Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: 18th November 2017

“Former Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman: ‘I find the idea that there was a posh cabal offensive’” – The Guardian

Edward Enninful’s predecessor Alexandra Shulman has been dealing with controversy since stepping down from her role as EIC of British Vogue a few months ago. The formerly inoffensive character has been marred by allegations of racism and classism along with being charged with taking thinly veiled swipes at her replacement in a Business of Fashion column. In an attempt at damage control, Shulman sat down with an interviewer from The Guardian to set the record straight. As tends to be the case with any interview to address a problem, it didn’t go well. For starters, Shulman was set up to fail as the interviewer clearly had some personal issues with her and the article seemed extremely biased to read. I am not a Shulman die-hard fan but I did think that the interviewer seemed very keen on knocking her at every possible opportunity. The portrait of Shulman painted was one of a very out-of-touch woman. She didn’t seem racist or hateful in anyway; she really just seemed clueless. Shulman’s approach to editing British Vogue was all about numbers, not creativity. She was focused on growing the circulation and readership, not being groundbreaking or progressive. With Enninful as EIC, it will be interesting to see the changes that are made. Now that more people have got their hands on the December issue, more reviews are coming in. The cover has been praised by almost everybody in the fashion industry (and, of course, it is divine) but the editorials inside apparently still have the same cast of models who frequented the pages of Shulman’s Vogue. This, coupled with the accusations of photoshopping cover star Adwoa Aboah lighter, have meant that Edward Enninful’s debut issue may not have been as perfect as we all hoped. However, I’m sure it’s still great and I can’t wait to flick through my own copy.

 

“Exposed: Beauty Bloggers Committing Fraud!” – Chloe Morello, YouTube

Australian Youtuber Chloe Morello posted a video this week exposing the culture of buying fake followers and engagement on social media in order to receive influencer status. This is common practice and done by so many girls who see Instagram as a means to an end. They see other girls living fun lives and want to do the same thing. Unfortunately, the time to gain an online following has long passed. It was an easier thing to do five years ago but now the market is so saturated that it is almost impossible to grow a following from scratch organically nowadays. So how do new influencers keep popping up then? That is what Morello dives into in her video. The notion of bots, comment pods, and fake followers is nothing new but it is getting ridiculous and borderline fraudulent. Brands are wasting money by sponsoring influencers who don’t have real followings and therefore no audience to influence and turn into customers. On top of all of this, people are getting to live a life of luxury that they haven’t earned. I wonder how much more exposing has to occur before people get shutdown, whether that be by the social networks themselves (imagine if they deleted every account which had bought followers, the drama…) or by brands by effectively shutting people out. I’m curious to see how this develops.

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Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: 11th November 2017

This week has been another news-filled saga, with more and more sexual harassment accusations coming out. Kevin Spacey has finally tumbled. I read about him years ago and told many of my friends, but of course his accusers weren’t believed until a week or so ago. It is getting to the stage now where you wonder if there are any stars in Hollywood who haven’t been affected by this kind of behavior, whether they were the victim or the culprit. Fashion isn’t much better, on the modelling side of things, and much of the focus has been on Terry Richardson. Although it is good news that publications are finally refusing to work with him, he is not the only person in the industry who behaves in such ways. Edie Campbell penned a good open letter in WWD on this topic, and her status as an insider can describe the situation a lot better than I can. On a happier note, Edward Enninful’s first British Vogue cover hit the newsstands this week. So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Thankfully, he pulled out all the stops with a Steven Meisel-lensed, Adwoa Aboah-fronted cover. The styling was great, the makeup was memorable, and the overall concept was so retro-glamorous that it could not be faulted. I am going to keep my copy for years to come. I know it will become a real collectors item. Finally, the last big news item of the week is that the Met Gala’s 2018 theme has been confirmed as relating to Catholicism and its depictions in fashion. Not only will it include inspired pieces, but garments worn by the Pope are going to be transported into the museum. Apparently it will be the biggest exhibition yet, but I feel like they say that every year so we shall see. Rihanna and Amal Clooney are the hosts, which I feel is a rather strange choice as neither of them are outwardly Catholic. However, Rihanna is the one Met Gala attendee that you can always count on to show up on theme and try hard so she is always welcome.

