Monday, March 31, 2008
The latest in fun,Harajuku-imbibed contemporary, including the adorable, Tokidoki for Hello, Kitty Boston bag ( the It bag of the season) and watch, Heatherette "There's No Place Like Home" T-shirt and Monsoon dress.
Day and nightime lady-like elegance with touches of Audrey Hepburn and the Baroque.
Dresses by Anna Scholtz. Shoes Christian Louboutin and L.A.M.B. Handbags, Miss Selfridge's and Bottega Veneta. Bracelet, Chanel, Watch, L.A.M.B.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there were fashion magazines for intelligent women who were about more than loosing weight, worshipping celebritutes and ads and they empowered women and provided advocacy and information and propelled the careers of people like Sylvia Plath and Truman Capote.
Some of those mythical magazines were called Vogue, Mirabella and Mademoiselle.
Here is the story of what happened to one of the legendary women that ran both Vogue and Mirabella.
From the annals of history, here is the story of Grace Mirabella, somone in whose footsteps I aspire to follow...And something that proves that what Heidi Brunhilde Valkyrie says in Project Runway is true: "In fashion one day you are in , the next day you are out".... Well... if you let it. And you let backstabbing, strategic ho’s one up you, you can be.
Grace under pressure - Grace Mirabella, former editor of Vogue magazine
Grace Mirabella reigned as editor of Vogue for 17 years, from 1971 to 1988. This selection from her new book, In and Out of Vogue (Doubleday, 1995), recounts her scandalous dismissal from the crown jewel of the Newhouse empire and the subsequent birth and death of her eponymous title under Rupert Murdoch. Mirabella, purchased in March by Hachette Filipacchi, will relaunch this month as a bimonthly. Mirabella will serve as a consultant.
I am not a fashion maven. I never have been and never will be. You’ll never catch me saying things like "Think Pink," and you’ll never see me wearing dark sunglasses during lunch at the "21" Club. I don’t play the fashion game; I don’t lunch, wine-and-dine with the fashion-y crowd, and I’ve never perfected the art of going backstage after a bad fashion show and telling the designer that it was "fabulous." I’m not a Diana Vreeland, or a Carrie Donovan, or an Anna Wintour, playing the movie version of a fashion editor a la Lady in the Dark.
The charge that I am not, somehow, a real fashion person has dogged me throughout the greater portion of my professional life, through my years as editor in chief at Vogue and through my tenure as founder and director of Mirabella. It’s a criticism that I have always claimed as a badge of honor. I don’t like glitz and I don’t like trendy things and I don’t like slapdash and silly fashion games. All of which has, at times, led some very influential people to conclude that I don’t like or appreciate fashion at all.
And that’s a point with which I beg to differ.
To me, fashion has always been a vehicle--a fascinating, sometimes magnificent vehicle--for helping women enjoy and delight in their lives. Fashion to me isn’t, and never has been, an end in and of itself You’ll never find me getting excited about shoulder pads or caring deeply, one way or the other, if hemlines go up or down. And you won’t find a magazine that bears my name going on about it either.
Magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue took a real beating on the newsstand in the late 1960s and early 1970s because women weren’t interested in reading about or buying clothes that served no purpose in their changing lives. That moment of women turning their backs on the old rules of fashion was my moment. I was selected as editor in chief to bring Vogue in step with that change, to make the magazine appeal to the free, working, "liberated" woman of the seventies. We showed her clothing that moved, that breathed, wonderful, handsome clothes from Bill Blass that swaggered, and the Saint Laurent pants suits and Emanuel Ungaro shawls. We beefed up the magazine with text, with interviews and arts coverage and serious health pieces because we knew we were publishing for a new kind of woman, and we didn’t want her to think that we couldn’t keep up with her. And when that woman fell out of favor in the 1980s, in a fashion moment captured all too perfectly in the pouf skirts of Christian Lacroix and his imitators, I fell out of fashion too.
On June 28, 1988, my husband, Dr. William Cahan, was home from a day of surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering when the telephone rang. It was Marie Fauth, a dose friend for almost three decades. "Bill," she said, "Turn on Channel 4. Liz Smith is saying something about Grace."
Bill raced over to the TV, tuning in to "Live at Five" just in time to hear a pained and uncomfortable-looking Liz Smith (who, after all, is a dear friend of ours) announce that I was to be replaced as editor in chief of Vogue by HG editor Anna Wintour.
Her full comments, I later saw, had been this:
"Ever since Anna Wintour, the editor of British Vogue, was brought to New York by Conde Nast to take over the remake of their House and Garden there have been rumors that Miss Wintour would become the editor of American Vogue, replacing the veteran Grace Mirabella. Well, now the hot publishing story is that this probably will happen on September 1. Don’t ask me why Conde Nast would want to replace Grace Mirabella. Vogue is one of the healthiest, heftiest magazines in the Conde Nast chain. You know, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but they’re going to anyway."
Not broke! Vogue had never been stronger. Its circulation, which stood at 400,000 when I took over in 1971, was now holding strong at an unrivaled 1.2 million; our advertising revenues were $79.5 million; our nearest competitor’s, Elle’s, were just $39 million. In the course of my 17 years as editor, we had revolutionized the magazine’s tone and contents. What was once a magazine for society had become a magazine for all women who wanted a little style in their lives. We’d brought Vogue into the real world. And 1.2 million women wanted to keep us there.
There had to have been some mistake.
Bill picked up the phone and called me. "Grace, this is ludicrous," he said. "What’s it all about?"
"I have no idea," I said. I promised to call him back.
I sat at my desk thinking for a moment, and then headed upstairs to the office of Alexander Liberman, editorial director for all the Conde Nast publications, and Si Newhouse’s alter ego. Alex was my direct boss at Vogue; he had the final word on content and layouts, hirings and firings and article assignments, and he had a wonderful creative vision that had become indispensable to me over the years. He was also a dear friend. Alex had been a mentor to me in the years before I’d become editor in chief at Vogue. He’d groomed me for the job and kept me on my toes once I was in it. He also, I realized, had been issuing veiled warnings about my handling of fashion and Si Newhouse for the past few years. But now the veil had fallen, could he really be so brutal?
I found Alex seated at his desk. Uncharacteristically, he appeared to be doing next to nothing. He seemed simply to be waiting.
"Grace, I’m afraid it’s true," he said in his great, melodious voice that spoke of czarist Russia, English boarding school, and Cole Porter’s New York.
"I’m sorry, Grace. I’m simply too old."
"What’s that supposed to mean?" I said.
"Don’t talk to me. It wasn’t my idea. I had nothing to do with it. Talk to Si."
Leaving his office, riding numbly back down the elevator to my own floor, I was reminded of a line that Diana Vreeland, after her own rather brutal firing from Vogue, had passed off to Liz Smith: "I have known White Russians; I have known Red Russians. I have never known a yellow Russian."
Of all her bon mots, this was undoubtedly the best. Better than "Pink is the navy blue of India," anyway.
