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Princess Diana Covers Vanity Fair’s September Issue (Forum Buzz)

Vanity Fair September 2013

Image Credit: vanityfair.com

In an attempt to cash in on the Royal Baby hype, as some tFS forum members assumed, Vanity Fair used a shot featuring the late Princess Diana for the cover of its September Style Issue. The photo, taken by Mario Testino, has appeared in the magazine multiple times before and seems to be a questionable choice for the September cover of the magazine. Although Vanity Fair is known for its love to use dead celebrities as cover stars, tFS forum members questioned the magazine’s ethics in this case as the tagline promises to reveal all about "Diana’s true love," making it seem like we can expect a gossipy article about details of Diana’s life that she may not have wanted everyone to know.

YoninahAliza wrote, “Diana was haunted by the press during her life and it is incredibly sad that even in death she is too. It's just sad and annoying that people are still speculating about her love life, she was more than just tabloid fodder and pretty clothes. Ugh, sorry, as someone who's been a fan of Princess Diana since a little girl, covers like this Vanity Fair one just get on my nerves. Of course it is a beautiful photograph but Vanity Fair's penchant for profiling dead people is a bit awful.”

She was not the only one who found Vanity Fair’s strategy here ethically questionable. Bertrando3 and justaguy also criticized Vanity Fair for its choice to use Princess Diana for the cover with such a headline. More complaints about the cover arose in other posts.

“Oh, Vanity Fair. It's a lovely shot of a truly beautiful woman, but really? Trying to be a well-timed cash in on the Royal-moment of William & Kate's baby no doubt. There wasn't anyone else more appropriate for their September Style issue?” commented honeycombchild, who was not the only one to point out the not-so-coincidental timing of this article. 

GivenchyHomme is not happy with magazines using dead celebrities for their covers in general and remarked, “You know we live in sad times when a major magazine chooses dead subjects rather than relevant (and living) people. Maybe it's cheaper for them to license out old photographs rather than splurging on something original.”

I can’t say I ever feel disappointed when I see Princess Diana on a magazine cover, as she will always seem more relevant to me than the current crop of Hollywood starlets and reality TV personalities, but the whole intention behind publishing such an article seems dubious and it comes across as rather tasteless. No matter how beautiful this cover is, it looks like this will not be one of our favorite September issues of the year.

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Exclusive: See Lagerfeld Muse Ashleigh Good’s RUSSH Magazine Spread

Image courtesy RUSSH Magazine

Image courtesy RUSSH Magazine

Ever since she landed a Givenchy exclusive for her first runway season (Fall 2012), New Zealander Ashleigh Good's career has been the envy of every aspiring fashion model. Not only did she walk 64 shows last season (making her the third most in-demand catwalker for Fall 2013), the 21-year-old also opened Fendi and both opened and closed Chanel, cementing her status as Karl Lagerfeld's latest muse. Good then followed her runway success with campaigns for Chanel and MaxMara. And now we're bringing you a first look at her editorial spread and cover for the August/September Issue of the beloved Australian fashion magazine, RUSSH

Image courtesy RUSSH Magazine

Image courtesy RUSSH Magazine

"It was exciting to work with Ashleigh, especially after the stellar season she had kickstarted at the shows,"  says RUSSH Fashion Director Gillian Wilkins. "It was great to work with a 'homegrown' girl experiencing the dream. Just like Karl, we were spellbound with Ashleigh's beauty and individual self.” 

The story was photographed by Alex Franco in an abandoned boarding school in Oxfordshire, outside London, and features model Sylvester Henriksen

Wilkins: "We were inspired by old Peter Hujar images and playing with the theme of glamour around androgyny, cross­‐dressing and exaggerated identity, so our characters were scripted as eccentrics who could almost be the same person and fascinated with each other. Ashleigh was always our main star and when Sylvester dropped by for a casting he was instantly the perfect partner for Ashleigh. Glamour, androgyny and eccentricity all molded seamlessly."