British Vogue, December 2017

Reading:

“British Vogue: Why the new issue is so historic” – The Independent

“Edie Campbell Pens Open Letter on Model Abuse” – WWD

“The Costume Institute Takes On Catholicism” – The New York Times

“Kevin Spacey’s Unprecedented Fall From Grace Tests a Stunned Hollywood” – LA Times

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Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: 5th August 2017

“The Blogger Divide: Converters or Brand-Builders?” – WWD

There’s an ever-evolving conversation about influencers and what their influence actually means. How does it translate into sales or awareness for brands and why even work with them (and pay them the exorbitantly high figures that they do)? With the rise of micro-influencers and brands gravitating towards those with a smaller but more engaged following, the place of the true influencers (1m plus followers on a platform) has been wavering. However, this WWD article shows that influencers are now separated into further subcategories, converters or brand-builders. Converters are the ones who actually drive sales and tend to have a smaller but more engaged following. They help the brand make sales and the influencer make money via affiliate links. Brand-builders are the ones like Chiara Ferragni who have huge followings (in Ferragni’s case, she has 10m on Instagram) but don’t necessarily convert these views into sales. However, neither type of influencer is better than the other and brands continue to work with them both. I’d be interested if there was a website out there that would be able to give you a list of all of the influencers and how their conversion actually works out so you’d be able to see who really is the most influential.

“Anthony Vaccarello’s Vision” – Harper’s Bazaar

I enjoyed reading this interview with Anthony Vaccarello, Saint Laurent’s creative director. Saint Laurent has been one of my favorite brands for as long as I can remember even caring about fashion and it is one that I keep up with season after season. Vaccarello had some large shoes to fill, entering the role after Hedi Slimane departed, but I’d say he has done a good job keeping the same level of buzz (or perhaps even growing it, marginally). Remember those slouchy glitter boots which had a waitlist at Saks the day of the runway show? They retail for $10000, FYI. I liked Vaccarello since a couple of years ago, when he was showing in Milan with the sexed-up Versace level of glam designs that put him on the map. I feel like his designs at Saint Laurent are just an extension of these with an added twist thrown in for good measure. This interview goes a little more in depth about Vaccarello’s life and career history. I’m always curious to hear people’s stories, especially those who are in a position that I admire. I’m excited to see the next Saint Laurent collection come the Spring shows!

“Vogue to Host Fall Conference with Star-Studded Designer Lineup” – Fashionista

Vogue Magazine is hosting a conference in October and no it doesn’t sound like that boring kind that your parents may have gotten sent to when you were a kid. They’ve managed to line up the best of the best in the industry as their speakers and have developed a one-day program at Milk Studios in Manhattan that seems like a genuinely interesting and valuable day to attend. Sounds great, until you see the price tag. A single ticket costs $3000. This is extremely prohibitive. I wonder how many companies will be willing to shell out this much for a ticket for employees and/or how many people will be willing to spend this much cash, personally, on such an event. The cost seems prohibitive. According to the Fashionista article, they will be releasing heavily discounted student tickets but I imagine even these will run for around $500. It’s a shame because when I first read about the event it seemed akin to the Vogue Festival which British Vogue hosted in London a few times. You could purchase tickets to individual talks for (I think) around 50 GBP (I don’t remember the exact price) and you had access to trend talks, styling sessions, and free manicures and hair & make-up. I initially thought this conference may have been a similar thing but evidently, it is not. Vogue is focused on professionals. I think it is sad that the cost is so high because the speakers are really amazing and I think the talks would be super valuable for people to hear, especially those who are trying to break into the industry. I’m waiting to hear what the student price is!

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Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: July 15th 2017

“Does the fashion industry still need Vogue in the age of social media?” – The Guardian

Following Lucinda Chambers’ interview last week which shook the fashion industry to the core, The Guardian have explored some of the issues that were brought up further, namely Vogue’s influence in the fashion industry in the age of social media. Since fashion shows are live-streamed and anyone can share their opinion online, traditional magazines like Vogue no longer dictate styles and trends in the way they used to. In fact, they are now influenced by social media whether that be by the pieces they feature in their editorials (often the buzziest looks from shows) or the models they cast. The magazines that are faring well in the industry are the publications who embrace the rise of social media by featuring influencers on their covers or in their pages. The Guardians’s article, penned by Karen Kay, details this all further.

Vogue Italia July 2017 Covers

Vogue Italia has undergone a rebrand since the new editor in chief took the helm. That includes retro styling and a different typeface on the covers. I personally love the new look. This magazine cover is funny to me because I didn’t even realize that the male model was nude until adding this image to my post. I have seen it so many times and failed to catch that detail as Grace Elizabeth is truly the focus of the shot. The images are shot by Steven Meisel and styled by Benjamin Bruno.

