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Alona Elkayam Headshot

Best/Worst Brands of the Week June 6-13

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This week kept on giving. Its richness wasn't the deafening gossip, I mean news, that #Weinergate brought to this city, or #IWNY Internet Week, for that matter. Instead I, Alona Fromberg-Elkayam, the Work Hard, Play Hard Party Girl, discovered my green thumb this past Saturday. My friends reading this surely just laughed their summer corn through their noses. But it's true. I like to garden. In my 5-inch heels. I went to Liberty Sunset in Red Hook and scored six plants, which I arranged to pickup the following weekend after leaving a deposit. During the week I called to no end (I turned green, not zen) to make sure our arrangement was still an arrangement. No one returned my phone calls and I started to see those red flags. You know, the ones that pop up when you shake a chef's hand and notice his dirty fingernails. Or when a guy wants to talk baby names on your first date. Well, I didn't just call, I also left plenty of good messages. And then I got a little Staten Island on them with an ultimatum: I am coming on Saturday and I want my plants or I want my deposit back (yeah)." When I arrived at "Liberty Sunset" they pulled a Staten Island on me. The whole nursery had new signage, new people, new everything. But I walked in and went to the guy holding "the book" and pointed to my name, number and $60.00. I held out my hand, got my green (money, that is), and took the G to the F to the L trains back home.

The next day, I took the 4/5 train to the Governor's Island Ferry for what turned out to be a delightful event: The Veuve Cliquot Polo Classic. I think every highbrow event needs to have a little lowbrow, a little down-to-earth. This event had it. M and I walked around endlessly to find the perfect spot, redeemed our complimentary champagne vouchers, and had the most relaxing Sunday afternoon. Though I love the sport of Polo, the only thing I could keep my eyes on were the people and their interpretation of the lowbrow/highbrow mix. My fave was the picnic displays of orange Veuve blankets with Dorito bags on top and the fabulous Lulabelle hat, which was really akin to a picnic on your head. If you plan to go next year, be unfashionably early.

Do you ever have those beautiful moments when your different curiosities meet effortlessly? Well, I was doing my Saturday chill session at home and flipped to the Sid and Nancy movie directed by Alex Cox and starring Gary Oldman. Then later on, at the gym, reading Vogue magazine, I flipped to the most exquisite piece of jewelry I had ever seen. It was Eddie Borgo's Pave Padlock bracelet. An homage to the necklace that Chrissie Hynde gave to Sid Vicious, which was a lock and chain purchased at a hardware store. I don't go as bananas over accessories as Rachel Zoe, but future suitors, please take note.

And not that I am a total fashionista, but style is important and not overrated. When I previewed the summer collections in February, I really just felt so vindicated. It's like I could tell my mother and my friends in the conservative set that my bright colors, platform shoes, tailored cuts, and bell bottoms were not only back, but here to stay. But something terrible happened. Street fashion here did not take the cues. I don't understand. All I see are those lousy blousy shirts and hold on, I can't take it--the ballet slipper is still a part of street fashion. Disheartened? Yes. A quitter? No. I am going to stomp out ballet slipper fashion one heel at a time.

Fashion model Naomi Campbell non-violently expressed her anger at Cadbury (now owned by Kraft), which ran an ad for the new Bliss chocolate that read "Move over Naomi, there's a new diva in town." The image: a bar of chocolate standing on a bed of diamonds. Today's racial issues especially fascinate me because they are always so careless, and it's clear that the perpetrators live under a rock--in this case, Stonehenge. As a honky, I did some empathy exercises. Because though the gaffe was apparent, I wanted to understand the exact offense. I tried a similar ad that offended my Jewishness (see below). It turned out funny, not anti-Semitic. And then I redid the ad with a white British diva, and I understood a little more. I showed those two treatments to one of my best friends, who is black--not African-American, but a real African queen from Cameroon. She reminded me that "Chocolate" is a (derogatory) term people have used for centuries to label black women. And while E has an appreciation for humor, this ad, she clarifies, was in poor taste. When I looked at it, I did not read it as an equation of the chocolate bar with Naomi herself, but as a statement on her diva-like behavior. But the offense is really the tagline, which ties Naomi to the chocolate by claiming "I'm the most pampered bar in town." When I see agencies make mistakes like that, I like to remind people that it wasn't a "company" mistake. A big blur of people equals "company." There was a final client meeting with the final ad and these people all either looked at it in a conference room or viewed the final PDF online. And that after that review, they gave final written approval. When an agency does stuff like this it brings my agency down too.

Something that brought my morale back up occurred at Internet Week. Despite its dire need for a new name (it's like calling Cannes "Film World"), Internet Week has so far proved thought-provoking. I looked past the poor naming and went to a few events. One of my highlights was the session at Federated Media's CM Summit that featured luminaries like BEP's Will.I.Am and Twitter's Adam Bain, who talked about "Ambien Awareness vs Strong Signals." My favorite session was with Rachael Ray and Demand Media's Richard Rosenblatt. Why was Rachael Ray at an IWNY event? To promote her partnership with eHow's Food Channel. What's amazing to me about Rachael is her utter authenticity. She is tireless and calls herself a "content provider" who always "considered herself as a waitress," meaning that consumers are her boss. She delivered the most tailored content of any session I attended. To promote her eHow Food Channel, she brought her mixologist Joe Campanale, who prepared a summer bourbon drink in honor of the session's host, John Battelle of Federated Media. He called it "The Battelle."

Going out on the terrace now to have some Bourbon myself. Have a great week.