The goody bag is the fashion industry’s leading economic indicator. When profits soar, first-row VIPs receive extravagant gifts like Bulgari watches and Coach handbags. Those days of double-digit growth and deep-pocket sponsors are long gone. To say there have been cutbacks in editorial payola is like saying Alexander McQueen knew something about dresses. Recent “goodies” have included things like Orbit Gum, Trojan condoms and — quelle horreur! — prosecco. Lincoln Center’s endless supply of FiberOne bars might very well be the official snack (or meal) of New York Fashion Week. It’s post-grunge meets Mystery Date from Hell. Still, a sluggish economy is no excuse to spoil the party. As any FIT student knows, assembling a stellar swag bag is more about imagination than money. To wit: the freebie that generated the most buzz last season was Chris Benz’s “I Can Be President” Barbie doll. We asked ourselves what we would want that bag to hold (parameters being useful, chic, and not too extravagant), and this is what we came up with:
Volant mini plain notebook by Moleskine
Picasso, Hemingway and van Gogh used Moleskines to scribble down their flashes of genius. So do all the anonymous editorial assistants stuck in the back rows.
$6 at moleskineus.com
Lip Balm #1 by Kiehl’s
Models have forgotten more about lip care than you’ll ever know. This is their weapon of choice for healing and hydration.
$7 and up at nordstrom.com
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
No film has inspired more runway collections than The Thomas Crown Affair. Just ask Michael Kors or Tom Ford. Steve McQueen’s three-piece suits, by Savile Row legend Douglas Hayward, were so beautifully tailored that Ralph Lauren became a customer. And Faye Dunaway’s 31 costume changes, by Theadora Van Runkle (Bonnie and Clyde), provide enough source material to channel that haute-bourgeois ’60s redux vibe.
$6 and up at amazon.com
Every goody bag needs a magazine to provide the necessary ballast. V is the perfect compromise between mainstream “fashion book” (Vogue, Bazaar, Elle, W) and $40 indie art projects published only a few times a year, with multiple paper stocks and inserts (Purple, Grey, Garage, etc.). Sister publication of the award-winning Visionaire, V prides itself on sleek art direction and celebrity nudity. To augment the fashion content, editor Stephen Gan scours the culture for suitably fabulous architecture, art, film, and music.
$8 at vmagazine.com
The Pocket Spa by Kelley Quan
To prevent a mass insurrection (and nasty Tweets about how cheap you are), consider including one luxury item. Instead of schlepping around the cumbersome and eco-unfriendly Evian facial spray can, fashion darlings like Katie Holmes (Holmes & Yang) have switched to The Pocket Spa, a battery-powered H2O atomizer that’s not much bigger than a lipstick cartridge. The “patented nanotechnology” produces a fine mist that evaporates on contact – ideal to combat dehydration and dreaded static cling on trans-Atlantic flights.
$120 at kelleyquan.com
British Racing Green nail lacquer by Butter London
In case you haven’t heard, the Pantone color of the year is emerald (no. 17-5641). It certainly sounds like something we could use more of right now. According to the Pantone high priests, emerald is “lively, radiant and lush… a color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance, and harmony.” Not unlike this British Racing Green B.L. nail polish.
$15 at nordstrom.com
Boomstick Color by Cindy Joseph
This is the all-in-one product (lipstick, eye shadow, blush, moisturizer) that models use when they aren’t sashaying down the runway in full-blown Kabuki war paint. Developed by make-up artist turned model Cindy Joseph, Boomstick Color blends into any complexion to impart that slightly flushed, natural glow that comes after finishing a yoga class and being blessed by a Kabbalah priest. Value-added bonus: paraben- and phthalate-free.
$24 at boombycindyjoseph.com
Canvas tote bag by Banane Taipei
It may be intellectual property theft and copyright infringement, but it’s also a fascinating commentary on status symbols, expendable income and the counterfeit economy. Memo to the House of Hermès: Irony is alive and well, especially in China.
$165 at bananetaipei.com