“The End of an Era: Colette to Close Its Doors” – BoF

On its 20 year anniversary, Colette, the famed Parisian multi-brand boutique has decided to shut down. The news came as a surprise given that the store is doing well and having various celebrations for their anniversary. For example, for every month this year they are giving an entire floor of the store to a designer. So far they have already hosted Balenciaga, and in the future will be hosting the likes of Sacai and Thom Browne. They are in talks with Saint Laurent, a brand that they formerly had issues with when Hedi Slimane originally took over the creative direction, to take over the store space. It will be sad to see Colette go as they were famed for their selections and for being one of the best multi-brand stores in the entire world.

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Fashion, Fashion News

Edward Enninful Confirmed at British Vogue

Omg. I’m so excited. I know that is possibly the least sophisticated way possible to start a post but I am genuinely thrilled to hear the news that Edward Enninful will be taking the position of Editor in Chief of British Vogue, replacing Alexandra Shulman effective August 1st. Edward freaking Enninful going to British Vogue. Wow.

This is exciting on so many levels. Firstly, a new editor in chief means a new direction for the magazine. I’m particularly excited about this because I am actually an avid reader of British Vogue. I’ve had a subscription since I was twelve years old and I look forward to reading it every single month. In fact, just today I read the May 2017 issue whilst enjoying the sunshine in Central Park. I like British Vogue under Shulman but I do agree with lots of the criticism of her magazine (e.g. lack of diversity, very specific target market – rich women who live in the countryside). I’m interested to see what Enninful’s take on the magazine will be. Will he completely change the direction in terms of features or will he keep things largely the same? I enjoy reading British Vogue because of the features in it, more so than the editorials often. Sometimes I can tell that an article has not been written for me at all but other times I really enjoy it. For example, in this month’s issue there was a great article about Gosha Rubchinskiy that I found interesting and actually informative. I think they do a good job of having at least two standout articles per issue so I’d like to hope that things continue this way, perhaps improving even further.

Secondly, what is going to happen to the British Vogue team? It must be rather frightening when your editor is leaving because often when a new one comes in the staff changes entirely. I hope that the core team stays the same because I honestly think that British Vogue has a great team. I love Sarah Harris, Julia Hobbs, Ellie Pithers, and Naomi Smart. There’s obviously so many more team members but they are people who I know of that I admire. I expect that Enninful will bring in some new fashion editors and start to work with different photographers and models too. I’m guessing it will mean less Mario Testino, more Mert & Marcus.

Enninful has had such an amazing career up until this point and this feels like such a moment to celebrate in fashion. Everywhere I’ve looked the reaction to his appointment has been extremely positive with everyone saying how he’s so deserving and the best candidate for the job. I’m really happy for him too and I’m excited to see what happens next. Congratulations to Edward Enninful!

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Fashion, Fashion News

Alexandra Shulman exiting British Vogue

I’m sure you’ve all seen the news by now but I thought it was time to weigh in myself, or merely comment. Alexandra Shulman is leaving her position as Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue after 25 years, the longest tenure of any editor thus far. She cites the desire for a different kind of life after all of the time at the top. It makes sense & also rules out any other possible career moves people may speculate about.

Honestly, I love British Vogue. Maybe it’s because it’s the magazine that I grew up reading or maybe it’s because I’m from there, but it is my favourite edition of Vogue to actually sit down and look through in detail. I don’t think I can do that with any other editions (often for language barriers or, in terms of American Vogue, readership age/target market). I am also confident that the magazine will not crumble without Shulman there to lead. The team is fantastic. That’s what makes the magazine so good. Julia Hobbs, Sarah Harris, Naomi Smart, Lucinda Chambers, Ellie Pithers – I could really just list the entire masthead – are all so talented.

The timing of Shulman’s departure makes sense, logically. Firstly, 25 years, a quarter of a century, is a hell of a long time to be in one job, especially such a high profile, high responsibility role. Secondly, she has achieved so much in the last year that it would seem like nothing could ever top it. The British Vogue centenary celebrations went well (slight understatement), culminating in a party, festival, and portraiture exhibition featuring the most coveted cover star, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. There was also a documentary covering the time period released on BBC2 at the tail end of 2016. In terms of going out on a high, Shulman is soaring.

