Archives for category: Think

Jil Sander is leaving her eponymous label for the third time after designing for three seasons. She first left in 2000 after Prada bought a controlling stake in her company, only to come back in 2003 and then exit again in 2004. After Raf Simons started his tenure as Dior’s creative director in 2012, it was announced that she would be returning once again. Her last collection showed at spring-summer 2014 Milan Fashion Week. According to WWD, she is leaving for personal reasons; her in-house design team will be responsible for the Fall 2014 collection. Even though I liked what Simons did for the brand better than what Sander did herself, it makes more sense to me if the person whose name is on the label also actually designs the clothes. So I don’t know what to think of it. I guess, let speculation about who will replace her begin.

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The Ardorous is an online art platform showcasing feminist projects of female creative professionals curated by Petra Collins. Arvida Bystrom is one of the artists featured on the site; her photo series “Lolita” show young girls portrayed in the usual dreamy fetishizing manner very often found in fashion magazines and as described by Nabokov himself in his eponymous novel. Bystrom’s pictures have a subversive quality in the undesired and unsightly body hair that hasn’t been shaved as is usually the expected norm.
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In the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico, live so-called muxes: Men who think of themselves as women. What is so exceptional about this is the fact that they are not marginalized or bullied, but accepted and celebrated. Their social status reaches back into times before Mexico became Catholic, when there were cross-dressing Aztec priests and the culture was inherently flexible in regard to gender. Of course, like in most – if not all – Latin American countries, machismo prevails now and there is not much room for different attitudes towards sex. But in the state of Oaxaca, things managed to remain more fluid. The population believes that the muxes have special intellectual and artistic gifts, that they are lucky, chosen people, colonizing the volatile state between genders. They are considered a third gender rather than having a particular sexual orientation.
Nicola “Ókin” Frioli travelled to Juchitán and photographed the muxes for his series “We Are Princesses in a Land of Machos”. Stunning pictures and beautiful people.

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©Nicola “Ókin” Frioli

The fashion industry is obsessed with everything pretty and beautiful, so it’s always refreshing when you come along an editorial that leaves you slightly disturbed and asking yourself WTF?, like the one in Let’s Panic’s first edition did. According to the bi-annual glossy, founded by photographers Greg Kadel and Aaron Ward, it is “committed to exploring the creative. Each story is a collaboration between editors and contributors which result in a cultural statement of individuality that transcends the ordinary and allows opportunities to evolve in an arena free of constraints.” Yeah, all pretentious babbling aside, I just really like how Malgosia Bela, the Polish model shot here, seems to have gotten (almost) free of any vanity, making funny faces and rolling her eyes until there is only the white left, thus creating some bizarre and uncommon fashion pictures. Inspirations for the styling range from football gear to Japanese samurai clothing.

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Do you think that female business leaders, politicians or women in any position of power, for that matter, are allowed to be fashionable? To put on make-up? To spend money on expensive clothes? To wear high heels? To color their hair? Or would you have more respect for them if they dressed and looked mousy? Take the constant attacks on fashion-loving Marissa Meyer, Yahoo!’s CEO, who can be seen in a glamorous shoot in Vogue’s September issue, or on Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, who admittedly likes to dress in designer clothes. See also the ongoing debate about Michelle Obama’s style. Women can’t really win here: As Anna Holmes writes in an article for Times: “[W]omen who take an active interest in fashion and beauty are to both be commended (personal grooming is indicative of self-respect) and humored (personal grooming is superficial)”.  She goes on to “yearn for a time when female competence in one area is not undermined by enthusiasm for another.” At the end of the day, it’s probably still a question of  the “continuing cultural discomfort with the mere existence of women in powerful positions.” as Amanda Marcotte writes in the article she wrote for slate.com. I couldn’t agree more. So, what’s your take?

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Wendy Davis, also in VogueWendy-Davis-Vogue

Fashion brands love to put out some arty-farty, pretentious and affected ads and movies (see the current Calvin Klein underwear campaign, in which a buttered up Christy Turlington talks about how her panties make her feel; or who could possibly forget Brad Pitt meditating about journeys, plans and dreams in last year’s Chanel Nr. 5 campaign). Today’s edition comes courtesy of Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind Rodarte. This Must Be the Only Fantasy is a film collaboration between the fashion house and director Todd Cole, produced by The Creators Project and with (great, if I might add) music by Beach House. They combine magical realism, 1980s video games, fantasy role playing games and some of Rodarte’s absolutely gorgeous pieces from their spring/summer 2013 collection to create this odd, strange short movie about  “mostly teenage kids, just hanging out in the suburbs of LA, killing time, chatting inanities, looking for kicks. It just so happens that the magic from their games has spilled out into the physical world. So the film becomes a contemporary take on the fantasy genre, while also merging art, action, music, and fashion” (The Creators Project). Yeah, yeah, whatever. I have more important questions: Did the dress stay intact after the young girl’s ride on that unicorn? Why didn’t they show more pieces from the collection? Why is Frodo sitting on a throne made out of gaming joysticks and consoles? Was there melted chocolate in the boy’s cup? And what is a Sith Lord doing in the suburbs?

