaking a plus one into all of the shows with me.  He is a fashion powerhouse and very slim due to his amazing diet techniques so he slips right into my pocket. His name is Karl Lagerfelt. Not to be confused with the real Karl Lagerfeld. See Mr. Lagerfeld’s website here.

Finger puppet Karl--skinny as ever!

Finger puppet Karl--skinny as ever!

Giving Karl the finger.

Giving Karl the finger.

I wish I could lie and take credit for making this absolutely genius creation but the credit goes to a woman named Melanie Howard who hand sews each and every little Karl herself. She also makes a Marc Jacobs and a Vivienne Westwood but Karl is the fiercest. Everyone who met him during fashion week instantly knew who he was supposed to be.

picture-312

Will the real Lagerfeld please stand up?

Will the real Lagerfeld please stand up?

Now before I delve into our adventures I want to clarify that this is in NO WAY meant to be slanderous toward the real Mr. Lagerfeld. I ADORE him and I think he is an amazing, eccentric artistic genius. That being said, the felt Karl can be a snarky little middle finger puppet from time to time.

So while I was covering the shows and interviewing designers I was also approaching celebs, designers and models and asking them to participate in my pocket Lagerfelt photo essay. I was shameless about asking anyone I could get close to, and, with the exception of Marc Jacobs, everyone thought the idea and the puppet were hilarious and graciously agreed. I wonder if Marc would have posed with his own facsimile? Maybe next season.

I probably should have told some of the PR firms putting on the shows that I was coming with such a VIP. Then maybe I wouldn’t have been completely denied tickets to Carolina Herrera, Badgley Mischka, Nanette Lepore, Anna Sui, J.Mendel, Miss Sixty, Zac Posen, and everyone even closely associated with the PR firm People’s Revolution–DVF, Alexandre Herchcovich, Nicholas K and Chado Ralph Rucci. ALL DENIED. Did that come out bitter?

Anyway Karl had a front row seat at every show but he has no legs so unless I could get a ticket as well he skipped them alltogether. Regardless of his superstar status he definitely needs a front row seat because seeing over anyone is out of the question due to his diminutive stature.

Perched in the front row.

Perched in the front row.

All in all we had a great week. Karl got lots of kisses from girls and boys and had more fingers up his hind quarters than I care to recount. Luckily I also carried a tiny Purell pump along with me. That put him in a good mood which was nice because he was a bit snippy since he was missing his fan. I tried to point out to him that he had no hands with which to hold a tiny fan but he ignored me. He did fall asleep during a few of the shows but I think that’s due to the fact that he only ate 3 cubes of cheese during the entire week. The following photos are some of the amazing people at fashion week that played with pint sized Karly. I thank everyone for being such a good sport.

Karl is inappropriate with Mad Men's Alison Brie. He was cold.

Karl is inappropriate with Mad Men's Alison Brie. He was cold.

Karl loves Angie Everhart. Supermodels rule.

Karl loves Angie Everhart. Supermodels rule.

what a doll!!

what a doll!!

DJ and photographer Brad Walsh Pinky swears with Karl.

DJ and photographer Brad Walsh Pinky swears with Karl.

I'm pretty sure Karl is very happy here with Chad White.

I'm pretty sure Karl is very happy here with Chad White.

Model Chanel Iman thinks Karl should use her in his shows!!!!

Model Chanel Iman thinks Karl should use her in his shows!!!!

Christian Siriano can relate to being carried around by me.

Christian Siriano can relate to being carried around by me.

Dina Lohan with Karl at the Project Runway finale. Karl fell asleep.

Dina Lohan with Karl at the Project Runway finale. Karl fell asleep.

Eric Wilson from the New York Times wants a ponytail too.

Eric Wilson from the New York Times wants a ponytail too.

Super sweetie SVP of IMG, Fern Mallis, gets a felt smooch!

Super sweetie SVP of IMG, Fern Mallis, gets a felt smooch!

Stylist Freddie Lieba and former hand model.

Stylist Freddie Lieba and former hand model.

Karl feels right at home in Greta Monahan's Chanel purse.

Karl feels right at home in Greta Monahan's Chanel purse.

Karl adores Irina's Vivienne Westwood chapeau! Grrrrrrrrrr.

Karl adores Irina's Vivienne Westwood chapeau! Grrrrrrrrrr.

Jane Krakowski loves Karl and Karl loves her back. And her front.

