Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fashion News Network

Somewhere around the time of middle school I was paging through the weekly TV listing in the newspaper looking for something to watch on a Saturday morning. I was too old for cartoons, and this was decades before the advent of HGTV and Food Network.

Something caught my eye on channel 13, which was CNN. All it said was “Style.” There was no description, but as any 11-year-old girl would think, I hoped this show had something to do with fashion. I eagerly switched to CNN, and thus began a weekend tradition that lasted nearly 20 years. Every Saturday morning at 10:30 I tuned in to CNN, from junior high to college to early adulthood.

The show was Style With Elsa Klensch, a 30-minute roundup of weekly news from the worlds of fashion, interior design, and art.
Ms. Klensch is an Australian journalist who was the authority on all things contemporary and beautiful. She taught me names like John Galliano, Thierry Mugler, and Annu Sui. Because of this show, I knew the difference between Elie Saab and Elie Tahari. I understood the characteristics that identified a chaise lounge as post-modern or midcentury modern. I grew to appreciate not only the creative process of haute couture, but also what makes something a piece of art, whether it’s a ball gown or an end table. Style With Elsa Klensch had a strong influence in shaping both my knowledge of, and appreciation for, design. And, as I tried to explain to my husband, watching it just made me feel...fancy.

And while I have been known to veg on the couch during a marathon of MTV’s “Cribs”, with its rock ‘n’ roll style of profiling celebrity taste in architecture and fashion, I still long for Elsa Klensch’s presentation. She had an air of dignity and expertise of subject matter that taught me to see the profiled designers as artists and masters of a craft. The show’s regal opening theme song let us know that what we were about to view was something high class, and it always was.

Even this morning, a Saturday in 2011, I looked at the clock at 10:10 a.m. and had a fleeting thought of wishing I could have another half-hour dose of the runway shows from Milan.

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