Models And All..

Fifteen days is a long time to be MIA from a blog especially during Fashion Week (no point me trying to say anything about it, others do that better and at least this time, I'd rather wait till it's nearly over before putting out opinions- I'm no Suzy Menkes or Susie Bubble, after all).
I don't know how many people reading this remember this picture. It was the foldout flap of Vogue India's first cover, which featured two actual models as opposed to Bollywood heroines, and somehow the Photoshop that was so liberally used on it didn't quite manage to make one of the models, Lakshmi Menon, look quite as blank or dead as the other people on the cover.
She ended up opening Givenchy's couture show and featuring in their campaign for this season, which looks rather fantastically cool (and it's nice to see her getting more attention, though it's kind of odd to see someone who's been on jewellery adverts all over Bangalore for half a decade getting called a newbie to modelling like I've seen in some posts on TFS). But the news that she'd been picked for an editorial in Paris Vogue was what got me really happy...pictures follow. (the rest of the shoot featured Yasmin Warsame, but I don't have the time to upload the rest of the pics).

This feels a bit like they got their inspiration from M.I.A...
And this one above reminds me of Susie Bubble's sheer trousers..


Cuteness, Of The Non-Clothes Kind

It might sound slightly berserk to be yammering on about non-fashion things in the middle of New York Fashion Week, but it would be criminal of me not to share the absolute cuteness that is Chii's Sweet Home, a manga by Konami Kanata about a lost kitten who gets picked up and adopted by a young family, whose attempts to feed, bathe, entertain, immunise, toilet-train and conceal Chii (the last being necessary thanks to a building prohibition on keeping pets), all seen from the PoV of a kitten, are about fifteen kinds of adorable and howl-inducingly funny, not to mention a must-read for anyone who's ever had a cat (and seriously, go have a look at it. You wouldn't want to make the kitty cry, would you?)
picture copyright of Konami Kanata, from doki-doki.


Spot The Resemblance.

Rodarte, AW08-09
reminds me of
I can't believe I didn't point it out the last time around, but given that Rodarte did cite Japanese horror movies and slasher flicks as inspiration, the comparison isn't too far off the mark...
painting by Fuco Ueda, A Demand 1 (2002).


I'm not sure how many people reading this have already heard of the fuss created over the Vogue India editorial that featured poor people as models for designer accessories, and the reason I haven't posted about it for so long was simply because I wanted to get a few thoughts in order.
First things first- irrespective of the idea behind the shoot, why on earth did it take nearly a month for anyone to notice it? The editorial ran in the August issue of Vogue, and nothing was heard about it till the very end of the month. If it was really such an utter outrage, I'm rather sceptical of the idea that someone wouldn't have caught on and complained sooner.
Secondly, I've seen the editorial (but I didn't buy the issue thanks to the people they put on the cover) and truth be told, the problem isn't with the images themselves- the people who are featured as models are much more front and central, for lack of a better term, than models usually are on a fashion shoot. And truthfully, on first sight it didn't even look like an accessories shoot at all- I wouldn't have known what the things being modelled were if Vogue hadn't used text to indicate them, it looks like they're just there by accident and happen to be expensive. Fashion magazines do worse than this all the time, if one really wants to talk about the ethical issues behind using poor people as the subjects of fashion photography- what about all the 'background' locals on fashion shoots set in 'exotic' places? Vogue India's not the only magazine to do it.
Which brings me to my next point- the text. Which is the single most problematic part of the entire thing. Magazines often choose not to name their models on the page, but in a situation where I know most of the models' names that doesn't really anonymise them too much. Choosing to use actual people in a shoot and then not naming them- but using the text to name the accessories, loud and clear (well, of course, since it's an accessories shoot) was just plain wrong, IMHO. I get that it's all about the advertisers, and in one way it's a score for Vogue India because the images are much more interesting than anything else I've ever seen from them, but it could have had a lot more meaning if they'd, I don't know, done a short interview with each of the people being photographed? I know I'd much rather read that than yet another gushy puff piece about some socialite with X private jets. I've criticised Vogue India often enough in the past, but really, they could have done so much better. And Priya Tanna's (the editor-in-chief) response doesn't make it any better, really.
Lastly, about the opinions being quoted in the New York Times article in the link. I understand fully well that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but having seen Kanika Gahlaut's column in the Mail Today and her book, I'd take the opinions of a wannabe third-rate chick-lit author with a large pinch of salt- she's about as bad as Liz Jones in the Daily Mail. Her writings about fashion, as far as I've seen, have tended to spew venom on the field (sure, we know it's silly and takes itself a bit too seriously at times, but outright condemnation is a bit much, hmm?), and really, if you want to see a sample of the kind of things the lady writes, look no further than this place- it might be of particular interest to girl bloggers. And if anyone wants to talk more about India's new economy and the fact that Vogue even exists here, mail me.
image from the New York Times

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Fondest of upbeat music and brightly coloured sweets.