A Brief Note Of Appreciative Sighing

Fashion photography sometimes looks just a wee bit tired to me, not least because so much of it is just so slick, and trying so hard to sell you absurdities. And even in the middle of all that, my personal favourite pictures end up performing the function of a nice cosy hidey-hole- it doesn't matter if I'm looking at it now or whether it came from five years ago, it's a very gentle reminder that The Season is not paramount, and sometimes it's just amazing to put the image, instead of the clothes, first. Fashion editorials aren't quite supposed to be outright adverts, after all- something mainstream magazines and photographers seem to be forgetting more and more- but happily, I can't accuse Tim Walker of it just yet, and never have been able to. Maybe the thing I really love most about his images is the ease with which it's possible to dream up a story behind them- something I used to love doing with random pictures as a kid, and a response that Emily Blackapple's paintings of girls provoke from me even now. It's really like going off into a corner of your mind somewhere and thinking of strange things...not weird things, just odd ones.
(photo credits: thomasthreuhaft.com)


Start Press

I was sure I'd posted this last night...but I picked up a copy of Vogue India's first issue the day before yesterday out of sheer curiosity, just to see what it'd be like, and...it's not so bad. Annoying in places and almost completely devoid of humour, but I suppose one could have predicted that. So, for the scorecard..
1. They didn't skimp on the quality of editorial styling. The three main fashion stories I found inside were gorgeous, and except for the odd shot (like the one of Lily Cole in front of the Taj Mahal with Milind Soman- how clichéd.) that made me go eghhh, yuck, there was nothing I could nitpick over.
2. It's fat. And the silver spine is all to the cool. So much better-looking than plain old white..
3. The choice of models (and I mean models, not actresses). It's a very minor peeve that none of the three major editorials featured an Indian model, because the ones that were featured looked fantastic- Piv, Gemma Ward and Lily Cole. Though maybe I'd have preferred at least one of them to look mildly more real, it's still ok.
4. Nice illustrations inside, and a fair bit of text too. But then, for 100 bucks (a bit more than 1 £, at current exchange rates), there'd better be something.

1. The cover. There are so many peeves there, they need their own listing.
a)Is that the best Patrick Demarchelier and Lucinda Chambers could come up with? It bears little or no correlation to what the magazine looks like inside. And all that grey..boring, I say. The silver spine is great, but as far as I can see India isn't really into space age looks (re: Gemma looking more alien than ever, and the weirdly sterile colour scheme).
b) Remember how I said I was glad they hadn't done something awful like give Bollywood the front cover? I eat my words, because that's exactly what they have done. Gemma is all very well, ditto Bipasha Basu (far left) despite the occasional dodgy costume, but I REALLY must ask- Priyanka Chopra (third from the left)? This is supposed to be the world's most famous fashion magazine, and I agree it has its faults but why on earth did Ms Chambers or someone- anyone, really- not have the sense to insist that she remove those ridiculous blue/grey coloured contact lenses before being photographed (not clear in the photograph, but get the actual magazine and you'll see)? Or even pick someone who doesn't state, in the pages of the magazine, that she prefers being dressed by her stylist to being dressed by herself and her fashion rules consist of matching her shoes, bag and belt? And the woman's in her mid-twenties. I wouldn't expect Susie Bubble levels of experimentation- not least because only Susie can do that, but this is just plain cringeworthy. I'd almost have preferred Aishwarya Rai in place of her, despite the fact that they're all more or less devoid of style or, it seems, independent thought- at least the coloured lenses wouldn't have been necessary, and she'd probably have out-pouted Gemma.
c) What's with the weird, flat hair? It looks unnatural, and makes the fact of the Photoshopping even more obvious.
2. The far too obvious focus on Bollywood. Maybe this will change in subsequent issues, but firstly, Hindi movies are hardly ever an accurate representation of the country. They're not supposed to be, being escapist for the most part, but it galls me to think that this is the view served up to us and we're expected to swallow it. Secondly, if Vogue is targeting women who are smart enough to know what's in it in the first place, why do they need Bollywood, which is anything but sophisticated- especially in terms of clothing design, to do that? And if they're that intelligent indeed, I strongly doubt that Bipasha Basu or whatserface would be on the list of people whose style they'd want to copy. Surely you'd credit a grown woman with that much sense?
3. The utterly idiotic stereotype
of Indian women as eastern temptresses, presented in page after page of the mag. Or tradition-bound, newly-liberated exotics, whose best resort is the sari. I get the sari bit, but I'm just tired of it.
4. The fact that most of the really cool stock seems to have been sourced in the UK. I've heard of photographs from Vogue UK shoots not being published because they featured clothes that hadn't been stocked in the UK. Surely the same rule should apply to the India edition too? More so since it's flat-out mad to expect a magazine buyer, even one with a lot of money, to go running to London to find the clothes they used? Not that that's the exact and only objective, but I do wish they'd tried to make the effort to stick to clothes- even expensive ones- available within our borders.
I don't think it'll be worth the cash every month, but for people who like the other editions (namely US and to a degree, UK) of Vogue, it's ok. And now I shall get back to my break, and study, and maybe buy a copy of i-D when it's all over. Exams aren't fun.


