Saturday, December 17, 2005


Chic Happens
An Explosive Celebrity and Fashion Insider Account
by Kitty Go

I know I really shouldn’t feel sorry for Kitty Go. As a wealthy, jet-setting member of Manila’s alta crowd and a relative of the Gokongwei clan of JG Summit at that, pity isn’t something that should really come to mind when thinking about the former editor-in-chief of Preview, the Philippines most brazenly designer brand centered glossy magazine. But ever since her controversial tell-all best-seller, “When the Chic Hits the Fan” – which from hereon shall be referred to as “The Fan”, - was released two years ago to terrible reviews but incredible sales, Manila’s media mafia (the subject of most of the book) won’t invite her to lunch, much less give a fair review of her second book, “Chic Happens” – the follow up to, ahem, the “Fan”. And at the end of the day, I really can’t help but feel bad about that. After all, she was just exposing how shallow, sallow, and hollow Manila’s upper crust and their lapdogs can be and just how shamefully they can conduct themselves. I really see a case of society sponsored censorship here so I shall try to rectify this matter by giving “Chic Happens” a review of my own. Ahem.

Kitty, even though we have never met, what I gathered about you so far is that you don’t wear designer fakes, you aren’t a hypocrite, and you desperately need an editor-in-chief of your own. In a nutshell, your latest book, “Chic Happens” is a semi-salacious collection of “fictionalized” events that have “supposedly” happened within the inner sanctums of Manila’s Most Beautiful and Damned. And although I have to admit the writing is way better than “The Fan” (the characters here are fleshier and the little Shakespearean tool of using a “play within a play” was a nice touch), the whole thing still needed Ritalin and an emergency liposuction to boot. And although some parts may be edgily chucklesome: “Like being the first girl in your class to grow breasts, JRo found herself in the whirlwind of professional jealousy”, some sections suffered from a verbosity rarely seen on the written page. Lines like: “OK, let’s order first because if we have to wait for those lesbians to fit into their Roberto Cavalli Jeans, we’ll have to wait until Hermes opens a shop here in the Philippines.” and “The Niveras also seemed to be having to step-back in their John Lobb shoes because rumors started flying faster than the Concorde ever did and gossip began stinging worse than the Botox shots, which the Niveras topped every month” are run on sentences that are at once outdated, confusing, cloying, and very annoying. And even if I read it voraciously from cover to cover, I can’t help but wonder if I only found it interesting because I already knew the people you were talking about. And if people don’t kinda realize that apparently these purported characters were supposedly Antoine Saint Diyego, Aryel Losada, Emilee and Selene Lopes, Josiefene Knocks, Andrue Gan, Jonattan Matthi, Meelet Manankheil, Sary App, Gretsen Bareto and Teena and Ryko O’campoe, would the book be just as interesting to them? And some parts are a little too harsh I have to say. Ok, perhaps the stories about some of the characters’ penchants for embezzlement and backstabbing might be a cause for alarm, but a lot of people you mention in the book only suffer from the harmless inborn crime of being baduy* at the very most. One could turn the tables and think of it as a case of the kulangot** calling the other one grey here. Because if you are going to start picking the noses of these folks, then I certainly hope your nostrils are clean too.

Maybe I shall meet you one day and find out for myself?

“Chic Happens” is an enigma and a dichotomy: at once badly written, but also impossible to put down.

Php265.00 at any National Bookstore.