The world owes its thanks to legendary WWD Editorial Director and Editor John B. Fairchild for the phrase Fashion Victim and a host of other stylish witticisms.
“It was at La Caravelle that I coined the phrase ‘Fashion Victim’ after half a bottle of wine and time spent looking at the ladies at lunch and how poorly dressed they were. They were too dressed to be seen, ”he said in 2001.
But WWD’s talent for naming was no wonder. Here’s a look at a few other keepers – some are more self-explanatory than others.
AT: Seventh Avenue
They wear: Copyright in 1924 and still widely used.
Fashion flash: Copyright in the 1950s.
Fashion victim: Those Too Dressed To See, FVs for short, invented in 1970. “Instead of just being well-dressed women, they become traveling billboards for all the latest status symbols. They allow fashion to wear them rather than wear the fashion that suits them.
Locomotives: The movers and the shakers.
RB: Rich Bitches, invented in 1982.
Social cyclones: 1980s term for Gayfryd Steinberg and that ilk.
Beautiful people: You know who you are.
The cat pack: A subset of BP (Beautiful People), invented in 1971, “CPs are those who succeed in New York. When they walk into a New York room, there is more than a ripple. There is a wave. There’s even a Cat Pack Kiss.
Chic savages: Well dressed and well behaved warriors whose smiles never fade.
The empty pit: The talkative underworld of chic.
Warm pants: Barely There Shorts, invented in 1970. (Sears Roebuck & Co. and Montgomery Ward quickly jumped on the trend.) When lengths dwindled, WWD quickly called them WarmPants.
Midday: Longer lengths originally inspired by “Dr. Zhivago” and seen in Paris in 1966. They will begin to appear in ready-to-wear collections in the coming seasons.
Longuette: The longer skirts of the 1970s.
Jackie O: Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Daddy O: Her second husband, Aristotle Onassis.
Its ultimate elegance: Gloria Guinness
The little terror: Truman Capote
Mr. Fashion Right: Bill Blass
The frog pond: La Grenouille, the famous Manhattan restaurant.
The Institute of Boredom: All these boring people.
Mr. Clean: Calvin Klein
Number one: Giorgio Armani
Emperor Karl: Karl Lagerfeld
Lunch: Wealthy socialites.
Ladies who have lunch: Also wealthy socialites, invented in 1972.
New Society: the social climbers of the 80s.
Fashion nuns: Those who favor a monastery-like look of Yohji Yamamoto.
SPORTS: Casual looks of Paris in the 60s.
The smoker: Smoking jackets à la Yves Saint Laurent.
Hard-Chic: Bold fashion.
Geek-Chic: Clothing adapted to computers.
The fashion nursery: What is Paris, France?
The battle of Versailles: The iconic 1973 fashion show, coined in the cover as a “battle” between five French designers against five Americans, elevating American fashion.
Walker: A city man in control escorting wealthy women on the party circuit. It was reportedly first used in connection with Jerry Zipkin, who has become the confidante of some of society’s best known and wealthiest women. Zipkin was also called the social butterfly, or SM, because of the tireless manner in which he carried out his mission.
Wobbly wasps: Society types Blueblood, titans, celebrities.
Ubiquitous: A seasonal nickname given to the celebrity or socialite who attends all the time.
Killer Bs: When list A gets too expensive, it’s time to summon those eager B’s to fill any old top row.
The Delebrity: Celebrities who want to be designers and vice versa.
An original version of this story appeared in the print issue of WWD in 2010. It has been edited to include other phrases coined by WWD.
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