Monday evening I took the time to listen to Joe Zee at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.
I first saw him sitting across from me at an Akris runway show in Paris in 2008. Then, again on the streets of Paris in 2012 after the Valentino show [thank you "A" for the invitation]. During those years Joe rose to celebrity status as creative director at Elle magazine; hosting his own TV show, All On The Line [I was secretly addicted]; and now Editor in Chief and Executive Creative Officer, Yahoo Style.
One cannot be affected by his authentic enthusiasm and charm. He still loves his work, a most endearing quality to my eyes. But the interview wasn't without a few thoughts on which I'd like to comment.
- Joe referred to the Bay Area style of dressing as a regional sense of style. I think he missed the opportunity, or missed the point, that the Bay Area has been, and continues, to change the way that the rest of the world perceives many everyday habits. The earthquake in process is that the Bay Area is now becoming an influencer of fashion around the world. Time will tell to what degree of influence.
- "Fashion only lets a few people in," Joe said at one point. There is a sense of sameness on the runways: prince point, age group, income levels, life style. If a person has the funds and interest to follow fashion then they are well served by fashion. This limited audience has choice. But what about the rest of the world? What about a woman who is preoccupied by her career who wants to look great but doesn't want to spend runway dollars? Leave her to fast fashion or other brands mimicking the runways? Isn't there a middle ground that includes women/men who deserve some attention on or near the runway who do original work?
Excluding people is fundamentally wrong. A larger tent can benefit everyone.
- With respect to Photoshop, Joe's statements similar to "we just clean up the images" seem insensitive to the personal impact of over-zealous editing.
Joe, we still love you, but we are paying attention to what is being said. And we'd love to talk further should you have the interest.
PS Carolyne Zinko did a great job interviewing. Clear, calm, Fair. Thank you.