Jane Krakowski loves Karl and Karl loves her back. And her front.

Isabel Venero and fashion designer Jeffrey Banks

Isabel Venero and fashion designer Jeffrey Banks

Karl loved Jiliian Lewis' collection

Karl loved Jiliian Lewis' collection

I see Johnathan Adler and Karl have met before.

I see Jonathan Adler doesn't mind being 'felt' up.

Mark Indelicato loves black and white too.

Mark Indelicato loves black and white too.

Karl + Katherine McPhee = TLF

Karl + Katherine McPhee = TLF

Venexiana designer Kati Stern. Karl loves real fur. Sorry PETA.

Venexiana designer Kati Stern. Karl loves real fur. Sorry PETA.

Kevin Christiana only wears head-to-toe Chanel.

Kevin Christiana only wears head-to-toe Chanel.

The fabulous Lauren Ezersky

The fabulous Lauren Ezersky

Kit Scarbo thinks Karl looks amazing in leather pants.

Kit Scarbo thinks Karl looks amazing in leather pants.

By the last show Karl was WASTED! Lea had to carry him out.

By the last show Karl was WASTED! Lea had to carry him out.

Loni Love is HILARIOUS!

Loni Love is HILARIOUS!

Supermodel Manon loves her some Karl. See below.

Supermodel Manon loves her some Karl. See below.

How many licks to the center of a Karl pop?

How many licks to the center of a Karl pop?

Stylist and Harper's Bazaar consultant: gorgeous Mary-Alice Stephenson

Stylist and Harper's Bazaar consultant: gorgeous Mary-Alice Stephenson

John Bartlett thinks the real Karl is a genius but this one falls flat.

John Bartlett thinks the real Karl is a genius but this one falls flat.

Paper Magazine editor Mickey Boardman hearts Karl.

Paper Magazine editor Mickey Boardman hearts Karl.

Karl loves Nina Garcia!

Karl loves Nina Garcia!

Nole Marin pinky swears with Karl.

Nole Marin pinky swears with Karl.

Patrick McDonald knows Karl makes a fierce hat accessory.

Patrick McDonald knows Karl makes a fierce hat accessory.

Victorinox Creative Director Pierre-Henri Mattout has a pocket protector.

Victorinox Creative Director Pierre-Henri Mattout has a pocket protector.

Models LOVE Karl!

Models LOVE Karl!

And Karl Loves models!!

And Karl Loves models!!

Karl is jealous of Rebecca Taylor's lip gloss.

Karl is jealous of Rebecca Taylor's lip gloss.

Barbie designer Robert Best always wears gloves to match Karl

Barbie designer Robert Best always wears gloves to match Karl

Sean Lennon thinks Karl is too serious.

Sean Lennon thinks Karl is too serious.

Karl sticks to Simon Doonan like velcro

Karl sticks to Simon Doonan like velcro

CFDA Executive Director Steven Kolb treid to out Karl in his gift bag.

CFDA Executive Director Steven Kolb tried to put Karl in his gift bag.

Tim thinks Karl has a point.

Tim thinks Karl has a point.

America's fiercest top model, Yoanna House.

America's fiercest top model, Yoanna House.


New York Fashion Weak wrap. Wheeeewwwww!

Posted in The Fierceness on February 22, 2009 by jackmax2

As Mercedes-Benz Fall ’09 Fashion Week draws to a close the fashion-heads breathe a collective sigh of relief. The models are eating carbs again and the designers can take a few minutes off before starting on next season’s collection. It was a lot of work covering just a small percentage of the shows and trying to look moderately fabulous while doing so. Watching a fashion show is like being in the eye of a taffeta hurricane. While you’re in the eye, everything is seemingly calm and flawless. However everything before and after is a frenzied, microwavable hot pocket of mayhem.

picture-311

Thursday the 19th I had the LOGO PopLab crew in tow to interview a few of the designers and accost anyone of interest who might unknowingly stagger into our line of fire. I want to take this opportunity to give a special thanks to all the great people at LOGO that helped with the filming and my make–up guy Blue Michael who keeps me looking like I’m 30 and matte 24/7.
picture-85

