I realize we are in the minority, but there some among us who think that the Royal Baby news story is getting an amount of coverage that's massively, massively disproportionate to its interestingness. It's one thing to marvel at how shiny and happy Kate Middleton looks coming out of the hospital, wearing a blue Jenny Packham dress. I understand that people like babies and that the Duchess of Cambridge probably enjoys a higher approval rating than the Dalai Lama — no objections. But over the weekend and then all throughout Monday, it seemed like there was nothing else happening in the world, in terms of current events and public life. Serious news publications sent crews to camp out in front of the hospital for days on end, to cover the birth of a baby (an heir, okay, but an heir to a monarchy that's essentially a tourist attraction), who will have to spend years growing up before he will have any kind of impact on people outside his immediate family and close friends. The phrase "SO JOYOUS" may as well have been a trending topic, it showed up so often on my Twitter feed; and I tried and I tried but I couldn't figure out how actual real people could summon the feeling of joy over the birth of a total stranger's baby. You know what brings me joy? Hummus. "SO JOYOUS" is what I will now tweet forevermore, every time I eat some hummus.
I am not the only getting bristly about the Royal Baby craze. Simon Doonan, the Creative Ambassador at Barneys, voiced his own frustration with the way the birth played out in the media as part of a discussion that aired on this week's edition of the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast (titled "Kate Middleton Has a Vagina"). Doonan is a famous wit and also English, so therefore far more qualified than I am to speak on matters of monarchy. His remarks (my favorite is the part about crops…)
"If you look at Hello! magazine, there's endless coverage of boring European royals and their weddings and machinations so unless this baby grows up to become Caligula or something, it sort of remains deeply uninteresting. For some reason, I think the act of reproduction is simultaneously alarming and compelling, appalling and fascinating to people nowadays. I don't quite get why, because it's been going on for such a long time but, now when people get pregnant, they're examined and scrutinized — look how big I'm getting, blah blah blah. Whereas it was just a given before. It was like crops growing in the field. They weren't sort of like, shrieking [in the old days]. So it's fascinating as to why it's become such a flag in the cultural unconscious.
A very sanitized, idealized, celebrity cavalcade that we see every day, with tiny waists, and more tiny waists and women in high heels And being up the duff, to use an English expression … it's really sort of a horrible reality check about our biology that no amount of botox or airbrushing … there's no other way to do it. I guess celebrities do outsource their pregnancy now, don't they? But the women that still do it the old-fashioned way become an obsession, and… Blue Ivy, has she lost the baby weight? What will Blue Ivy wear? What will her nursery look like? What will blahblahblahblahblah. And here it's in the context of the royal family.
But the British papers, they're saying, 'The Middletons will save the monarchy.' I saw a few headlines like that, because I guess they're thinking the Middletons are so excruciatingly middlebrow, that they will make the monarchy somehow accessible to the coming generation. Whereas the queen, who was so drenched in history and gravitas and old-fashioned ritual and … remoteness — that would never have gone forward. So it's sort of the legacy that was started by Fergie and Diana, where the royal family were more Hello! magazine than Burke's Peerage. And so that's why the Middletons are all in the cupcake business. Which is a very contemporary thing to do, is to be in Hello! magazine and own a cupcake business. Basically, what I'm saying is they're irredeemably naff. And that is where the monarchy's going. And that may be, paradoxically, what saves it. For my generation though, we're just appalled. If they're going to be there, annoyingly sucking up all that money, they might as well at least have some bloody gravitas."
"All You're Waiting For" … is this video (!), made by the DJ duo Classixx and featuring former LCD Soundsystem member Nancy Whang on vocals. You will love it.
Wang plays a wealthy woman with ostentatious, flashy taste. She likes enormous jewels, silky gowns, puppies, martinis and watching shirtless sailors dancing on the deck of her yacht. What sane woman doesn't like those things? The video vacillates between an attraction to luxury and repulsion, a sense that despite their surface pleasures, shiny fancy things are meaningless — and in fact, ugly. That tension is common enough to pop music, but it's truly central to the video, which was produced to be featured as part of Urban Outfitter's Music Video Series. The clothing retailer doesn't have a problem printing rebellious, anti-establishment messages on its T-shirts, it doesn't have a problem promoting a video which makes fun of materialistic ambition, but don't think for a second that Urban Outfitters thinks you should stop spending so much money on things you don't really need.
Congratulations to Gossip singer Beth Ditto, who recently married her longtime girlfriend, former assistant Kristen Ogata, in Hawaii. The pair shared the first public photograph from the wedding on the band's Facebook page yesterday, which showed Ogata wearing a crisp white short suit and Ditto going barefoot in a playful knee-length Jean Paul Gaultier gown (the designer proudly tweeted the photo shortly after). In the picture, the newlyweds walk down the aisle against a tableau of white roses; they wear flowy garlands (these look like boas made out of vines and flowers — where can I get one?) as the guests, all dressed in crisp, sailboat-preppy whites, snap pictures of the happy couple. It would be sickeningly adorable if it weren't simply adorable.