I had a moment of self-doubt. Should I have been more like Vreeland, after all? Should I have let myself think like Vogue’s new editor, the British import and reputed ice queen, Anna Wintour? That would have been impossible. Perhaps I, too, was just too old. Perhaps they’d just decided to put me out to pasture, at age 59. It would not have been the first time that such a thing had happened at Vogue. I’d only become editor after Vreeland was summarily fired. She hadn’t even seen it coming--one day, the men upstairs just called her in and told her that "it wasn’t working out." I, at least, had known there’d been rumors for the better part of a year about Anna Wintour’s taking over. But there are always so many rumors in the magazine industry. I had believed what I wanted to believe.
Before leaving Alex’s office, I had told him, "You’re going to regret this. Not because you fired me, but because of how you did it." And, sure enough, when I got back to my office, the phone was ringing. It kept ringing for months. Newspapers, magazines, television stations. Book offers. Scores and scores of friends and supporters.
Was I shocked? Was I broken? Was I furious? Would I sue?
None of the above.
My story caught the imagination of the press, which ran with it for weeks. In the magazine community it inspired a mass outbreak of schadenfreud. There were hopes of fireworks, of recriminations, of confirmation of the rumor that Anna Wintour had been having an affair with Si Newhouse, and had slept her way to the top, after all.
I allowed for no such thing. Instead, I simply told The New York Times, "For a magazine devoted to style, this was not a very stylish way of telling me." The quote caught on like wildfire. It was cited as an example of my "grace under pressure." And I felt that I’d had the last word.
Throughout the late 1980s I was told, time and again, in vague and not-so-vague and charming and not-so-charming terms, to make Vogue more like Elle, and I couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. And that, more than any other reason, I believe, is why I was fired.
The firing turned out to be the best thing that ever happened in my life. The outpouring of support I received afterward, support not just from friends but from strangers, proved to me that despite all the flak I’d been getting from the big boys at Vogue, women still stood behind me. For years, in arguments with Alex, I’d felt like I was toiling in a wilderness, alone in my vision but for the few loyal editors I’d assembled dose to me during my years at the top. I’d been told I was out of style, out of date, out of touch with not only the youth of America (not that Vogue, even in its youth-worshipping days under Vreeland, ever was a magazine for the young), but with the women of America in general. And now I saw, for the first time, how many women truly shared my vision. Their letters and phone calls and comments on the street brought that home to me in a way that our readership numbers had never been able to make real.
About two days after it was in the press that I had been removed from Vogue, Ed Kosner, then editor of New York, called me and said that Rupert Murdoch wanted to have lunch with me.
"Do I want to have lunch with Rupert Murdoch?" I thought. In my mind, he was a tabloids man. (That’s how much I knew!) I couldn’t imagine what he or I could have to offer each other. But then, I thought, what did I have to lose? I told Ed that I would love to meet Mr. Murdoch.
We had lunch at the Cote Basque, a wonderful French restaurant in midtown Manhattan. As we made small talk under the dining room’s murals of southern France, Rupert surprised me suddenly with a question: "Do you think there’s a woman without a magazine? A woman who’s been left out by other magazines?"
And I, warming immediately to the topic, said yes.
Who is she? he asked.
She’s a very smart woman, I said, who isn’t necessarily 23 anymore, and doesn’t want to be. She’s in her mid-thirties, or maybe even older. She’s a woman who’s too smart to be spoken to the way most women’s magazines today do. She’s a woman who’s sick of being talked down to and has stopped buying women’s magazines because of it. And I, I said, am tired of ignoring her.
Rupert listened intently and said that he agreed. Then we passed on to other subjects and finished our lunch. And as we were preparing to say good-bye and leaving the restaurant, he said to me, in what I came to realize later was his typical way of saying a thousand large things in one small sentence, "Let me go over the figures."
A few months later I had a magazine. Murdoch put up the money. I found the talent. The women were ready and waiting. I thought the rest would be easy. Although Murdoch had, early on, sent me the message: "Tell Grace that she doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel," I really thought that with enough hard work and enough passion and commitment, we could revolutionize fashion magazine publishing overnight.
It wasn’t so easy, after all. There were great triumphs--particularly, I felt, in the way we were able to position Mirabella as the premier women’s health advocate in the magazine community. There were formidable challenges, too, ones that the "new" Mirabella still has to face. Yet with the sensibility of [Elle editorial director] Amy Gross and the publishing strength of Hachette Filipacchi and the changed woman reader, ready and waiting, an intelligent magazine can make a niche for itself--without focusing primarily on fashion; but, rather, fitting fashion into a thoughtful woman’s world.
It’s a never-ending drama, this business, with its ins and outs, its flavors of the month, of the day, of the hour. As T.S. Eliot wrote in his poem "Four Quartets": "To make an end is to make a beginning./The end is where we start from." The story continues. The ending is not yet written.
COPYRIGHT 1995 Copyright by Media Central Inc., A PRIMEDIA Company. All rights reserved.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group
That is a bizarre title and most people would never expect to see the name of those publications toghether in a list.
But in my head the similarities are incredible, because I am submerged and inbibed in both worlds. And I am one of the most knowlegeable people in the field of publication ethics, like, in the whole bloody planet. Yes, this girl is all that. And I have seen with my own two eyes and felt in my own skin, the damage that unethical dispersion of information and propagating lies does to people and the world. I have seen a fallacious study for a drug move from the bench to the clinical study, to the reps and physicians and end up as a prescription for a bad, contraindicated drug that will be harmful in the hands of one of my relatives. And I only have myself and my colleagues to blame. There no longer are checks and balances and there are no gatekeepers or fair arbiters. And if you put your faith in the FDA, may God keep your soul and protect you, because they too derive most of their revenue from the industry they regulate.
All of these publications have large circulations and high impact. They were the leaders and authorities in the fields of fashion and clinical science/medicine.
And then, greed moved in and made itself at home.
And greed brings along its twin brother, complete and utter lack of ethics and objectivity. His nickname is corruption.
I have been writing a lot about Anna Wintour and her reign of terror at Vogue.
But the exact same thing can be said about the editors of Elle, JAMA, and NEJM ( and really 90% of medical journals), particularly since Marcia Angell and Jerome Kassirer were ousted.
Probably the biggest problem that plagues all these publications is the issue of conflict of interest. How on earth can you be truthful and honest and objective when your revenue depends and is completely derived from the same folks whose studies, products , clothes or cosmetics you are evaluating and providing an opinion on?
The answer is you cannot.
It gets even worst when the people who evaluate the stuff and the people who write the stuff are constantly receiving perks from the companies whose products they are evaluating.
And that is 100% accurate of BOTH the medical/pharmaceutical world and the fashion industry and the editorial outlets and people involved in both. Believe me, I KNOW.
For example, how are you going to say that let’s see, Betsy Johnson’s collection was hideous and the quality of her costume jewelry is subpar, when Betsy is putting a 100, 000 $ add in your mag?
Or why would you refuse to publish an ill-conceived and poorly conducted study exaggerating the benefits of a drug or the incidence and importance of a disease or downplaying serious side effects, if the pharma company sponsoring the study is a big source of your revenue?
And this is almost the case ubiquitously for all of these formerly prestigious publications.
But the world is changing fast.
Up until the turn of the millenium we relied on the publications for our information.
The internet changed everything.
