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双语揭秘时尚芭莎前主编如何实现了巴黎梦

 We’ll always have Paris. And as long as there are Americans who long to reinvent themselves, we’ll always have books about Paris — books that still mention Hemingway and ­pigeon-gray rooftops, lovers in cafes and swirling Gauloise smoke. If there’s anything new to be said about the city, or a surprising new way in which to describe it, it’s as rare as a helpful French bureaucrat — at least in the latest batch of books in which Paris is a main character. Kate Betts, at least, got what she went there for. And now, almost 30 years later, she shares her coming-of-age in a self-assured book that should be given to every college senior with a Doisneau poster (or Chanel ad) on her wall。

  巴黎无孔不入。只要有渴望重塑自我的美国人在,关于巴黎的书就不会中断。那些书依旧提到海明威,提到鸽灰色的屋顶、咖啡馆里的情侣与高卢牌(Gauloise)香烟。关于这座城市,可说的新鲜事,或者谈论这些新鲜事的方法,就像乐于助人的法国官员,少之又少——这至少适用于最新一批围绕巴黎而写的书。不过,凯特·贝茨(Kate Betts)在巴黎得到了她想要的。30年快过去了,她在充满信心的新书中分享了自己的成长经历。而这本书应该被送给墙上挂着摄影师杜瓦诺(Doisneau)海报或香奈儿广告的每一位大四女孩。

  The intensity of the sights and flavors of Paris — not to mention “the shock of history” — Betts felt there on vacation ­before entering Princeton shook the preppy New Yorker. After graduation in 1986, while her friends were preparing to enter law school, she rebelled by heading to Paris without a plan. Although she’d envisioned becoming a war correspondent, she never made it past the city that was home to the fashion and culture she most admired. Betts wanted to become French, and, in this transformation, to learn who she was。

  进入普林斯顿大学前的那个假期,贝茨曾到巴黎游览,光是随处可见的美景与风情,就令她这个学生气又学院风的纽约客感到震惊,更不必说那种“历史的震撼”。1986年,贝茨从大学毕业。她的朋友们都在为上法学院做准备,她却叛逆地来到巴黎,一点计划都没做。贝茨曾梦想成为一名战地记者,但巴黎这座城市有她最爱的时尚与文化,这个念头从没超出过这个城市。贝茨想变得更加“法国”,在这种转换中,她想了解自己。

  And so she set about cracking the codes of manners, language and style that so govern the French. Her teachers ranged from the slang-spouting children of the family with whom she first lived to the chic friend who shook her head in disbelief when Betts triumphantly displayed a cantaloupe-colored Chanel tweed jacket she’d scored at a sample sale. (“Wear Chanel when you can afford to buy it in the color that suits you. . . . That is the essence of style,” Betts meekly deduced。) And, of course, there are men. But they’re more guides than teachers, especially her love, Hervé, who shows her “douce France” on weekends。

  她开始破解主宰法国人言谈举止和风格的符码。寄住家庭里满嘴俗语的小孩和识破她在特卖场上买到的冒牌香奈儿青绿色粗花呢外套的时髦朋友,都成为了她的老师。(“能买得起香奈儿的时候才买香奈儿,而且要买颜色适合你的……这是时尚的精髓,”贝茨温顺地归纳道。)当然,巴黎还有男人。但他们更像导游而不是老师,特别是她的爱人艾赫维(Hervé),周末总是带她去参观“亲爱的法兰西”。

  Hervé takes her on a wild-boar hunt in Brittany, granting her access to a closed society. It’s her article about that day that grants her access to another closed society. John Fairchild, the publisher of the fashion bibles Women’s Wear Daily and W, was impressed by her ability to infiltrate the aristo event; it was precisely the kind of story he wanted in his new men’s magazine, M. And here her real education begins. The stories of smoky parties blasting Les Rita Mitsouko quickly drop off in the book’s second half, as Betts’s future clicks into focus. She sets about defining herself through work, and her work is fashion。

  艾赫维带她去布列塔尼半岛参加疯狂的野猪狩猎,带她进入了一个封闭的小社会。而她写下的关于那天经历的文章,让她进入了又一个封闭的圈子。风尚圣经《女装日报》(Women’s Wear Daily)和《W》的出版人约翰·费尔柴尔德(John Fairchild)欣赏她打入贵族圈子参加活动的能力。贝茨的文章正是他新办的男刊《M》所需要的故事。对贝茨来说,她接受的真正的教育是从这里开始的。在这本书的后半部分,她不再讲述那些烟雾缭绕,响着“丽塔蝴蝶夫人”(Les Rita Mitsouko)乐队歌曲的聚会,她的未来变得清晰起来。她开始在工作中找到自己,她的工作就是时尚。