Image courtesy RUSSH Magazine

Image courtesy RUSSH Magazine

PreviouslyJourdan Dunn Covers the June/July 2013 Issue of Russh (Forum Buzz)

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Who’s Really Driving the Thin Trend? Some Believe Consumers Want to See More Body Diversity

Image: Jennie Runk for H&M Summer 2013 / via Ford Models

Image: Jennie Runk for H&M Summer 2013 / via Ford Models

Last week, I reported on some statements Kelly Cutrone made during a conference call promoting the upcoming season of America's Next Top Model. As part of a conversation with a handful of entertainment writers, the fashion publicist and reality show judge acknowledged that "society has a hyper-emphasis on thin" and said she believed that the trend comes directly from consumers. The fashion and beauty industries, she argued, are just taking cues from the market, and that their only real objective is making money.

The remarks (which also included a critique of Dove's "Real Beauty" ad campaign) stirred up a fair amount of controversy, as some people felt that Cutrone was misrepresenting the role fashion plays in shaping consumer expectations and establishing the beauty standard. 

The online retailer Modcloth, which recently launched a new plus size category, reached out to me to respond directly: "We believe strongly that her comments are more representative of an 'old school' belief system and with the rise of technology, the fashion industry is changing rapidly." 

I spoke with the e-commerce site's Category Manager Samara Fetto, who told me that Modcloth expanded its plus size offerings specifically because the company realized there was a huge, unmet demand for more variety in sizing: "We know the plus size community has been underserved for so long, and the one thing that kept coming out was that [the plus size customer] didn't feel like she was included…we learned there was a tremendous need for plus size products." 

Modcloth cites a variety of statistics that helped inform its decision to better cater to this underserved market — more than 50% of women identify as plus size, more U.S. women report wearing a size 16 than a size 2 and 0 combined — but the most impressive numbers were gathered internally from user behavior on the site: the average order for Modcloth's plus customer is 25% higher than the average; the number of items in each order is 17% higher; the plus size customer is 66% more likely to share on social networks. 

Fetto: "She is more engaged, spending more money and buying more products."

Despite the obvious demand for plus clothing, Fetto told me that out of the 1,500 vendors the retailer typically works with, only 30 were initially prepared to produce plus garments (the number has since grown to over a 100).

Modcloth has a retro aesthetic that lends itself to a broad range of figure-flattering styles, but even more straightforward contemporary brands have seen an overwhelmingly positive response when they've shifted the focus away from straight sizes. A summer and swimwear online campaign for H&M+ featuring model Jenny Runk went viral when it showed up on the retailer's U.S. website without any copy flagging it as a 'plus' collection. 

"We think that Jenny showed our summer and swimwear garments in a very good way and we are very happy with the pictures," H&M told me via email. "At H&M we try to have a mix of models for our different campaigns throughout a season. Our aim is not to convey a certain message or show an ideal but to find a model who can illustrate our collections in an inspiring and clear way.”

Runk is represented by JAG Models, the first-ever all-sizes agency. JAG was recently founded by Gary Dakin and Jaclyn Sarka, formerly co-directors of Ford Models' plus division. 

Dakin told me that clients book plus size models "constantly now. They book models for almost every major department store including Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, Macy's, etc. Glamour, Elle and every major publication. I believe they are doing it because the public is responding so well to diversity in fashion…The hyper thin trend is supported by all sides of the equation while being ridiculed by the same people, which is interesting to watch. The designers have trended all over the place. Gaultier, Mark Fast and others have included women of different sizes in their shows and campaigns which has been sporadic. It has been nice to see women of all sizes being included in the editorials and campaigns so I do not necessarily buy into the hyper thin thing.  If that was truly the case, would I even be here for you to ask the question?"