I wish her all the best in whatever she chooses to pursue going forward and I excitedly wait the announcement of her successor. I don’t even know who it could be, but I really do hope it is an internal promotion. The Vogue staffers deserve it.

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Editorial, Fashion

Best of 2016 – Vogue Editorials

I look forward to writing this post every year because it is an excuse for me to trawl through the internet looking for images that I find inspiring. I trust Vogue’s all around the world to create stellar content that both inspire and evoke other emotions in me. I love a good fashion editorial. I wish that I could be paid to create them and that I had the resources to do so.

What makes a good editorial? To me, the model. I have to like the model and find her appealing or else I won’t enjoy the images, even if the styling is good. I also think the photographer is important as there are some whose style I don’t particularly like and others who I am taken by. Finally, the fashion editor helps immensely. Without their vision the editorial wouldn’t exist. I love how fashion is such a collaborative creative process. All of the people involved are needed.

Anyway, as per usual I’m reviewing British Vogue, American Vogue, Italian Vogue, and Vogue Paris in this post. Enjoy!

British Vogue

563126-800wFirst Light

Photographer – Tyrone Lebon, Stylist – Francesca Burns, Models – Frederikke Sofie & Damaris Goddrie

See full editorial here. 

460844-800wGet In Line

Photographer – Alasdair McLellan, Stylist – Kate Phelan, Model – Anna Ewers

See full editorial here. 

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As Time Goes By

Photographer – Mario Testino, Stylist – Lucinda Chambers, Model – Erin O’Connor (various)

American Vogue

Ready Set Gala

Photographer – Theo Wenner, Stylist – Sara Moonves, Models – Lily Aldridge & Emily Ratajkowski

See full editorial here.

Major General

Photographer – Mikael Jansson, Stylist – Tabitha Simmons, Models – Edie Campbell & Grace Hartzel

See full editorial here.

Drop Everything

Photographer – Alasdair McLellan, Stylist – Tonne Goodman/Michael Philouze, Model – Imaan Hammam

Vogue Italia 

Note: Since writing this the much loved Editor-in-Chief Franca Sozzani passed away at just 66 after a year long battle with an illness. This came as such a shock to me as I had no idea she was unwell. It was very sad news. In the days after her death you could truly see the admiration and love for her from the fashion community as a whole which was really beautiful. Rest in peace.

In the Mood for Lightness

Photographer – Paolo Roversi, Stylist – Jacob K, Models – Estella Boersma, Amalie Moosgaard, Cecilie Moosgaard, Julie Hoomans, Odette Pavlova, Peyton Knight & Roos Abels

See full editorial here.

Valentino

Photographer – Sarah Moon, Stylist – Patti Wilson, Model – Molly Bair

See full editorial here.

Freja Beha Erichsen

Photographer – Peter Lindbergh, Stylist – Clare Richardson, Model – Freja Beha Erichsen

See full editorial here.

Vogue Paris

Back to Black

Photographer – Claudia Knoepfel, Stylist – Veronique Didry, Models – Grace Elizabeth & Mathilde Brok Brandi

See full editorial here.

Mes Nuits Sont Plus Belles Que Vos Jours 

Photographer – Mert & Marcus, Stylist – Emmanuelle Alt, Models – Irina Shayk & Steffy Argelich

See full editorial here.

Oh! You Pretty Things

Photographer – Mert & Marcus, Stylist – Emmanuelle Alt, Models – Bella Hadid, Taylor Hill, Jena Goldsack

See full editorial here.

 

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Editorial, Fashion

American Vogue, December 2016 – “Drop Everything”

In the oversaturated world of Instagram, it is hard for an image to make a real lasting impression. However, when I seen the series of images shared by Imaan Hammam from her December 2016 American Vogue shoot, I immediately stopped. Maybe I should back up a little bit. First of all, Imaan is probably my favourite model of the moment. She is stunning and works hard, plus seems like a nice, non-bitchy person. I follow her on both Snapchat and Instagram so I see a lot of her daily, but the images that she shared from the shoot are different than normal.

Styled by Tonne Goodman, the shoot has a slightly retro vibe (probably down to the hair and make-up, which, by the way, is flawless) and is just all around goals. It is what I love to see from a Vogue shoot. They went out on location, they shot a zillion good looks (yes, the clothes are actually nice and don’t all just look like head-to-toe runway looks), and the output was good. I know that when I get this magazine in the mail I will probably keep it just because of this editorial.

