It’s upsetting news. Aside from Dries Van Noten, she was the only other member of the Antwerp Six that I really paid attention to. I can’t think of a single other designer whose aesthetic and attention to detail even compares to Ann’s. Her clothes always embodied a certain character—poets, witches, spiritual vagabonds—and that’s going to be difficult to evolve without making a mockery of everything she worked to create. I just don’t want to see what happened to Alexander McQueen happening again…to anyone (shudders). I don’t know who could replace her, but Ann’s fans are so particular that her successor is going to be thrown to the wolves either way. Good luck to that person. I guess the worst-case scenario is that it ends up looking like the costumes from American Horror Story: Coven, which isn’t too bad…
This racial profiling scandal reminds me of something that happened a few years ago, also involving Jay Z. In a 2006 interview with The Economist, Frederic Rouzaud, managing director of Louis Roederer–makers of the super expensive Cristal wine that was featured prominently in hip hop songs and music videos–stated that being associated with the “bling lifestyle” could be detrimental: “But what can we do? We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.” Jay Z, viewing the comments as racist and disrespectful, pulled Cristal wine from his clubs and vowed to changed his song lyrics.
He acted swiftly back then so I can understand why many people feel indignant about his decision to continue working with Barneys, given the similar racial implications, i.e. black people don’t deserve our products. However, 100 per cent of the proceeds (Barneys had previously pledged 25 per cent) is going to The Shawn Carter Foundation, which gives scholarships to underprivileged youths. Without the collab, that money wouldn’t exist—Jay Z chose the lesser of two evils. Also, by taking on a leadership role and being more involved in the case, he can inspire real change to Barneys store policy.
Note: I personally think Jay Z’s New York Holiday collection is hideous and overpriced, but at least the money is going to a good place. I wrote more about this on Antwerpsex, if you’d like to read it.
In John Galliano’s interview with Charlie Rose (Youtube link here), the designer says that he knew McQueen personally and “understood” why he committed suicide. Of course, we’ll never know for sure (and suicide can’t be ascribed to one cause), but it probably had something to do with feeling utterly lonely despite always being surrounded by different people: your design team, the PPR/Kering executives, your famous friends, etc. There are so many people to answer. And as McQueen’s popularity grew, and his name received more column inches (thanks, Lady Gaga), this ‘machine’ got bigger and bigger until it sucked him in.
McQueen created beautiful collections, obviously. There was always this sensitivity, this soulful undercurrent, and it wasn’t the in-your-face-and-knock-you-over-the-head Fa$h!on that we see on the McQueen runway these days. I think Galliano would have treated the brand with the same level of respect—fantasy can be seductive, but it can also be brutal and grotesque. It can turn you into an ugly person, as Galliano now understands. I think he’d be a good match for the brand. Let’s remember that Alexander McQueen replaced Galliano at Givenchy (before it was a glorified t-shirt company). To see them reverse roles—Galliano taking over McQueen, at his own brand—would have been weirdly poetic, no?
(But really…after the Spring 2014 collection I’d prefer anyone over Sarah Burton)
*menacing voice-over* Next week on American Horror Story: Coven.
The four young witches leave Miss Robichaux’s Academy to prepare a ritual to discover the identity of the next Supreme witch. They each bring a sacrificial offering—a snake, a hare, a toad, and a fawn—and stop at the intersection where two roads meet. They hold their hands and chant. In the distance they hear the sound of savage wind, racing and receding into the void. A bonfire is lit. Lightning strikes thrice around this sacred circle. Suddenly, Ann Demeulemeester appears in a zephyr of black smoke, removes her cape, and says to the young coven, “I’m the next Supreme.”
Karl Lagerfeld is getting sued for defamation by a group called Belle, Ronde, Sexy et Je M’assume (which translates to “pretty, curvy, sexy and fine with it”) for comments he made on a French talk show last month.
"The hole in social security, it’s also [due to] all the diseases caught by people who are too fat," he said. Let’s not forget that Karl used to be fat (not that being fat is a bad thing) and famously lost over 42 kg just to fit into Dior Homme suits. He also confessed that he drinks nothing but diet coke all day. He clearly isn’t the epitome of strength and health himself.
