Nuclear Wintour Bans Westwood Statue

So its the Met Ball Costume Institute Gala tonight in New York tonight and everyone who is anyone is going to be there! In the last number of years, fashion enthusiasts have been watching as the most stylish celebrities in the world gather for one spectacular event. I’ll be posting about my favourite dresses and the horrors that some celebrities will inevitably wear, just like I did last year (see here).

But of course, before the event starts, there will always be a bit of drama and this year, its courtesy of the editor of American Vogue. Anna Wintour has banned a naked sculpture of Vivienne Westwood that was to be displayed at the Met Ball in New York tonight.

The 40-foot statue of punk designer Westwood made from Styrofoam and laying across an old mattress, was supposed to take prime position at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute but Wintour made the snap decision a couple of weeks ago to cancel the installation.

The glittering fashion ball extravaganza launches the annual fashion exhibition at the famous museum and hosts the biggest stars on the planet. Beyoncé has been named as the honorary chair of this year’s Costume Institute Gala, alongside Anna Wintour herself and designers like Riccardo Tisci, who is in the news, having designed costumes for a ballet production at the Opéra de Paris. Mrs Carter née Knowles had one of the standout dresses last year wearing a sheer Givenchy dress designed by Tisci.

This year’s event is dubbed Punk: Chaos to Couture and a nod to the original punk designer 72-year-old Vivienne Westwood was the obvious choice. However, the infamous editor of American Vogue took offence to the sculpture that was going to have graffiti projections on it and has cancelled its installation, calling it a needless distraction. The demanding businesswoman that is dubbed ‘Nuclear Wintour’, I assume because of the fear she induces in people, made the quick decision to get rid of Westwood’s sculpture.

There has never been evidence of a public feud between Vivienne Westwood and Anna Wintour – but many are speculating after this rash decision to cut her piece from the exhibition. Ms Wintour has never been seen in the front row of any of Westwood’s shows at London Fashion Week and has never attended one of her shows even though she makes the pilgrimage to London town to see other shows by British designers. Wintour, the undeniable Queen of Fashion, favours sharp tailoring and clean lines from designers such as Victoria Beckham.

Fashion photographer Nick Knight, creative consultant for the Met Ball, used a 25ft statue of Naomi Campbell in the same way as part of a fashion event in Somerset House in 2009.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I’ll update you on the best and worst dresses of the Met Ball (in my opinion) and have a look at the fantastic fashion that graces the red carpet of the Metropolitan Museum this year!

Keep styling, Em x

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The Issues With Celebrity Advertising

ONCE upon a time, the copy of Vogue or Elle on your coffee table was full of unknown and unbelievably beautiful women that no one had ever heard of. Unless you were a supermodel who created her own brand like Elle MacPherson or Naomi Campbell, you were a nameless entity who was just employed to make the clothes look incredible and was paid handsomely for the privilege.

These days, every model worth their salt is a household name, from Arizona Muse to Freja Beha Erichsen and even the old familiars like Kate Moss are dabbling not only in fashion but other areas too. But in the last few years, designers have become tired of the same old supermodel faces and have started using people they think the public will relate to: celebrities.

In today’s climate, you’re not a celebrity unless you endorse something, and everyone is getting on the action. Jennifer Lawrence from the Hunger Games, after having a spectacular few months of Hollywood fame, has landed herself one of the biggest endorsement deals on the planet: becoming the face of Dior, following in the footsteps of big names Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman and Marion Cotillard.

Kristen Stewart, despite all the bad press she’s been receiving, has landed on her feet on the advertising front. The Twilight Saga star is the face of Florabotanica, a fragrance from Balenciaga and receives a huge paycheck for standing in her usual sullen way in a floral dress. Not my idea of good advertising but apparently it works!

Newlywed Blake Lively has had her fair share of endorsement deals but her adverts for Gucci Première has made her infamous. Wearing a gown that looks like she has been dipped in gold, girls in any way impressionable have tripped over themselves to buy the new perfume. Whether it smells good or not, the idea is every time they spray themselves, they’ll smell like Blake Lively. Who wouldn’t want that?

Even the men are getting in on the action Andre 3000 from Outkast is now strutting his manicured facial hair around for Gillette and I’m sure you’ve all seen the new adverts for Chanel No. 5 with Brad Pitt talking absolute muck to the camera about anything but the actual fragrance. The point of these celebrity advertisements is that it doesn’t matter what they say or do, as long as you’re famous, that’s all that matters.

But can this invasion of celebrity advertising be good for our pockets or minds? I, for one, would buy a product if it was Jennifer Lawrence or an unknown name modelling but this isn’t a case for many others. In a society as impressionable as ours is today and in a time when money means a lot more when you finally have some, is it fair for brands to tease us with this advertising, with the promise that once you buy it, you’ll be able to smell or look or strut like that celebrity on the pages of your magazine?

