Monday, August 19, 2013
The Jeffrey Felner Interview with Ilia Sybil Sdralli
Jeffrey Felner’s short bio in popular news platform ‘‘Examiner.com’‘ describes him as ” a dedicated participant and well informed historian in the businesses of fashion and style. Decades of experience allow him to pursue almost any topic relating to fashion and style with unique insight and unrivaled acumen.”.
Allow me to add his vast knowledge of fashion history plus his overall personality as a journalist, constantly showcasing the difference between a real ”fashion journalist” (in the old-fashioned yet accurate way), from a random fashion blogger. Book reviews in ”New York Journal Of Books” are also another chapter.
I have been happy to get acquainted with as I have discovered great publications referring to fashion history ,fashion semiotics and the culture of apparel in general. His writing represents exactly what’s missing in today’s fashion commentary as he is not afraid to tell a spade, a spade.
Mr. Jeffrey Felner I salute you.” Fashionphiles”,do start taking notes!
~What attracted you in the fashion world at first place?
I think I always set my sights on fashion as it was always of interest to me. I am lucky enough to have been part of fashion from every conceivable aspect from fabric design to many facets of product design and even retail and wholesale. Fashion remains a never ending source of attraction and fascination.
~With your years of fashion expertise, would you say that certain myths regarding fashion became less intriguing for you?
I think that the absolute hugest myth about the business of fashion is that it is glamorous. When I first began my journey, it was certainly more fabulous than it is today. Fashion magazines were really all about fashion and not advertising and editorials were about fantasy and selling clothes. Today it is very much about dollars cents and the barometer of what is considered successful has been irrevocably altered and damaged by the entrance of corporations who have taken fashion/designers under their awnings.
Today there is a myth about luxury that it is so exclusive which it is not. As far as I am concerned it is far too “democratic” and too easy to find, too accessible to too many people. When there was only a single outpost for a brand, then you had exclusivity and you had luxury.
~What inspires you? Fashion history, music, images..?
I am inspired everyday by those around me who constantly remind me that fashion changes and that one must be open and accepting of the evolution of fashion. As a book critic, I am always astounded by how much I don’t know about this world that I have been part of for so many years. I am always watching and looking and reading as much as I can wherever I may be. I am blessed with friends who share their talents with me and lead me to others who have great promise. One of the greatest inspirations for me is to find designers who understand the heritage of fashion and utilize the art of fashion in their own particular worlds of fashion
~Which is your personal definition of haute couture? Are there great couture designers nowadays to the height of Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, etc?
For me, Haute Couture is all about the first the design and then it is all about the “petit mains” or those who make the art of Haute Couture possible. To me, a great designer of the Couture is like a conductor who knows how to lead his orchestra for if the designer has no sense of that, it is possible that he has no vision for the Couture. Couture remains at the mercy of the consumer, not the stores; these ladies dictate the success of any designer. Haute Couture is usually associated with Paris, but I have come to learn that this lost art is present in the United States as well as so many other countries around the world.
~Could you define’’ beauty’’ or ‘’style’’ in your very own terms?
I believe that one of the greatest sources on the topic was the late Diana Vreeland; to me she was utterly brilliant with what popped out of her mouth. She was outrageous and absolutely brilliant when it came to matters of both style and fashion as she made it perfectly clear that they were 2 separate entities and are rarely combined in everyday life. I have read countless books about her and I am always enlightened and amazed at how she conducted her life, her vision and her observations, no matter how outrageous.
Style is a very personal matter and is clearly dependent on the possessor. Fashion, in my mind, tends to be of the moment and fleeting. Wearing the latest shoe from Chanel does not make you stylish! Fashion can be bought but I do believe that style comes from within.
~Do you think that street style influences fashion or rather, fashion trends advertised create followers, fashionistas?
I believe that part of what ails the business of fashion is the media. There are far too many unqualified and uneducated “critics” of fashion. Street fashion is always a fascination for designers but it is the translation of it and the interpretation of it that makes it a trend. A very select few like Mr. Lagerfeld can exercise a huge influence in this arena, he is a zeitgeist of fashion and he is an astute observer of life. I prefer to call those who are immersed in fashion… “Fashionphiles” as I find the term fashionista very tired and overused. What bothers me most about the new generation of fashionphiles is their lack of education on the subject and the apparent lack of interest about the history of fashion.