February 20, 2009
I promise you guys some more substantial posts on my analyst stint, the Stimulus bill, etc. But, did it occur to anyone that a gallon of milk costs more than a share of Bank of America ($3.22) or Citi ($1.98)?
If you were doubting nationalization, now’s the time to stop.
February 18, 2009
A recent cartoon mocking the newly passed stimulus bill has stirred up the black community.
I’ll give you my comments on the stimulus later, but here’s food for thought. “Speaking at a conference of the New York Academy of Medicine on Wednesday morning, Mr. Paterson said that while he had not seen the cartoon, he believed that The Post should explain it. “
As Gov. Paterson is legally blind, this may be a poor choice of words, perhaps? Unless he’s been playing us all this time like Kevin Spacey in the “Usual Suspects”. Shady.
February 17, 2009
Or not so much. I began live blogging NYC Fashion Week but never had a chance to post. Here it is. For more information on NYC Fashion Week, I suggest checking out the Fug Girls’ blog at nymag.com or the written stylings of Guy Trebay or Cathy Horyn of the New York Times.
It’s the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Fall 2009 Collections. Yours truly had the privilege of catching some of the shows. Fashion Week is one of those spectacles that brings the creme de la creme of the fashion industry, gaggles of b/c-list “actresses”, snarky writers, and all the hanger on-ers, naturally. While I love indulging in the runway shows as much as the next girl, I’ve become more interested in the weirdos who show up to these events.
A run down of how Fashion Week is structured. The space at Bryant Park is magically transformed into a world of runways, sponsorship booths, and hospitality suites. The sponsorship of the event has definitely dwindled this past year. I suspect it has to do with the fact that Fashion Week has lost its shiny luster. Between having some of the top designers pull out from showing at the Tents and competing with rising costs of putting on an event, the whole event itself has become disappointing (as have the gift/sponsor bags).
There are three tents in which designers show. The Salon is the smallest of the three, seating 100-150 people at the most. Financially speaking, this is also the cheapest venue. The majority of designers who book this space are usually up and coming or have more cult-ish followings. That being said, there are certainly anomalies. Nicole Miller, for one, shows in the Salon as does Tracey Reese and Rebecca Taylor. The Promenade is the medium sized venue and can seat up to 300-400 people. This space is often used by pretty established designers (Max Azria, Nanette Lepore, Tibi). Finally, the largest venue is the Tent (literally “the Tent”) and it seats up to about 800. This space is used mostly for shows with real productions. While NYC Fashion Week does not even come close to the avant-garde or artsy nature of the Paris collections, the Tent does provide a template for designers to show their collections with some flair. All the major designers tend to show here including Lacoste, Diane von Furstenburg, Phillip Lim, Narcisco Rodriguez, etc.
As you move deeper into the Bryant Park tents as a whole, you end up passing the American Express SkyBox where lucky platinum card holders can purchase tickets to some of the shows. Mind you, American Express is a proud sponsor of fashion week and it is the only vendor you can actually buy tickets from. Through the doors to the backstage, you end up at the area where models float, hair and makeup beautify, and celebrities hang out. The hospitality suites are usually set up by the W hotel and Mercedes Benz. These set ups often include a full bar, good music, lots of security, and a general lounge-y vibe.
This season’s fashion week was kicked off by the Heart Truth’s Red Collection. It’s a charity runway show that is produced by the American Heart Association in collaboration with many of the fashion week designers. Various celebrities and other people considered interesting by the American public usually model the looks. As with most of Fashion Week this year, the dresses were modeled by the B-team (the likes of Amanda Bynes, Tori Spelling, Jenni Garth, and some old people before my time). Amanda Bynes walked out to “Single Ladies” by Beyonce and could not even to strut her stuff to that beat. The point of this show is for people to have a great time. It’s a bit awkward when they get nervous and sheepish especially when their profession depends solely on their ability to make the audience believe a persona.
The Charlotte Ronson show had the usual drama of Lindsay Lohan, the fake lesbian, showing up with Samantha Ronson. The whole Ronson clan was there to support Charlotte. As for the looks, I’ve come to expect some very cool things out of this line. It’s very London chic meets L.A mixed with some feminine overtones.
The last interesting show of day one was the Thisday/Arise: African Fashion Collective, mainly because super models Alek Wek and Grace Jones walked. It’s been awhile since they’ve done anything on the runways so it was definitely a treat to see them gracing the catwalk. Tyson Beckford also made an appearance. And yes, he still looks delicious.