I say not! Bring back the days when the unknown wore the clothes we coveted or had the hair we wanted because at least then, we’ll be buying it for ourselves and not to look like an impossibly airbrushed movie star!

Model Students

FOR what seems like forever, models have been the stuff of our dreams, these unattainable women that smile out at us from the glossy pages of the magazines we obsess over. Models have influenced our subconscious judgement our whole lives: the blushing brides we dressed up as in bridal magazines when we were children, the flawless made-up women we wanted to be during the teenage angst years, especially the women in Vogue that wear the most spectacular outfits that are so out of our reach. But have we ever thought of these women as savvy businesswomen or are they just fancy versions of clothes hangers in our minds?

Just think, how many models can you name? For someone highly interested in the fashion industry, this may be an easier game than most but for the average woman walking down the street; it’s an extremely difficult task. We can all call out the usual suspects: Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Elle Macpherson, Heidi Klum, the list could go on, but these women aren’t just models, they’re brands, fully-fledged businesswomen and occasional scandalmongers.

Models cannot just be models anymore, they have to prove themselves to the world in ways we wouldn’t have thought possible and they have to dance for us like performing monkeys to win approval. Elle Macpherson has launched her own underwear empire and took over the reins of Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model when former supermodel Lisa Snowdon left. Kate Moss is a muse for the higher powers in fashion but still has time to launch her own lipstick line. Lily Cole, a model preferred by everyone from Chanel to Marks and Spencer has a first-class degree from Cambridge. These women can’t just have the ability to walk and pose any more, long gone in the stereotypical Zoolander model, where models are so stupid they’ll have a petrol fight. Models need to be able to create their own empire, to know figures, have business knowledge and know when it’s time to leave the modelling game aside behind and market themselves differently. Most of all, they need to be intelligent.

We don’t just aspire to look like these women anymore, we aspire to be them. A model in this day and age has to earn the respect of women, not jealousy. Scandals like Kate Moss’s alleged cocaine habit or Naomi Campbell’s rage issues have nothing to do with their ability to wear a form-fitting dress after or how they’ll take their next photo. These famous women are looked up to just as much as Michelle Obama or Christine Lagarde, not because of how they can fit an outfit but because they have just as much global influence, if not more.

The fashion industry has changed a lot in the last twenty years in many, many ways. Way back when, everyone’s opinion was ranked before the models if it even counted at all. The designer, the stylist, the photographer, everybody had a say except the model who was expected to show up and look pretty. Now things have changed a huge amount, the phenomenon of modelling and fashion has shot through the roof with the help of ‘Next Top Model’ programmes in so many major countries round the world and we demand so much more for our buck.

In a recent interview with Alexandra Shulman, Editor of British Vogue, she stated that she had never used Jennifer Aniston on the cover of the magazine as she requires full copy approval with her photographs, a privilege that is unheard of in Vogue. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/fashion/2012/apr/01/alexandra-shulman-vogue-editor-fashion?INTCMP=SRCH). Models have to follow the same adverse rules and why? They are not editors; they aren’t trained to understand the reader, just to impress them. However, this phase of wanting copy approval and more say in the process is becoming more prominent in the fashion industry, especially to do with the A-list celebrity models we all know and love.

After a recent spread for Elle Brazil, Coco Rocha was reported to be furious to be portrayed as ‘showing too much skin’ on the cover of the magazine. Rocha said on her Tumblr page, ‘I have long had a policy of no nudity or partial nudity…I strongly believe every model has a right to set rules for how she is portrayed’. (http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2012/04/coco-rocha-mad-that-elle-brazil-made-her-topless.html) But in an industry like modelling, when your body is your tool and your money, can you dictate how it is used? You have the right to not be taken out of context completely, but when you wear an outfit and pose in it, can you complain about the way it then looks? When an artist leaves his painting to be sold, can he dictate where it will be placed in the buyer’s home or how they hang it?

As modelling has changed, so has the fashion industry. It isn’t enough to buy the services of a pretty or interesting looking canvas anymore, you’re buying a person. Even more than that, you’re buying a brand. There is no way of using a model and disregarding her after a fifteen minute catwalk show, you buy not only her, but her reputation. A model has to be so much more than a mannequin, she has to be an inspiration and impressionable (in the right way!) as the world of fashion is spreading to the younger market like an epidemic.

Modelling isn’t a profession anymore, it’s an economy. You’re buying and selling everything about yourself, not only your look, but your personality, your reputation and your temperament. Models have to be businesswomen in this day and age as they have to look for their own jobs and they also have to book them. A photographer will not work with a difficult model, no matter how famous so bringing an extra couple of talents and fallbacks to the table can not only be a huge career boost but a mean money maker too. Models like Coco Rocha and Kate Moss can demand things but in the end, if they’ve sold themselves into the world of modelling, will they ever have the right to choose?

