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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.

Flannels adds fuel to Grazia promotion debate

Designer mini chain Flannels has inflamed the debate about out-of-season promotional activity after it launched a 25%-off promotion with women’s glossy Grazia, just one week after York indie Sarah Coggles ran a similar 30%-off campaign with the magazine.

Flannels, which stocks brands including Paul Smith London, Luke and Vivienne Westwood and has 11 full-price multi-brand stores in key shopping locations such as Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham, took part in a wider Grazia promotion this week, joining high street stores such as Warehouse and Wallis in offering readers a 25% discount between October 13-21. In addition to offering the discount in its shops, it also gave shoppers a code to use on its website.

Last week, Sarah Coggles was lambasted by rival indies for offering 30% off more than 200 brands on its website, which the indies said had damaged the sector and harmed their own sales. Several indies remained incandescent that two of the leading multi-brand indies were discounting so early in the autumn season, particularly via their websites.

According to Drapers, Grazia does not charge retailers and brands to take part in its promotions. Instead, it uses them to drive newsstand sales of its magazine, which has a weekly circulation of about 228,700 copies.

Jan Shutt, owner of Sunday Bestin Rawtenstall, Lancashire, said she could understand the temptation of taking what was effectively a free full-page ad in Grazia, but added: “Where does this all end? This might be a quick fix for some retailers but it could change the shape of retailing forever. Why would anyone buy anything from a store if it can be bought cheaper online?”

Rhona Blades, co-owner of five-store north-east indie Jules B, added: “Everybody has to think cleverly but this is just wrong. This kind of behaviour is leading the industry nowhere.”

However, the attitude of some indies to the discount strategies had softened this week. One rival to Flannels said: “It’s a minefield out there and retailers have to take a realistic view. Each retailer needs to do whatever they need to do to keep their business healthy. No multi-brand retailer would choose to discount because the margins are so small, but the mild weather just isn’t shifting stock.”

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.

Sarah Coggles angers rivals over Grazia promotion

Found on Drapers, designer independent Sarah Coggles has angered its market rivals after launching a 30%-off promotion across its Coggles.com website in women’s glossy magazine Grazia.

Premium indies including Sunday Best in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, Newcastle upon Tyne-based Jules B and Emporio Clothing in Worcester, have lambasted Sarah Coggles owner Mark Bage for offering the discount on more than 200 brands – including Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood Anglomania and Nicole Farhi – for two weeks until October 12.

The trio of indies baulked at the level of the discount, and the high-profile ad and cover line – Grazia sells about 228,700 copies a week. They claimed the promotion hit their bottom lines and reduced customer demand for new season autumn product.

Indies generally do not discount outside of the traditional Sale periods during the year, but they have seen their market share eroded by recent heavy discounting by multiple department stores.

“I was horrified to see this from a reputable retailer,” said Rhona Blades, co-owner of Jules B, which sells brands including Vivienne Westwood Anglomania and Twenty8Twelve. “It’s an approach that is bad for the industry and the repercussions have been phenomenal. Sarah Coggles has offended colleagues in the industry.”

Bage defended the move and Sarah Coggles’ reputation as a retailer with a strong track record where promotional activity is concerned. “We rarely do promotions and that hasn’t changed,” said Bage. “We had to break one of our own rules and it was a one-off. I thought long and hard about it and came to the conclusion that if any other indie was in my shoes and Grazia said ‘you can go on the front cover’, they wouldn’t have turned it down.”

Paula Jauncey, owner of Emporio Clothing in Worcester, which sells Paul Smith and Joseph, said: “It was cavalier and we are furious. Customers have started bargaining with us and the designer ethos then becomes market trader.”

It is understood that a number of brands involved in the promotion asked to be withdrawn from it following calls from angry stockists.

The boss of one brand involved said: “Part of me feels ‘good on him’, and the other part understands why people are irate as it’s not ideal to set a precedent. It’s a gamble unless you’re a massive department store and you can get away with it.”

Sunday Best owner Jan Shutt added: “There is a gentlemen’s agreement when it comes to RRP. It’s good to make a stand to address this.”

Oh dear. Yes, this practise is unethical but on the plus side, discounted designer clothes anyone?

Lagerfeld and Starck design cover for Wallpaper* magazine

Design legends Karl Lagerfeld and Philippe Starck are guest editors for October’s “peelable” edition of Wallpaper* magazine.

Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of French fashion house Chanel, has teamed up with designer Philippe Starck this month to create a special edition cover for Wallpaper* magazine.

Starck has developed a new technology of paper allowing the cover to be constructed from three layers of tracing paper which has never before been used on a magazine. The publication has a peelable cover, featuring Baptiste Giabiconi in Dior Homme, which can be removed to reveal the other cover with the model naked.

Lagerfeld and Starck have each edited large sections of the October issue. Lagerfeld, also a sought-after photographer, has shot Giabiconi in a variety of historical settings across continental Europe, including Rome and Paris. He also writes about his collection of houses.

Starck has chosen a more philosophical subject for his pages, focusing on mankind’s quest to discover the meaning of life and interviewing scientists, physicists and cosmologists. “It is my mission to make intelligence sexy,” he said.

Editor-in-chief, Tony Chambers explained, “Like their illustrious predecessors, (including Jeff Koons, Dieter Rams, Hedi Slimane, Zaha Hadid, Rei Kawakubo and Louise Burgeous) Lagerfeld and Starck have made full use of their prime piece of Wallpaper* real estate.”

Chad Pitman for VMAN

VMAN magazine’s PR sent Design Scene advance previews of 3 fashion spreads by Chad Pitman, photographing some of the most wanted in the fashion industry.

The spread features Garrett Neff and Baptiste Giabiconi (photographed by somebody other than Mr. Lagerfeld). I think they’re really rather good.

VMAN’s (Issue #15) is hitting the newsstands September 15th.

Uma Thurman for W magazine

Being a fan of Tarantino films, I’ve always been a fan of Uma Thurman; considering her one of the most attractive women in the world.

This month, the actress and former model does an editorial shoot for W magazine, in which the 39-year-old smoulders on a couch, clad in a feathered stole and black stockings and suspenders, with Marilyn Monroe style peroxide hair; I love the glamorously dark aesthetic as she looks like a tragic actress on the way down the greasy pole of celebrity.

Photographed by Stephen Kleine. Read the full story on W’s website: here.

MJ by Catalogue magazine

Argentinian magazine Catalogue sent Design Scene a preview of their Michael Jackson Tribute pictorial coming from their September issue (photographed by Natasha Ygel and Jimena Nahon.) I thought these images, especially the cover image, were very well shot.

Baptiste Giabiconi for Wallpaper magazine

I just think he’s an amazing model.

Here’s Baptiste Giabiconi, photographed by Karl Lagerfeld (obviously), for October’s issue of Wallpaper.

Always willing to push the raunch factor (for the sake of art and fashion naturally), Wallpaper magazine seem to be trying to outdo their Sex Issue, released a couple of months ago (editorial by Nick Knight).