OFFICIAL BLOG

Fieldnotes

Fieldwork in London

Published by Wednesday Martin
At the BBC Studio in London, I spoke about gift exchange and what primates want for the holidays
At the BBC Studio in London, I spoke about gift exchange and what primates want for the holidays

I'm always excited to be in London. Londoners are interested in reading and in relationships, which makes it a great place for authors and social researchers who focus on families (ahem). And for a New Yorker, there's the extra benefit that London feels familiar, yet different. The building height restrictions in most of town, plus the horizontal sprawl (versus the density and upward lift of Manhattan) make it feel inviting, homey and manageable. Yet London is as diverse and cosmopolitan a metropole as you will find anywhere in the world, rivaling Our Town when it comes to incredible restaurants, theater, cafe culture, fashion innovation and self-important hustle and bustle. Currently there's a show about 80's fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum that I loooooved. It's called Club to Catwalk and it immerses you in the 80s London club and fashion scene in a way that's both informative and very emotional, if you experienced it the first time around.


Mothers to Star Magazine: Fu*k Off!

Published by Wednesday Martin
It’s open season on mothers. Especially ones in the spotlight.
It’s open season on mothers. Especially ones in the spotlight.

I used to think our national sport was football. Then I had children. And learned very quickly that in fact, our national sport is judging mothers. It starts early in the process. From the moment I conceived, it seemed, everybody had an opinion about what I ate, what I wore, what I should do. Much of it was well-intentioned--advice about how to handle morning sickness was something I really appreciated. I did NOT appreciate being told by one woman that "I was always too busy to have morning sickness." Nor did I appreciate child birth educators telling me that having an epidural would make me a bad mother.


"Priceless but Useless" — Children of the Anthropocene

Published by Wednesday Martin
In the industrialized West children are “priceless but useless.” We value them but don’t expect them to contribute to the household in any real way. Mine were surprised when I told them to rake the backyard.
In the industrialized West children are “priceless but useless.” We value them but don’t expect them to contribute to the household in any real way. Mine were surprised when I told them to rake the backyard.

Developmentalist Jean Piaget famously observed that "play is the work of children." But in some places, work is the work of children. And that's not a bad thing.


An Evening with Karl Lagerfeld; Tiina Laakkonen; and My Stylist Christian Mesheshma: Adornment Practices in Manhattan

Published by Wednesday Martin
I attended “An Evening with Karl Lagerfeld to Benefit Lincoln Center.” Karl is endlessly quotable, refined, entertaining and deeply eccentric. He might call this combination “modern.”
I attended “An Evening with Karl Lagerfeld to Benefit Lincoln Center.” Karl is endlessly quotable, refined, entertaining and deeply eccentric. He might call this combination “modern.”

Everybody knows New Yorkers are fashionable and fashion-centric and often fashion-eccentric. We're the center of the US fashion industry and hello, we have Bill Cunningham!


Dior and Chanel — High Art?

Published by Wednesday Martin
Here I am with Chanel event hostess Suri Kasirer. The hard working mother of three wore Chanel, and looked amazing. Pardon my Prada!
Here I am with Chanel event hostess Suri Kasirer. The hard working mother of three wore Chanel, and looked amazing. Pardon my Prada!

In an era of multinational conglomerates controlling dozens of fashion brands, and designers designing for more than one house, or moving from one to the other, what is a fashion brand? What is a fashion designer? And how and why do women choose the ones they do?


Lunch (and identity) on the (lower) Upper East Side

Published by Wednesday Martin
I had lunch with my friend Barbara at Chat Noir, E. 66th near Madison, recently. It’s teeming with ladies- who-lunch types. The east side in the 60s and 70s skews older than Carnegie Hill.
I had lunch with my friend Barbara at Chat Noir, E. 66th near Madison, recently. It’s teeming with ladies- who-lunch types. The east side in the 60s and 70s skews older than Carnegie Hill.

  


Fieldnotes: Baby CZ Opening and Childhood on the Upper East Side

Published by Wednesday Martin
These girls came to the store opening with their mothers. In Manhattan, children accompany their parents just about everywhere. I saw a six-year-old boy with his dad at a Wagner opera once.
These girls came to the store opening with their mothers. In Manhattan, children accompany their parents just about everywhere. I saw a six-year-old boy with his dad at a Wagner opera once.

The Manhattan tribe I study lives in a state of ecological release. Basically, that means life is good. As is the case for the fortunate of the industrialized world, subsistence is a given — my tribe are not struggling to get enough calories for themselves and their kids to avoid starvation, not by a long shot. They are not at war (even when their country is). There is little competition for abundant resources. And they face no predators (now that Bernie Madoff is in jail).