Ditto — who has since appeared (naked) on the debut cover of LOVE, launched her own fashion line for the high street store Evans and collaborated with cosmetics giant M.A.C. — first became involved with the fashion industry when she walked the runway for Gaultier's Spring 2011 show.
Abbey Lee Kershaw, Dree Hemingway, Jamie Bochert… ManiaMania’s campaign cast lineup reads like a who’s who of the industry’s coolest. For its new collection Babylon, which takes its cues from lost film and fallen empires, they’ve swiped another of Marc Jacobs’ muses – Ruby Jean Wilson.
The campaign has Wilson delving into the mien of Theda Bara, the controversial femme fatale you probably don’t remember from lost silent films such as 1917’s Cleopatra. ManiaMania links creation and transformation of Bara’s character to mythical phenomena such as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, but in an ancillary way, it’s fitting for their casting choice. Last season, Ruby caused quite the buzz by reincarnating herself as controversial screen icon Edie Sedgwick.
The jewelry lookbook features morbid and exotic stills alongside shots of Ruby playing a silent film star in between costumes. It gives an intimate quality to a collection that’s otherwise pretty bold. Even the delicate pieces like the double-layered ring adorned with tiny crystals are joined with chains to suggest bondage undertones. Otherwise, there are vampirish chokers, giant biker rings with Egyptian scarabs and claws encasing quartz stones.
Get the full, slightly creepy effect over on ManiaMania’s website by way of some accompanying GIFs.
Last month, I profiled stunning up and coming model Jessa Brown, who has recently scored a string of gigs for the likes of Givenchy, Miu Miu, Ellie Saab and Balenciaga. Well, as the country that just keeps on giving, Canada can now call itself home to the current face of Italian Vogue, Dorian Reeves.
An Edmonton native, Dorian recently landed the cover of one of the world's top fashion magazines after a flustered call from his New York agent, followed by a meeting with Steven Meisel (best known for his work with U.S. and Italian Vogue and his photographs of friend Madonna in her 1992 book Sex).
Phone calls followed phone calls, before Dorian finally received the one he really wanted, informing him that he'd got the gig. "They said, 'You just booked the cover of Italian Vogue with (Brazilian model) Raquel Zimmermann,'" Reeves recalls to the Vancouver Sun. "I was like, 'Oh my god.' It was the biggest, most surreal moment of my life," he continues. "It was something I always wanted to do, but didn't think I could actually do it. I didn't even know what to feel. Even now, I'm still buzzing."
To put things into perspective, Italian Vogue books new faces less than 50 percent of the time, while this current issue features six different pullout covers featuring a bevy of international supermodels like Gisele Bundchen, Linda Evangelista and Tony Ward. That said, Reeves is also joined by fellow Edmonton model Megan Collison in the spread; her fifth time being featured by the magazine.
But back to the man of the moment. At 20 years of age, Dorian's off-cover image is of a typically relaxed surfer boy, blonde hair, blue eyes and even the leather OC jewelry to match. In the Vogue spread, he's transformed into a powerful, almost Vitruvian man, wearing little else but a pair of Versace briefs and boots straight from the Italian label’s fall collection.
Dorian, who has done everything from local campaigns for City Centre Mall and a runway show for Fashion With Compassion to walking exclusively in Versace's Spring 2013 show in Milan, pays homage to the Italian designer on the new cover, recreating images shot in the 90s by photographer Richard Avedon. You can check out the photos above, as well as the inside spread below and sound off in the comments about how unattainably hot Dorian looks…
Prince William and Kate Middleton with baby, image: WENN
There’s only one story dominating the headlines in the UK this week and that’s the birth of the royal baby. The nation was gripped as they awaited the baby’s arrival, and we even felt a tad sorry for the row of paparazzi, who’d set up camp around two weeks before Kate was even admitted into hospital, in crazy heat wave temperatures!
Kate and Wills finally welcomed an 8 pound, 6 ounce baby boy into the world on Monday afternoon after an estimated 11 hours of labour, and crowds flocked to see the age old traditional easel that was erected at Buckingham Palace to officially break the news.
Today, crowds were finally officially introduced to the future king of England, as the couple made an appearance at the entrance of the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s hospital in London. Kate appeared looking radiant, and it was hard to believe that she’d given birth within the past 24 hours! For her first appearance as a royal mummy of a baby boy, she opted for a rather fitting baby blue toned polka dot dress by British designer Jenny Packham.