Last night’s episode of The City aired with a disturbing, scary question looming over America’s heads: What will happen if this show really ends? Well, firstly, the entire fashion industry will have to find another easy way to get on national television. Not just designers like Prabal Gurung, Rachel Roy, Henry Holland, Anna Sui, Badgley Mischka, Zac Posen, Nichola K, and others, but also media outlets other than Elle, like Glamour, Paper, “Page Six,” and Ladies’ Home Journal. Though we’d miss the show terribly, the drama — namely the fight Roxy and Whitney have over some anonymous singer wearing her dresses — has started to feel more blatantly contrived than ever before. Either that or Whitney’s real fame has turned her into a huge diva in her fake life, too. But more on that in this week’s lessons!
Lesson 1: Work meetings.
Do: Bring a notepad and pen. Does Olivia ever go to a meeting with a notepad? Has she ever had a paper cut in her life? Even if you don’t plan to pay attention, at least pretend like you’re taking notes by doodling. That is harder for Olivia to do in the opening of the episode when Joe is giving her an assignment in a meeting where Erin is the only other person there, but she doesn’t even bring any sort of writing utensils with her. Joe has to hand her a pad and pen and instruct her to “write this down.” This also looks bad for Joe, who hired someone who can’t take notes.
Don’t: Have attitude. It’s unclear whether Olivia thinks she’s too good to carry a pen and notepad around like Erin, who actually works hard and does a good job, but her attitude suggests she thinks she doesn’t need Joe to tell her to write things down. She claims she understands, but judging by her work history, all she seems to understand are her curling iron and the contents of her cosmetic bag.
Lesson 2: Trying to be a fashion authority.
Do: Try to impart that you have a point of view. Olivia saunters with Joe into the meeting with Prabal to select a look for Robbie Myers’s Martha Stewart appearance with the same attitude she had walking into the meeting with no pen: like she knows all, and the world is lucky to be in her presence. Confidence is to be applauded, but saying this: “Menswear is so big, it’s probably my all-time favorite look,” just suggests she’s trying to show the world that she knows things about fashion.
Don’t: Speak with an affectation as severe as Lady Gaga’s. Olivia’s accent is becoming more and more affected as the series goes on. How? Why? What valley has she been hiding in?
Lesson 3: Trying to get your clothes on famous people.
Don’t: Just take any old singer who washes up on your doorstep. Kelly announces to Whitney and Roxy that a Canadian singer called “Lights” — of whom we had never heard until last night — had just been robbed! And needed emergency clothes for her show! And suggests Roxy get her into some Whitney Eve. A famous person hasn’t worn Whitney Eve before, so Whitney’s hungry for the exposure, but it’s ridiculous for her to put all her eggs in this Lights person’s basket. No one knows who she is, so no one will care what she wears.
Do: Try to get your clothes on lots of people, especially those whose style actually suits them. Whitney should be sending samples to lots of celebrities. You know, country singers and folk dancers and Wasps who might actually think her stuff is edgy.
Lesson 4: Having a fake conversation with Olivia Palermo.
Do: Look at and talk to her like you don’t understand her purpose. Rachel Roy was spectacular in this episode. First, she looked great and brought some class to the party. Second, she looked at Olivia like she was a strange woodlands creature. “You went too?” she says to her, brow slightly furrowed, when Joe tells her Olivia went with him to visit Prabal. “What did you have to do there?” she says, still confused. Erin isn’t the only one with fabulous facial expressions!
Lesson 5: Understanding how the clothes you designed look to the world.
Don’t: Get mad because someone who wants to be edgy doesn’t want to wear your tea-party garb. Whitney is pissed at the Lights show because all the chick wears is a jacket by her — not a whole outfit including a dress — and throws it on the floor in a fit of staged angst as soon as she goes on. Whitney blames Roxy, even though she should be thanking Roxy up and down for just getting this person to wear something by her at all. “A lot of your stuff is not grungy. It’s beautiful, but it’s not grungy,” Roxy tells her backstage when Whitney comes at her in a diva fit. “The only thing that worked for her is the jacket.”
Do: Take responsibility for your aesthetic. Whitney may as well be blind and deaf to not, by this point, know that her brand is not edgy and she is not, aesthetically speaking, the next Alexander Wang. But all the sense Roxy shouts on her falls on deaf ears. “There’s no sign of any of my collection,” she says, which isn’t even true since the girl wore one of her jackets, but whatever. Realizing she’s unable to fight this fight alone, she finally says, “Kelly will be so pissed.” Any normal person would brush it off since this is Lights she’s getting so upset over.
Lesson 6: Forgiveness.
Do: Be nice to your friend when she goes out of her way to make you tea! The morning after the Lights concert, Roxy has made tea for Whitney, but Whitney is still having a diva fit over Roxy’s perceived screwup. The morning-after conversation:
Roxy: I got you some tea.
Whitney: Oh, thanks.
Roxy: Just wanted to talk to you about last night.
Whitney: Yeah. That was a little disappointing, to say the least. Listen, granted she was in the jacket, but she just ripped it off, and I haven’t heard from Zach yet, but I’m, like, praying that Zach got one good picture.
Roxy: He did, he did. I checked and made sure. I can’t force somebody to wear something they don’t feel comfortable in.
Whitney: Kelly gave you this responsibility, and if you can’t pull through, then you shouldn’t be doing this anymore.
Roxy: Okay. [Sighs.] I put her in the jacket to make sure that there was photos of her in the jacket. I don’t know how long she’s gonna wear the jacket for. That’s not my business. My business is to get her dressed, make her feel comfortable, put her in something of yours, and then it’s all her. For you to say I shouldn’t be doing this when I worked really hard is really offensive.
Whitney: When I want to micromanage and make sure it all goes well, it’s because I poured my heart and soul into this line, and i care about it way more than you possibly ever could.
Roxy: I’ve been 100 percent your biggest advocate, and you got your picture. You got your clothes on her … I don’t know.
Whitney: This just makes me think more and more what are we doing working together like this? Our relationship is getting way too strained, and I don’t want it to be like this anymore. Like, I don’t want to have to feel constantly disappointed in things.
Roxy: Constantly feeling disappointed, when one time I’ve done something like this. It would be a little helpful to have, like, my best friend’s support and actually talk to me about things as opposed to, like, when one thing goes wrong you’re out the door. That makes me feel like … I can’t win. I don’t even feel —
Whitney: So figure out what you want to do, Roxy.
Roxy: I want to move out.
Whitney: So then move out. So then move out.
Don’t: Live with friends. The above kind of thing happens more often than not, and there’s no guarantee you can get back together. The most screwed-up thing about the situation is that Whitney seems to have convinced Roxy that she did screw up!