It always brings out the cynic in me to see fashion take on politics, and Vivienne Westwood's continuing campaign to raise awareness for climate change is no exception.
Westwood is among the most politically outspoken designers working today: in 2007, she released her manifesto, Active Resistence to Propaganda (an insane dialogue between Alice, Pinocchio, Art Lover, Beautiful Slavegirl, Dryad of the Rainforest and others), she posts political musings regularly to her blog (the wonderfully titled "Get a Life") and was one of the few in the fashion industry to openly support the Occupy Movement in 2011.
Westwood's eclectic, singular designs and public persona make her a fitting champion of art and noncomformity, but more recently, the designer's also been positioning herself as an advocate for eco-consciousness. For the Spring 2013 Red Label show, the designer closed out the presentation by unfurling a banner which read "Climate Revolution" and taking her walk down the runway in a shirt bearing the same slogan and war paint on her face — an oversized frown painted with black on her mouth and a circle sketched round her eye. Westwood followed this appearance with a series of provocative statements, which included a call to stop shopping (meanwhile, the Vivienne Westwood brand online shop would be happy to take your order). "The fight is no longer between the classes or between rich and poor," she wrote in the copy accompanying the YouTube video of her Spring 2013 runway show, "but between the idiots and the eco-conscious." (In 2006, the Independant reported that Westwood's net worth was £10 million.) Last week, she pledged £1 million to the climate charity Cool Earth.
The designer did not back down when she showed her Men's line at the London Collections on Tuesday. Westwood styled her models with the same look she debuted at the Red Label Spring 2013 show in September — an expressive, clownish kind of warpaint, using broad black lines on pale faces and bright white paint for darker skin tones.
Together with posters printed with slogans advocating for eco-awareness more explicitly, the makeup was used to advance Westwood's message about climate change: makeup artist Pablo Rodriguez toldthe Telegraph that the look "represented an abstract image of a sad face of disapproval, so the models had a pointing down mouth and one sketchy round eye."
I have a soft spot for these kinds of ridiculous, messy makeup looks, and wouldn't mind living in a world where people drew out their feelings on their faces as a daily practice, but I can't say I'm satisfied with it is a political act.
As tFS writer Sarah Joynt pointed out in her review of Westwood's Spring 2013 Red Label show, the designer's messaging isn't matched with concrete steps toward sustainability: "The designer's finale preached a climate revolution, but what about the effects of the production? … If the collection had been entirely eco-friendly, her message would have made a much bigger impact. As it stands, the stunt seemed skin deep."
There's little to no information available about manufacturing practices or labor condition standards for the Vivienne Westwood brand and despite the designer's calls to buy less, waste less, she says all this while still fully participating in the established fashion industry, which is definitely not an innocent bystander to the culture of consumption. I understand that she's trying to use her status as an internationally recognized designer to raise awareness for something that she's obviously truly passionate about, but she's kidding herself if she thinks there's anything "revolutionary" about what she's doing, or that her actions, as they stand, are really going to effect any kind of radical change. You know, apart from a makeup for men beauty trend.
Juergen Teller and his harsh lighting captured Emma Stone for the cover of W’s February Movie Issue. Sporting stringy blonde hair, a strapless bra and a carefully draped leather jacket, Emma looks a bit grittier than we’re used to seeing her. Is that a nod to her upcoming film, Gangster Squad, or simply the result of W’s continued efforts to subvert the appearance of its cover stars?
Though there were some mixed feelings in the forums about the cover, many forum members were surprised by how much they liked it and admired W’s commitment to trying different things.
“Is it wrong that I don't actually hate it?” Greenway asked. “The pose and styling work for me but the face could have been a bit stronger,” she added.
“YES! YES! YES!” jmrmartinho shouted. “This is what I want to see in a celebrity spread… Transforming America’s Sweetheart into something different, more edgy, and in my opinion way more interesting, just makes me more excited about the usual boring studio pictures Movie Issue… W is proving that American magazines do not always play it safe and they are (basically) the only ones doing it.”
Youarearockstar shared, “I'm super into this, and would immediately snatch this off the shelves of the newsstand.”
This may not be my personal favorite look for Emma Stone, but I kind of dig the subversive quality of the image and I’m looking forward to cracking the issue open when it hits my mailbox.
On January 8 in New York City, fashion industry leaders gathered to honor industry veterans and celebrate the next generation of fashion talent at the 2013 YMA FSF Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards Dinner. Lanvin’s artistic director, Alber Elbaz who took home the prestigious 50th Anniversary Geoffrey Beene Fashion Impact Award was among the night’s honorees.