Now the information is peer to peer and we all communicate with each other.
People, normal, regular everyday people like you and I have a previously unknown amount of power.
And information and the validity of a brand , product, concept, whatever, has to withstand the scrutiny of ALL of US.
Companies know that peer-to-peer blogging can KILL brands.
Or create overnight brand loyalty and sensations.
But what some expert or celebritute or mag says is evaluated and chewed and shared by all of us with a presence in the internet. Shoot ,social networks like myspace and personnal blogs have even created their own vintage of celebrities like Perez Hilton, Tila Tequila, and Jeffrey Starr. I bet you had never thought that in your life you would read Tila Tequila and JAMA in the same piece of writing...LOL
And this leads to the issue of authenticity and veracity. The only way a brand, product or concept can withstand this level of scrutiny is if it holds true value.
Like the saying goes, you can fool some people some of the time. But you cannot fool all people all of time, no matter who you are.
We don’t buy it anymore because we all talk to each other and we say the truth and we are not scared of anything and we think independently.
We don’t buy dogma. At least the smart ones of us don’t.
So, if someone putting out something wants that something to be successful, the rules of thumb are simple. Put out good stuff. Stuff that is effective, innovative and safe. Stuff that addresses existing problems and that provides unique solutions. Diffuse and promote veracious and authentic information and do not patronize or antagonize your target audience.
Uphold the highest standard of ethics. And give us your best possible effort.
And golly, we will cheer you on as if we were the Laker girls.
But please spare us the bullshit. We are onto you. All of you.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
This column is entitled "Chemical Romance" and it will be a weekly dating and relationship column from the perspective of that elusive species, the intelligent, educated, non-entitled, straight male.
My adored friend AD is an accomplished and WICKED cool chemist currently residing in the Arizona desert... And who knows more about chemistry between people than a chemist? :-)
Yes, here at Fashion Sanity, we aim to fill the void left by great mags like Mirabella and Mademoiselle as a fashion rag for the Thinking Woman...
Without further due , here is the first installment of "Chemical Romance" by AD entitled:
Organic chemistry and relationships II
A set of events led me to this topic that ranged from teaching organic chemistry laboratory, dating two people in a row who had boyfriends and reflections from an analogy I made with someone about TARZAN.
Yes, organic chemistry and tarzan! I let my mind run all over the place, sometimes it comes back..
The premise is the two ways a substitution reaction can be performed in organic chemistry and its appropriate model for dating. The two reactions that each student faces in the first third of organic chemistry are the substitution reactions.
The first reaction is called an SN1, let's forget about the electrophilic stuff for now, and is the model for a real SINGLE person. One is dating someone, you become single for a variety of reasons, and you have an 'open site'. Reactive, in the moment, the world is your oyster. You can do what you want, when you want with whom you will spend your precious time. No apologies, no questions. done.
The stability of this state can be modeled as a development of self. If you are shallow, weak, vain.. I think you get where I am going.. you are most modeled as a primary carbo-cation. This state is highly reactive and soiled in opportunism. I mean you do not even see them single. While the person with a higly developed inner self represents the tertiary carbo-cation. Less reactive, a better fit for the situation can be evaluated.
The second reaction scheme is a concerted reaction amongst three things: new guy--woman--orig guy, new woman--man--orig woman, new man--man--orig man and of course new woman--woman--orig woman. It is marked by a transition state where the middle party is 'holding' onto a 'non-optimum' situation with one hand and with the other hand.. fondling or reaching out to another.
This is where Tarzan comes in. Swinging from vine to vine. Never releasing the grip on a vine until another is secure. Never tasting true flight, only the fear of being alone and falling to ground.
In this reaction scheme, the orignial person is a leaving group. If they are a good leaving group, the push from the new person will dislodge them and a new 'bond' will be created. If they are a bad leaving group, like married or co-dependent or rich or.. fill in the blank.., the new person will need to make a substantial effort to remove the lug.
Given this mechanism, the person in the middle is in a weak position, devoid of dignity. If one would like to be single, do it. Waiting for a backside attack to assure that the weakness persists is a terrible price to pay for staying with someone you wished displaced!
Yet, this attitude is rampant. A form of emotional greed.
The travel of the carbocation and the butt-posing-outward , SN2, is not equal. To cooly meet people, shopping if you will, with the old-standby at home is not the same as being open to another person without the reservations of comparison.
If one is unable to create the carbocation, develop the inner self. Allow character to hold you up, not the efforts of a false relationship built on familiarity of dependency and greed for affection. It is then that the effort of life will tax the muscles and make them strong. Strong enough to not reduce to opportunism of the most distasterous sort.
I have been scouting out cool things and here are some of the things I have fallen in love with...
A super cool, hip, affordable and fun jewelry website called girlprops.com (www.girlprops.com).
Here is some of their stuff that I am totally crazy about...
To start with the MOFO necklace
Just for when you need to celebrate how you feel about the current political administration...
The Banana necklace
For those day when you need a fond memory or potassium to keep you going:-)
And for a shot of retro coolness, and particularly because of the Disco ressurgence trend for the fall , I LOVED these super groovy Zodiac Earrings:
I am showing the Taurus in Gold because it’s my sign, but they have all signs in both gold and silver for the bargain price os 6.99 :-)
Anna Scholtz Pinstripe pleated skirt...
I do not know if this skirt is available in the US but I found it at the mega- rocking UK-based site sosienna (www.sosienna.com).
It’s the skirt in my "What we want" Polyvore set and it looks like McQueen :-)
This the the kind of stuff I look for in plus...it’s available up to a size UK 28 which is like a US 22.
I am also loving the new Strawberry Milkshake Whoppers
They are fun and delicious and they put a smile on my face.
I am also crazy in love with my UGG Cardi boots
They are comfy and warm and fabulous. I got mine in the denim exact match colour that goes with all of my denim.
And you can wear them scrunched or tall and they stretch for those of us with Clysdale calves :-)
I am highly coveting ( but cannot afford right now) the ADORABLE Tokidoki for Hello Kitty line ... It is beautiful... I have a birthday coming up but none of my relatives are hip enough ( or profligate enough) to get it for me...
Also I am cookie flippy over the markers we use for sketching for my class... Prismacolor Premier. They are awesome... You can do TONS of cool effects with these...
I am also totally digging Tom Tierney’s Fashion History Paper Dolls as a cool point of reference ...
Great stuff , eh?
One of my favourite designer labels and designers ,House of Holland by Henry Holland, and one of my favourite plus size icons, the fierce Ms. Beth "Force of Nature" Ditto, might be collaborating and joining forces on a fashion line.
I have LOVED everything I have seen coming out of Henry Holland’s hilarious and subversive mind, and I have been championing his cause for a couple of years. I own his sold-out fashion in-joke "Do Me Daily Christopher Bailey" T -shirt and it is one of my most prized pieces.
He also recently appeared presenting a challenge based on vintage clothing and as a judge on the UK-Project Runway franchise, Project Catwalk.