Day 1 Celebrity Sightings: Lindsay Lohan, Brittany Snow, Amanda Bynes, and then many many b-list reality tv stars and television stars. My personal sighting of the day was the ever dashing and rugged Gerard Butler. He is the true definition of a man and surprisingly charming and sexy. Yummy.
The highlight of the day was definitely the Barbie show by far. Barbie, for those of you who don’t know, is celebrating her 50th anniversary. Yay for an icon which gives an unrealistic view to young females of what they should aspire to be! Mattel enlisted 50 designers to create 50 different looks in order to capture the essence of Barbie. It is natural that many of these male designers played with Barbie when they were little which is a little disturbing yet fitting at the same time. The Barbie show had some great music and was overall a great production with a lot of hot pink. Unfortunately, the show also lasted close to 40 minutes and I became quite antsy.
Some very interesting people showed up including Simon Doonan (creative director of Barneys), Annie Leibovitz (famed photographer), Kimora Lee Simmons (her adorable daughters were in the show and she’s such a bitchy diva, I can’t complain), and of course, Jill Zarin and Bethenny Frankel from the Real Housewives of New York City. Jill showed up with her daughter who is back from being shipped off to fat detox camp. She’s still fat. Bethenny waltzed into the venue thinking she was Audrey Hepburn circa “Breakfast at Tiffanys” with long black gloves and sunglasses. Jill and Bethenny, however, are the only redeeming aspects of Real Housewives so I will leave them be.
Day 2 celebrity sightings: Kellie Pickler was everywhere during my time at Fashion Week. She just kept popping up like one of those creepy moles. She also needs a new makeup artist as homegirl was channeling a serious tranny look at certain points throughout the day. Ms. Pickler, however, is very sweet. Jennifer Love Hewitt (“JLH”) also kept showing up. She looks absolutely fantastic and I had a serious urge to give her a hug and tell her that I know what she did last summer.
By far the best (and my last).
Herve Leger by Max Azria was bright spot number one of the week. I absolutely love these dresses as it makes most women look pretty hot. The material of his dresses tend to be Spanx-like so it sucks you in at all the right places. In fact, it’s designed for women who have some curves so the material will stretch around to show off the right places. Max Azria has quite the following amongst the celebrity set and had almost a whole front row section designated to these stars/faux-stars. On top of the flattering bandage dresses, two models pretty much ate it on the runway. As NYMag has commented, “Your one job is to walk, and you can’t even do that.” Luckily, no breasts popped out this year. And, the gifts at the show came in the form of pretty awesome umbrellas festooned with the HL on them.
Celebrity sightings at Herve Leger: THE celebrity sighting of the whole week was definitely Lucy Liu. She wore a flattering black get-up and didn’t stay to hobnob with all the fashion types and b-listers. She made sure that her ride came right after the show was over and didn’t stay to pose or do interviews with anyone but Max Azria himself. Michelle Trachtenberg showed up as well, looking rail thin and somehow managed to break a heel backstage. There were more tv stars but I can’t recall their names. One, however, did wear a neon colored dress which practically showed her Britney. I think she’s on the new 90210 show, so I’m not too surprised.
Final show of the day was Diane von Furstenburg where you had those two brain dead girls from “The City” pretend to do their job as PR girls for DVF. Whitney Port is taller than I imagined but still pretty unattractive. Even after finagling her way to getting her own show, she still manages to have that ridiculously bored look on her face, devoid of any real emotion or personality. Her trusty sidekick, Olivia Palermo, looked pretty and bubbly as she frolicked up and down the back entrance of the tents to escort in celebrity guests. DVF has gotten to the point where she has a thriving fashion empire, she’s married to a media mogul, Barry Diller, and she has a huge celebrity following. Yet, she has also maintained the elegance and classiness of her line. She just doesn’t care anymore and this attitude is reflected in her latest show. The production lasted all of 9 minutes. While some of her looks were very cute, the only thing people really care about these days are her signature wrap dresses.
As DVF is personally friends with many celebrities, some real A-list types showed up including Heidi Klum (who looks absolutely gorgeous), Diana Ross (who still looks crazy), Julia Stiles (very random..what the hell is she doing these days?), and Molly Sims (who is getting old). I think Barry Diller was the most interesting and relate-able person there.
