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Productively moaning at moaners: Bored of vanity

Liz Jones was obviously having a self-involved day when she decided the best forum for her latest rant was in national newspaper Daily Mail.

Jones tenderly handled the subject of childhood anorexia, respected varying female shapes and did nothing to promote the notion that fashion is only for the thin…I am, of course, being sarcastic. It seems that every time fashion takes a step forward, there’s a moaning female journalist dragging the industry back two steps.

Get over it. Designers like catwalk models to be thin – and of a certain height – because they’re supposed to be identical walking clothes hangers, not “personalities”. This doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to be, or is expected to be, size zero.

Writing about larger-breasted women, Jones announces, “I look at those who expose their sweaty cleavages and think, hmm, how slutty, I bet they use them to get ahead at work.” Maybe, Jones, these women have better things to think about then their boobs and get promoted at work because they are – shock, horror – genuinely intelligent. I’m also thinking that perhaps this is how Jones used her larger breasts before she got a reduction, it would certainly explain how she became editor of Marie Claire –which, by the way, she was reportedly sacked from because she referred to a model as “a bag of bones”. Although that’s probably untrue, it works nicely for my rant. Image-obsessed this woman is.

Jones’ irresponsible bashing of larger-breasted women continues as she says, “I comfort myself with the knowledge these big-busted broads will never look good in Prada or Jil Sander or Helmut Lang.” I hate to break this to you so bluntly, Jones, but women with breasts and, indeed, larger women can be stylish too; Gabi Gregg, author of the Young, Fat and Fabulous blog, obviously thinks so. As do all of these women. It’s, admittedly, a slow process but there is a growing acceptance of larger sizes (proof, proof, proof) but then shite like this get’s published and some people feel insecure all over again.

So, in response to your article, I don’t care. I don’t care if you have scars on your nipples, I don’t care if flat chests are in, I don’t care if Pamela Anderson has had a popularity resurgence and people now want to look like this. Stop bitching and obsessing about your fucking breasts and actually write something half-intelligent.

As a side note: Jones article wavered over her blatant psychological problems, claiming her anorexia was because she “wanted to be thin, like Janice Dickinson on the cover of Vogue.” While this may have been what later drove her anorexia she stated, “I wanted boys not to notice me”; suggesting one of the real causes of her anorexia was her unwillingness to grow-up and her fear of entering adulthood. If you do have anorexia please seek help or, and this has to be motivation enough, you’ll end up like this whiney journalist who once said, “It makes no sense, but I’d rather be thin than happy or healthy.”

The day fashion ended – Alex Curran for Vogue?

I’ve just read this on the Daily Mail website, hopefully it’s lies.

Professional scallie, Alex Curran who is married to Liverpool and England footballer Steven Gerrard, has been shot for the December issue of Vogue.

“It seems the surgically enhanced 27-year-old Northerner – who is best known for stepping out in Juicy Couture tracksuits and nail extensions – has been shot for a diary-style spread for the leading fashion magazine and may even appear on the cover.

“Alex was shot over several days during London Fashion Week and had a separate studio shoot arranged,” said a source.

“The spread has been pencilled in for five pages and she may even be the cover. Alex is over the moon about it and can’t wait – she has always wanted to appear in the magazine. She has been very careful to tell only close family members and friends.”

Last year, I [Daily Mail] revealed how Vogue received a number of complaints and cancelled subscriptions when Victoria Beckham became the first footballer’s wife on the cover.

In February this year, Cheryl Cole followed suit.”

Ok, I can understand the use of the other two “WAGS”, Victoria Beckham was famous before David Beckham, as was Cheryl Cole before Ashley; I can respect them both as business women. But Alex Curran is a professional wife and/ or girlfriend, a celebrity for the sake of celebrity.

Urghhh. It will be a sad day for fashion if this is true.

Megan Fox for Armani

Fashionistas worldwide have been left unimpressed as 23 year old idiot Megan Fox has be announced as the new face for high-end fashion line Armani. According to published reports, Fox will receive a six figure payment to pose in underwear for the fashion retailer shot by fashion photographers, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

Hours after the rumour was confirmed, fashion blogs begun dissecting the news and have reached a fashionable verdict. They don’t want her. The move has struck some bubbling controversy amongst the fashion crowd, with some claiming Fox is “not notable for being credible” and is somewhat undeserving of her fame, let alone a prestige celebrity endorsement.

One blogger said, “How can Victoria Beckham, a globally known fashion icon, be replaced with someone who has no brains, no talent, no style and no respect? There are a million better picks than Megan Fox.”

Others believe Fox’s otherwise ‘trashy’ image will taint the sophistication and stylish appeal of the Armani brand and that although she is a popular choice, she may not be a suitable one.

