America's pop-fairie-dust-glitter-rhinestone-sweetheart Taylor Swift released her new album Red this week. Her love life takes center stage on the track listing like it does in the media, and it's the kind of girlie pop millions of fans have come to love her for. While many of her (mostly male) peers in the music industry have made political statements this election year, we would never expect something so serious from our bubblegum queen.
This is partially because Swift has cultivated an image of the forever 16-year-old. While lots of guys want to see Swift "grow up" in a Britney Spears, sexually-provocative-equals-mature kind of way, I'd much rather see Swift show her maturity by talking about something real. Hopping down off of that noncommittal white picket fence she is spritishly perched on in her cowboy boots and taking a stand. For something.
The Daily Beast recently gave her several opportunities to do so in an interview previewing the new album. But she shied away from even the most innocuous questions, saying that if she has empowered women, that wasn't what she set out to do. Not only that, but she didn't even intend for her hit Mean to have an anti-bullying message. She wrote the song about a snarky music critic who made her feel bad. While that's a valid point of view to write a song from, it seems that while her fans have the ability to take her personal struggles and apply them to her own lives, she is unable to do that for them in return.
Then she was asked point blank if she considers herself a feminist. You can almost hear the ultra-conservative Bible Belt that makes up her fan base hold its breath. And Swift was surely afraid they'd hold on to their purse strings as well. She answered:
"I don't really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life."
This would be appropriate (it does, after all, describe gender equality) if "working as hard as guys" didn't mean earning only 82% of what they earn. But she makes this statement as if her message refutes the idea of feminism rather than defines it. I don't expect Tay-Tay to go all Norma Rae and actually use an icky phrase like "gender wage gap" — OMG that's so not adorable guys — but it would be cool if she'd at least speak out for her fans, mostly girls and women, and have a little backbone.
I can imagine the waves it would make if Swift had said, "Yes, I absolutely consider myself a feminist." Surely she would get heat from conservative groups and likely her management and record label, all of whom benefit from the idea that Swift is some 1950s Sandra Dee-type innocent ingenue. But she is a powerful woman in the industry and they'd all get over it. Plus, we know better than to think Swift is just a little girl spinnin' yarns and playin' guitar. (Two words: John Mayer. No judgment, girl.) Swift is a confident, self-possessed young woman, a savvy business person and talented artist who obviously enjoys boys and dating as much as the next 22-year-old.
Last night, H&M threw a party in New York (the City) to celebrate their collaboration with Maison Martin Margiela, which is a totally good thing to do because 1) people love parties and 2) if any limited-edition fast-fashion+high-end designer collaboration is worth celebrating, it's this one.
Winter is coming, and if you're not longing for comfy, warm, cozy everything, you're probably a sociopath. MMM x HM doesn't just look like the most comfortable thing in the world — tailor-made (not really though; the collection's mass-produced) for shorter days and wintry, bone-chilling winds — it also looks flat-out amazing. And at least visually, the label managed to capture the original spirit of the house*, which is awesome because the spirits hate being neglected.
Anyway, many people attended the event. Here are the most famous ones: Julianne Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mena Suvari, Kanye West (what else was he gonna do, stay home and read a book?), Helena Christensen, Selma Blair, Alan Cumming, and Chace Crawford. Some were wardrobed in the MMM for H&M designs, which they're happy to tell you about in the video below.
The collection was "unveiled" as a conceptual dance piece rather than a runway show, which looks and sounds like the most pretentious thing ever. Still, very approrpiate for the Margiela brand.
And most importantly: the clothes work. The collection arrives at H&M stores worldwide on November 15.
Here's the PR video from the event, followed by the collection photo preview.
*I do always worry about the quality of these collections. Just remember: as good as the clothing looks in the pictures, this stuff is still manufactured by H&M. The design concepts may be sophisticated, but I bet you can't fully execute them using the kinds of fabrics that are neccessary for a mass line like this to be financially viable.
Halle Berry is the cover model for not one, but two Interview magazine covers this November. Interview Russia went the uber-glam route with a black and white shot and glitzy gold metallic masthead, while Interview Germany went for a softer 70s glam look with Halle’s face more obviously haloed in an afro as she looks coyly over her shoulder into Sean and Seng’s camera. Both covers passed muster in the Fashion Spot forums, though an unexpected co-star (if we can call him that) on Interview Germany proved to be a strange distraction.
Of Halle’s fierce black and white shot, Urban Stylin wrote, “So stunning! Who would have guessed that a Russian magazine would have shot a black woman with a fro for a cover! I get a 70s vibe off it.”
Honeyisle posted, “Love it. Her face is legendary.”
“She looks stunning!” mikel exclaimed about the Interview Germany cover shot. “But I don't like the Popeye,” he added. I think we would be hard pressed to find someone who does like Popeye hanging out in the corner of the cover. What’s that all about?!
Phuel commented, “She looks very unlike herself and so much like the fabulous Veronica Webb, so I adore. That Popeye icon is just dumb and juvenile.”
So, Halle Berry can do no wrong when it comes to magazine covers, but let’s just leave Popeye out of it next time, okay?
Since today is all feministy and political, here's a good night kiss for you: Sarah Sophie Flicker, one of the founders of The Citizens Band, banded Alexa Chung, Lena Dunham, Tavi Gavinson, and a whole bunch of other young, culturally significant women together to lip sync video Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me" in support of Obama's re-election campaign. It's pretty cute.
Anna de Rijk graces the cover of Vogue Netherlands’ November Issue styled in a frilly white lace confection by Dolce & Gabbana and an eye-catching jeweled necklace. Joining Anna within the pages of the magazine are models Mirte Maas, Laura Kampman, and more. Having yet to reach a full year in publication, this magazine still seems to be finding its sea legs. Some forum members feel this cover is a step in the right direction while others find it to be more of a misstep.
“It looks off, like an old Vogue Paris mixed with the weirdness of Vogue Russia,” Bertrando3 posted. “I don't feel anything except blandness and awkward photo.”
In contrast, Urban Stylin wrote, “Love it! She looks like a glamorous vampire.”
“Really like this cover,” justaguy agreed. “She looks beautiful and they've done a really nice job with the styling. At first I thought the greens clashed, but they've grown on me and add to the cover's allure.”
As far as I can tell, Vogue Netherlands is still working things out. This isn’t the best cover we’ve seen this year, but it’s certainly not the worst. On the pass-fail scale, this cover gets a pass from me. Despite any shortcomings, there's something pretty and romantic about it. Plus, chances are they got some more dynamic images out of Anna for the editorial, so it could be worth another look.
Let's just get one thing out of the way: since Michelle Obama knows that her every satorial decision will be scrutinized more than an irritated pore in a magnifying mirror (particularly this late in the election cycle), she pretty surely did not accidentally wear the same dress twice.
Last night, at the third and final presidential debate, your first and best lady wore the same Thom Browne dress she wore at Barack Obama's Democratic National Convention speech in September.
If you think Mobama was suggesting that frugality is prudent (and could even be chic) during these trying financial times, get over yourself. Michelle Obama is just trying to rub it in that her Thom Brown grey lace overlay dress is really, really cute — even when it's marred by an ug-tastic glittery butterfly brooch — and she looks really, really good in it. No wonder the President likes her so much.