Photographer – Alasdair McLellan, Stylist – Tonne Goodman/Michael Philouze, Model – Imaan Hammam


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Celebrity & Red Carpet, Opinion

Personal Style/Celebrity Stylists

A couple of weeks ago I received my daily newsletter from Vogue, that day entitled “What The Hell Happened to Personal Style?”. To give you the gist of it all, basically the writer was disappointed in the homogeneous, Kardashian style that has swept the nation and is worn by millions of young girls every day. They were sick of neutrals, topknots, and bodycon and missed true style icons like Kate Moss being lauded instead of those who work with a stylist. The latter point is what I’d like to hone in on.

The idea of working with a stylist seems strange to me, especially if it is for a non-red carpet occasion, but you cannot underestimate the power of a celebrity stylist. Think about what Rachel Zoe did back in 2004/2005! Nicole Richie had a major makeover and suddenly became an international style icon. This was a woman who was often ridiculed and thought of as just a famous-for-being-famous, reality tv star suddenly transformed to a real star. You cannot discredit Zoe for that. Nowadays it is Monica Rose who is spreading the same effect through her work with the Kardashians/Jenners and their gang of friends like the Hadid sisters. Just like the band of Zoebots who were constantly photographed this time a decade ago, Monica Rose’s clients often wear very similar looks today. It doesn’t help that they are currently some of the most talked about women in the world right now.

In the article the writer says Kate Young’s work with Selena Gomez is different because it is a “creative partnership”. Unfortunately I don’t agree with this. I don’t think what Kate Young does for Selena Gomez is any different than what Monica Rose does for her clients (although Selena does look so incredible now). Both stylists are picking “off-duty” looks as well as outfits for official appearances. I don’t have a problem with stylists doing this for clients. In fact, I think it is a super smart thing for all celebrities to do – a good branding move. However, I really do hate when people cite the celebrity’s personal style as their inspiration because I really don’t think it is their personal style at all. If your stylist has to pick out your clothing, whether they pre-pick your outfit or just provide you with pieces that would work well together, I don’t think it is your personal style, I think it is just a style. To me it is about those who the look originated from getting credit, but that rarely happens.

Kylie’s outfit in this photo is exactly what the writer of the Vogue article hates; cut-outs, bodycon, neutral.

If I were rich and famous, I can’t imagine that I’d want a stylist. It would probably make things easier for calling in looks for events but then again there are some celebrities who do it all themselves and still manage fine: Diane Kruger, Dita von Teese, Blake Lively (for the most part), January Jones. Dressing yourself every day should be straightforward and actually fun. However, maybe if you’re getting photographed everywhere you go you’d want to look photo ready at all times. Perhaps that’s why celebrity personal style seems manufactured.

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Opinion, Personal

Vogue Festival 2016 – Before the Event

Since its inception only a few years ago, I have wondered about the Vogue Fashion Festival. Is it just another money maker trying to trick the public into thinking that they’re going to a fashion show (a la The Clothes Show: Live) or is it something actually worth going to? In the past they’ve secured some fantastic people to be the subject of interviews such as John Galliano so I have always been intrigued. This year, I bought tickets.

I actually think the festival seems to be in its best format yet. You buy a ticket to the specific event you want to see (a talk, a masterclass, a panel etc.) and this ticket gains you access to the entire festival for the day as well as the event you’ve paid for.

I went ahead and bought a ticket to Grace Coddington because I have adored her for years and years. In fact, she is one of the people who make fashion the magical place that it is through her wonderful editorials over the years. Now that she has stepped down from doing Vogue full time I assume she has more time and freedom to participate in events like this. Her session will be led by Lucinda Chambers, Fashion Director of British Vogue, who was formerly Grace’s assistant in days long gone by. I am particularly excited for this talk. I also bought a ticket for the Vetements talk (not featuring Demna but led by Suzy Menkes), you know, in the spirit of learning and whatnot. Then for the Sunday I bought a ticket to see Dolce & Gabbana, led by Alexandra Shulman. I know that’s quite a few but I thought “when in London”, because it isn’t like I’m there very often. Some other key speakers are Alessandro Michele of Gucci (closing the festival on the Sunday), Kim Kardashian (I’m pretty sure her talk sold out quickly), and Alexa Chung and her gang of cool friends – and I’m not going to lie, I kind of like her now. The Future of Fashion series she has been doing on British Vogue’s YouTube channel is incredible.

Anyway, I shall return with an update after I’ve attended to let you know if it was any good/if I’d go back in the future. There are still tickets left to many of the events if you are interested!

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