Fans of the actress support her new endeavour, claiming the project may encourage the seriousness of her career, while others speak of its counterpart, stating Fox does lack seriousness in her career and would be a more suitable spokesperson for Target.

Ouch.

Fox, famous for leaning over a broken down Camero in the first Transformers flick and for learning over a motorcycle in the sequel, hinted at the prospect some weeks ago. According to the now confirmed reports, the star will appear in a series of print and billboard advertisements for the brand but will not be photographed with male spokesperson, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Would you take style advice from Katie Price?

No sane fashion critic would ever look at professional attention seeker, Katie Price (formerly known back in her glamour modelling days simply as Jordan) and say she has style. Yet, Jordan is not letting that get her down, as she’s come up with the ultimate “style” guide to help women learn to recreate her outfits, her makeup and even her surgically altered features.

“People are scared of Botox as they think their face is going to end up frozen and blank-looking,” explains Katie in one keynote address from Standing Out, “but I don’t have a very expressive face anyway so I don’t worry about not being able to show emotion. It’s not like I’m an actor and need to have that ability.”

But it’s not all cyborg glitz. “I remember one time I had a charity job in a poor part of India,” begins one heart-rending passage. “I arrived to find my suitcase had split and everything had vanished, so I didn’t have anything to wear for the job, no make-up, toiletries – nothing. As there were no shops I had to spend the whole three days of our trip in what I had been wearing on the plane. That was pretty shit, I can tell you.”

And there the anecdote ends, redefining the concept of putting things into perspective.

If you buy this book you need professional help. Fact.

Anyway, this blog was just an excuse to look at the orange lady’s terrible outfit choices, let’s all prepare to shake our heads in disgust.

Outrage over Vogue photographs

French Vogue has never been one to tiptoe around controversy. Recently it has published photos of supposedly pregnant models puffing cigarettes [see pictures to the right], supporting devil worshipping and leather-clad glamazons kissing with blood pouring from their mouths.

Now, though, the magazine may have gone too far for even the most dedicated followers of fashion. Its October edition features pictures of Dutch model Lara Stone in which the naturally pale-skinned blonde’s face and body are painted black. The photo shoot, styled by the magazine’s long-time editor, Carine Roitfeld, provoked outrage today as its subject spread through internet forums and fashion websites. The US blog Jezebel criticised the decision of Roitfeld and photographer Steven Klein to alter the model’s skin colour, accusing them of cultural insensitivity.

“What Klein and Roitfeld should know … is that painting white people black for the entertainment of other white people is offensive in ways that stand entirely apart from cultural context,” it said. “France and Australia may not have the United States’ particular history of minstrel shows … but something about the act of portraying a white woman as black ought to sound an alarm, somewhere.”

French Vogue said the magazine was unaware of any controversy. Neither Roitfeld nor Stone’s agents at the IMG model agency in New York or Paris were available for comment.

Dominique Sopo, president of the French organisation SOS Racisme, said that even if the shoot was not racist in intention it was certainly “tactless”.
“If the aim was artistic, and not to pass off the model as a black girl, the fact that it produces such reactions shows that the world of images – advertising, fashion, whatever – is now paying for its long tradition of not allowing black people to show their bodies in public.”

Before starting this blog, perhaps in my naivety, I didn’t realise just how political fashion was and how many people it’s capable of offending. I suppose the clue is in the name; people are worried that behaviour they deem offensive will become “fashionable” and therefore acceptable.

It never seizes to amaze me at how diverse the fashion industry is (business, politics, creative) and how much it affects us; that selling clothes can cause so much controversy, how the clothes are made can cause so much controversy, that a picture can cause so much controversy.

Janet Street Porter – an actual moron

In a previous article I believe I fairly debated the “normal size” woman versus the thinner woman used within the fashion industry.

Today Janet Street Porter commented in the Daily Mail about how Vanessa Feltz is a better role model then Lily Cole.

She wrote:

“Lily Cole, who looks like a boiled egg on a stick… is highly intelligent, but let’s be honest, she’s not exactly normal-looking. She looks a bit like a Thunderbirds puppet, huge eyes, a big head and a tiny body.”

How rude. I wonder if she would say this to any “normal”, thin woman or if this kind of witty attack is reserved only for models?

“Surrounded by airbrushed images of females we can never emulate, we desperately need some new role models. Forget bloody Lily Cole – how about Vanessa Feltz, who should consider putting herself forward to Brigitte for a spot of modelling.

Sometimes I worry about looking like a badly packed sausage when I venture out to parties – does my midriff bulge show and is my jacket managing to hide a multitude of sins? I’ve seen enough pictures of myself looking like Mrs Chubby Drawers to hold my stomach in every time I see a camera.

But Vanessa is a very different high-profile woman. She was photographed in a skin-tight pale pink beaded frock last week, smiling happily and weighing in at quite a few sizes bigger than the size 12 she dieted and exercised to back in 1999.

