This month, Joffe co-stars with socialites Maggie Betts and Poppy Delevingne (in a funny coincidence, also February Vogue's It Girl) in that staple of money-saving, fun-having belt-tightenry, the clothing swap party. And while you may know the clothing swap party as a place where a mountain of unflattering and unwanted garb collapses to form a black hole of self-loathing and veiled body snark, the Joffe-Betts-Delevingne edition is full of delicious, high-fashion fun. A Thakoon dress changes hands! A Lizzie Fortunato necklace! An Azrouel vest! Dinner is served — Joffe points out that "there aren't any boys coming — should we have garlic bread?" But these faux-recessionistas prudently eschew the extra carbs. Instead, they content themselves with their feelings of virtuousness, what stylist Sophia Hesketh calls "the economy and the ecology" of the swap party itself.
A few pages later, Plum Sykes details her response to the recession: building a "Forever wardrobe," starting with two outfits for . . .
the one weekend a year when my husband and I entertain. (Believe me, it is only once a year, downturn or not.) Every fall my husband takes a day's partridge shooting on gallerist Detmar Blow's Hilles estate in Gloucestershire, England [...] The dress code is nonnegotiable: tweeds for day and grand dress for dinner.
Sykes goes on to purchase a tweed suit and Giambattista Valli dress for a total of $8,515, or, converted to normal-people dollars, a "buttload." Still, there's something kind of endearing about the whole escapade. It's when really rich people economize (and yes, we do get that there's a difference between a $4,600 dress that you'll wear again and a $64,000 fur coat dipped in gold) that we see how very much they will never be like us. And how much Vogue, despite its (so far, sorta half-hearted) efforts, will never really be about normal people or their concerns. So happy shooting, Plum! We'd like to close with an observation by your buddy Gwyneth Paltrow, herself a noted supporter of the proletariat: "I find it hilarious that in America, at dinner in the country, you're in sweatpants and cashmere, but in England you bust out your couture." Gwyneth Paltrow, ladies and gentlemen: even in these trying times, she always knows how to make us laugh.