Henry’s latest collection during London Fashion Week was as expected full of punk rock-fierce, tartan-lovely clothes and some sweet, sweet pieces embossed with the House of Holland crest that would be amazing on any on us curvy girls. I specially loved this t-shirt dress that totally reminds me of a Camp Beverly Hills one I got at Saks in Beverly Hills, that I used to rock as a too -ironic statement as a goth fine arts freak at TCU. This one, I am getting as soon as I can get my grubby little hands on and I have my baby sis in London ready to pounce on it for me...
Well, turns out the fabulous, flawless, and fierce Ms. Ditto, who turned down collaborations with famed UK high street forces TopShop, who has done ranges with celebrity designers including Kate Moss, and New Look who did ranges with both Giles Deacon and Lilly Allen because they refused to make clothes for plus size women, might be collaborating on a line with Henry Holland and knowing Beth, obviously this line would include larger sizes ..HURRAY!
Recently Holland said that:
"In terms of collaborating, I absolutely love Beth Ditto," Henry revealed at the Fash Bash party he hosted at Mo*vida.
Beth, 27, is a self-proclaimed "fat, feminist lesbian" but is also a style icon. the Ditto Diffusion range will undoubtedly include spectacularly short dresses, plenty of spandex and flashing flesh.
Beth was also seen wearing Holland’s infamous and iconic catsuit at a party in London...
Absolutely righteous, fabulous and affirming!
I cannot wait to see and buy every piece of this history-making collection and I think it’s an idea whose time as come.
This is EXACTLY the kind of plus size fashion that is needed in the market.
Fashion that makes NO APOLOGIES.
Vive Beth and Vive La Revolution!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I just found two awesome, awesome articles and I needed to repost...
I am giving full credit to the original writers...
Is Anna Wintour Satan?
There is reason enough to suspect that US Vogue editor Anna Wintour is in fact the cloven-footed demon known as Satan. For one thing, those sunglasses are very likely hiding glowing red eyeballs. For another, Wintour’s destructive powers are so immense as to raise a strong suspicion of supernatural origins.
After a long spell of editorial mayhem and bloodletting in the United Kingdom (where she was dubbed "Nuclear Wintour" by a perceptive press), our subject descended on the States in 1987, and proceeded to lay waste to House & Garden. Where once this venerable magazine published breathtaking pictorials of the Villa Medici as restored by Balthus, Wintour installed a small, second-rate celebrity merchandising hell; an adjunct, apparently, to her larger property below ground. In a devastating maneuver, Wintour even trashed House & Garden’s dignified black-and-white cover logo, replacing it with the inane initials, "HG", widely supposed to stand for "How Gauche." Despite a return to its original name, House & Garden has never recovered.
But that was just an appetizer, compared to the putative archfiend’s next move. Landing somehow (cf. Rosemary’s Baby??) in the driver’s seat of America’s leading women’s magazine, Wintour has proceeded to demolish not only Vogue but with it the whole American fashion world, with colossal force, and for over a decade. Women who were permitted, during the heady days of Carmel Snow and of Mrs. Vreeland, to live in a wonderful fantasy world of beauty and delight every month, have been exiled to a wasteland populated by drab, desiccated, amenorrheic teenagers, wearing rags that would look unnaturally bleak on the set of Blade Runner. Gaiety is gone; humor is gone; warmth is gone; pleasure is gone; style is gone. In their place are greed, insolence, starvation, envy and malice; in short, Satanic stuff.
Let’s start with the deadly sin of greed, for money clearly means a lot to la Wintour; Vogue mentions large sums with precision, and whenever possible. In an article about rich women’s cast-off designer stuff, Vogue breathlessly lauded one of the dumbest women in the world, future Darwin Awards candidate Maria Williams. (Though the Australian Williams has yet to be bumped off and tossed in a Hefty bag, anyone who announces in a publication with a circulation of over one million that she routinely carries around $100,000 in specie can’t have much time left.) "Cash speaks all languages, love", Williams gushed--um, wittily, in her Vogue interview.
In vain does a desperate readership pen what must be a perpetual avalanche of enraged Letters to the Editor. Take the four or five published letters, each roundly condemning hair colorist Brad Johns. "Will someone hand Brad Johns a reality sandwich?" demanded one incensed punter, "incredibly offended" at Johns’s suggestion that patrons tip him "A nice, crisp $100 or $500 bill, presented to us elegantly, with a note." [Is there such a thing as a $500 bill? Ed.] It’s a comfort to know that the fastidious Johns would reject any such gift without the "elegant presentation"; somewhere, at least, the highest standards are still being upheld. And how about those dreadful, rumpled $100s? Those go in the yucky wastebasket, with all the hair clippings!! "I am so disgusted by the egotistical attitude of colorist Brad Johns," fumes another--and another, and another, no doubt. And even more women write to protest against the Wintour notion of a "curvaceous" body--that would evidently be about a 34-24-32. "From what I could see," hissed another reader, regarding yet another famished model, "the curviest part of Gisele is her hair!" Figure it out, girls--in the Vogue lexicon, "curvaceous" is simply another way of saying, "surgically enhanced breasts on heavily airbrushed victim of eating disorder."
On to Puff Daddy, who was invited by Vogue on his first visit to the Paris collections. Old Scratch (possibly) professed herself touched by Puffy’s naïve enjoyment of the runways: "[...] such unabashed delight made the rest of us feel a bit jaded," she writes. "We all need to have our enthusiasm renewed from time to time… Puff Daddy helped rekindle our passion." Such is the delightful innocence of Puffy! Doubtless his 45 pairs of shoes, 26 hats, eighteen trunks of clothes, a whole hotel room reserved just as a closet, two stylists, what Vogue calls "a hair person"--shades of the Blair Witch!--a case of platinum and diamonds, four bodyguards, two publicists, record managers, etc. etc. also found favor with the no-longer-so-jaded editor.
(Can there, one wonders, already have been a secret transaction between these two?? Is Puff Daddy, in fact, the Adrian Leverkuhn of our times? "Rap culture today is shameless," Puffy admitted in Vogue, with what must surely have been a million-dollar smile. "You want a Bentley because it’s hot. It’s also $300,000, and a Rolls is only $100,000." Later, in this same article: "Bentleys have a special place in Puffy’s heart: he owns two.")
Perhaps this obsession with wealth should be forgiven in a publication devoted to the high-ticket consumer? And magazines are surely put on this earth to sell products, some will say. What matters most is that, with all its clout, Vogue can at least present to us the latest style--however bonily? Well... no. Vogue is in fact amazingly, almost bizarrely, square. Why?? Because wealth, in and of itself, is not cool; because obsessing over your body until you can’t eat so much as a string bean in peace, is not cool; because always wearing sunglasses makes one think of that unutterably lame sunglasses-at-night song, which then gets stuck in your head, and that is miserably uncool; and finally, because Vogue is virtually web-illiterate--and nothing, but nothing, is less cool than that.
But wait! Vogue, responsibly trend-forward publication that it is, did finally manage to launch a reasonably good-looking web site, as early as October of 1999--this Internet is going to be a big thing, after all!--at Vogue.com. "Log on", Wintour writes vaguely, with an airy wave.