It’s difficult to give an informed opinion without knowing what it is that the women’s group is trying to achieve. Do they want to name and shame? If that’s the case then I don’t think it’s going to work. Karl has been saying stupid things for years—with plenty of scandal—and will continue saying these things for a long time. And if Karl isn’t saying it, somebody else will. From my understanding, France is big on the whole free speech thing and an injured party needs to be identified. Karl wasn’t referring to any person in particular (at least not this time) so I don’t know how they’re going to prove that his words have led to their direct suffering. If the group is just looking for media attention/more members then that’s a different story.
Don’t get me wrong—I think there should definitely be some kind of punishment, but I’m not convinced that a lawsuit is the right one. It seems quite frivolous. I appreciate that we’re talking about this, but, in all honesty, I think the fashion industry gets unfairly blamed for all these issues surrounding body image, eating disorders, etc. It’s a problem in the industry (I won’t deny that) but Karl Lagerfeld’s senseless rambling is a very small part of it. How many trashy celebrity magazines feature headlines like, “Is she pregnant or is she just fat?” Or scary dieting tips? Or snapshots of actresses at the beach with—GASP—cellulite? And please shoot the next journalist who mentions the thigh gap. I feel like that deserves so much more attention that an 80-year-old fashion designer whose obsession with his cat is starting to get very, very creepy.
I’m sorry but I think that Jeremy Scott is a terrible fashion designer. People always praise him for his humour and wit and I’m just sitting here thinking…what? He printed a pizza on a dress and made a sweater out of Bart Simpson’s face, which regrettably spawned a million hideous copies (shudders). That’s not wit; that’s just BAD. I’m pretty sure he consults pre-school children on how to design clothes, which for some reason always end up looking like trashy new rave costumes. I don’t pay much attention to Moschino but the house has a tradition of making ironic statements and poking fun at luxury. It would be interesting to see how Jeremy Scott attempts to impress at Milan Fashion Week, which is already home to one of the most witty, humorous and self-aware designers of our time: Miuccia Prada. Now there’s a designer who can make witty clothes without turning them into Halloween costumes. I can already picture Jeremy Scott sending models down the runway dressed as hamburgers.
I met Imran Amed, editor of Business of Fashion, and Heidi Middleton from sass & bide when I was Sydney a few months ago. I wrote about it here. I also visited Dior while I was there. I was upstairs admiring the ready-to-wear (it looks so much better in real life) when I noticed someone in the next room. He clearly hadn’t shaven in a while, and he was wearing really ugly gym clothes and worn-out sneakers. I thought he was homeless and that the Dior people were going to kick him out of the store (they do that sometimes). When I got closer I realised it was Russell Crowe. I’m not really a fan, though.
I’m really flattered that you’re asking me because I don’t think I’m the greatest example of what it takes to be a “successful” blogger. I can only speak from personal experience because I don’t know what your strengths are as a writer, or what area of fashion you’re interested in (menswear? womenswear? hair and make-up?) but I will try my best.
I think these are important points to consider:
Please don’t try to sound too clever on your blog. You’re going to feel the urge to use a lot of new words and flowery sentences, as well as sprinkle your writing with cultural references that only 0.001% of your readers will pick up on. Don’t do that. You won’t sound smart; you’ll end up sounding drunk. (Shout out to my baby Tuileries)
Secondly, be honest with yourself and your audience. If you love something, say it. If you think that something is ugly as sin, say it. You know when writing has that brainless affected quality where everything is fabulous because it’s designer? Avoid doing that because nobody wants to read that crap. However, be prepared to defend your opinions because people WILL disagree with you at times. Own your work.
Lastly, and most importantly, persevere. I’ve had Antwerpsex for almost 11 months now and I was seriously considering letting it go at one point. Keeping your blog up will feel like a chore sometimes but all you need is better time management. You might want to cut down on the number of posts, too. However, I think one of the best ways to learn something (or at least remember something) is by teaching it to somebody else, and my blog has really helped me with that.
Conde Nast is getting sued by two former interns for violating labour laws (good, they deserve to get sued) but could have taken this opportunity to make some positive changes. The decision to shut down internships altogether seems like a childish attempt at self-preservation and, in all honesty, a huge “fuck you!” to all the students who are struggling to find valuable experience at one of the world’s biggest magazine publishers. Instead of inventing more titles for Anna Wintour (“artistic director” of Conde Nast—what does that even mean?) they should be reviewing their hiring policies/work practices and making the necessary improvements.
It’s terrible, terrible, terrible news. What a shame that they’re taking the coward’s way out. More on my Wordpress blog.