Without him, Fashion would not have turned into this monstrous behemoth, ultimately destroying itself. What was the tragedy? So many hardworking and, I might add underpaid talented people lost their jobs forever. So many young men and women corrupted, drugged, mentally ill, their lives ruined by Aids.
Back to my Gucci days in the late 60's, 70's and mid 80's, the scams and the bamboozles barely existed. For a fact, the New York Times always paid its own way. Bernardine Morris, the extraordinary, no BS talking Head of its Fashion Bureau never, but never even accepted a luncheon paid for by me. Its fashion illustrator, Maning Obregon followed her example. They often invited me to lunch and I was delighted to accept.
The gifts I gave the writers and journalists never went over the top. The works of Art were the foulards. I gifted my favorite journalists and fashion writers with those. Full Stop.
Drusilla Gucci, married to Roberto Gucci, painted and designed all the Gucci foulards. Audrey Hepburn bought two of everything; one for herself and the others ended up on her walls framed in gold leaf. I was unaware of this action of Audrey's at the time. She was inspired by the atelier in Via Condotti, one of the places where I had offices. It had quite a few of Drusilla Gucci's foulards framed in gold too.
No one ever duplicated them because each and every design was copyrighted. That was not a deterrent to pirates. They simply lacked the secrets Drusilla as a true artistic Florentine had used. Those thugs never captured the colors the same way. Drusilla, who is the Princess Cafarelli used such vibrant colors and then worked step by step with a master craftsman/chemist to reproduce the same dazzling colors clients gasped in amazement in Gucci Rome, Milan, Florence, Paris, London, New York, Chicago , Beverly Hills and Hong kong. Unlike the ones sold today at Gucci, Hermes, Vuitton et al, you could not tell which was the so called underside. Both dazzled you equally. Ca va sans dire - Drusillas paintings on silk did not come cheap.
I shall say it again. In those days, the Fashion greats did not attempt to buy the Media with ultra expensive gifts or lavish luncheons and dinners. Nowadays, the jungle has turned into a bordello. Most everyone in "the business" is falling all over themselves to outshine the House of Puff or the House of Fluff.
I was against loaning any dress, gown, or accessories to ANYONE. Movie and television celebrities paid for all their Gucci treasures. If they happened to be loyal clients, which meant that they spent effortlessly $!00,000 minimum per annum, I might be persuaded to give a 30% discount. Producers such as the chaps who made the Bond films paid for every single item. Product placement was not automatic. I did not give a tinkers damn what they did with the products in a movie. Editors love to clip, clip, clip and it was best not to take them seriously.
In those days at Gucci, only the Media received discounts on shoes, handbags, coats or accessories. The rich never dared to ask for one because the atmosphere was such that they knew it would be demeaning.
Sales staff did not fawn or grovel. If a customer was rude, "There's the door," said the Vendeuse.
Models exuded femininity and sex appeal. Slim, small boned and tall was the catchword. No anorexic, rachitic, cachectic, bulimic models in sight.
All this was done very discreetly until Linda Lovelace, star of the Pornographic movie "Deep Throat" made the XXX rated obscene films now lightly called Porno into something mainstream. She was the Precursor of the Beginning of the End of Good Taste, Manners, Style, Sophisticated or Casual
Elegance in New York. Deep Throat metastasized the rest of the Western world slowly but surely.
In Italy, an enterprising young man whacked out on Pornography launched a young Hungarian woman in skimpy clothes with skirt lengths just above her tanga panties. She wore circlets of flowers in her hair and always carried a stuffed toy. She was Cicciolina - Little Cuddly. I thought she was as sexy as Lassie. It became de rigeur - almost all parties in New York, London, Paris, Rome and Milan had porno flicks and drugs for entertainment.. Good and witty conversation was flushed down the toilet together with Coquetry, Subtlety and Values.
Most designers went pari-passu with the Pornography, Pedohilia and the drugs. Some designers had/have a true aversion and fear of WOMAN. Out went the feminine, sexy looking gals in their early 20's or late teens. We now saw 14 year old scarecrows pigged out on cocaine horsing down runways maladroitly. The rags plastered on their bodies emphasized pre-pubescence. It glorified Pedophilia. It sent clear messages to a debauched, money grasping community of men who worshipped Lucre and Lust.