Especially because she has failed to increase Vogue’s circulation since her editorship began, someday--maybe sooner than we think--this nightmare will be over, Anna Wintour can, perhaps, retire to her subterranean abode, and someone articulate and elegant and fun, someone with intelligence, and generosity, and a healthy appetite, will have that influential job. Then Vogue will once again be the thrilling, beautiful magazine everyone wants to read. That will be a great thing for the women of America and the world, and I, for one, can’t wait. Meanwhile, we must all maintain a stiff upper lip, and continue to endure ’the banality of evil’.
So, anyway… is Anna Wintour Satan??
(Oh, of course not. Satan is much smarter than Anna Wintour.)
I received the January ’06 issue of US Vogue today, and I must say I am incredibly disappointed! The January issue is traditionally a slim volume, but this one is so skinny, it’s more like US Weekly than Vogue.
Sienna Miller is on the cover and looks, of course, gorgeous. I must admit that the interview and the photo spread are also lovely. However, the only other worthwhile item in the magazine is a breathtakingly original Dior coat on p. 96 - a beautiful nude distressed-edge twill with a black lace bustier overlay (Annie, are you listening?).
The rest of the pages are full of the socialite-worshipping, ridiculous crap with which Anna has notoriously polluted the magazine, especially in recent years. I am so very tired of looking at pictures of Anh Duong and Sloan Lindemann, and reading vapid interviews with Lauren du Pont.
In an even more heinous crime, Vogue names Kirsten Dunst one of the best dressed lasses of 2005. Yes, the same Kirsten Dunst who has yet to be introduced to those marvelous inventions, the brassiere and the hairbrush. She is featured in the magazine wearing a Christian Lacroix frock that looks like a bag with a ribbon wrapped around it twice. This is unforgivable. (If you don’t believe me about La Dunst, head over to Go Fug Yourself and see the photos of her in hideous getups throughout the year). Incidentally, I have met Kirsten Dunst and can personally say that she is undeserving of a Best Dressed honor.
We also have Selma Blair on the best dressed list, sporting a horrifying reinvention of Dorothy’s gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz. Unfortunately, this monstrosity comes to us from Marc Jacobs. I intend to forgive him for this.
The last bastion of sanity and enjoyment in Vogue, Jeffrey Steingarten’s column about food, is missing from the January issue. And even the ad pages are boring and unspiring, the exception being a Roberto Cavalli ad with Kate Moss.
I am beginning to believe that Maria Bustillos is on to something with her theories about Anna Wintour.
Friday, March 28, 2008
I wrote this the other day...
"God the American Idol STYLISTS SUCK like a an 18-year old after he just came out of the closet and goes on Spring Break to Fire Island...
That t-shirt on David Cook REEKS of bad imitation "Affliction " or "Morphine Generation" from like Dave and Barry’s and that scarf-look is so tired that even the Gap retired it.
And the outfit on Michael Johns looks SO generic "grungy rocker" costum-ey that even grungy rockers in Seattle would say " like dude go get some Dolce and Gabanna or Brooks Brothers or something..". ( by the way, that is what I sound like, like. When I was preparing for an interview at Oxford University, people had to coach me so I would not say "like" as an interjection). And the thing is my surfer-dude speech is completely infective and then everyone around me just starts speaking like that.
But yeah, the stylists of Americal Idol must be straight men or something. They completely do a horrible job and have no talent whatsoever.
I remember them putting Bo Bice in a bloody Walmart dashiki that looked like a cheap, hippy Halloween Costume and Carrie Underwood in tragic after tragic outfit.
Yesterday, Kimberly Locke was on the show extolling and pimping her weight loss. How about we don’t care lady? Loosing weight is like getting female circumcision or taking a poop after eating Activia. Just a bodily function. Nothing to celebrate or publicize. So if you MUST do it, keep it to yourself. Because we don’t care, and for a lot of us it is an eating disorder trigger.
Anyways, As happens with most women who loose weight, they completely loose perspective. She was wearing this strapless dress that was SO tight it gave her a Starbucks super-sized muffin top cleavage that bordered on the Operatic. Not attractive. Just frightening.
So American Idol people: Please , America has spoken. HIRE ME. I get emails saying I need to dress the contestants ALL the time".
I still think that the American Idol stylists SUCK and that they are sartorial hacks, but I was blaming that dress on the wrong people.
So you can get a visual, here are pictures of the dress that were posted by my adored, sweet angels of Project Rungay:
I have to first disclaim that I almost promised someone I care for deeply that I was going to be nice to Christian Siriano. I am being nice to him.
I am saying the truth about his dress. I have to do that because otherwise I would loose all credibility and impartiality and objectivity as a fashion writer and I am not going begin to go there, because that was what was forced on me as a medical writer. If my opinion was not fair and objective, then how much would it be worth? On the other hand, your best friend is the one who cares enough about you to tell you the truth. Not the one who flatters you out of self-interest. I am not going to turn into Anna Wintour or Nina Garcia and pimp stuff I don’t believe in, because of potential returns. I did not compromise my integrity for pharma/biotech companies with a billion times the power, money, pull and the ability to put a hit on me, and I am certainly not going to do it as a fashion writer/editor.
Yes, you read it. This dress was designed and made by the newly crowned winner of Project Runway, Christian Siriano.
I am not going to mention the size of Kim or or of the dress because seriously, that is irrelevant.
I am FED the hell up with dress sizes and judging people according to them.
That is why when my line comes out it will have NO numerical sizes that you can compare to on an up or down scale, just names or colours or something.
Now her bra cup I will discuss. Because I could not talk about the fit of the dress without mentionning it.
Kim Locke right there on the picture, is well-endowed. I am educatedly estimating in the neighbourhood of my own DD bristols.
Yet the dress was constructed with a B cup in mind.
And that is a HUGE problem. When you are designing or sewing for a woman with a body, versus a hanger with bradycardia ( aka your average "skinny chick" fashion model) it is a billion times harder and it requires 10 times the knowledge and skill. Pattern making and alteration for skinny chicks are a breeze compared to doing so for those of us with sharp, sinous curves and beautiful, generous breasts. Shoshanna Lowenstein has built an entire brand on the concept, and people like Kayne Gillaspie ( another PR former contestant who specilizes in pageant wear), Chris March (costumers are GENIUS at this because of period costumes and corsetting) and Jean Paul Gaultier know this incredibly well. Corsetting and contruction for body shaping is an art on its own. There are people like Mr. Pearl in Paris who makes Ditta Von Teese’s corsets, who build careers on just that. One of my favourite classmates is someone who actually specializes in period costumes ( particularly Renaissance, Baroque and so on) and corsetting and we were taking about fitting corsets on sharply curved women the other day, because I am thinking of having her make me one in a Wedgewood blue brocade. She was saying that even on that I am a hard fit, because I am such a severe hourglass shape and pretty much my best choice was a Civil War Era corset. She was also saying that when your body is constricted in a corset the bits and bumps have to be shifted somewhere, and that somewhere can only be up or down. So a corset-style bodice, in order to work, has to be immaculately constructed to start with and the skirt attached to it has be well-engineered because an additional "belly" is going to be pushed down and the cleavage is going to be pushed up.
