Fashion Week: Designer Tara Subkoff Holds Press Screening So She Can Shun Press

Journalists look on as socialite and sometime actress Lydia Hearst seeks… something.

As an aspiring journalist/groveling intern, it’s hard to say which makes better punishment: sorting a million paper clips into piles by color, size and thickness; an hour on the rack locked away in a medieval dungeon; or, attempting to interview Imitation of Christ designer Tara Subkoff and socialite Lydia Hearst last night at the opening of their short film, Fame Fatale, written and directed by the designer to showcase her holiday line for Bebe.

The screening was held at ultra-exclusive Norwood, an elite New York City country club analog. There, I was herded upstairs into a cramped, magenta elevator and whisked into a swanky room designated for press. Seated atop leather poufs among a sea of journalists, Subkoff and Hearst answered questions about their film, which depicts a day in the life of a Hollywood starlet who wishes to escape her fame.

Hearst was an obvious choice for starring in the film, according to Subkoff. “Lydia had been in two previous fashion shows of mine. She’s the perfect Hitchcock blonde for the role,” Subkoff told a group of reporters.

At one point during a series of interviews, Subkoff joked, “Funny how art imitates life,” gesturing to a nearby pack of photographers and journalists. I had hoped Subkoff would find a few minutes to answer my questions regarding her new film. Unfortunately, it was apparent from the moment I entered the room that both designer and muse had sized me up as a lowly intern, and summarily decided to avoid me at all costs.

The pair dodged all of my questions. At one point, I corned Subkoff as she fled for a martini refill, and only then could I elicit some response from her. When asked how she got the idea for the film, Subkoff flicked her blonde mane and answered tersely, “I came up with it while asleep on a plane,” before dashing to the downstairs bar where the screening would be held.

Fame Fatale ran for eight minutes, consisting of a montage of film noir shots showing Hearst dressed in various ensembles that flickered across the screen. Though the imagery was captivating, in this intern’s humble opinion, the film was ruined by Hearst’s narration. Moreover, booming orchestral soundtracks, boys’ choir chants and Hearst’s histrionic performance elicited laughter from the audience. Hearst’s acting was best when in the film she runs from the paparazzi, stumbling in high heels. The film concludes with Hearst moaning, “How far do you have to swim to be alone?”

Though I learned little from my so-called interview with Subkoff, I was able to gather a few things from the film Fame Fatale. First off, socialites should never act, let alone narrate a film. Secondly, fame can be, well, fatal. There is some beauty in being a nobody.

–Kendall Green