Kate Moss turns 40 next month (her birthday is the day after mine) and she looks amazing in her spread for Playboy’s 60th anniversary issue. However, as I was looking through the pictures online I noticed some comments being made about Moss’s decision to appear in this kind of publication. I say this because, despite its reputation for being a “classy” or “literary” men’s magazine, the Playboy website looks exactly like any other porn site. Furthermore, Playboy doesn’t usually attract the same audience that would be reading Vogue Paris, which is where Moss can usually be seen taking her clothes off for the camera. One person asked why THE Kate Moss would ever consent to posing for such a “sleazy” publication, and it reminded me of something that happened three years ago, involving another top model.
‘Kate Moss by Mert & Marcus.
Back in 2010, a photograph of Lara Stone was featured in French Playboy without her permission. The photograph was taken by Greg Lotus in 2008 and placed with his syndication agency, Icon, then sold to Playboy without his approval. Lara Stone sued Playboy and won substantial damages in court (which she donated to charity), stating that “it’s not the kind of publication I would ever choose to be in.” Her supporters–myself included–reasoned that she should have the power to decide which magazines she appears in, and that even though she had appeared nude in Purple and Vogue Paris on many occasions prior, that didn’t necessarily mean that she had forfeited her rights. It had nothing to do with the number of times she had appeared naked before those photos were printed in Playboy.
Earlier this year, Barneys was accused of racial profiling on at least two separate occasions. One of them involved 21-year-old Kayla Phillips, who bought a Celine handbag for $2,500. She left the store without any problems, but was later confronted by the police at the train station. Phillips hadn’t considered going public with her story until another case emerged, this time involving 19-year-old Trayon Christian, who spent $350 on a Salvatore Ferragamo belt. Once these stories made it to the media, many people signed online petitions urging rapper Jay Z (whose real name is Shawn Carter) to sever his New York Holiday collaboration with Barneys. However, the rapper chose to go ahead with plans, under the condition that he would have a leadership role in addressing and shaping store policy.
Grandmaster Flash for Louis Vuitton, 1996.
In her post, “What can Jay Z do about alleged racial profiling at Barneys?”, Robin Givhan raises a very interesting point about the divisive nature of retail. Luxury brands and retailers spend millions of dollars every year trying to get us to visit their stores, buy their products, and spread the good word. They use up these resources in convincing us–the masses that form the middle market–that we should aspire to a certain lifestyle. However, the unsettling message that’s now emerging is that they don’t believe many of us deserve to shop in these stores after all.
As Givhan writes: “…as a Barneys shopper, you are part of that club. You are part of the fashion conversation that has grown bigger and more vigorous, but not necessarily more welcoming. You get it. And others do not.”
And how exactly has it grown bigger and more vigorous over the years? Let’s take a step back in time…
Firstly, I am terribly sorry for the lack of updates on this blog. I took some time off to study for my final assessments (and regrettably had nothing in my drafts), but now that the ordeal is behind me I am trying to get back into a routine of updating Antwerpsex regularly. I really appreciate all of the feedback/comments I receive on my posts, even if I don’t get a chance to reply to them, and that’s why I’ve decided to introduce a new segment called “Ask Antwerpsex.” You can send in questions directly to my email (see the contact link above) or in my Tumblr message box. I can’t promise that I’ll respond to each and every one, but I’ll try my best.
Australian “plus-size” model Robin Lawley. Image from Vogue Australia.
For my first “Ask Antwerpsex” post I will be talking a little bit about fashion and body image, two notions that have become inextricably linked. It was sent in by a reader named Angela, who lives in Perth, Australia. She asked: Do you believe that the fashion industry promotes poor body image and/or eating disorders?
The National Eating Disorders Association reported that 20 years ago, the average fashion model weighed 8 per cent less than the average woman (129 pounds vs. 140 pounds). Today, she weighs 23 per cent less (123 pounds vs. 160 pounds). These numbers are trying to make a point about how standards have shifted, but it’s not correct to assume that just because the average model now weighs less than she did in the 1990s, the fashion industry (or society as a whole) has descended into a pro-anorexia or pro-bulimia regime. There’s more to consider, including the rising popularity of the profession among young girls, the accelerated pace of the fashion calendar (which has become more physically taxing on models), or the fact that some women just have extraordinarily fast metabolisms. A number doesn’t accurately explain what’s going on.
I spent Halloween studying for my exams next week and watching American Horror Story. It was fun. My first post on expensive Halloween costumes was well-received (surprisingly) so I’ve decided to do part two.
A 40s pin-up at Alexis Mabille.
Halloween isn’t a big deal here in Australia but I wanted to do something to celebrate this day. After news that some people are STILL stupid enough to be dressed in blackface for Halloween, I figured that there are plenty of people who could use a post like this. So here is my list of expensive Halloween costumes from recent collections:
A poet witch at Ann Demeulemeester.
Jil Sander’s journey has been one with many ups and downs, as well as ins and outs. She founded her company in 1968 and went on to become a prominent minimalist in the 1990s, alongside Helmut Lang and Prada. In 1999, Prada bought a 75 per cent stake in the company, but Sander left just six months later due to business conflicts with Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli. She made a short-lived comeback in 2003, but left again the following year because Bertelli wanted to move the brand’s focus from clothing to accessories, against Sander’s wishes. Raf Simons was hired in 2005 and left in 2012, when it was announced that Jil Sander herself would be returning. Last Thursday it was confirmed that she’d be leaving for the third time. The brand’s fall-winter 2014 collection will be designed by an in-house design team and presented at Milan Fashion Week early next year.
Jil Sander bids farewell.
That’s a lot of informative (and dates) to register so you might have to read that first paragraph again. Personally, I’m glad that Jil Sander is leaving her brand. I don’t think she was enjoying her work anymore, and in this mentally and physically demanding industry it’s important that designers enjoy what they do. Even with minimalism, where it’s so easy for designers to get comfortable and complacent (or fall into old habits), it can be just as exciting as watching couture coming down the runway when a designer is committed to presenting new ideas. And that’s the biggest obstacle Sander has had to overcome since coming back–her brand simply wasn’t evolving! If I put her collections against each other it would be difficult, if not impossible, for me to tell them apart.