Let's have child models. Are they not lovely to look at and easier to manipulate? Are they not more pliable for drugs and sex? Most of the time these poor. devastated underage, underfed, and overpaid girl/things sniffed up to their cerebral cortex, mainlined with heroin up to their brains, hopping jets on some Lecherous Pederast's private plane, thought the world was their oyster. They didn't realize that they had already reached the gutter. Death would be the only way out for some.
We all knew certain Couturiers with fragile egos and vulnerable feelings of timidity and/or inadequacy who took drugs themselves. But to their everlasting credit, they never used minors. I loved one in particular, one who will live on in Fashion history, one who is right up there in the Pantheon of Elegance and Couture with Molyneaux, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, etc. I won't mention his name because he was immensely talented, more so than many Couturiers and he was beset by emotional problems. Yet he remained a gentleman and a generous friend.
Pornography, Pedophilia and Drugs played a major role in degrading women and the fashion industry. It has not stopped, don't be lulled. It is worse than ever.
Cicciolina in Italy was supplanted by a highly sexual, beautiful young woman whose IQ was off the charts. Her father was a nuclear researcher. She choreographed her own sex scenes. She introduced lewd and scatolological acts in her live shows. She was in her early 20's.
Bettino Craxi, (who would soon become Prime Minister) was in a spurious affair with an actress acquaintance of mine, Olga Bisera. She unfortunately became emotionally involved. Bettino dropped her from one minute to the next and disappeared from her life without an aye or a bye. The future PM had fallen deeply in love with Moana Pozzi, the girl from Mensa who became the Queen of Pornography. Stylists and Designers elbowed their way into her presence to show her their sexual accessories and clothes.
Moana had her own talk show on television. With an IQ higher than Einstein's, her show was erudite for a few minutes until she would shift to sexual subjects. I personally think she was a product of mind control. Her brain cells had been tampered with by the Secret Services. She was probably sexually abused by numerous men and women continuously from an early age. The tragedy of Moana was that she could have been whatever she wanted and accomplished anything she wished to be or do. Women and men alike hang on her every word. Her 5 inch and 6 inch stiletto heels showed off her long bare legs stretching all the way to the V line of her black underwear. Was it even a covering? Forget about clothes. Their only objective was to show her boobs, legs, and bottom. Average girls attending University, High School and Office girls all rushed to look like Moana. Duck Lips, hair extensions, curls mops everywhere, boob jobs, liposuction, whatever Moana did; they copied.
She believed that Sex , like fashion should be available to everyone. More of Less is better.
"What does it matter who the designer is so long as you show off the beauty nature or your plastic surgeon gave you?"
Moana died suddenly in France at the age of 33. There is some irony in the fact that the hotel wherein she died is called Hotel Le Dieu. Some say Aids caused her death. Her Mother angrily denies this and claims liver and pancreatic cancer killed her. We shall never know. She had sex with as many men as she fancied. But, she also had sex with too many powerful men throughout the world. Some sent for her in secret and thrust her into their private jets and yachts for nights of ferocious sex. Others came to her in mufti for a "Notte con Moana" A Night with Moana. Men of that milieu like to brag, They talk too much. Remember her off the charts multiple intelligences? Perhaps she knew or surmised or presumed too much. She became a dangerous weapon, a liability. In this day and age, liabilities are not tolerated, they are eliminated. Cancers cells can be injected. It is one of the easiest things to do.
Fashion has lost its Mystique and its mystery. Women dress and act like harlots. Male models are no better. Most are homosexual lovers of men in high places or gigolo, toy boys of successful older women close to Menopause who feel powerful buying the attentions of boys much younger than themselves.
A talented shoe designer Manolo Blahbik had created a line of shoes for a friend of mine who wished to take hand made shoes to Shanghai. Stunning is not the word for them. Ravishing perhaps is a better word to use. I still have most of these collection. Sadly Manolo Blahnik sold his soul to Mammon. Moana;s shoes came from his atelier. I challenge you to find a short heel on any of Manolo's collections today.
Sex and the City 's considerable contribution to Free Love, Sex whenever and whatever you want, easy and casual references to sex as normal as drinking and eating and ... lest we ever forget ... the Dominatrix high heels; must always be considered. That was another ugly nail in the coffin.