August 7, 2003 - The Buzz: Garmento and more 
Dallas Morning News

Black is the new comedy

Not every intern leaves her job at a big fashion company to write a transparently veiled roman a clef such as The Devil Wears Prada or Fashionista. Some, like Michele Maher, make a movie. Ms. Maher, writer, producer and director of the independent film Garmento (opening Friday at the Angelika), spent three years working in New York City's fashion district during the early '90s.

And it hardly takes a fashionista to recognize the parallels between the movie's Poncho Ramirez Inc. a company desperate to recapture its 1970s glory days at the forefront of the designer jeans trend and Calvin Klein. (Instead of "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins," Garmento's slinky supermodel purrs "Peel off my Ponchos.")

But insiders will have a ball matching up the film's broadly drawn fashion characters with Seventh Avenue's equally theatrical real-life players. (Could haughty Italian exec Franca Fortuna be Gabriella Forte ?)

The black comedy's plot veers toward the ridiculous at times, but, Ms. Maher says, "When you watch it, you will think the things that are in fact true were made up."

Trivia tidbit: Garmento was filmed in the New York showroom that serves as headquarters for underwear giant Joe Boxer.

Tracy Achor Hayes