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Following Backlash, Elle Apologizes for ‘North Korea Chic’ Item

Screenshot via WashingtonPost.com

Screenshot via WashingtonPost.com

Elle has apologized and pulled an item touting 'North Korea Chic' as a fall fashion trend, following an outpouring of criticism from various news organizations. The offending piece was part of a slideshow which was posted to the magazine's website on Tuesday (it had initially appeared in the glossy's September Issue). (The Washington Post presciently captured the screengrab, "just in case the article disappears," before it was deleted from the site.)

The original copy, written by the publication's fashion editor, Joe Zee:

"Some iteration of the military trend stomps the runways every few seasons. This time, it's edgier, even dangerous, with sharp buckles and clasps and take-no-prisoners tailoring."

The Washington Post's Max Fisher first noticed the item and responded searingly:

As an example of North Korea Chic, Elle points to a pair of designer camouflage pants that sell for $425. (The average North Korean is thought to make about $4 per day.) …

…The words "North Korea" are practically synonymous with "human rights abuses," which makes it an odd choice for Elle's list of fashion trends. That multiple staffers at the magazine would presumably see this item going through production without thinking to stop it makes one wonder whether they are unaware of North Korea's reputation or simply don't see it as important enough to get in the way of their clever fashion coinage.

Still, it's only fashion, and perhaps it's easy for foreign policy observers to take ourselves too seriously. What's really wrong with winking at North Korean militarism to sell $400 pants? For that matter, why not a line of footwear by Pol Pot? Or grooming tips by Stalin? Maybe affix Mao's name to next month's diet plan?

Think Progess weighed in:

Zee’s listing is evidence not just of geopolitical cluelessness, but of analytical laziness. The rise of military-cut clothing and embellishments could say any number of things about the mindset of designers and consumers. Maybe it’s a matter of a recession-inspired pivot away from business as an inspiration and towards a more sober regard for somber institutions. Maybe it’s a reflection of the emotional needs of a destabilized world. Maybe it’s a flirtation with authoritarianism.

But a fashion editor’s job should be to make sense of these impulses and to analyze them, not merely take the quickest route to edginess himself.

As did Foreign Policy, which noted that Elle's reference to North Korean fashion wasn't just "tone-deaf" but also wholly inaccurate — North Korean style is less militaristic than colorful and decorative. 

Surprisingly, not a single fashion outlet weighed in before Elle issued an apology:

We regret the reference to North Korea in our post on the season’s military trend, and have removed the image. We apologize to those we offended.
 

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Michelle Phan Reportedly Earned $5 Million This Year

Image: Getty

Image: Getty

One of the Internet's very first beauty tutorial vloggers, Michelle Phan is reportedly taking home $5 million in earnings this year, largely due to endorsement partnerships. (Accordingly, Phan has over five million subscribers on YouTube.) Lancome's official video makeup artist since 2011, this year Phan launched her own product line with the global cosmetics giant.

[Want to Make $5 Million a Year? Become a Beauty Vlogger — Cosmopolitan]

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Wintour is Coming: Instagram’s Best Anna Wintour Memes

Ten years ago, the true measure of success was seeing your name turned into a verb or an adjective. Today, you're nobody if you're not a meme. 

And with that, here are some of Instagram's most frightening and entertaining Anna Wintour memes:

1) #AnnaWintour #MiddleFinger #KarlLagerfeld

Maybe this is an example of content that's viral but not mimetic (meaning, there aren't countless variations on it, unless you count Instagram filters), but whatever. There's a reason this photo has been regrammed so many times — of course Anna Wintour never looks more joyous than when she's flipping the bird.

(more…)

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Why Did Anna Wintour Attend Kanye’s Brooklyn Concert? Kimye Reportedly Still Hoping for a Vogue Cover

Image: WENN.com

(November 19) Kim Kardashian leaving her hotel / Image: WENN.com

Yesterday morning, Fashionista reported that Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour had been spotted in the VIP section at Kanye West's concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Tuesday evening.

That's not especially surprising — over the past few years, fashion has extended its seal of approval to both Brooklyn and Kanye West — and yet it's a weirdly compelling piece of information, raising so many questions: Do Grace and Anna enjoy attending rap concerts? Did they wear ear plugs or check their phones often during the set? What do they make of Kanye West's public persona and clothing industry ambitions?

We now know that none of those questions are especially relevant. Today, Page Six reports that Wintour's real reason for attending Tuesday night's show had nothing to do with rap music (I guess we should have assumed) and everything to do with Kanye's undying wish to secure a Vogue cover for fiancé Kim Kardashian. (Of course, this isn't the first we're hearing of that rumor.) Wintour was reportedly seated beside the reality star; a grainy photo on Instagram maybe shows the two women locked in an improbable conversation.*

Hey, remember when Vogue.com cropped Kim Kardashian out of the Met Gala slideshow? Good times. 

[Update: Contrary to the Page Six report asserting that Kim Kardashian was seated alongside Anna Wintour, a commenter points out that US Weekly's photos of the VIP section show that Wintour was in fact seated beside her daughter, Bee Shaffer. Kardashian and Wintour appear to be seated at a distance from another.]

The Buzz Forum Buzz

Numéro China Delivers Again With a Striking Sung Hee Kim Cover (Forum Buzz)

Sung Hee Kim on Numéro China December 2013

image credit: weibo/numerochine

I will continue to flaunt my appreciation for Numéro China by presenting you its beautiful new cover for the December 2013 issue. Starring South Korean top model Sung Hee Kim, photographer Benjamin Lennox produced an interesting cover that earned praise on the tFS forums.

“I've never seen Sung look so striking, so happy for her to snag a major Asian cover. Can't wait to see the editorial,” posted member TheoG.  

Anlabe32 wrote, “I love it. And Sung Hee looks amazing!”

“I love how striking the cover is, is it meant to be slightly out of focus btw?” asked Cosmic Voices

Admittedly, given that the theme of the issue is Reflector, it seems a little odd to me as well that the lighting is not extremely flattering and that the shot is a little out of focus. But those effects add to the cover shot giving off a slightly eerie, dark vibe that I love. And could Sung Hee possibly look more stunning?

The Buzz Forum Buzz

Louis Vuitton’s New Campaign with Arizona Muse and David Bowie: What’s the Deal with Those Masks? (Forum Buzz)

Image: Facebook/LouisVuitton

Image: Facebook/LouisVuitton

A couple weeks ago, Louis Vuitton released images and a teaser video from the latest installment of the brand's 'Art of Travel' campaign, starring David Bowie and Arizona Muse, and directed by Romain Gavras. Although the response to the ads in the forums has been negative overall, some tFSers went further, accusing the campaign of using blackface (in the image above). 

"Oh great, more blackface," said LabelWhore4.

From Shiru: "Blackface aside, what a horrible campaign."

But not everyone sees it that way. 

"Oh come on," says anlabe32, "those are supposed to be masks."

And more forcefully, from iclawhands: "Seriously?! People are going to call 'blackface' on this? So everyone's masked ball masks should be their skintone, yeah?"

The teaser video: 

 

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