First we interviewed Kiwi (New Zealander) Rebecca Taylor. She was a kick ass interview. She’s adorable, obviously very talented. With all the PR involved in fashion you would think these designers would learn the art of the sound bite. But about half of my interviews were just painful. Not Ms. Taylor. I asked if she might consider making me something in a women’s size 18 and she suggested something strapless because of my big shoulders. Spot on lady! Talk about amazing taste. She’s faxing me an organza shrug as you read this. She rocks! And so did her collection. See for yourself:

picture-67

picture-76

picture-96

Tori Spelling was there with Mena Suvari and Jamie Zigler. And Tori was also front row at Christian Siriano’s show. I think she’s following me. Creepy.

picture-310

I also got to meet the incomparable Loni Love. If you are a fan of the Chelsea Lately show you will know Loni as a regular comedienne on hot topics chat. It’s like the View but interesting. She was SO friggin’ nice and hysterical. It was her first fashion week so she was very excited. I almost had to oust Jane Krakowski as my new BFF in exchange for Loni but I think I will stick with Ms. Krak for a bit longer. It’s only been a few days after all. I did come close to ripping her tiara off her head though. But we all know the real queen in the photo.

lonilove1

PORTS 1961 Creative Director Tia Cibani

PORTS 1961 Creative Director Tia Cibani

We then interviewed the jet-setting Creative Director of PORTS 1961, Tia Cibani. She is truly fascinating. She was born in North Africa, grew up in Canada and spent 6 years living in China. Her sense of global relevance is apparent in her designs. She was extremely articulate and a real pleasure to interview. She showed off some of the amazing handwork in this India inspired collection. It was quite stunning up close. I also applaud her for using diverse ethnic models in her show. PORTS 1961 also participated in the Fashion Forward event I did with Tim Gunn in September. The event was a fundraiser to support GMHC. Tia is committed to many world social causes and I love that she was a part of the event.

picture-283

picture-271

picture-263

The collection was full of intricate details and clear Indian inspiration. The only issue I had with the show is that I was sitting in the very front about 3 feet from a live band who played bongo drums throughout the entire show. Now I know I already have 20% hearing loss in both ears from years of pummeling my eardrums with loud music on the subway, but even I was like, “Really?”  I think she got great applause at the end of the show but I couldn’t tell because the ringing in my ears didn’t stop for another 30 minutes.

picture-292

OOH OOOH. And I had my first Anna Wintour sitting of the season. She always seems like she is having so much fun. Giggles Wintour is what they call her. Good times. She was about 20 seats away and I was still scared.

Of course I saved the best interview for last: Her Majesty Christian Siriano. It was tres bizarre to ask him question because I still talk to him all the time so I knew all the answers. So we basically just acted like big queens for 10 minutes and then I gave him a piggyback ride for old time sake. I would have put him in my man purse but it was filled with crap I’d stolen from previous shows.

Who me??

Who me??

And ladies–let me tell you– Christian Siriano no longer has anything to prove to the fashion community—if you seem to think he did. He has arrived. I love him to death so I am 100% biased but I am blogging and that’s my prerogative. It’s way Bobby Brown up in here. I loved the collection. Inspired by Egypt, it was very signature Siriano but it also showed that he is versatile and has really evolved as a designer. The palette was mainly sandy neutrals, gold and pops of teal blue. He had gorgeously tailored jackets with cool zipper details. He still included a few ruffle extravaganzas and it wouldn’t be a Christian show without and uber-puff sleeve here and there but he showed innovation and new silhouettes. Pure genius.

picture-145

Puff pastry.

Puff pastry.

picture-192

Gorgeous!

Gorgeous!

The final look

The final look

He has also started a she and handbag collection with Payless Shoes. I know it sounds way ghetto because we all associate Payless with 5 dollar shoes and Star Jones, but Christian is NOT playing games. He told me that he is doing a dozen or so designs for them each season and they are giving him artistic license to do ANYTHING he wants. Since Payless is the largest shoe company in the world (seriously), they have unlimited access to any kind of materials and they can make anything. They made the shoes for Christians show and they were off the chain. Christian said, “It was really incredible to have no limitations on shapes, materials or details.  Can’t wait to see the shoes on the runway!!!” Of course the models could barely walk because the heels were so high but they will of course be toned down for mass-market consumption. They will be available in the fall. I hope they make a women’s size 14.

I'll take one pair of each please.

I'll take one pair of each please.