When pattern altering and sewing for a curvy body , the curves on the pattern pieces are sometimes ridiculous and sewing them, particularly in expensive fabrics, is like dissarming a time bomb. Want something impossible? Try sewing a bust pattern piece that is almost circular into another straight piece IN SILK. THAT is harder that finding and cutting out a rat’s thalamus before it thaws. Believe me, I know.
To alter a pattern piece for a tailored jacket, my sewing teacher who is in expert seamstress and alters wedding gowns for a living, had to do as many calculations as if she was designing a freaking nuclear semi-conductor. And to get the pieces to lay right when the garment was sewn, I think I had to undo those stitches , no exaggeration, 25 times and she had to end up doing it, because it was so bloody impossible. I am GRATEFUL the fashion fabric was a forgiving tweed.
But that dress on Kim Locke is dismally fitted. I do not know if that is his fault for not knowing how to construct for larger breasts, or because of time constraints, or HER fault for wanting to squeeze herself into an "X" size gown so she could say that she is an "X" size.
NOTHING is LESS flattering that a poorly fitting garment. And nothing is MORE flattering than a properly fitted and tailored one. And SCREW the concept of sizes. I want something that does my beautiful body justice, and I don’t care if the tag says 2 or 52. And I have things in my closet with both. A Torrid 2 and an Italian 52. And I DON’T CARE. Neither makes me any different as a person. I am gorgeous and perfect regardless. Shoot, I am even better nude .
And that dress makes her look like an amateur, non-SCA approved , Renfair serving wench. Her breasts look like the top of oversized Famous Amos double chocolate-chip muffins ( those are pretty yummy , though).
Now, there are finite and simple BASIC rules of design. We all agree on that, right?
Rules like, let’s say, mhh horizontal lines WIDEN the body part on which you are putting them and so does added volume?
Than WHY, OH , WHY would you do BOTH on someone’s, ANYONE’S WIDEST part? Yes, that dropped waist, that "quasi- oblique" sash and not one, but two Ciderella dress-style chiffon over skirts that call attention, the wrong type of attention, to her HIPS. Not good. Very bad indeed.
And then the completely gratuitous and weird piece of chiffon that comes out of the bustline and looks like a Miss South Carolina pageant sash and the wraps around to tie the sash, why? What the hell was that?
That dress, on that person, was borderline unforgiveably terrible.
And that has nothing to do with the size of the wearer. And it has EVERYTHING to do with the skill of the designer and the dressmaker.
Despite all that, the dress in being auctioned off for a very good cause, Camp Heartland, a national camping and care program for children impacted by HIV/AIDS, so I hope it does sell and it sells for good money to a woman with a B cup and no hips. I am proud of both Christian and Kim Locke for donating the proceeds to a worthy charity.
Here is a bit about the legendary Mr. Pearl so you can learn a bit more about the art of corseterie....
“The gentleman who has the pleasure of tying the final bow owns you.”
- Mr. Pearl, interview
What strikes me about fetish legend/corsetier Mr. Pearl’s images is how much he looks like a true English gentleman - and how, magically, his 18-inch corseted waist works to enhance that image, the opposite of what one might expect it to do.
Mr. Pearl grew up in South Africa and moved to London at the earliest chance after completing his military service. He spent three years in New York in the early 90s, where he did his most intimate published interview, of which there are few. Already a renowned tightlacer by this time, Pearl treated corsetry with such reverence that he insisted on precision in every aspect of his involvement with it; when his New York interviewer described him as a corsetier, he interrupted. “Forgive me,” he said. “I am a designer who employs the corset and lacings into his designs. I am not a corsetier - I have not attained that specialized knowledge. There are only about five left in the whole world now, who possess that art. I hope one day to be amongst them.”
Fast-forward to the 2000s: Mr. Pearl is a successful corsetier, commissioned by Mugler, Lacroix, Galliano and Gaultier when they need a master to produce their corset designs for the runway. Clients include Dita, Kylie Minogue and Jerry Hall. He lives in Paris, and works out an atelier behind the Notre Dame.
Despite his success, Pearl doesn’t have a flashy website. There’s no web store to offer plastic-boned corsets that bear only his name, no MySpace page and no blog. He’s known for his aversion to modern technology, and his only web interview was handwritten and transmitted by fax.
“Activities like Pearl’s involve a transfiguration of the self, a metaphysical transaction between self and other in which flesh is deformed to be perfected, as a saint is perfected in martyrdom. Talking to Pearl, I felt myself in the presence of something sacred.” - Journalist Deborah Drier, ArtForum
Pearl by Ali Mahdavi, 1999
In interviews, Peral makes it clear that he feels today’s obsession with hyper-convenience has detracted from our appreciation of the sublime, which to him corsetry embodies. “Corsetry has been the foundation of all women’s clothing over the ages,” he tells the Independant. “It’s important that people should not forget this, elegance requires a foundation. Couture requires it too. People don’t sympathize with that today: the notion of comfort is stretched to one layer of easy care. These days people are more fascinated by the complications of a voicemail on their mobile phones than unseen sophistications.” The theme is also present in his NYC Verbal Abuse interview, in which he dolefully remarks that “both gentlemen and ladies in this modern age have lost the sensibility to appreciate that [the possession that comes with lacing up one another]. The only thing he might lace is his sneaker. “
Pearl & Sophie Dahl in Pearl-designed corset dress for Gaultier
Another interesting thing about researching Mr. Pearl’s history is the kinds of questions he was asked by the fetish press. They were not your typical “what’s your biggest turn-0n?” lines of inquiry. With the Pearl interviews, you get some really interesting questions that I’ve never seen, such as the following gem:
Verbal Abuse: It has been my observation that many sadomasochists have mathematical ability - especially the more sadistically inclined. I see corsetry as a fetish for number and for measurement. Are you mathematically adept? What are some of your magic numbers?
Pearl: I of course studied mathematics in school and I cannot say that I was at all good at it. In my work too I must work with numbers, specialized measurings … Of course the waist-size magic-number is eighteen. Any number below eighteen becomes extremely potent - yes I would say magical. The smallest I have known is thirteen, so the numbers between 13 and 18 are very potent, each denoting some ultimate point. The number 26 is for me a special figure - but it is not related to a thing physical, but to a time, an age, a special date.
Was it something that happened when Pearl was 26? That’s anyone’s guess. Perhaps this was the age he left South Africa. We know that he started tightlacing at age 30, after seeing a photograph of Fakir Musafar (most likely it was this photo, which did a number on me when I first saw it too).
Disciplined, elusive and talented, Mr. Pearl continues to mystify and inspire. There are very few photos of him, but I hope he continues to wear corsets and that new images emerge as time goes by. I would love to do a portrait of him someday.
I wanted to give you guys first dibs because I just happen to rock the bestest friends in the world.
It any of you guys have idea or would like to contribute articles or a weekly/ biweekly/ monthy column, fashion layouts ( polyvores), sketches, photo layouts, or anything else from a progressive, self-affirming, size positive, yet totally fierce and thruthful and revolutionary perspective, BRING IT ON!
You will be fully credited for any and all contributions.
Help me become the ANTI-WINTOUR.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Size acceptance and diversity are extremely important to me and I am doing what I can to try to improve things in that area for other plus size women as a writer, stylist, activist and designer.
