In an interview with Tom Brady (the football player and husband to supermodel Gisele Bundchen) in VMan magazine, designer Tom Ford revealed that he feels conflicted about the part he played in advancing a culture of materialism:
"[It] was pretty funny listening to Bruno Mars singing ‘You’re Amazing Just the Way You Are’ [at the Met Ball] when it was in front of a thousand people who are rich, beautiful, wearing a million dollars worth of jewelry, and dressed in $30,000 dresses that are only good this season because next season it’s all going to look out-of-date. That was quite funny because it’s this industry, of course, that makes people feel like they have to change. I have such a split personality about it. On the one hand I want to go off and live in the desert with my dog and sculpt things out of adobe, but then on the other I’m part of this industry that creates insecurity and focuses on materialism and things that aren’t actually, for me, the most important things in life. So it’s strange. […] I finally came to terms with it, because whether we like it or not, we do live in a material world."
I dare you to imagine the designer sitting stoically in a tux in front of an adobe hut, an Irish Wolfhound named Baxter growling affectionately by his side and not be charmed. Although Ford is candid about his own feelings of hypocrisy and insightful about the distorted values promoted by the image culture, it's worth remembering that not only has he benefitted personally from his success, he also played a star part in making fashion what it is today. Ford was one of the first designers to become a true celebrity; his work for the Gucci Group in the early 2000s created a model for the modern megabrand. Without him, the Met Gala might be a less glitzy spectacle, more niche industry event. If he doesn't like what fashion has become … well, it's too late to turn back the clock. But Ford's tremendous influence and wealth could still serve as a platform to do some real good in the world.
As one forum commenter, Phuel, put in a recent tFS thread discussing materialism in the fashion industry, "Be a generous individual and use some of your millions to help those that need it most. There are impoverished villages in China, India and South America and Eastern Europe which only need things like clean drinking water, roads and the very basics to make their lives better. Rather than set up shop and appeal to the Chinese and Russian nouveau riche (which is exactly what his designs target towards), how about contributing to the less fortunate of those countries?"
I would also recommend that Ford tear off all his clothes, grow a beard and join a radical militia of anti-capitalist revolutionaries.
Read the full interview: Dog Days Are Over [VMan]
image credit: facebook.com/vogueaustralia via the tfs forums
Following the launch of British Miss Vogue earlier this year, Australian Vogue released its own version of the more teen-oriented edition of Vogue this month and chose actress Elle Fanning for the cover of its premier issue. Edited by former Oyster editor Alice Cavanagh, the publication is said to be aimed at a younger audience than the original Vogue, which is clearly demonstrated not just by the choice of cover star but also the styling, the quirky masthead and the featured celebrities inside (Lorde , Alexa Chung, Iggy Azalea). The cover found approval on the tFS forums, with many members applauding the use of Elle Fanning.
“Such a cute cover! And Elle is a perfect fit for their first issue,” wrote Tinsley V.
“Very nice cover and Elle is perfect here!” agreed justaguy.
Peachescream had mixed feelings about the cover. She posted, “I LOVE Elle and I think this was an incredibly smart choice for the first cover but I am so distracted by the one sleeve pushed up one sleeve pushed down thing I can't quite get into this cover.”
Kite also had issues with the styling but for another reason. He raised the point that it was idiotic to feature a £1,500 Givenchy sweater on the cover considering the magazine’s target audience, but several other members defended the styling, such as Egoiste who wrote, “I think the styling is superb. Elle looks fresh, beautiful and very youthful.”
I share those sentiments about the cover and find myself charmed by Fanning’s beautiful smile, the youthful styling and the non-fussy layout. It seems that Miss Vogue Australia is off to a good start!