Christian has certainly developed quite the celeb following. Besides Tori, I caught glimpses Aubrey O’Day, formerly of Danity Kane, Nina Garcia, Mark Indelicato from Ugly Betty who I met earlier this week, and Katrina Bowden. Check out the photo below and see if you can spot me. It’s all very where’s Waldo.

Katrina Bowden and me in the way way way back.

Katrina Bowden and me in the way way way back.

The last show of my fashion marathon was the Season 7 Project Runway finale. It was really strange to see since we don’t know who any of the designers are or if the season will ever air. I happen to know that Bravo started filming their replacement show, The Fashion Show, this week which means it will probably air this summer and by then people will be done with Project Runway. It’s unfortunate but we had a good run. I feel saddest for the 15 or 16 designers who went through the hell of sequestered reality television and may never get the recognition they deserve. That being said, it was interesting to watch the 3 final collections from a completely unbiased point of view since we don’t know whom the designers are and they didn’t even come out during the finale.

I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings here because I know how hard they had to work but the first collection was just not up to Bryant Park standards. One of the looks was a plain black, ankle-length slip dress with a skinny black belt. C’mon! You get your one big shot to show at Fashion week and you can’t be more creative than that? I don’t have a lot of great things to say about the first group so I will just leave it at that.  ZZZZZZZZZ

Really?

Really?

The second group was an improvement over the first but it was still not amazing. There was little innovation and really no WOW factor at all. I did like a few pieces here and there, but the collection was marred by some really odd looks as well. It didn’t seem to have a consistent theme and most of the looks were variations on something I had seen last fall.

A decent look from the second collection.

A decent look from the second collection.

The clear winner was the third and final collection. With the exception of one or two looks (a faux-fur hooded vest), the presentation was on point. The designer tied the looks together by reinterpreting various versions of criss-cross weaving throughout the collection. There were bold chunky knits and detailed leather work. Paired with some really cool hats, the looks were well styled and polished. Whoever designed and made the final group has some serious talent. I hope we get to see who it is one day.

Fierce.

Fierce.

picture-272

picture-293

Much more in depth reviews HERE.

Oh—And I almost forgot!!!  I got to meet Olympic gold medalist, swimmer and super hottie Ryan Lochte.  He was nice enough to take 2 photos with me because I looked like ass in the first one. If you know me you know I’m a freak about swimming and the Olympics so it was the highlight of my day. I heart you Ryan cuz I know you are totally reading this. I think he was scared of me by the end of our conversation. Oh well. I’m sitting outside his hotel room right now. Thank god for wireless.

My new husband.

My new husband.

Stay tuned for my complete overview of the entire week with my mini partner in crime, Karl Lagerfelt.

Friends of the Academy Awards Gala–by Adam Sandel

Posted in The Fierceness on February 19, 2009 by jackmax2

Bay Area Reporter

2/19/2009

To the rescue! Film; Academy of Friends throws a superhero Oscar gala

by Adam Sandel

Divas, Villians and Superheros.

Superheroes, Villains & Divas

Look up in the sky. It’s a bird, it’s a plane – it’s hundreds of tuxedoed partygoers coming to the rescue of HIV/AIDS organizations at the Academy of Friends’ annual Oscar gala! This year’s ultimate A-List event on Sunday night at Fort Mason, A Night of Superheroes, Villains & Divas, promises to be especially exciting. In addition to supporting HIV/AIDS groups that are financially strapped in these tough times, gala attendees can cheer on two of the most uplifting Oscar nominees in years: Slumdog Millionaire and the gay community’s very own Milk.

In addition to enjoying Hollywood’s finest, and hunky Oscar host Hugh Jackman, gala guests will be treated to live performances by the dance sensations of Burn the Floor and that ultimate villain/diva from the cast of Wicked .

Also on hand will be Jack Mackenroth, the HIV-positive fashion designer and TV personality from Project Runway, who’s launched the national HIV/AIDS education campaign Living Positive by Design in partnership with Merck & Company.

Charming, talented, and ridiculously handsome, Mackenroth provides one of the best possible faces of HIV, and in the words of his former mentor Tim Gunn, he recently agreed to “talk to me.”

“I’ll be 20 years positive this August, right after my 40th birthday,” said Mackenroth. “I immediately needed support when it first happened, so I came out as positive to close friends, and then to my family in the mid-90s. I was doing well on the meds, and after a few years some of the fear dissipated.”

