Excuse the wait!

Well, ladies (and maybe some gentlemen!), it’s been a while – a long, long while. Apologies are due and I have no defence – apart from the fact that my performance is somewhat compromised by my ‘condition’. Yes, I can personally bear witness to the fact that ‘pregnant head’ exists!

As I promised in my Facebook post, I have decided to be ‘current’ in this post – don’t worry, it’ll be accompanied by something with actual content later this weekend – and cover some of the stories covered in recent press. I mentioned Katie Holmes (yes, I know she’s boring to many of us grown-ups – but her shopping style merits discussion), Oscar gowns (for the benefit of Anne Hathaway, mainly) and fashion’s dirty laundry.

So…the fashion ‘news’ – as defined by the press, red tops and black. Not the glossies, please note: I’m writing about the stuff everyone’s got a chance of seeing. In my case, online – as I’m too cheap to buy a newspaper. To start, the Sam Cam / London Fashion Week controversy: Sam Cam laid her love of fashion out for everyone to hear and succeeded (I think) in saying what lots of intelligent, grown-up women think: i.e. that fashion can make you feel good, that it should be used for fun and that it’s actually a big enough industry to count as ‘important’. Not exactly news to most women but, hey ho, apparently men think we just spend our hard earned cash in order to amuse themselves and not – as we know really – to support the national economy and bolster local employment.

Then the news that Katie Homes has been shopping – again. So…not really news. However, I’ll carry on as she amuses me. Anyway, she left Milan pushing an extra two trolleys worth of luggage loaded with new clothes that she had, apparently, bought there on a massive shopping spree. Two trolleys! Whole bloody luggage trolleys. How is that even possible? Who has enough room in their house to accommodate the amount of clothes the luggage must have contained? Is the shopping some type of compensating behaviour serving as therapy? And, if so, therapy for what? Well, we can all take a punt on the answer to that conundrum but a serious question should be raised – with this internationally shitty economy, doesn’t anyone else think that she should take the old ‘buy a few good quality, classically styled items’ advice? I love clothes and find shopping both exciting and soothing (it’s a very special experience for me), but even I can’t conceive of buying that amount of anything. Didn’t she look at the two whole trolleys and feel in the least bit self-conscious? No? Well, I admire your chutzpah, young lady – but I do not approve.

Now, Oscar fever. Or post-Oscar fever. Not over the prize winners (I stopped caring as soon as I knew Mark Wahlberg didn’t get a nomination) but over the pretty dresses. Yes, there’s something about Oscar fashion that brings out the ‘little girl watching Disney princesses or royal weddings’ gene in me. I know Tilda Swinton won’t bother with make-up – and why would she when nothing will disguise the fact that she’s an alien? What we can never predict is what other ensembles will make the cut – however, I do not lose hope. As expected, most of the female nominees were too old, young or skinny to go with ‘old Hollywood’. What good does it serve someone whose skin can’t fulfil the promises made by the dress or who’ll look like a little girl dressing up or – worse – who can’t fill a dress properly?

Colour made an appearance – a nod to next season’s trends – but people did wimp out: shame, considering the beautiful sun that always shines on the Oscars red carpet and the flattering low light at the following parties. Shape wise, the most interesting image – considering tulip skirts, one-colour sleek skinny top and long skirt combinations and long sleeves were a departure too far – was Natalie Portman. She did colour and indulged the desire most pregnant women seem to feel – she looked graceful. In fact, more graceful than most ‘un-pregnant; women do in an empire-line or maxi dress.
After the disappointments, there is one upside – if there’s one thing we know, it’s that Oscar dresses are pretty much a rerun every year. Like re-runs of Friends, we seem to see the same thing on a loop nowadays. And, like Friends, it’s always entertaining and reassuring. I love it – bitching about the awful choices some smart, wealthy, beautiful women make, is very satisfying.