And that’s that. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch the William Rast show tonight. It is the first time he is showing in the tents and with Justin Timberlake as a financial backer, this show is bound to have some real star power show up. Word on the street was Jay-Z and Beyonce along with Jessica Biel were going to make an appearance. Only the fashion blogs will tell.
Oh, and as mentioned before, the gift bags sucked this year. The actual bags were hot pink Barbie bags which Bloomingdales retails for $48. The best things inside included a Fashion Emergency kit, some MAC makeup, a book entitled “Star Chefs on the Road”, vitamin water, a weird zipper key chain, a DHL luggage tag, and some other strange knick knacks. The days of Strivectin lotion, Amatokin face emulsion and cute Full Frontal Fashion t-shirts are long gone. Hello, Recession!
Your regularly scheduled programming will commence after this week. Thanks for tuning in.
February 7, 2009
Nothing, and I mean nothing, can prepare you for the first deal you’ve ever worked on. Especially not when you’ve been sitting around, playing online games, trying to go to sites that are inevitably blocked by the firm and chatting with your cube mates.
As I wandered down the hall to the office Apathetic Associate shared with the Evil Incarnate, I passed the corner office of the Hot VP. I gave a little wave and donned that award winning smile I’ve been known to give. His eyes, full of intensity, glanced up from the massive document he was reading and gave me a slight nod and smile. Wandering into the office, I tripped over a bright red mini Hermes Birkin which belonged to none other than Evil Incarnate. Note that at this point in time, this fresh-faced and naive first year thought that we could actually be friends. I was in shock. If the Evil Incarnate could afford a Birkin ($10,000 starting price) on her previous year’s bonus, this gig wasn’t too bad.
“Oops, my b!” She smiled and pulled the bag away from the walk way. “How’s it going? You kids settling in alright?”
“Yes. Just came by to see Apathetic Associate.” At the mention of his name, AA plucked out an earbud from his ipod and began gathering up some things.
“Right, Project California. We’re putting together a stapled financing package for the acquisition of this asset for Poorly-Named-PE shop. The coverage team did the M&A work, representing the Seller of the asset. Poorly-Named-PE shop was the high bidder at $406 million. The syndicate desk likes this deal because it’s stable.” As he began to explain what we would be doing, my eyes glazed over and my mind began to wander. I noticed the little ear hairs he had starting to sprout out at the ripe young age of 26. His posture was one of a defeated man as he eased back into the $1,000 Herman Miller chairs which the Investment-Bank-that-No-Longer-Exists insisted on getting for everyone.
“I think it’d make sense if you went through the Confidential Information Memo (“CIM”) that the coverage guys put together. Should give you a good sense of what the asset is like.”
“Sure.” Gathering the papers up, I walked out of the office, confident and smiling. First deal staffing and it really wasn’t so painful. Forgetting that it was Friday afternoon at 4, I sat down to begin digging through the crux of what was going on in this deal. The Seller was not a private entity and was unloading the asset as a result of low capital and low liquidity. In short, the Seller needed money, fast. Additionally, the asset would be better harvested by a private group rather than a public one. From all standards in my particular industry, the asset was considered a very good one, generating stable cash flows from its 3, 10 to 15 year contracts with offtakers of the services the asset provided. Should be a “slam dunk” as bankers would refer to a deal that was so easily executed and closed.
Then, at 5 pm on the nose, it felt like the floor had been abandoned. Smelly Homeless Kid (“SHK”) got up with his duffel bag. “Time to hit the gym. I’ll be back for some Seamless action.”
(Sidenote: The ‘action’ that SHK was referring to is the online food ordering system known as Seamless Web. My sources tell me that before this nifty system, bankers who worked past a certain time would receive a per diem for dinner and could subsequently leave the confines of the office to breathe in a few lungfuls of that pollution filled city air. They would round up a few of their friends and have a nice meal before returning back to the office. However, once the Seamless Web system came into fruition, all bets were off. No one could leave for a nightly meal and instead were relegated to “team dinners” in the conference rooms (assuming people liked each other enough to order together). The rules with ordering Seamless Web were quite simple. Begin ordering at 6pm ONLY if you left after 8pm. Like everything in life, when you leave a bunch of bankers who spend their every waking moment trying to pitch you shitty products and unnecessary services, you’ll find people who game the system. Thus, the now defunct Investment Bank started making people not only swipe in through the entrance, but they had to swipe out as well. That way, they could track whether or not you were actually staying past 8pm to order the meal.)