His appearance on season four of Project Runway was Mackenroth’s launching pad to national exposure. “I discussed being positive on the show, and it became a great opportunity for outreach. It wasn’t a big plan, I just wanted to live my life openly. Everyone who talks about it helps to alleviate the anxiety.”

Through the Living Positive by Design campaign, he hopes to help combat the stigma associated with HIV, and encourage people living with HIV to have a positive outlook on life while effectively managing their disease. “The goal is to get people to work with their doctors to get to an undetectable viral load, and to be proactive about their health.”

The public response, especially now that Project Runway is airing overseas, has been very, well, positive. “Once a day I get an e-mail or message on my Facebook or My Space page from people saying, ‘Thank you for being a positive role model.’ I expected a backlash, but there really has been none.”

A graduate of UC Berkeley, Mackenroth is no stranger to San Francisco, but this will be his first AOF Gala. In addition to sharing his Living Positive by Design promos, he says, “I’m looking forward to mingling, having fun, and commenting on the Oscar fashions.” And guys? I asked. He’s single.

New York Fashion Week. Michael Kors and 1909 Victorinox

Posted in The Fierceness on February 19, 2009 by jackmax2

I was really looking forward to the Michael Kors show. I have not seen him in forever and I was supposed to have a brief pre-show interview with him but when I arrived his PR team had already packed up the check-in. Oh well. I figured I would try for post-show. Right. Not.

The show was excellent. I know that everyone is talking recession doom and gloom but you couldn’t tell from the Kors collection. First of all he did not scrimp on the models. He had some of the top girls right from the get-go. Carmen Cass, Frankie Rayder, Chanel Iman, Raquel Zimmerman, Coco Rocha and my FAVE model of the moment, Tanya Dziahileva.

Model Tanya Dziahileva
Model Tanya Dziahileva

Model Frankie Rayder

Model Frankie Rayder

One thing that Michael does extremely well is style an entire head-to toe look. With many designers I like certain pieces but not a full look. Kors models look as if the could walk right off the runway and onto an awaiting private jet.

Carmen Cass and her accessory.

Carmen Cass and her accessory.

The show started with black wool and cashmere luxurious pieces that were soon infused with neon green accents followed by grey and white tweeds and leathers. He moved onto a more neutral mid section with tans and olive fabrics and furs. Neon green, pink and orange were scattered throughout.

Watch the whole show here. Click the PLAY tab.

I was green with envy.

I was green with envy.

Michael's final walk

Michael's final walk

I went backstage after the show but Michael was MOBBED by press. I just stood in the corner waiting for a moment but it never happened. INSTEAD I chatted with Jane Krakowski from 30 Rock and various Broadway productions. She was SO nice. She is my new BFF and Nicole Richie is out. I’m fickle like that.

The lovely and HILARIOUS Jane Krakowski.

The lovely and HILARIOUS Jane Krakowski.

Then Heidi Klum arrived backstage with a throng of press and madness ensued. She is always very kind to me so I applaud her for that especially since she is constantly hounded. She always takes time to kiss kiss and say “hi”.

dscn1251

On the contrary my reception from Ms. Kors was quite chilly. When I finally approached him he said, “Oh, hi.” and stuck out his hand. I thought that was strange. I know we are not bosom buddies but we did go through quite an experience together. Anyway–I will assume he was just exhausted and OVER it at that point.

Since I couldn’t really get face time with Michael I got the next best thing: his adorable mom Joan Kors.

The fabulous Joan Kors

The fabulous Joan Kors

Done with that madness I headed over to the New York Public Library for the 1909 Victorinox menswear collection by Pierre-Henri Mattout. He’s super handsome and really cool. I enjoyed chatting with him immensely. Victorinox/Swiss Army was founded 125 years ago so Pierre-Henri is modernizing the collection by designing a more cutting edge younger line. It’s his second season as Creative Director and I loved the collection.

Designer Pierre-Henri Mattout. Sorry he has a husband.

Designer Pierre-Henri Mattout. Sorry he has a husband.

He told me he was inspired by the Amish rumspringa where adolescents explore the world and decide if Amish life is right for them after their worldly adventures. The looks were a combination of comfort, function and fashion. Below are some of my favorite looks.

picture-153

picture-144

picture-122

I was backstage for about and hour before the show and I just want to mention one thing. The models were all flawless of course but there was one kid named Jamie Jewitt from VNY models who was REDIC. Most of the models are straight now and when you hear them talk you remember that they are 19 but it’s fun to imagine. Anyway–Book him. He’s gorgeous. Call me Jamie.