Then why, oh, why do I feature and discuss and review "skinny chick" fashion and post photos of skinny models and support designers that do not make clothes for us?
Because I also love fashion. If they don’t know we are interested in REAL fashion, why would they cater to us? Why would they see us as a market if they believe we are perfectly happy with Lane Bryant, Walmart and Torrid as the alpha and omega of our clothing options?
I don’t know about EVERY plus size woman in the country, but I am certainly NOT satisfied with just those options.
They do what they can with their talent and price point. But what they can, is NOT what I want or like most of the time. And the plus ranges available at the very high end stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, are too OLD and BORING too. The best they offer is Marina Rinaldi and Anna Scholtz and Eileen Fisher and those are clothes that are kind of ok if you are an office exec, a suburban mom or MY mom, but I want hip, I want hot and I want the SAME OPTIONS AS THE SKINNY CHICKS!! CAPICE?
So it’s like I have to pick my fights. Either cute or quality. And that is crap because I want everything. I want Diane Von Furstenberg. I want Marc by Marc Jacobs. I want See by Chloe and I want Thomas Wylde. I want Chanel and Lanvin and Rodarte. RIGHT NOW.
The issue with plus size fashion is that it lacks imagination, it lacks design and it lacks AMBITION. Mostly, it is sad and apologetic and temporary. Clothes only meant to do until you loose those pesky pounds.
What if you don’t want to loose the pounds? What is you NEVER loose the pounds? Should you accept to look like a Grandma in Boca or a potato sack or wear second rate design because you believe you don’t deserve the cute clothes the skinny chicks wear? SOD THAT.
I am surely not the only person in the whole big planet who can do something about that. It is like plus size fashion is always lagging 2 years in style and trends behind "skinny chick" fashion. And I am sorry, it’s like I feel split. As an editor, I can offer fashion-fashion or plus-size fashion and I am doing my darndest to build a bridge between both. Since a compromise, stylish, trendy, hip, high-quality, high-design clothes for a younger, hipper market hardly exists, I pimp the living beegeezus of the ones available and then promote the skinny chick clothes that I think would look good on plus size and bridge women, particularly on those with my weird, completely impossible hourglass body type, until I am done with school, show at Fashion Week, and find backing for my line. Whichever happens first and in whichever order to fill the existent gap. I can only juggle so many things at the same time and it is VERY difficult to try to change and save the world all by myself with NO money except the one I funnel away from food, from a little appartment in San Diego. I am doing it, but gosh darn it it is HARD. Even bloody Batman had a sidekick. I have NO ONE. All I have is my brain, my skills and my balls and the love and encouraging words from my friends and some members of my family. I am not complaining because that is a lot. And I am garnering MAJOR respect and MAJOR attention. I want to be a serious fashion editor/writer and a serious designer. Not a sideshow, 15 minutes of fame, flash in the pan. I want to be the plus-size Elsa Schiapparelli or the plus-size Coco Chanel on top of being the plus-size Diana Vreeland. That is why I am taking the risk of chucking a career in science and medicine and an 80k and 15 year investment, to make the world a better, fairer place for all of us.
I LOVE FASHION. Fashion makes me tick. I love beautiful stuff and good design and I want to celebrate that. I want to be able to love and give props to designers who are doing outstanding stuff and making clothes that I love. I want to look at and talk about and promote the stuff I love. But it’s almost like by doing so I am being a hypocrit. The designers that make the gorgeous clothes purposefully ignore and ostracize the people I represent and I am fighting for, MY people. And the designers that make clothes for my people, refuse to go the extra mile and seriously DESIGN and fight a HELL of a lot harder than they are. I seriously don’t want to think that they do not have the talent. I want to have FAITH. And sometimes, they do surprise me. And I am their biggest cheerleader. I just wish they did so consistently.
I want to see plus-size clothing and plus-size models on the same runways in London, New York, Paris and Milan as the "skinny chick" designer and models. I want clothes my size on the same department and racks as the size 0’s and 2’s. I have had enough of the ostracism, segreggation and "punishment". With so many gay men in the fashion industry, why is it that they cannot seem to understand and relate to how WE feel? The same way they do when it comes to achieving equality with straight folk. That’s how.
So my aim, to put in in laymans terms, is to be the "crossover" artist/designer/ writer/ editor of the plus-size world. The one who runs the magazine that ALL women want to buy because the articles rock and make them feel good and are reliable and informative and whose fashion layouts cause massive sellouts at the stores. I want to be the plus-size designer that size two and four girls wish they were bigger to wear and the one that people are on waitlists for months to get one of my pieces. I want to be the one that is 50 years they do restrospectives on at museums and include in the textbooks. I want to be THAT girl.
So that is the explanation as to why I feature and talk about and admire and study non-plus size designers. But hopefully, plus-size designers will soon get the message. I am writing this because I think that other plus-size fashion and size acceptance sites ignore me because I dare thread in the realm of the thin. But my world, like my body is bigger. I refuse to seggregate myself and live only in the safe and accepting realm of the plus-size industry and the the fatosphere.
For me the world is the limit and I want the same beauty and the same visibility and the same opportunities and the same horizons as if I was someone who designed and wrote for skinny chicks.
I have a dream, and I am bloody going after it.
Monday, March 24, 2008
I don’t know WHY I keep buying the bloody sodding mag.
I always fall for the "Shape Issue", just because I keep hoping for a miracle. Why do I have this totally gullible and naive nature that believes in the innate goodness of human kind?
On the cover you see it in big freaking bold print: " Perfect Fit: Dressing for every shape from size 0 to 16".
Bloody sodding Anna Wintour BYATCH!!!! So if you are over a size 16, you don’t have a shape. Or even worst you should not exist. I am at the border of transparency and non-existence because I wear something between a 16 and 18 and yes, sometimes a freaking 20 or even 22 because they keep cutting clothes as if female bodies ressembled SpongeBob Square Pants. MY HIPS ARE ROUND. MY THIGHS ARE THICK. I HAVE A WOMAN’S BODY.
I exist, I am and I thrive and I am not going to have some skinny, fatphobic woman in New York tell me what size I should be or what I should look like. Who died and made her God, and moreover, WHY? She did not even graduate HIGH SCHOOL!!! She cannot sew, or sketch or tailor. Having a good eye for style is not enough qualification to become an arbiter of fashion. If that was the case, I should have been running a magazine by the age of 5. I can do all of those things and, unlike Wintour, I actually have a degree in writing and editing. And when a health feature crosses my path, I also happen to understand the science behind it, and know if it is sound or not. How about them petit fours? And yes, I will put those in my mouth. I am TIRED, TIRED of being constantly told what I can and cannot eat and how much I should exercise by people who have not taken organic chemistry or have not become certified exercise instructors. All of which I have ALSO done. Yes, the UNCONSCIONABLY FAT size 18 beaner has done ALL of those things. And yet SHE is the one running Vogue?
In the "Shape Issue" there is at least 4 features on anorexic ideation about loosing weight, weight loss methods, exercise and the possible reasons ( genetic and otherwise) of why your body might "not be getting with the program". What about the most important one? Like Penelope said in the movie : " I LOVE MYSELF JUST THE WAY I AM!!!!!!".
