Thursday, July 28, 2011

Divorce: it's a way of life in Los Angeles

Divorce: it’s all people want to talk about in Los Angeles. Not so much their own, you understand, as how you plan to deal with yours once the inevitable happens and Dewey, Cheatham and Howe start divvying up the crockery.

“Will you be starting a family?” I remember a businessman with a double divorce under his belt asking me at a party this time last year. “Then a word of advice: make sure you have the kid here in LA. It makes a big difference when it comes to the settlement.” When I explained that my husband and I had only been married 10 days – that we were, in fact, on extended honeymoon – he looked bemused, failing to see the relevance.

Last week, a new milestone was reached when I was invited along to a giant “divorcée party”. The idea was about as appealing as getting a nostril wax (yes, people really do that out here) – until I found out that it involved the wealthy housewives of Newport Beach hawking off their wardrobes.

“Her Past. Your Future” is the mantra of the organiser, Jill Alexander. But as you rifle through racks of discarded Dior jumpsuits and Chanel handbags, it’s more a case of “her past, my glorious future wardrobe”. And there’s certainly no pretence of the breadline: these women aren’t flogging off their YSL platforms to pay school fees, especially since Californian law dictates that the husband has to pay for both sides of the divorce battle.

As one divorcée who donated a box of cast-offs to the event explains, “It’s about moving forward. And it’s for charity, too, so there’s really no downside.” Not from where I’m standing: when you can pick up a pair of Alexander McQueen pumps for $100 and every woman is given a goody bag at the end containing a tiny bottle of prosecco and a thong (apparently the universal motif for any female embarking on a new life), I’m all for giving these sisters the metaphorical high five. (more)