Earlier today, Kate Middleton and her husband William attended a private viewing of the first official royal portrait of the Duchess commisioned by the National Portrait Gallery, prior the public unveiling. Painted by artist Paul Emsley, the picture's already made rounds on the Internet this morning, and no one likes it — except reportedly, the Duchess of Cambridge herself, who publically called it "amazing." Tell us what you really think, Kate.
On Twitter, Susie Bubble quipped that it was "like a dodgy car boot sale 70s job lot painting," which sounds like it could be a really biting and sharp observation, except the reference is a bit over my head.
Also on Twitter, Liberty London Girl asks, "Is it just me or does the Duchess of Cambridge look like she has the devil peering out of her eyes in the new NPG official portrait?" Yeah, it's a pretty bad painting but no, I think the Satan thing is a stretch.
Art critic David Lee wrote up a scathing little review of the picture for theDaily Mail: "This is an intelligent, thoughtful and educated sitter with no less than a degree in art history. She deserves better." Yeah, poor Kate Middleton put in all this work to get a degree in art history, and then her first official portrait for the National Portrait Gallery was a big dumb flop. Oh what a cruel, cruel world we live in.
In the end, the painting does look like a joke — or at the very least, well below the standards set by Emsley's previous work, which includes a painting of Nelson Mandela. Still, I'm not sure what people were expecting. Official portraits are rarely the stuff of real beauty, and it's not like Kate Middleton can't afford to have one bad picture floating around, misrepresenting her glowy face and shiny hair. People just want something to be mad about, I think. Why? It's Friday.
The Duke and Duchess have posted the picture online here. You can also watch a behind-the-scenes video below.
Image of Kate Middleton with portrait artist Paul Emsley, via Getty
I'm no expert on pregnancy or rearing small child folk, but I'm a huge, guiltless fan of Bravo's Pregnant in Heels and am well aware of the ongoing plight of a mommy-to-be to find fashionable, comfortable maternity wear. It's somewhat ironic given the vast size of this market, but it still seems as though many mainstream retailers have failed to catch on, especially here in Canada. But that's where Destination Maternity comes in.
It touts itself as "the world's leading maternity apparel retailer" and operates from over 1,887 retail locations in the U.S. and a 137 international franchised locations. As of yesterday, one such international franchise can be found in Calgary, Alberta at the Kingsland Village retail development just south of Chinook Centre on Macleod Trail, as Destination Maternity finally opens its first Canadian store.
What does this mean? Well, for Albertans it means access to designer maternity brands including A Pea in the Pod , BCBG, Heidi Klum collections, Rosie Pope (she of Pregnant in Heels fame!), AG Jeans, J Brand, French Connection and 7 For All Mankind. It also means access to an expert assortment of accessories and nursing apparel and a 3,300 square-foot space housing a relaxation area for family members and friends, complete with plush chairs, flat screen TVs and a play area for children.
"We are excited to expand our availability and our offering to moms-to-be in Canada," says Ed Krell, the Company's Chief Executive Officer. "Opening a store along the Macleod Trail corridor, one of Calgary's premiere shopping destinations, is a great opportunity to increase the reach of the Motherhood Maternity brand as well as introduce our luxury A Pea in the Pod brand to a market where there is a clear demand for maternity apparel at both moderate and better price points."
There's no word on whether the company has plans to expand to other provinces, but they do have an online store, where I pulled a few of my favourite items to dress a bulging bump.
I think that maybe from now on, whenever someone letsTerry Richardson take their picture, instead of writing up a post about it I'll just put up a list of links to all the Terry-bashing I've ever done here on The Fashion Spot, alongside the image. Just when I saw thisGQ cover, saw the offending photographer credit, I felt something crumple up inside of me. As long as people continue to give Terry Richardson work, visit his photo studio, run his pictures without comment, it'll piss me off — but there's only so many times I can really be like, "Hey famous and powerful people, get some values! Stop furthering and sustaining the career of a creepy creep and actually DO SOMETHING apart from going to some dumb charity event to make the world a marginally less terrible place." No, really. I feel like a broken record, always sputtering about how Terry Richardson is NOT GOOD FOR WOMEN and yet still, each time it's genuinely heartbreaking to see powerful pop figures like Beyonce orLena Dunham(a self-identified feminist!!!) get in front of the camera of this gross dude who takes sleazy pictures and allegedly takes advantage of young struggling models. I get the objections: "That's just the way things are, man." But I HATE the way things are! And they don't have to be this way! People get to make choices! I'm gonna go to the bathroom now to watch my head explode in the mirror.
Beyonce GQ cover via DailyStab; editorial image via GQ
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.