Image: White House Flickr
"Michelle Obama Gives a Speech but Distracts Us With Her New Highlights" [BellaSugar]
"Michelle Obama's Most Stylish Moments Yet" [FabSugar]
Simon Doonan: "Mrs. Obama is quite chic, but not sort of in a vain, self-involved way. I guess I was getting sick of people talking about her appearance all the time, and I thought it was very unfair to her and borderline insulting." [New Republic]
Rag & Bone does one of its DIY ad campaigns with 90s supermodels Erin O'Connor and Kirsty Hume. [Fashionologie]
Speaking of Rag & Bone… it's one brand featured prominently in this striking "contemporary classics" editorial in Industrie's latest issue. [FashionCopious]
The New York Times and Yves Saint Laurent Makeup's creative director discuss how to wear a 'heroin chic' beauty look to the office. :( [NYTimes]
In an investigative report about working conditions at Bangladeshi factories, Al Jazeera discovered that 12-year-olds were employed at a factory that manufactures Old Navy Jeans. Gap (which owns Old Navy) has denied any connection to the factory. [HuffPo]
Huffington Post tech editor Bianca Bosker spotted this Facebook nail polish at the tech company's campus store in Menlo Park, California. It comes in "Social Butterfly Blue" and was presumably created as an implicit justification for the Oxford English Dictionary's decision to add the word "vom" to its online dictionary.
The social networking giant confirmed to Mashable that it has been selling the branded polish since the beginning of the year. However, the Facebook logo doesn't appear anywhere on the packaging.
The Oxford English Dictionary has added 65 new words pertaining to digital culture to its online dictionary. The fact that the most well-respected and comprehensive dictionary in the English language would deign to recognize words like "selfie," "srsly" and "FOMO" is seen by some as a sure sign that our civilization is in decline.
"This is why everyone hates those bratty millennials," writes Salon, "The Oxford Dictionary Online has yet again legitimized 20-something narcissism and Internet culture with the addition of words like 'twerk,' 'badassery,' 'selfie,' 'derp' and 'vom' to its online dictionary."
I too find it fairly ridiculous that a publication devoted to documenting the use of language would debase by … documenting the use of Internet language with its Internet dictionary. This is all definitely the fault of those narcissistic millennials who, strangely enough, didn't even invent the Internet — they just have to live with it.
You can see the full list of added words over on the OED's blog.
Above is an ad for The Standard, a line of fashionable boutique hotels, which ran in the summer issue of Du Jour, a newish publication for the uber-wealthy. It has the unique distinction of being the single most disturbing and controversial image in an exceptionally disturbing and controversial ad campaign.
For the past year, The Standard has been pursuing “selective audiences" in publications such as Fantastic Man, Apartamento, Interview and CR Fashion Book with a campaign displaying photographs from Austrian artist Erwin Wurm's series, "One-Minute Sculptures" and "How to Be Politically Incorrect." Prior to the emergence of the photo above, the most notorious ad showed a woman urinating on the rug. Another showed a woman dining in a restaurant, a man's head buried down the front of her blouse.
Commenting on the campaign to The New York Times last September, Claire Darrow Mosier, creative director at André Balazs Properties (the luxury group also owns The Mercer and the Chateau Marmont) explained that the ads were meant to integrate seamlessly with the arty content they'd be running alongside: “We want to contribute to the magazines. We don’t just want to advertise.”
Although you can see how Wurm's work, which is concerned with the boundaries between public and private space, might be relevant to a high-end hotel brand, the images were not originally created as ads. And in fact, the photographs take on a new meaning when they become advertising. The picture above defamiliarizes a common everyday object, the suitcase, by placing it in a strange context (on top of a woman's body); the same thing happens to the original photograph, when it's displayed in a magazine with a logo at the bottom. As Julia Sonenshein put it in The Gloss, it becomes a question of intent: "When the image of domestic violence exists as an artistic work, it has merit, but when a huge company uses an image like this to sell its luxury product, it almost becomes an endorsement."
The ad was first spotted by the feminist blog Make Me a Sammich, which created a Change.org petition calling on The Standard and Du Jour Media to apologize. The Standard has since replied with a statement:
“The Standard advertisement utilized an image series created by the contemporary artist, Erwin Wurm. We apologize to anyone who views this image as insensitive or promoting violence. No offense or harm was intended. The Standard has discontinued usage of this image.”