By Laura Medina
"Don't you know that fashion exists in context? Posting a photograph of your shoes on Instagram is not fashion."
That was the first piece of advice Joan Juliet Buck had told this scribe, over a phone interview.
Other than that, this scribe asked her, how she was doing. Bubbly blunt, she said "We're all bracing for the blizzard."
Our interview is chunk full of bon mots...and a warning.
Joan informed this scribe that reason behind writing her memoir, "The Price of Illusion," directly concerning today's social media darlings, existing solely in Facebook and Instagram.
"The surface will eat you up because, life only exists in pictures."
"My book, 'The Price of Illusion,' is about what happens when you live on the surface, in pictures."
She mentioned that social media "stars" should locate the French writer, Marcel Ayme's short story about a mistress who had to reinvent a new image, a new persona for each one of her lovers, until she lost herself in them. "The more transparent she becomes, the more she loses herself." The short story is published by Powell. A warning from the wise.
This is where she refrains again, "That fashion exists in context."
She suggests that bloggers, who are the new journalists, go to the museum, look at Constructive Art. "Open your eyes and your mind. Once you leave the museum, you will see a pair of sneakers in a new point of view." It is that moment that she suggests you take a selfie of your shoes on Instagram.
"Bloggers reflect what is around you." Much like fashion.
"As a blogger, you should write and report the physical, the real, the material, not just about seeing shoes."
Joan says that fashion exists in the context of the era and history that it was made in, reflecting the technology used to make that clothing. How a piece of clothing reflects the available technology of that era.
It's not an off-kilter comment when she said that fashion is a direct indictor of the economy and people's income.
She's a big of Uniqlo. "Don't you Jil Sander was the creative director of Uniqlo?" Joan sat this scribe straight when she educated this scribe that real fashion, fashion fresh out of the atelier, are bought and worn by the 1%. The trend manufacturers are for the 90%. This is where the economy hits fashion...or style.
"Street Style" is a reflection of that era's economy because clothes have to be made and priced accordingly to people's shifting income levels, especially after 2008 Housing Crisis.
As a woman retired from the shifting sands of trends...and fads, but very knowledgeable about fashion, Joan is a big fan of Uniqlo's affordable minimalism.
She noted the quality construction and stitch yet acknowledge the fabric is basic. During her book reading, she simply said she buys an Uniqlo sweater, wears it for three years then throw it away, when it's time for a new style, a new trend.
Joan stressed that Uniqlo is the one of the few vertical integrated fashion brands that do not use slave labor, "Do not buy from companies that use slave labor."
As for trends, mixing high and lows, haute couture meeting street style, when she was the Editor in Chief at French Vogue, Joan conducted her staff meetings as a communal endeavor, where the more established journalists exchange ideas and runway viewings with the much interns discussing what they spot as street style. Stories become articles and ideas. Everybody all together, bringing new and various point of views, ideas, and angles.
At French Vogue, Joan formed a community, "It's about humanity, a common endeavor."
Much like The Moth Story Hour, Joan loves it. She calls it, another common endeavor, where everybody tells stories, learn, and exchange ideas.
This is where she added, "Don't you know, I lived in an haunted apartment in Paris? You see, I lived half my life in Paris, sleeping with a ghost."
Now a days, she's more "famous" for "The Ghost of Rue Jacob," https://themoth.org/stories/the-ghost-of-rue-jacob, which she discussed over several chapters in her book, "The Price of Illusion;" and her "infamous" Moth Story Hour story-telling.
This was another cost of living the illusion...or the dream.
Once she got hired as the editor of French Vogue, it was time to hunt down an apartment, in a suitable neighborhood.
She fell in love with the 18th-century apartment and couldn't believe it was a few hundred dollars more than her New York apartment.
"You see, the apartment was the most gorgeous apartment I'd ever seen. It was a few hundred dollars more than my New York apartment."
As soon as she was done signing the lease then reading the contract, out loud, "That's how they do it in France. You see in Paris, they force you to sign the lease, the contract. Once you sign the lease, the contract, the French force you to read it, out loud. Then, they tell you, 'Things move at night."
It's the French way of saying, you have ghosts in your apartment.
Joan, "I've spent several chapters on living in an haunted apartment. I managed to get out of my lease. I spent half my time in Paris, sleeping with a ghost."
This scribe guess that her memoir, "The Price of Illusion" is her way of exorcising the ghosts of past pretense, shining a light on it and the cost of "illusion." By providing a guiding light on her past adventures in fashion...and how to deal, going up the fashion ladder, Joan Juliet Buck reassures today's fashion bloggers and fashion editors, that they're not alone on this ride. Many an editors had rode this journey before. Her memoir is almost a road map and guide book.
Joan Juliet Buck's best advice, "Live in the moment," then report about it, since fashion is a reflection of history.