“I’m on a seafood diet. I see food and I throw up.”
– Runway model Filippa Hamilton-Palmstierna
A pair of recent headlines—one excoriating Ralph Lauren for photoshopping cover-girl Filippa Hamilton-Palmstierna to resemble Bobby Sands during Extreme Unction and another excoriating University of Connecticut cardiovascular researcher Dipak Das for photoshopping the benefits of red wine based on data he fabricated—could not, on the surface, be more dissimilar.
Body dysmorphic disorders and resveratrol perks? Winos and waifs, bulimia and Beaujolais, thin vs. vin? It would take a genius far above my pay grade to tie these antitheticals together.
Where might one even begin to look for such a visionary in this mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world?
Inside Karl Lagerfeld’s skin, that’s where.
Let’s start with those anorexic amazonians strutting our catwalks from Mauthausen to Milan, Majdanek to Manhattan. Of their detractors (like German magazine Brigitte), Karl, the krusty Kraut kackles:
“These are fat mummies sitting with their bags of crisps in front of the television saying that thin models are ugly.”
The 78-year-old Karl Lagerfeld, whose own astonishing 92-pound weight loss shows that he walks the same (treadmill) walk he talks, is the creative director for the fashion house Chanel. His design ouvre is described as having ‘drippy drapey elegance’ and other than the ‘fat mummies’ line, the funniest thing he’s ever done was duck when PETA threw a tofu pie at him (for using fur in his designs) and hitting Calvin Klein instead. Talk about ‘friendly fire’—Klein is an outspoken PETA supporter who refuses to use animal skins in his collections. Had I been Klein, I’d have gotten so pissed at PETA that I’d have slaughtered a flock of newborn lambs on CNN.
But What Does This Have To Do With The French Paradox?
For wine lovers born after 1991, the term ‘French Paradox’ does not refer to France’s 1986 refusal to allow Americans to fly over air space we liberated for them in 1945 (from an enemy, incidentally, with whom Coco Chanel famously slept); it stems from a 60 Minutes feature attempting to explain why French people suffer a low incidence of heart disease despite having a diet rich in saturated fats. One factor mentioned was that the French drink a lot of red wines containing resveratrol, a chemical linked to longevity in mice.
Apparently—and thus the headline fodder—some of these studies were the ones that Dipak Das faked; which as far as I am concerned is no issue at all and simply means we get to start the testing over from scratch. Screw you, Dipak and bottom’s up, winos; I’m conducting my own longevity research this time: How do you feel now? Now? Now??? Have another and get back to me.
Meanwhile, on Monday I received an email announcing the release of one of those reveratrol-rich reds, Château Rauzan-Ségla 2009, a Margaux Deuxièmes Cru. For wine lovers born after 2008, the ‘09 vintage is promising to be one of the best in a hundred years.
Founded in 1661 by Pierre de Rauzan, the 130-acre Rauzan-Ségla estate was acquired in 1994 by Chanel, and this particularly stellar vintage, which also represents the château’s 350th Anniversary, will bear a custom label designed and signed by the great Karl Lagerfeld himself—and will sell for a healthy $130 per bottle.
Well, I have no idea since the VP of International Affairs at Chanel’s PR firm did not offer to send me a review sample. She did, however, offer to turn me on to some cool photographs of the signed wine bottle, which I suppose is better than nothing considering I have no intention of shelling out the equivalent of a month’s worth of cable in order to offer free promotion to someone else’s snooty product.
“I hate the notion of a second line. It’s condescending and patronizing.”
– Karl Lagerfeld
I may, however, tuck into a fifth of Ségla, Rauzan-Ségla’s second line.
It’s where the Château sticks all its surplus grape juice; like most luxury estates and fashion houses, Rauzan-Ségla sells a cheaper ‘equivalent’ meant to mirror qualities of their branded baby with, perhaps, a bit less polish and structure. These cheaper ‘seconds’ are invariably money-makers for the parent company and bargains for us on a non-household name budget: You should be able to pick up an ’09 Ségla for around $40.
In the meantime, based on what I have been provided by Chanel, this is the best I can do with the Grand vin cuvée without sacrificing food—and these days, the market for rail-thin, heroin-chic, middle-aged male models like myself is somewhat limited.
A Picture of Château Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux, 2009:
The photograph of this wine is well-defined—digital, but still classic in style with a nice concentration of green photosites along with hints of amaranth, bright cerulean and indigo and an intriguing note of bokeh in the background. This is a magnificent shot of Rauzan-Ségla, easily equal to what I ogled at the ‘Pictures of 2009 Wine Bottles en primeur’ last May. Firstly, the depth-of-field is much more focused than usual at this nascent stage of memory-card compression; the white-balance is just about perfect, there is a vibrancy to the pixels that is really enthralling and the poise on the post-processing (Adobe Photoshop CS5 V.12.0 Extended?) ranks alongside photographic images of the hallowed Chateau Margaux itself. The only flaw that could be found with this photograph is that the Chanel people appear to have digitally altered the bottle to make it appear skinnier.
Serve with: Tofu Pie.