To All Who Read This

I'm taking a break to do things like write exams and get used to my new staff duties as a moderator over at the forums I frequent . It basically means I get to tell off people if they get argumentative, rude or try to push porn to the kiddies on the site (what fun! no, really- I was thrilled to be asked to join). I should be back soon enough.
PS: I'm sorry about that pic below. I suppose I should explain that the Hindi translates roughly to GOVERNMENT COLD BEER SHOP.
PPS: I sat down intending to post about the Mitford sisters. All I can summon up right now is how I've spent over seven years thinking they were an unbelievably fascinating bunch, and I suppose the reason I'm putting this up here at all is that I didn't figure out till today, while wasting time on wikipedia, that the Duchess of Devonshire (she who wore pearls and cashmere to feed her chickens- not scandalous Georgiana), or should I say the Dowager Duchess, grandmother to none other than Stella Tennant, is one of the six, and the last one living.



I love cow belt howlers, and the fact that this is the first result that comes up when you Google the words.

London Calling

If I were to be absolutely honest, I only paid any attention to NY Fashion Week at all because there's been little else to do, it's pouring again and two days ago I could have served as the original model for someone's template of Drowned Rat (incidentally, does anyone else think the Marc by Marc Jacobs show was a bit nauseatingly cutesy, or is that just me getting old? If even Agyness Deyn and Freja Beha can't work it...but the shoes were rottenly fanciable. Like candy.) And Naoki Takizawa's collection was gorgeous, but....
A lot of my design loves still lie with the daft and the slightly dippy. Or those who look like it, anyway. And of the four major fashion weeks, I don't think too many people would disagree with me if I were to say that there is ample potential for genius to come from the (seeming) daftness of London Fashion Week. A lot of them might have packed off elsewhere (including to New York, where wearable gimmicky Britness- e.g. Luella- seems to be quite well-loved), but after years of watching videos and pictures of the events, it's a fair bet that there will always be someone new to, as the saying goes, be carrying on with. Last year this time it was Christopher Kane, whose studio was broken into last week- if he ever finds out who did it, I'll be very happy to offer up my half-assed law student services to prosecute whoever it was. And it isn't all design-school-graduate madness, which people seem to forget- don't Duro Olowu, Paul Smith, Margaret Howell, and Amanda Wakely count for anything? There are loads more shows I look forward to seeing pics of in London than there were in New York, but somehow reviewing isn't really my cup of tea..
PS: incidentally, does anyone know if Emma Cook has shifted fashion weeks? I don't seem to see her on the schedule online.
PPS: I'm glad they're not following the BMI test after all. It's just far too arbitrary, and too easy to manipulate.