And YES, that one broke the curse!
I don’t want to loose an ounce or modify my body in any way whatsoever. And refusing to make decent clothes to fit my body and ostracizing me further, is not enough deterrent or incentive to force me to accept my societal undesirability and join in the insanity, because I am smarter and stronger. I LEARNED how to make and design clothes and low and behold, I have TALENT for that too. I am like a gay, fat, fashion-conscious, Leonardo- fucking-Da Vinci. I can do EVERYTHING and really well.Thank you very much!
I am not fat because I have been insufficiently informed that being thin is desirable or have not been stigmatized enough. I am not fat because I emotionally eat and I don’t exercise . I have NEVER, NOT ONCE in my life emotionally eaten. My relationship with food is like an anorexic’s. For me food does not signify or bestow comfort. For me food signifies FEAR. THAT IS WHAT HAS BEEN DONE TO ME BY PEOPLE LIKE ANNA WINTOUR. Yesterday, I was at Denny’s for breakfast and at the supermarket, and I realized that I am always choosing food on the basis of FEAR. Fear of being teased and ostracized and rejected. Fear of pain, because I get sick if I eat too much fat. Fear of being unloved. Fear of not fitting into my clothes. I am TERRIFIED of food. And yet I have to eat and it brings me pleasure. Fucked up, eh? And yet, I am STILL FAT. Why? Because I was BORN to be fat. My father was fat and my brother is fat, and the only way I get thinner, and never sufficiently thin to be within the "ideal" ( which is complete bollocks) parameters, is too sustain anorexic behaviour until my body breaks down. And I am not going to do that FOR ANYONE EVER AGAIN. And there are LOTS of people like me. And we are not going anywhere. We are not a pack of insane whales that are going to beach themselves and die of despondency ( or type2 diabetes or heart disease) no matter how much you want us to.
We want and will live and be accepted just the way we are BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. WE ARE HERE, AND WE ARE LOUD AND PROUD. DEAL WITH IT! We are NOT spending our money on personnal trainers, or Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or Meridia or Xenical or Alli or diet books. We would much rather spend that money on Chanel, and Stilla and MAC and Marc Jacobs and Gap but these people are too stupid to realize that. And we certainly are not going to become lab animals and fuck up our glucose-insulin metabolism by taking diabetes drugs to loose weight. Fuck up your health to be thin, what a great concept! We used to call that an eating disorder in my time. That is why I laugh like a mad hyena when I read about people and their weight loss and "fitness" "goals". Because I don’t have any !!!! And that means FREEDOM and the biggest act of rebellion and insurgency a woman can undertake.It blows people’s mind!!! My goals are to run an important fashion magazine and one day be head designer of a fashion line/brand. Both. Those are real goals.
Have the people in the fashion industry also not realized the disadvantages of extreme thinness, like accelerated premature ageing? On the cover of the same issue of Vogue, you can see a living example of that. Giselle Bundchen is on the cover with Lebrun James. She looks about 43. I lie not. Like a bloody dried up vampire. And she is 28...And she is one of the "curvy" models.
Just imagine what Jaquetta Wheeler or Posh Spice are going to look like at 50...Like the bloody tranny brides of Dracula of course, since they will resort to plastic surgery and collagen in the mouth and Botox.Even women like that are deeply dissatisfied with their appearance. That is SAD. And how come someone like Posh gets to be a fashion icon or an anything icon? Her only claim to fame is she was in a cheesy, campy singing group and fucked a football player and managed to be born thin. So how challenging is that?
And I am seriously NOT JEALOUS. I am really not. I don’t wish for a second to be like those people. It just makes me mad that the doors that I have to make Herculean efforts to open are wide open for them, when their entire merit resides in the fact that they are born thin and they fuck the right people.That is not fair.
What I think is that we have to work on changing as a society and start holding things like intelligence and talent and effort and hard work and persistance and resilience as more valuable than thinness or strategic whoring.
It sounds logical but why am I the only one saying anything about it?
Friday, March 21, 2008
The boys at Project Rungay did a fantastic job of reviewing Project Runway Canada’s winner Evan Biddell’s collection which opened Toronto’s L’Oreal Fashion Week for A/W ’08.
I am personnally partial to PRC 1st runner up’s aesthetic, the exquisite and almost painfully beautiful, Lucian Matis. He has the face of a Renaissance angel and the body of a ballet danseur noble. And he is an INCREDIBLE designer to boot and one of the few people in North America that designs what can be described as couture, if the definition of Haute Couture was not as narrow as it is.
His collection for PRC was beautiful and femenine and had a Romantic and almost Belle Epoque feel to it , full of ethereal florals and crocheed details that were at the same time, sweet and surprising.
For A/W 2008, Lucian Matis’s proposition and inspiration, as seems to be the general trend, were darker and veered towards the Gothic. A little "Sweeney Todd" and a little Katherine Hepburn.
Lucian, showed some absolutely beautiful tailored pieces, and I was particulalry impressed by the drape and cut of his trousers.
He also showed some stunning and decidedly retro coats that were reminiscent of Cinema Noir and my favourite piece was a sheer-shouldered jacket that was not only innovative but truly, inspired.
Without further due, here are the photos from the collection
I ADORED this jumper look...So Helena Bonham Carter.
This piece with the organza and the beading and the fit... Pure genius..
Look at the drape of these pants and the insane beading work...
This was a dark and haunting collection, but it retained Lucian Matis’s signature Romanticism and love of the female form.
I personally can see a definite evolution and maturity in this collection and I look forward to seeing his work continue to dazzle.
Photos by James Ogilvie (http://www.myspace.com/avicdarspace and www. avicdar. com) -Toronto, ON, Canada :-)
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I just finished a new sketch and I documented the whole process.
This one is an assignment for my sketching class and we had certain parameters.
The assignment was to design an original jean that contained leopard print and blace lace as a trim or inset or godet and that had to have a lace top. The jean had to be a flare and in the blue range ( no black, grey etc... denim)
The parameters made the challenge ripe for stripperishness and tikety tack and to come up with stuff that looked like this
or like this...
Sometimes, I seriously put in question the taste level of my teachers...
But ok, a good designer is able to turn out something great even under the worst of circumstances, right? That is the whole premise for Project Runway after all.
So I went to the only other place one could go to for leopard and denim and lace and that was NOT tacky and strippery: Rock and Roll.
And of all rock and roll ladies who is the fiercest? Yes, my inspiration the epitome of flawlessness herself, Ms. Tina Turner.
My inspiration for this sketch was Tina Turner in the 1980’s , The "Private Dancer" period with the SERIOUS hair.
We also had to document our samples. That means that we had to get pictures of the fabrics and trims and use them as references...This are mine
My denim, a classic medium wash
And my leopard print...
Here is the figure with the skin tones , hair , outline of the jeans , ribbed cotton tank top, and leopard details in...
Then I added the shadding and colouring for the jeans and the grain of the fabric...
Then I added the lace, the stitches and her red pattent leather Christian Louboutin shoes... What else could Tina possibly wear with that oufit?
Since Tina is a Buddhist I also added an oversized Ohm pendant, a hammered gold bangle and some large, hoop earrings...
I hope you like it :-)