Monday, September 18, 2006

Heel to toe

We can't escape the irony surrounding us today. On Drury Lane we have hirsute toed wanna be hobbits lining up to audition for a chance to play in the staging of Middle-earth in the West End. Whilst on the grounds of the National History Museum we have the embodiment of last week's superwaif regulation call coalescing in Blahnik stilettos around the Moet champagne catwalk bar for London Fashion Week.

In both parts of London today, discrimination is being apportioned based on height, weight and disputable definitions of talent. Giselles and pygmies aside, most of us would be rejected on all counts. And such indiscriminate discrimination (word coupling used for heightened ironic effect) is precisely why I find the post Madrid super skinny model banning debate all the more outrageous. At what point was faith in our critical faculties lost to paternalistic sheltering? (Okay, but we got rid of that possessive, smothering boyfriend years ago). When did we stop being trusted to decide for ourselves what is realistic, what is aspirational, and what is just plain farcical?

But what about the teenage girls, some ask? Just look at statistics on eating disorders, claim others. Blame Kate Moss snide most. Hold your hot pant wearing jealousy at bay, for a minute, I plea. As is the case with 'homeland' security efforts, measures of 'protection' are limitless. Intended to prevent an uncertain causality, they can by definition be construed for the unforeseen. What is to say that today's ban on thin won't be tomorrow's ban on brand? Isn't it a logical extension that if supermodels represent the pursuit of unnatural weight, that Chanel represents the pursuit of unattainable wealth? Hardly a detrimental line to take I realise, but where do you stop?

And aren't we gravely forgetting about teenage boys, the oft overlooked half of the impressionable generation. Is the image of David Beckham not dangerous to many an average youth club member's sense of self-worth? Is it that much easier for an aspiring young footballer to accept he never will play for England, than for a 5'1" portly teenager that she will never walk the catwalk ? Such nanny state debate over the size of supermodels, does nothing to dispel the myths at hand. In fact, it only serves to perpetuate the biggest one of all: that life is anything but a series of acceptances. Now don't get me wrong. I am just as gushingly optimistic as the next braying American, but Kate Moss I will never be. This I must accept.

Well, until today when women across London (and shortly New York) are all a step closer, as Kate blessed Topshop last night with her front row presence at its catwalk show. And here we have perhaps the biggest irony of all. The world's greatest supermodel upstaging all that London Fashion Week's air kissing exclusivity represents with (here declared) the greatest fashion statement of her career: from today Kate has shown she is following in our (high street) footsteps. By promoting what is attainable, Kate has gone where no supermodel has gone before. But we should have guessed, Kate is ubiquitous for sniffing out the best snuff, I mean stuff.

And in keeping with today's ironic theme, forget the high street for now and check out London's latest high(er) fashion craze:

Mayle, a unique and beautifully designed label with an underground cult following. Pricier than Topshop, but still doesn't cost the moon. If nothing else, a snoop in stockist's Cross, Mimi and Browns should give us an idea of what copies to look out for on the high street. Now who needs Fashion Week?


Blogger Moaner Lisa said...

Thanks Slicker for saying what needs to be said.

A very small number of people have a talent for wearing of clothes - fact. The rest of us don't. If you find that hard to deal with - tough. Get over it.

And the idea that you get rid of super-skinny girls and you stop teenage girls fretting about their body shape is just one of the most over-simplistic and misguided understandings of anything ever.

3:33 pm  
Anonymous Bill said...

I agree and think the male issue is important and as you say overlooked. I for one know it took me years to accept that I was not to be the next Maradonna.

What am I saying I never got over it. My two year old son is named Diego. Only my partner thinks it is after San Diego where she is from.

3:53 pm  
Anonymous Stef said...

I have no doubt that if we regularly saw pictures of fat women wearing beautiful clothes and make-up, wielding power, and being admired by men, our beliefs about beauty would shift, and we'd want to look more like them. Fashion photographs have a hypnotic, addictive effect. I'm a feminist, yet I feel great longing when I look at the gorgeous photographs. Imagine if that longing were invoked by looking at photos of fat women - and it would be, if we were to see such photos.