Internship and Other News

So many things have happened over the last few days, its about time I wrote them all down! I’ve been house-hunting and finally found a flat I can live in for the next two months, its odd to be excited about moving to a house that has wireless internet and a decent shower, but that’s the reality of Budapest!

Today I got some big news, I got an internship with a major photo agency here in Budapest called Northfoto and its partner company Microstocksolutions. My job will be dealing with celebrity photojournalism, from red carpet events, to style to Page 3 models. I’m very excited to be working with a such a prestigious company, its a huge asset to my CV and I’ll get to do some promotion work as well as captioning and keywording etc.

Linger Magazine have been onto me again to become a Runway Reporter for their magazine so I’ll have more news on that in the next few days but having a look through th magazine is a real treat and I’m really glad to get the chance to work with them.

I’ve been working on organising photo-shoots for a couple of weeks over the summer with a couple of friends to build up portfolios and I’ve come a long way this week by securing a venue and organising some wardrobe choices from Cotton Face Vintage, an amazing little company in Galway. I came across Cotton Face Vintage a while ago and she has some amazing pieces in her online store collection. I’m currently waiting for a bowler hat that I’m so psyched to get and all at a reasonable price. Sinead from Cotton Face Vintage has kindly offered to help out with our vintage shoot when it happens during the summer and I’m really looking forward to working with her 🙂 check out her Facebook page here even just to check out some of the gorgeous photos she has up!

I’ve got one more piece of major news but I can’t spill that until its made official this evening so I’ll be announcing that on the blog tomorrow. I’ve had the news for a few days now and I’m so excited to say the least, I can barely keep wraps on it! But I’m being strong and will keep my lips sealed until tomorrow when I will update you all on the outcome of the ULSU Media Awards where one of my fashion writers is going to win an award!

Until then, keep reading and liking my new blog Facebook page 🙂

Keep styling, Em x

P.S. Loving this picture of Naomi Campbell looking very ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’ Beyonce-esque, a real femme fatale look!

Inner Beauty

People are very quick to judge, especially women. I’m not preaching, mind you, I count myself in the 97% of women who do criticise or ‘judge a book by its cover’ (because you just know there are always that 3% to show the rest of us up!).  But recently, I’ve been thinking about the concept of ‘inner beauty’ and the fact that, although the phrase sounds a bit like a quote from the back of a Tampax box, there is a lot of truth behind it.

In my line of work (fashion journalism, in case you hadn’t figured that out), judgement and cut-throat-like tendencies are essential to making your name. Each of us scrambles to get an upshot of Olivia Palermo or Megan Fox, clutching at the slim prospect of seeing cellulite or extra weight. Or even watching every celebrity from A-Z walk the red carpet, just to see who teamed red and pink (god forbid!), wore the wrong size or worst of all, wore something that they’d worn before!

However, I have been toying with the idea of inner beauty and how much of an emphasis can be put on this rather than superficial beauty. In fashion, we crave the symmetrical face that Scarlett Johansson and Gisele possess, stating that this is the only form of beauty that may exist and be categorised as so. But there is a very big contradiction to the symmetry and superficiality.

inner Beauty

Scientists have discovered the reason behind our passion and coveting of the elusive symmetrical face and our notion that this is the best indication of sexual attractiveness. It seems that these genes that create this are an indicator of good genes which attracts the opposite sex for breeding. The irony is, of course, that a lot of men don’t look for women to breed with, they look for instant gratification, so really, instead of blaming men for subjecting these ideas, and we may as well admit that these ideas are created by women.

The artist Dubuffet summed it up perfectly by saying, ‘Art is no use if it is simply the act of declaring 10 per cent of things in the world beautiful and 90 per cent ugly’ and this can transcend into fashion.  As much as fashion boasts that it sees the beauty in everyone, celebrating androgyny, anonymity and idiosyncrasy, its closed-mindedness is the reason so many shun it.

I find my friends some of the most beautiful people on the planet, not because they are beautiful in a conventional sense (even though most of them are). They are beautiful because they radiate confidence, friendship and laughter. They have pride in themselves and each other and that shows more beauty than anything else. Roald Dahl once said, “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and sticky-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely”.

On the plus size though, fashion is becoming less immune to outer beauty. Naomi Campbell and other diva models are becoming less loved in today’s society because frankly, they don’t have the time to be dealing with princesses. Photographers, stylists, everyone who is anyone, wants to work with a client who smiles, has confidence and respect for the people they work with.

inner beauty

So the cliché is true, if you’re beautiful on the inside and feel confident in your own skin, you’ll radiate beauty onto your face. So next time you’re having a bad day, feeling down, insecure or heartbroken, just smile and it’ll make you look and feel ten times better. Coco Chanel said, “If you’re sad or heartbroken, make yourself up, dress up, add more lipstick and attack. Men hate women who weep”. Getting yourself ready for battle is the only way forward and will make you look as confident and radiant as you feel.

 

Photo c/o mirror.co.uk, theplace2.ru