  Not only does Betts have to navigate the insular, highly codified fashion world, she also has to survive the hazing at the office, where Fairchild might grill her on the best place to go for sole meunière, or the ­socialite-courting bureau chief might rouse her on a Sunday morning, barking at her to find out who the next Dior designer will be. Her exploits are heaven for anyone who remembers the days when “ ‘luxury’ was rarely used in tandem with ‘fashion,’ and the word ‘brand’ referred to Crest and Coca-Cola, not clothing labels。” She does a friend a favor by visiting the studio of an unknown shoe designer whose ugly, fish-scale-covered stilettos she mentions in a small roundup, mostly out of politesse (Christian Louboutin). She attends an exclusive preview in Yves Saint Laurent’s atelier with the frail designer, perfectly describing his “zigzaggy smile。” She follows a hunch about an unheard-of Viennese designer whose minimalist aesthetic is the opposite of the poufy chic of the moment (Helmut Lang). And she discovers the meaning of “fashion moment” at one of the first Martin Margiela shows. Betts remembers what she wore just as clearly. Her outfits tell the story too, as she graduates from Kookaï T-shirts and chinos to Claude Montana leather jackets。

  贝茨不仅要在如海岛般孤立、有自己规则的时尚界中探索,还要在办公室政治中生存,在这里,费尔柴尔德可能让她变成一道法国名菜——干煎塌目鱼,热衷讨好上流社会的总编也可能在周日上午训斥她,逼她去查下一任迪奥(Dior)的总设计师是谁。贝茨经历的冒险对那些仍然记得“‘奢侈’很少同‘时尚’挂钩,‘品牌’是指佳洁士、可口可乐,而不是服装牌子的时代”的人来说,已经是天堂了。她受朋友之请,去拜访一个无名鞋履设计师的工作室,后来只是出于礼貌才在一篇综述短文中提到这位设计师丑陋的、包着鱼皮的细高跟鞋。这位设计师不是别人,是克里斯提·布鲁托(Christian Louboutin)。她去伊夫·圣·洛朗(Yves Saint Laurent)的工作室做独家专访,精确地描述这位憔悴的设计师有着“七扭八歪的笑容”。她预感一位名不见经传的维也纳设计师肯定会成功,他的极简主义美学和当时盛行的厚重风格正好相反,这位设计师是海尔姆特·朗(Helmut Lang)。她还在早期的马丁·马吉拉(Martin Margiela)走秀上发现了“时尚时刻”的意义。贝茨记得那时自己穿的是什么。她自己的打扮也是这场历险的一部分,从Kookaï T恤衫和棉布裤,到克劳德·蒙塔纳(Claude Montana)的皮外套。

  Her rise at Fairchild is brisk. But her Paris dream — the apartment with a working fireplace, the designer wardrobe, the fluency — comes true at a cost to her sense of self. A former classmate calls to catch up the night the American air campaign against Baghdad began. He had covered the fall of Communism and the famine in Somalia; Betts realized that she had written about stretch denim and the bottled water at the Ritz. It was time to leave: “I had come to Paris to expand my world, to understand another culture in the intimate way you can only when you immerse yourself in it. But somehow, my world had gotten smaller。”

  在费尔柴尔德手下,贝茨升职很快。她的巴黎梦——有壁炉的公寓、充满设计师作品的衣橱、流利的法语——终于成真了,但以她自我认同的流失为代价。美国发动对巴格达空袭的那天晚上,她曾经的同学打电话讯问近况。这位同学曾报道过共产主义的覆灭与索马里饥荒。贝茨意识到,自己写的都是些丹宁牛仔的弹性与丽兹酒店(Ritz)的瓶装水之类。现在,是时候离开了:“当初我来到巴黎是为了拓展自己的世界,为了以亲密的方式理解另一种文化——把整个人都沉浸在里面。但不知怎么,我的世界越来越小。”

  As such two-sentence epiphanies show, Betts is a magazine journalist to the core. Although this style, coupled with her WASPy reserve, makes for a relatively unrevealing memoir in today’s market, her emotional hindsight is admirably clear and honest。

  这种三言两语的顿悟表明,本质上,贝茨是一名杂志记者。尽管这种风格,再加上她那种美国白人清教徒式的矜持,使得这本回忆录显得有所保留,但她充满情感的事后反思仍然极为清晰诚实。

  Fashion and self-examination — froth and wisdom — might seem like odd bookfellows, but Betts brings them together with winning confidence. You wouldn’t have wanted to work with the ambitious, pretentious young Katherine at Fairchild (she overheard the bitchy grumbling and plowed ahead, not stopping until she landed at Vogue and then became the editor of Harper’s Bazaar), but today, you’d definitely want to sit next to her on the banquette for a long lunch at Le Voltaire. Young worshipers of Paris — and of fashion magazines — are in for an education. Those of us who’ve been there and back will find it entertaining and sneakily poignant reading on the flight to Charles de Gaulle。

  时尚与自省,琐事与智慧,这些可能有点像是奇怪的组合,但贝茨带着迷人的自信把它们放在一起。你可能不想和当年费尔柴尔德手下那个野心勃勃又年轻气盛的凯特一起工作(她偷听到有人恶毒地抱怨她,但一直不停步地前进,直到后来去了《Vogue》,最后当上《时尚芭莎》[Harper’s Bazzaar]的主编),但你肯定想在伏尔泰酒店(Le Voltaire)的长条软椅上和现在的她共进午餐。对于巴黎的和时尚杂志的年轻崇拜者们而言,读这本书是一种学习。我们这些去过那里然后又回来的人,不妨在飞往戴高乐机场的途中打开这本书,你一定会觉得它非常有趣,但带着隐隐的辛酸。


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