4:24 pm  
Anonymous Ellen said...

I know I struggle to keep my self esteem up when I look at those pictures. I know intellectually that most of those models are air-brushed and/or virtual drawings and that it is literally impossible to look them. I'm also happier seeing ads with real people in them, provided those ads aren't portraying them negatively.

4:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The average British woman stands 5′4″, weighs 140 pounds and wears between a size 14-16. In 1965, the average fashion model weighed just 8% less than the average American woman. Ideals shifted with the popularity of British model Twiggy (considered one of the world’s first “supermodels”), who stood 5′7″, but weighed just 91 pounds. The average fashion model today is 5′11″ and weighs 117 pounds, which makes her thinner than 98% of British women.

And you are saying we should put up with this?

5:30 pm  
Blogger City Slicker said...

Quickly, some gossip in from a friend front and centre of the shows today (assuming somebody, somewhere cares):

The sixties-style miniskirt is back – and the goth/punk look is set to continue to be big well into the spring. Also lots of textured layering and frilly ruffles featured.

Boy George’s collection by his fashion label B Rude truly wowed the crowds, who gave the singer-turned-DJ a standing ovation. Definitely one to watch.

5:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have no doubt that if we regularly saw pictures of fat women wearing beautiful clothes and make-up, wielding power, and being admired by men, our beliefs about beauty would shift, and we'd want to look more like them" says Stef

I just don't see how this is true. Are you seriously suggesting that you'd rather look at pictures of beautiful clothes worn by fat people than skinny people? The fact is, clothes look and hang better on a thin frame with smooth lines. Models are thin for a reason. It is purely about aesthetics.

And as for models being rejected on the basis of their BMI - I am 5'7'' and weigh 112 pounds. This makes my BMI 18. I am a healthy weight and lead a healthy lifestyle. I do not consider myself too thin. I do not think that models should be judged on BMI alone.

6:15 pm  
Anonymous Claire said...

Good post. I have to agree that we need to make up our own minds. Or else it is just controlled censorship. But look here for the latest skinny models to circuit internet. This may be pushing the boundaries
scary skinny model pics

6:32 pm  
Anonymous badgelady said...

Catwalk models are suppose to be human hangers to show off the clothes; not the body that's wearing them. But, somewhere along the line they got glammed and all of a sudden entire western cultures became obsessed with skinny/heroin chick/pre-adolescent boy looks.

It'll be interesting to see a size 6 model fit into a size 2 designer outfit. I'll bet there'll be more pins holding fabric together under the seams than designers spend money on more fabric to accommodate a size 6.

It's like the Russian ballerina who got so fat the ballet co. fired her because she was causing injury to the male dancers who had to dance with her; but, then she sued and won. Beefy ballerinas just aren't as graceful as their svelte counterparts.

Heavier cat walk models will throw more focus on the model than the clothes.

Which is the balance Kate Moss has struck with perfection.

6:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good blog,as allways cs, but spent 30 mins looking up what half the words ment!!! Do you talk this way in real life,But apart from that your top blog.

7:28 pm  
Blogger ems said...

Superbly well written! I'm just concerned that many of the girls - and to a far lesser but increasing extent the boys - I teach only aspire to looking good rather than any kind of career. I blame the magazines.

8:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes EMS I agree the magazines are very guilty, but it is our choice to buy them -- no?! See my point and it is not to be controversial rather why are the magazines so bad if its not because as CS says we are actually believing what we read?

12:56 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

So why do we read magazines? To look at clothes, trends and ideas? But if an advert or a shoot featured a 'normal' woman, rather than say, Kate Moss, would you look at the picture and try and emulate the style within your own wardrobe - probably not. Designers and editors know this, hence why they use models rather than 'normal' women. As I said above, models (and therefore magazines) are purely about aesthetics.

10:24 am  
Blogger hs24 said...

Generics brukar kosta runt en åttondel av de ursprungliga behandlingar och, i ansiktet av det, de ser ut som ett riktigt kap. Detta sagt, det finns många oroande problem med riklig och enkel tillgång av generiska Viagra säljes på internet och de företag som tillhandahåller dem.

4:00 am  

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