The best thing to come out of Bravo's Charleston-based reality show "Southern Charm," which ended its second season Monday night, continues to be Patricia Altschul, the septuagenarian socialite from New York City who lets us imagine what Erica Kane would've been like had Edith Wharton been head writer on "All My Children."
Altschul’s withering looks, the you-wait-for-me-not-I-for-you tone of voice and calls for her “medicine,” her biting wit and steely observations (like this little piece of advice to Thomas Ravenel: “Instead of impregnating 21-year-olds, you might refocus, is all I’m suggesting”) have fans of the show calling for Bravo to give her a spin-off.
Which a thousand times yes to that. But Altschul is no tap-dancer. She does not exist to entertain us. She is beyond it.
I was reminded of this when I was reading my June issue of Vogue on Monday. There she was, our Patricia Altschul hosting Peter Copping, the new creative director of Oscar de la Renta.
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Peter Copping was at her home! Hamish Bowles was at her home! Heck, Peter Copping and Hamish Bowles were in the Lowcountry!
This is all to say, Altschul isn’t just a master of one-liners, she is important enough for fashion royalty to travel here to get her input.
Bowles, who described Altschul as an “effervescent hostess,” writes: “When Peter Copping walks in, fresh from the success of his debut collection as creative director at the house of Oscar de la Renta, Altschul throws gentility to the winds, scythes through the crowd, and flings her arms around him. ‘I’ve been dying to meet you!’ she tells him. ‘That peridot dress and the peridot shoe. When can I buy them?’”
Only Patricia Altschul could “scythe” through a crowd.
(Oh, not mentioned? Her association with “Southern Charm.” It’s not very Vogue.)
By the way, SCAD Museum of Art gets a mention in this piece. It’s yet another sign that Savannah is gaining some street cred in the fashion world.
Copping and Bowles visited “Oscar de la Renta: His Legendary World of Style,” an exhibit curated by Andre Leon Talley for the museum. The exhibit, which closed in early May, included dresses from de la Renta fans like Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Patricia Altschul.
Talley’s association with the art school has been apparent, and I’m thoroughly ashamed of myself for missing this exhibit AND his little black dress exhibit at SCADMoA a few years ago AND the Vivienne Westwood talk earlier this month. I should just turn in my Vogue subscription, honestly.
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