Jamie Jewitt at Victorinox

Jamie Jewitt at Victorinox

more Jamie.

more Jamie.

Also 1909 Victorinox gets the award for BEST INVITATION so far. It was printed on a piece of wood. Very cool.

got wood?

got wood?

Living Positive Means Positive Living for Jack Mackenroth

Posted in The Fierceness on February 19, 2009 by jackmax2

By Paul E. Pratt–Originally published in the San Francisco Bay Times.

cohn-wolfe-edited-photo-shoot-2008-2

Jack Mackenroth is a busy man. Up to his crystal blue eyes in New York’s Fashion Week, which he is covering or gay TV network LOGO, the  muscular, HIV-positive designer forced off Project Runway Season 4 due to a nasty staph infection boards a plane later this week to catch the Academy Awards in San Francisco.

As part of the new Living Positive By Design program, Mackenroth appears at the Feb. 22 Academy of Friends Gala at Fort Mason. Raising monies for a dozen local AIDS service organizations, the posh Oscar’s night event is the fourth stop for spokesperson Mackenroth and the program created by pharmaceutical company Merck to spur frank conversation about HIV/AIDS.

Here Mackenroth, who was diagnosed with HIV shortly after leaving U.C. Berkeley for design school nearly 20 years ago, discusses his experience as an HIV-positive role model, thoughts on Fashion Week and passion for his HIV education partnership with Merck on Living Positive By Design.

(Bay Times) How did you get hooked up to cover New York Fashion Week for LOGO?

(Mackenroth) I’ve done stuff for LOGO before, little vignettes and pieces. I’m familiar with the people there, so they approached me to blog about Fashion Week. We’re doing two days of live shooting. They have a show called Pop Lab, which is video-based. I don’t exactly understand their format, but I was like, “I’m on camera? Sign me up!” (Laughs.) We’re taping two days live from the tents and the rest is me blogging. It actually sounds a lot more glamorous than it is. I can maybe handle six shows a day. Then you have to go home, recap, blog, download photos, and all that stuff. The shows start at 9 a.m., and sometimes they end at 9 p.m., so it’s a full day of fashion. Just watching a fashion show is super fun. I went to a show today and sat directly behind Kate Bosworth and Nicole Richie. If I wasn’t actually looking at the clothes and thinking about what I was going to say, I’d be like, “Oh, my God! I’m sitting next to Nicole Richie!” When you have actually work it, it kind of takes the fun out of it and makes it a drag – and not “drag” in a good sense either.

Your goal on Project Runway was to be at Fashion Week as a designer. You gave up that opportunity when you left the show because of staph infection. What’s it like being there in a different capacity?

First of all, the mood is so different because of the economy, I’m kind of glad I’m not doing my own line right now. I’ve been going to the shows forever. There’s no bitterness, like, “Oh, God! I wish that was me!” I know how hard it is for designers right now. About a quarter of them dropped out of Fashion Week altogether. There are tons of [designers] missing. I’m surprised, though, because the energy is still really good. There are a lot of people there covering it. It’s really crowded when there are shows. It’s kind of mayhem.

Soon you’re rushing to San Francisco for the Academy of Friends gala and fundraiser, where you’re representing Merck’s Living Positive By Design Program. Tell me more.

This is actually our fourth city. We did Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, New York, we’re coming to San Francisco, then we’re going to Houston. Anybody can go to LivingPositiveByDesign.com. It’s all about speaking directly to HIV-positive people. It’s a partnership with Merck. We’re encouraging HIV-positive people to be vocal and talk about HIV as much as they are comfortable. In doing so, it will help combat the stigma for everyone. Beyond that, we’re trying to encourage HIV-positive to become their own health care advocates, partner with a health care provider they are comfortable with and get on a treatment regimen that works for them and maximizes tolerability by minimizing side effects so they take their medication. We all know everyone responds differently to different medications, so make sure it works for you. And the ultimate goal for an HIV-positive person is to keep their viral load at undetectable. That’s kind of it in a nutshell. I think the great thing about “Living Positive By Design” is so many of the HIV education programs speak to prevention, which is important obviously. But there are a million people living in the U.S. with HIV, yet I can count on one hand the people who are “celebrities” or public personalities who are openly HIV-positive. That’s unfortunate. I think the more we talk about it takes away some of the shame. It makes those who are positive feel more comfortable, and they will more readily get the medical attention and care they need.