Also at the event were Bibhu Mohapatra, Kim Hastreiter, Alexandra Lind Rose, Lynn Hirschberg, Jim Gold, Stefano Tonchi, Andrea DuBois, Jason Kidd, Porschla Coleman, Rula Jebreal and Alvin Valley. Not bad for a Tuesday night. The event raised 1.9 million dollars in support of its scholarship, mentoring and internship programs and handed out scholarships to 130 deserving college students pursuing careers in fashion arts.
It’s nice to see all the efforts being made to nurture and support the next generation of fashion talent. While many continue to dismiss fashion as frivolous, we all have to wear clothes, and the multi-billion dollar fashion industry is clearly a force to be reckoned with.
Image courtesy of the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund.
“She hasn’t worked in this market for a long time, so to make the move now [from Viviens], obviously it’s because she wants to further her career, she wants to get back into the Australian market… She’s an Australian girl and this is an important market for her. And she’s looking at everything IMG can offer, from endorsements to modelling contracts.”
Perth-born Ward began her career back in 2003 at Australian Fashion Week before going on to grace approximately 92,382 Vogue covers, replace Kate Moss as the face of Calvin Klein’s Obsession Night perfume and inspire an entire generation of baby doll/alien face lookalikes including Lily Cole and Jessica Stam. She quit modelling in 2008 to pursue acting, and despite scoring roles in Pirates of the Caribbean and The Great Gatsby has managed to pretty much avoid premieres and gossip mags entirely. One tFS member points out that there have been more sightings of Bin Laden in the last five years than there have of Ward, but hopefully her new relationship with IMG will put her back on our radars.
The question remains, though, whether Gemma’s bankability is as strong as it was in the noughties. Commenters on her thread are split 50-50 between having excitement-induced heart attacks and questioning whether, at 25, she’ll still be desirable to designers. It’s probably telling though that said thread was still exploding with updates and nostalgic circa-2005 runway shots during even her quietest times.
It's been home to some of the country's finest and fairest faces, but after almost 18 years in their Toronto offices, Ford Models will be pulling out of Canada by the end of January.
Elmer Olsen of Elmer Olsen Models Management has described the move as spurring a "feeding frenzy" to sign some of Toronto’s top talent. Talent that consisted of more than 250 women, men and plus-sized models, who all featured prominently throughout Toronto Fashion Week.
The Toronto agency was also once responsible for Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley — both of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition fame — as well as a young, pre-fame Malin Akerman, the Swedish-Canadian actress who played the kick-ass femme fatale Silk Spectre II in the 2009 movie Watchmen.
"It’s sad because Ford is a very reputable name and we were very excited when they came to Canada and brought that powerhouse name to our industry. It was an asset to the Canadian fashion industry," Olsen told the Toronto Star. "There will be a feeding frenzy."
Meanwhile, Ann Sutherland, president at Sutherland Models, also told the Toronto Star she was surprised to hear the news, but moved quickly to sign five new clients Tuesday as the word spread. "These are good models and these are good agents. It’s a little bit surprising that it would happen," Sutherland said. "Our phones are ringing off the hook."
Talking heads at Ford’s Toronto operation have yet to elaborate on why the Manhattan-based agency decided to shutter its only Canadian office, merely describing the move as a decision from New York given that Toronto was its smallest market (the agency also holds offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Brazil).
"Toronto is amazing for a starting market, for a new girl to get started to do shows, to learn the ropes of being backstage, and learning to walk a runway and being in hair and makeup," Olsen said. "It’s an amazing, amazing grooming ground, but it’s small, small potatoes compared to Paris and New York."
The news comes not long after Toronto Fashion Week was bought by global event management firm IMG, which gave Canadian fashionistas hope of being elevated to a brighter, international limelight. Now this latest blow can only mean that some of our best talent will be looking across the border for better opportunities and bidding au revoir to a Canadian fashion industry that's more often viewed as America's slightly modish hat.
Some people may find it to be overkill that Hedi Slimane released a whole second portion to his Spring 2013 debut collection for Saint Laurent Paris, but personally, I find the new images features Edie Campbell and musician Beck Hansen to be a very welcome addition. Not that the first ads featuring Julia Nobis weren’t alluring enough in and of themselves – they were, and she did a fantastic job of making the collection more desirable – but Edie and Beck bring the campaign to a whole new level.
Beck collaborated with Slimane way back when for Dior Homme and it’s nice to see the two coming together once more. It’s also nice to hear Beck’s music in a promotional campaign video. The ads, the models, the inclusion of Beck, and yes, even Slimane’s styling and photography all bring a fresh infusion of “cool” to the brand. Slimane is shaking things up, and seemingly for the first time, I’m not mad at him for it.
See the complete sets of images here and here, and check out the aforementioned campaign video below.