The Coolest Hair Of All Time

I've always been fascinated by flagrantly improbable hair colours, and I swear it is a cruel trick of fate that I am probably destined for one of the most conservative-looking professions there is....but I'm really getting off on the New York Fashion week hair, from the sleek (Erin Fetherston) to the daft (birds' nests at Marc Jacobs...not a new idea, but close enough to the way my actual hair looks to make me go awww) to the flat-out cool (Irina and all the girls at Anna Sui, above). It's nothing on actual punk hair, but it's still Irina Lazareanu, dodgy choice of boyfriend be damned, I don't think there's anything that can take her off my girl crush list now (which is quite a long list, now that I come to think of it. Maybe I'll post about it one day, if anyone ever wants to know). It kind of reminds me of Tonks (see, Potter fangirl emerging again!), whose imagined punkette appearance I was quite enamoured of when I first read Book 5. And while we're on the subject of hair dye, I may as well spit it out now: blonde hair looks crap on South East Asian women. Actually, it looks crap on South East Asian anyone who isn't M.I.A. (another object of girl crush). I just wish someone would tell the bloody salons here and L'Oreal that what they flog by way of dye jobs (blonde and assorted shades of brown/horrible red that looks like puked-up blood) is a crime against humanity. Or human eyeballs, anyway. I don't see what good this is going to do, because as far as I know, no one who's likely to put so much as a pinky toe near the peroxide has ever read this blog so the telling-off is completely wasted. But maybe I'll make for the purple dye (it looks better against black hair) sometime within the next year as a way of staving off quarterlife crisis, which is closer than I think.
PS: if anyone cares, India Fashion Week (I'm not sure if it's the only one, and there's some complicated tagging nonsense going on) is over, and it mostly sucked. The online coverage isn't all that good, but maybe I'm not the best person to be commenting on it, my non-usage of Indian clothes is a well-documented (at least in real life) thing. 'Sides, Manish Arora went back to making his clothes look tacky again (maybe they're not all that bad up close) after the London collection I was all but cheering at in February. Maybe it's something in the water, and I hope it's that or just the heat here frying his brain, cause I read in the local paper that he's going to be showing in Paris this time and I don't want to lose the hope that the A/W 07-08 collection gave me.

Post # 68

I just wish there was a bigger picture of this outfit at Marc Jacobs, because from where I'm sitting it looks like someone chucked a black paper plane into Vlada Roslyakova's hair. And frankly, it's giving me the giggles.


Not On A High

A while ago, there was this questionnaire floating around the blogs, one of the questions on which asked something to the effect of: name one thing that other people seem to think is perfectly normal, or even wonderful, that you think...isn't. And my answer to the question would have to be: high-waisted jeans. Maybe I'm talking from the (admittedly biased) point of view of a girl who has more curves than she can comfortably deal with, but I can't see the point of jeans that think they don't need to stop at your ribcage in order to cover you up decently. I mean, low-rise jeans just went overboard with the lowness part of things, but at least it's possible, given a long enough shirt or jacket or even some judicious tucking in, to avoid things that you'd rather not put on display, going that way. There are lots of girls who look great in high-waisted denim, and I do like the way the proportions play out on a skirt, but jeans just happen to be a bit of a weird zone for me, fashion-wise (I own seven pairs and wear one, it's that hard to find jeans that fit right even in a country that is supposedly full of non-skinny women). I'd even put aside the body hangups if the damn things were comfortable- high-waisted, wide-legged trousers seem to work ok for me- but the jeans- a white pair that date back to the 1980s by the look of them- are just a pain in the arse for right now, especially after meals. This trend can go stuff itself, for all I care- and maybe it's not very adventurous or fashion-forward of me, but I kind of wish it would. And if we're so fussed about modesty, a nice oversized sweater might do the trick, now that it's pretty much autumn and all.

About Me

My photo
Fondest of upbeat music and brightly coloured sweets.