You were tapped as spokesperson for this program because you have lived with HIV for nearly 20 years. What kind of response do you receive about your openness on the subject?

I turn 40 in April, and then I’ll have my 20th HIV Anniversary in August. It’s a big year of milestones for me. The response has been really positive, no pun intended. (Laughs.) I usually get a dozen messages a week – there’s so many different ways with Facebook and MySpace and email now – from people. Project Runway is international now, so I get them from people in all different countries saying “Thank you for being so open about your status.”

A lot of people still, unfortunately, have misinformation that HIV/AIDS is still a death sentence. Not that I’m trying to glamorize HIV in any way, but I think people are happy to see there is someone who can be healthy, go on to pursue their dream, be HIV-positive and by following the steps in “Living Positive By Design” maintain their lives. By making my healthcare a priority for myself, I can go on and do good things. I’m not saying, “Do what I do. It’ll work for you.” That’s not what I’m pushing. There are a lot of treatment options available, so that’s why we need to advocate for ourselves and find what’s best for each person.

For more information, visit:  http://www.LivingPositiveByDesign.com

Mercedes-Benz NY Fashion Week redux: Monday and Tuesday

Posted in The Fierceness on February 18, 2009 by jackmax2

Before I start gibber-jabbering and free associating about god knows what, let me just say that I have a new respect for bloggers. It’s a full time job especially if you are a one man/woman show. I would have liked to cover more shows and do more interviews but at the end of the day 4 or 5 is the absolute maximum I can handle before dropping dead of the bird flu. Anyways–KUDOS BLOGGERS!!  Thanks god for you so we all have something to read while we pretend we are busy at work in our cubicles.

So Monday the 16th was the first day that I had a video crew in tow to interview some of the designers for LOGO’s PopLab. You would think the tents are Fort Knox by the way they stop everyone at the front gates. They wouldn’t let our make-up guy in because he didn’t have a white badge and they actually kept John Bartlett waiting outside the tents for 10 minutes while we scrambled to get him inside. The ridiculous thing is that all we do is take of our credentials and then bring them out to those waiting outside. Handled. The whole tent situation is quite the circus. Often the PR check-in girls will just write your seat assignment on note cards. I’ve heard of fashion students who come armed with sharpies and note cards of all colors and basically forge their own invite into each show. Genius.

We began the day backstage with Carlos Miele, a Brazilian designer, who was not even remotely interested in speaking with us. He was noshing on a bagel during half the interview and his accent was so thick I couldn’t understand his responses to me questions so I just bobble-headed my way through the interview. After 3 disinterested responses I cut the interview short knowing that we would not use the footage anyway. I took a quick look at his collection on the racks and since I couldn’t understand his explanation of his collection I can only assume it was rock ‘n’ roll meets 80′s prom meets the Gap. There were a few beautiful evening pieces but the collection was all over the place. Note to Carlos: Always be gracious to your reporter. You may not remember us but we remember you.

Did she just walk in off the street?

Did she just walk in off the street?

The artist formerly known as prints.

The artist formerly known as prints.

I heart the Gap.

I heart the Gap.

Carlos Miele with random guitarist dude.

Carlos Miele with random guitarist dude.

I have to say, however, that he does make a bad-ass vacuum cleaner.

picture-112

On the light side I did get to meet one of my idols, former supermodel Angie Everhart. She was delightful. Angie is quite pregnant but still looks amazing. And that hair. Gorge!!!

The flawless Angie Everhart.

The flawless Angie Everhart.

We also chatted briefly with Katherine McPhee from American Idol. I was a huge fan before the interview but not quite so much afterward. She clearly didn’t want to be bothered either. Note to Kat: Embrace the gays. We will keep your career going long after the rest of the world has forgotten about you.

whateves.

whateves.

Though I don’t even begin to imply that I have the level of fame as most of my celeb run-ins, I have had my tiny brush with fame and I always greet whoever comes up to me with a big smile an introduce myself. It takes more energy to be snarly and you never know who you might be talking to. Like a reporter perhaps.