The faces of fashion are white, young and thin. No breaking news here. When a magazine decides to use a plus-sized model in an editorial, the emphasis lies on the fact that she’s not “straight-sized” and she’s often nude or semi-nude. It’s extremely rare that a heavier model is used without her curves being explicitly mentioned and made the focus of the spread. The same goes with age. It will be the main subject of the article and it will be mentioned how good the model still looks – for her age, of course. And most often than not, you will see the face of one of the supes of yesteryear like Linda, Christy or Helena.
Harper’s Bazaar is now doing an “homage to the diversity of women” in their September issue, cast and styled by the magazine’s Global Fashion Director Carine Roitfeld and shot by Karl Lagerfeld. I seriously don’t know what to think about this editorial. First, and most importantly, I think that diversity should be normal, a thing seen in every magazine, all the time, without a special mention, without it being an “homage”. The variety of model shape, age, size and race used here is rare and great, but it would be even better if it were just a “normal” editorial, not an oddity. I also don’t know what to make of the juxtaposition of old and young, big and small, straight-sized and plus-sized. What exactly is the point here? To show how crazy-old one model is? Or how freakishly tall another? It kind of leaves a bitter aftertaste and reminds me a little bit of a circus freak show. So, what do you think? Am I being too sensitive? Or do you agree?

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“The world has become too casual, and people have become lazy. There was a time when people went on the airplane with gloves.” Former fashion editor of Vogue André Leon Talley in Vanity Fair.
I’d like to share a childhood memory with you that nicely illustrates this thought:  I grew up in Brazil and during the holiday season, our family travelled to Switzerland, where my grandparents lived.  I vividly remember how my mother, every single time before we left the house to go to the airport, meticulously put on her makeup and spritzed on some perfume, dressed herself impeccably in some wide legged, light trousers and a silk, yellow or powder pink blouse, slipped her feet into some stylish high-heels and grabbed her beauty case – the only hand baggage beside her Louis Vuitton Noe Drawstring bag she would carry. I remember her long, red nails and her thick, blondish-brown hair cascading down her back.  Yes, these were the days…

You make assumptions about someone the minute you see this person – about their status, their personality, heck, probably even about their sex life. Everybody does that, it’s normal; I guess you could call it human nature. But isn’t it interesting that you probably do that even if you only see part of the person’s body? You don’t think so? Well, try looking at these women’s legs without your mind instantly starting to guess what kind of woman she is. Stacey Baker, an associate photo editor at The New York Times Magazine, is the photographer behind these pictures. Since March, she has photographed more than 300 legs in New York City. The idea for the project, called Citilegs, came when she was passing through the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue and saw a woman with delicate legs wearing a pretty black coat.  “For some reason, I thought it would make a nice picture”, she says. Well, I find the pictures strangely captivating; they really make me want to see and know more about the women behind the legs, or rather, above them.

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Kirstie ClementsImageClements’ last Vogue coverVogue-AUST-July12

The Guardian published an excerpt from former Australian Vogue editor Kirstie Clements’ new memoir, The Vogue Factor. In it, she describes how the modelling and fashion industries as a system are highly troubled. Even though she admits that the use of ever-thinner models is wrong and unhealthy, she writes: “It cannot be denied that visually, clothes fall better on a slimmer frame.” Isn’t that really a matter of taste? Acquired taste, certainly, taste brainwashed into our minds by exactly the same magazines Clements is writing about? Isn’t that also sort of lazy? She goes on saying: “The ‘fit’ model begins the fashion process: designer outfits are created around a live, in-house skeleton. Few designers have a curvy or petite fit model.” Well, what a surprise: Clothing looking better on the frame it was designed for and designed on! Clements quote makes it look as if there’s something inherent about clothes that make them look better on thin bodies, rather than the design process being the result of an imposed idea of beauty. If a designer claims to only be able to design for one body type, well, then he probably shows a lack of talent or creativity.

Go over to The Guardian and check out the article for yourself, it’s a lengthy, but quite interesting read.