segunda-feira, 17 de novembro de 2008

Carrie Donovan, editora de moda

Carrie Donovan, por Jesse Frohman (1997)

Li várias matérias dela muito, muito boas no NYT. Foi pupila de Diana Vreeland, que foi de Carmel Snow.

A saber:

November 13, 2001
Carrie Donovan, One-of-a-Kind Fashion Editor and TV's 'Old Navy Lady,' Dies at 73

Carrie Donovan, a fashion editor who could easily have rested on her laurels and leopard skins but came out of semiretirement to find a new and even more enthusiastic audience as ''the lady from Old Navy,'' died yesterday in Manhattan. She was 73.

She had been ailing for several months, said George O'Brien, a friend, and died at New York Weill Cornell Center.

From the beginning, Ms. Donovan's career had a screwball quality worthy of Hollywood. Though she studied dressmaking at the Parsons School of Design, she could never master a needle and thread. She lacked a similar command of automobiles and typewriters, and as a reporter for The New York Times, then as an editor for Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and The New York Times Magazine, she wrote all her copy by hand.

And though she was among the first to applaud the designs of Donna Karan and Perry Ellis and brought a virtually unknown Elsa Peretti to the attention of Tiffany, Ms. Donovan was something of an Auntie Mame when it came to managing her own affairs. Money was silk in her fingers, and the rest was often serendipity.

''She was perfectly cast for a fashion editor,'' said Karl Lagerfeld, the designer. ''She was the leading lady of that role.''

What Ms. Donovan possessed was an eye for talent and a nose for news, a combination that, with her inevitable pearls and outsized black glasses, set her apart from her fashion sisters. She loved the fantastical, which was reflected in her Upper East Side apartment -- with its red walls, red furnishings and leopard carpeting -- but in her editorial pages she was adamantly on the side of readers. She may have been French in her leanings, sprinkling her pronouncements with French même choses, but in her translations of fashion's edicts, she was as American as Carrie.

As her mentor Diana Vreeland once told her: ''My dear, you've got the common touch!''

Nowhere did she apply this more surprisingly than in her television ads for Old Navy, which began running in fall 1997. In all, Ms. Donovan appeared in 42 spots, including one that featured her piloting an airplane with a dog named Magic. If Ms. Donovan, the last of a trilogy of great fashion dames that included Mrs. Vreeland and Carmel Snow of Bazaar, reigned in a small world, she now had fans everywhere. Teenagers and grandmothers alike hailed her in the street, sometimes singing an Old Navy jingle.

''She was tickled pink,'' the director Joel Schumacher, a friend since the 1960's, said of her new visibility. ''It made her a celebrity.''

As a child in Lake Placid, N.Y., where Carolyn Gertrude Amelia Donovan was born on March 22, 1928, she craved fashion, and struggled with home economics. At 10, she sent the actress Jane Wyman sketches for a wardrobe, and received a handwritten reply.

Her first job was in the hat department at Saks under the imperious Tatiana Liberman, whose husband was Alexander Liberman of Vogue. By the time Ms. Donovan graduated from Parsons School of Design in 1950, she had formed friendships with two of the world's leading dressmakers, Norman Norell and Jacques Fath. More would follow.

But Ms. Donovan's outgoing personality masked an ambivalent relationship with her mother, Margaret, and an isolated childhood spent with grandparents. She and her sister, Joan Donovan, saw nothing of their father, who left the family early, and the girls did not live regularly with their mother until 1942, when the independent-minded Margaret was working for a war production factory in Brooklyn. She later received a teaching degree from Columbia University.

All her career, Ms. Donovan, who is survived by her sister, of Cambridge, Mass., left the impression that she and Margaret were opposites.

In 1955, recognizing her limitations as a designer, Ms. Donovan went to work as a fashion reporter for The Times, where, according to Mr. O'Brien, a former colleague, she felt outgunned by more experienced writers. She persevered, snaring an interview with Mrs. Vreeland in 1963, when she went to Vogue, and Ms. Donovan soon joined the magazine as one of Mrs. Vreeland's acolytes.

At Vogue, Ms. Donovan flourished, filling her pages with the new and the exciting. She wrote about a young Mr. Schumacher when he and some friends opened a shop called Paraphernalia. On another occasion, a former staff member recalled being sent out to the lobby to tell a group of young men waiting for Ms. Donovan not to sit on the floor. They turned out to be Jim Morrison and the Doors.

She inherited Mrs. Vreeland's mannerisms, like the fortissimo ''divine!'' but not her mantle, and when Mrs. Vreeland was fired from Vogue in 1971, Ms. Donovan decamped for Bazaar. By then, Ms. Donovan had switched from wearing chaste Mainbocher to chic Halston, and like her friends, the decorators Chessy Rayner and Mica Ertegun, she had taken to covering her blond bob with a turban.

Like other editors of that era, Ms. Donovan was an instigator as well as a tastemaker. In February 1974, she helped bring Tiffany and Ms. Peretti together. The designer said Ms. Donovan had the idea that contemporary jewelry would bring the white-glove store a new customer. Today, that arrangement is a $250 million business. ''Nobody would do a favor like this now,'' Ms. Peretti said.

Unable to perform similar magic at Bloomingdale's, where she worked briefly as a public relations executive, Ms. Donovan returned to The Times in 1977 as style editor of the magazine. At their first meeting, Edward Klein, then editor of the magazine, recalled that Ms. Donovan produced some colored markers and began sketching out her plans, all in a brisk monologue of ''mmm's'' and exclamation points. Mr. Klein had no idea what she was talking about.

Ms. Donovan was not unaware of her effect, least of all on newspapermen. Armed with tidbits of fashion gossip and ''always fully fragranced,'' as a former protégée, Linda Wells, the editor of Allure, said, Ms. Donovan could turn a routine meeting into a performance. Yet, as her editors knew, her flamboyance was balanced by a pragmatic streak that for 16 years pleased both readers and advertisers.

These were her best years. She introduced readers to Ms. Karan and Paloma Picasso. She documented the opulence of the 1980's and ushered in the next decade by photographing the trendiest clothes on people in their 90's.

Although in many ways Ms. Donovan was simple in her tastes, preferring plain food and the subway, she was also at home in the upper reaches of fashion and society, a friend to Mr. Lagerfeld as well as the philanthropist Bunny Mellon. While this access improved her insight, it occasionally impaired her objectivity.

At the same time, her more dogmatic assertions often betrayed a deeper need to burn her bridges. She and Bill Blass, a frequent escort, fell out in 1993 when Ms. Donovan excluded him from a published list of 50 people who had influenced fashion in modern times.

In 1997, as if to disprove the dictum that there are no second acts in American life, Ms. Donovan went to work for Old Navy, playing herself to the hilt. The ads, which brought her financial security, drew on her flamboyant image to promote earthly things like cargo pants.

''She gave us fashion credibility,'' said Dennis Leggett, the creative director at Old Navy, a division of Gap.

In the final months of her life, Ms. Donovan returned to where her career had begun, The Times. She wrote in its magazine about a little-known designer named Marjan Pejoski, whose feathered-swan dress for the singer Bjork had caused a stir at the Academy Awards. She thought Mr. Pejoski had flair.

Um comentário:

Patricia Veltri disse...

que bom ler esse artigo