Next we popped across Bryant Park to the New York Public Library for the Jill Stuart show. It’s an amazing space for a show. Once again we were slated for an interview with Jill but dismissed at the last minute. Oh well. The show was decent with a few memorable pieces. Lots of black and ivory dresses and a lot of sheer fabrications for a fall show. Overall a good collection. Thought the most memorable moment was when one model walked the entire runway with her boob hanging out of her dress. Oops.

My favorite look.

My favorite look.

Look who had a front row seat. Not mine of course.

Look who had a front row seat. Not mine of course.

Designer Jill Stuart

Designer Jill Stuart

The show was also a celeb studded event. I find that too many celebrities tends to detract from the show because the paps are all over them. Paris seems to have lost an earring.

Kristen Bell, Michelle Trachtenberg, Jessica Stroup, Paris, Nicky and Amanda Bynes

Kristen Bell, Michelle Trachtenberg, Jessica Stroup, Paris, Nicky and Amanda Bynes

Handsome and straight. :(

Handsome and straight. :(

Next we interviewed Dutch designer Tony Cohen. He was very gracious and had a cool vibe. Look for the interview on PopLab. His design studio is near the Red Light district in Amsterdam so he said that’s why he included a lot of short dresses. Subliminal inspiration I guess. Dark, muted palette with an edgy feel.

picture-252

picture-243

picture-233

After Tony Cohen’s collection we were off to Terexov by Alexander Terekhov.

picture-262

His english is not great and he didn’t want to be asked the stock question ,”What was your inspiration?” so we didn’t have much to chat about. I was losing interest quickly until his Russian interpreter came over to help with the interview. Alexander looked like he needed a snack and I wanted to snack on his interpreter. Awkward.

Interpreter, Alexander, and me drooling.

Interpreter, Alexander, and me drooling.

Tuesday I had to pull back from the fashion frenzy. It all sounds really glamorous when you are not in the thick of it but its really  a lot of running around and chasing after people and dodging security. It’s all just too much after a while. So I opted to only attend 2 shows: Diesel Black Gold and Narciso Rodriguez.

At Diesel I went with Kevin Christiana and we discovered a new trick. If you are not a celebrity or with a celebrity then make sure you sit right behind one. We sat directly behind Nicole Richie, Singer Roisin Murphy (who I ADORE), Common and Kate Bosworth . We just pretended all the flash bulbs were for us.

Look who's in the 3rd row!

Look who's in the 3rd row!

My photo from behind. Kate greets Common.

My photo from behind. Kate greets Common.

Nicole taking her seat.

Nicole taking her seat.

The show was cool. Kate and Common were chatting it up and Nicole seemed genuinely kind to the people around her. We are BFF’s now of course.

Here are a few of the looks.

picture-65

picture-210

picture-54

the final walk

the final walk

Narciso Rodriguez did not have time to speak to me in person but he was gracious enough to answer a few brief questions via email. Here they are:

What was you inspiration for this season? THERE IS NEVER JUST ONE SOURCE OF INSPIRATION BEHIND A COLLECTION FOR ME. I GATHER EVERYTHING THAT I LOVE EVERY SEASON AND BUILD A WALL OF PICTURES THAT SOME HOW COMES TOGETHER TO CREATE AN ABSTRACT THEME.

How are you making adjustments for the economic spiral? I THINK IT IS A TIME TO BE MORE CREATIVE THAN EVER BOTH IN BUSINESS AND ON THE RUNWAY.WE NEED TO INSPIRE PEOPLE INTO THE NEW COLLECTION AND FIND NEW WAYS TO DO BUSINESS.

What was it like working with Michelle Obama?

I AM TOTALLY HONORED TO SEE THE FIRST LADY IN MY CREATIONS. SHE IS AN INSPIRATION TO ME AS SHE AN INSPIRATION TO ALL WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD.

Tell me about your biggest fashion disaster or celeb nightmare. LUCKILY I HAVE NEVER HAD A CELEBRITY NIGHTMARE. I HOPE BY SAYING THAT I DONT JINX IT!

Anything else you want to add? I AM VERY EXCITED TO HAVE RECENTLY LAUNCHED “ESSENCE” MY NEW WOMANS FRAGRANCE. THE REACTION HAS BEEN TREMENDOUS. IT IS AN EXCITING MOMENT IN THE HISTORY OF MY CAREER.
I love Narciso. And I loved his collection. More images to come.

Designer Narciso Rodriguez

Designer Narciso Rodriguez

A look from his fall '09 collection

A look from his fall '09 collection

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 258 other followers