Vanessa looks great – more importantly, her expression says she couldn’t give a stuff what anyone thinks anyway! Go girl!”

Perhaps Ms Street Porter should do her research considering the Daily Mail was happily slagging off Vanessa Feltz earlier in the year.

But yes, she’s absolutely right. Why would anyone admire Lily Cole; a beautiful, intelligent, Cambridge-educated, talented model and actress when they could admire Vanessa Feltz: an obese (which is just as unhealthy as anorexia), brash, tacky, frankly insane (let us not forget her Big Brother moment), unintelligent (I’m sure she is smart, being also Cambridge taught, but based on interviews and written work she clearly wants us to assume otherwise) woman?

Janet Street Porter clearly wanting to get in on the sizing debate…and failing miserably.

Ralph Lauren apologises for extreme digital retouching

There has been a lot of criticism recently for the use of editing fashion photography and giving women unattainable figures, especially in retouching photos of celebrities to make them look thinner. In the last few days another sizing debate has sprung up but this time, rightly so. Ralph Lauren have been criticised for digitally retouching size 8 model, Filippa Hamilton, to such a dramatic distortion that her head was wider then her waist.

Ralph Lauren quickly apologised yesterday for the botched photograph. A spokesman for Ralph Lauren said: “For over 42 years, we have built a brand based on quality and integrity.

After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body.

We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the calibre of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.”

Yesterday the eating disorders charity Beat welcomed the company’s apology but warned fashion firms to use their power responsibly:

“We are obviously very glad Ralph Lauren have realised that digitally enhancing people like this can cause a lot of upset,’ a spokeswoman said.

“They have a very powerful influence that can be highly toxic to young and vulnerable people. Fashion can be creative and uplifting but the fashion houses must realise the impact they can have on people suffering from all sorts of issues in their lives.”

Paris Fashion Week – The day fashion ended

Many believe that modern fashion began with the rigorous Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga, who subsequently passed on his experience to Emanuel Ungaro. So you’ll be forgiven for coming over faint when you hear that Ungaro is now under the creative directorship of one Lindsay Lohan.

Since the retirement of Emanuel Ungaro the label has languished with a revolving door of designers; Peter Dundas is now at Emilio Pucci, while Giambattista Valli designs a successful label under his own name, but none have succeeded in making Ungaro creditable or profitable. The latest designer, Esteban Cortazar, who was appointed in 2007, was fired after his refusal to work with actress Lindsay Lohan.

Lohan was offered the appointment by Ungaro’s president and CEO, Mounir Moufarrige, the same man who slotted a certain pop star’s daughter into the top job at Chloé a decade ago, replacing Karl Lagerfeld. Subsequently, Lohan was appointed Artistic Director, working with new head designer Estrella Archs, a veteran of the Prada, Hussein Chalayan and Nina Ricci design studios, who was hired hastily to replace Cortazar.

As a show it was underwhelming and, even though they had only three weeks to put it together, I think perhaps they should have waited until next season. Visitors to the Emanuel Ungaro studio during the hectic last days of preparations for this collection noticed that while Archs put the finishing touches to the clothes, Lohan was nowhere to be seen. Not that Lohan was neglecting her duties: she was to be found on Twitter, fulfilling her role by inviting celebrity friends such as Lily Allen to the show.

Well, how to make an impression the first time you are let loose on a Parisian catwalk? Sequinned nipple stickers should do it.

Swathed in shocking pink, the room in the Carousel du Louvre bore little, if any, resemblance to the shows Emanuel Ungaro himself used to put on.

Of course it was a label famed for its colour and there was plenty of that: a pink strapless mini dress wrapped in fuchsia chiffon for a start, but the initial hope was very quickly dashed by ruched chiffon trousers in bright blue or orange worn with silk collarless matching blouses and billowing pink genie pants with wide, gathered waistbands below scarlet bra tops.

It was fun, maybe, for LA girls wanting plenty of ideas in their wardrobe to cover several parties a night, every night: one-shouldered white ones, sparkly, tight striped ones, flowing peach chiffon ones – but it didn’t go much beyond that.

Leather jackets with swatches cut out to show a sparkly inner layer gave a bit of bling, while black tuxedo jackets whose lapels were two halves of a red sequined heart injected some humour to the collection and bulging fur stoles thrown over one shoulder signaled that if not exactly chic, these girls were certainly rich.

Ungaro is a house deserving of the respect it once held and Spanish designer Estrella Archs, brought in just weeks ago to replace her successor, would do well to dress more than just Lohan-a-likes. My absolute detest of “celebrities” entering the fashion industry doesn’t blind me to the fact that this was probably a shrewd business move. Obviously, for the first time in several years, Ungaro will get written up everywhere. Is this enough to sustain a venerable French house? Of course not.