As SHK wandered out with a walk that can only be characterized as a duck with a stick up its ass, the Evil Incarnate rapidly walked past my cube with Apathetic Associate in tow. Naturally, they both had all their things and were headed out. She quickly waived and disappeared around the corner. Not 3 minutes later, I received an e-mail.
From: Apathetic Associate
To: Fashion Financier(e)
Sent: Fri Oct 26 17:11:34 2007
Hey. Hot VP wants to put together a debt sizing for Monday. M&A model is on the drive. Could you please put one together? I will review on Sunday. Thanks.
What. the. fuck. I hadn’t opened Excel thusfar unless you counted getting high scores on all the games imbedded in Excel. I didn’t have a clue in hell as to how to even begin. It was clear from the beginning that my cube mates, while good for chatting and causing trouble, were not going to be helpful in any work sense. They worked on completely different products. I put my snooping skills to good use as I waded through the folders on our deal drive HOPING to find some resemblance of the model that I was put together. Luckily for me, this type of model was the only type we put together. No discounted cash flow models, no comps, no valuations of any sort.
I finally started a new sheet which I so creatively entitled “Project California Debt Sizingv1.xls” and got to work.
February 3, 2009
I promised one of my avid readers that I would update the “adventures in banking” portion of this blog soon. Watch out for the next installment. I promise that it will be scintillating.
This post, however, is dedicated to a rant against the creepers on Facebook. Having attended the Ivy, we were one of the first schools allowed onto the Facebook system. I remember clicking away my freshman year and no one having any clue as to how big of a social networking tool this would become (and how rich Mark Zuckerberger would be). Before the days of other colleges, high schools, old people, and all the other bells and whistles we see today, there used to be 1) a Profile picture, 2) a Profile (limited to the normal line items…not even Favorite Books, Movies, etc), and 3) A Wall. The next foray into the “expose yourself to everyone” world included the ability to add facebook photo albums. Since the dawn of the primitive Facebook, much has changed. As such, stalkers, convicts and old friends alike can find you with ease which is, of course, quite disconcerting.
There is certain facebook stalking etiquette that one must follow especially if you do not want to be labeled a psycho.
1) Never admit to acquaintances that you facebook stalked them. It’s fine amongst close friends to gossip about changed statuses (“She’s engaged?!”) and new pictures (“He’s like 40 pounds heavier!”). It’s never okay to tell the person you’re speaking to that you remember xyz detail from his/her facebook. This is especially true if you do not speak to the said-person on a regular basis.
I remember running into a girl I knew in high school once. We were in the City waiting on the same platform for the 4, 5, 6 train. It was the summer right after college and we both had started new jobs. The conversation basically went like this:
Fashion Financier: Wow, I haven’t seen you in forever. You look great.
High School Friend/FB Stalker: You do too. What are you doing in the City?
Fashion Financier: Oh, investment banking. You?
HS Friend/FB Stalker: Oh, I’m in the PR department for Michael Kors.
Fashion Financier; Very cool! I went to Fashion Week last season. I really liked the collection.
HS Friend/FB Stalker: Oh, i know. I saw your facebook photos.
If you haven’t seen someone in a few years, don’t sneak into the conversation that you’ve been keeping tabs on him/her through facebook.
2) “Just because you see me on facebook, doesn’t mean you know me!” I think there’s a group with this title and naturally, it’s true. Just because I was too stupid to block you from seeing my profile, it doesn’t mean we’re friends since we both share the same interests. There are enough people who become scarily addicted to reading the updates for profiles of people they don’t really know. Usually, this results in some deluded fascination and/or misconception that you are in fact friends with stalkee.
3) Don’t randomly message people because you think you saw them somewhere. I recently received this special note in my inbox:
Random Guy Stalker/Potential Killer sent you a message.
“hey i know this is random but i was searching thru fb and then i came across your picture and u looked very familiar, did u eat at x restaurant on saturday? haha”
You weren’t “randomly searching thru fb”. You apparently saw my Amex Platinum, took down my name and looked me up. Why have I deduced this? Because in addition to being an undergrad at 4th Tier University, you’re also a server at X Restaurant. So now, in addition to creeping the shit out of me, you have deterred me from eating at that restaurant ever again. Fucker.
Lesson of this post? Facebook stalking is okay. But never, under any circumstances, admit this hobby UNLESS you’re with close friends who understand and indulge as well.