Excitingly, in recent days, fashion has provided us with a scandal which is actually socially and politically relevant. Disappointingly, the fashion press took its time about making any sort of social or political comment. I am, of course, referring to John Galliano’s idiotic – not to mention, shameful – behaviour since late February. I’m sure I don’t have to make my position on anti-Semitism clear but I’m also sure I don’t have to draw the attention of anyone reading to the holocaust either. Professing a love of Hitler might seem like a coolly shocking thing to say when you’re 14 but anyone who’s studied recent history (or even watched Band of Brothers) knows that, if you say it any later than that, you’re a twat. Excuse the language but it deserves a pretty no-nonsense dismissal.

Regarding his actions and proclamations I have nothing else to say – except that, as I posted on Facebook, the French police (to its credit) still has a department dedicated to the righting of wrongs committed during – and as a result of – WWII. Admittedly nowadays (even the Aryans aren’t immortal – hah, fuck you Himmler) they mostly deal with neo-Nazi nutjobs and, I have to admit, the staff demographic looks like an episode of New Tricks. Nevertheless, I hope they’re foaming at the mouth at the thought of prosecuting Galliano.

On the subject of the fashion press, I have a lot to say. I’m sure you can all guess where this is going so I’ll spare you the academics – except to say that the prospect of criticising a designer of a fashion house which increased its marketing budget by 70% in 2008 (and hasn’t reduced it), apparently scares the shit out of fashion journalists. Even the power houses of fashion comment (Suzy Menkes, Anna Wintour and Alexandra Shulman – no, cancel her), haven’t condemned him outright. I find their lack of confidence in their positions in fashion surprising – considering how widely acknowledged their power is in the industry. And, in the case of at least one of them (guess who?), how clearly (and often) she seems to express that fact – and her lack of interest in others’ opinions of her and her behaviour.

To be fair to Suzy (who I love – mainly because she’s the only successful fashion journalist who isn’t a stereotypical stick-insect bimbo), she produced a very fair piece to camera for the New York Times – even mentioning the prevalence of the drug culture in fashion. Ms Menkes writes for the publication regularly but is best known for being Fashion Editor for the seminal media outlet International Herald Tribune – because of that, she is respected as both an arbiter of good taste with an enviable history as an accurate predictor of trend and as a journalist. Really, I would expect no less.

However, Alex Shulman’s comment – “I think John Galliano made a terrible mistake and such offensive behaviour could not be ignored. It is all the same true that he has a huge talent and has contributed enormously to the resurrection of the house of Dior. Who can predict what the future will bring?” – just condemns the fashion world. It’s like saying that the Nazis weren’t that bad because they had the best uniforms.

La Wintour hasn’t muttered a word – although that may be because she’s considered to be instrumental in the hiring of Galliano by Dior in 1995, ever since she started to champion him in 1993. Worse still, Italian Vogue has defended him outright. I would mention Daphne Guinness but she’s too utterly silly to be taken seriously by anyone other than herself – and the marketing people of couture houses.

Sidney Toledano, Dior Couture’s chief executive, who said he condemned ‘‘in the strongest terms’’ Galliano’s sentiments – ‘‘which are in total contradiction with the essential values that have always been defended by the Christian Dior house.’’. Interestingly, as a footnote to this awful incident in fashion history, it should be said that the house of Dior is no stranger to political outrage. In fact, Christian Dior dressed the wives of the Nazi officers and French collaborators.  According to Toledano, this – in part – may have been due to the fact that Christian Dior’s sister was sent to the concentration camp Buchenwald. As reasons go, that seems a whole lot better than the influence of drugs and alcohol.

That, I think, is enough controversy for now. And much more highbrow than any of us is used to! Still, it’s been good to talk about something worthwhile. This weekend’s later post will cover
much more shallow – and requested – content. I promised I’d respond to demand and I’m going with modern office clothing etiquette (as opposed to smart – which we’ve covered ad infinitum) and an exploration of the previously unknown – maternity wear that lasts: while that sounds unlikely, I think I may have cracked onto something here. Just go with it…

After that, something that may be helpful for S/S budgeting: advice on what (and what not) to wear this year. Finally, I’m excited. Well, a little bit – but I’ll tell you all why imminently.

Enjoy the weekend!

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