PreviouslyKelly Cutrone: ‘Society Has a Hyper-Emphasis On Thin and That Trend Comes From the Consumers’

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Link Buzz: Behind the Scenes at Michelle Williams’ Louis Vuitton Shoot; Kate Moss Covers Esquire

Image: Facebook/LV

Image: Facebook/LV

  • Never forget: fashion ads are made to elevate a brand and sell stuff. Unrelated: here's a "behind-the-scenes" video promoting Louis Vuitton's lovely new handbag campaign, which stars actress Michelle Williams. [Fashionologie]
     
  • CELEBRITY BIKINI BODY BABY YAAAA. No just kidding, the following link is 100% classy. [FabSugar]
     
  • Lady Gaga has a "new look" and I luv it. [BellaSugar]
     
  • Apparently the only place you can buy Celine bags online is Overstock.com, which seems fitting. [SheFinds]
     
  • Nicole Richie and Jessica Simpson's NBC show, Fashion Star, has been cancelled. [Earsucker]
     
  • Katy Perry spent three months prepping for her Vogue cover, because how else do you measure the value of a human life if not by highly airbrushed fashion magazines? [Fashionista]
     
  • Kate Moss covers Esquire, making this the first men's magazine she's photographed for in 17 years. [Telegraph]

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Issa and Banana Republic Set to Launch a Capsule Collection

Vogue Festival party 2013

Image: Lia Toby/WENN.com

Issa is one of the most sought-after shows to get a seat at during London Fashion Week, with leading top models such as Cara Delevingne or Jourdan Dunn gracing its runways. That’s without even mentioning its high profile fans, which includes the Duchess of Cambridge herself, who opted to wear the label for her engagement portraitSo, upon hearing that Issa is set to launch a more affordable collaboration with the high street giant Banana Republic, let’s just say the fashion world was a tad excited!

The capsule collection is set to include 40 key pieces from dresses to clutches, and even an updated take on Kate Middleton’s iconic blue engagement day dress, the original having sold out almost immediately. 

Elle magazine recently caught up with Camilla Al-Fayed, Issa’s Chairwoman, about the forthcoming collaboration and she explained that together Issa and Banana Republic are the perfect fit, as both brands target feminine women who are effortlessly chic. Issa also wanted to create a timeless capsule collection yet still promote patterns with a universal appeal. It sounds like the perfect collection and we can’t wait to see it!

Dresses from the collection will start at an affordable £75, and hits stores on August 13. So, maybe go and camp out in line now, as that’s definitely going to be one heck of a queue. 

 

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Good News? Hudson’s Bay Snaps Up Saks for a Cool $2.9 Billion

Hudson's Bay

Huge retail news is breaking today as the Canadian store-formerly-known-as-The-Bay, Hudson's Bay, is planning to acquire U.S. retailer Saks and its 42 stores in a $2.9 billion buy-out.

The purchase of Saks caps a seven-year run of deal-making for Hudson's Bay Chief Executive Richard Baker, a longtime real estate investor who, last year, sold Zellers to Target and also attempted to take over Bloomingdales. In 2008, you may also remember Hudon's Bay scoring a deal with department store chain Lord & Taylor, however, the clothing retailer has still yet to make its move this side of the border.

Naturally, with Saks added to its portfolio, many are hoping the luxury chain will join Hudson's Bay in the snowy North, but according to news outlets, HBC "plans to keep Saks as a separate unit headquartered in New York and introduce the Saks brand in Canada through online and other formats." I'm not sure what that means other than Canada shipping and what? Pop-up shops on Queen West?

"This exciting portfolio of three iconic brands creates one of North America’s premier fashion retailers," says Baker in a press release. "This acquisition will increase our growth potential both in the U.S. and Canada, generate significant efficiencies of scale, add to our powerful real estate portfolio and deliver substantial value to our shareholders."

Value to shareholders yes, value to customers, hmmm. Hudson's Bay is quickly positioning itself as an unmatched conglomerate when it comes to clothing retail. This recent news only adds to the incestuous nature of the North American market, where profit and growth comes first. Just recently Loblaws took over Shoppers Drug Mart in a $12.4 billion deal, meaning that the end game looks as though a select handful of companies could soon monopolise certain sectors (ahem, Rogers/Bell and Chapters/Indigo anyone?). All is left now is for Hudson's Bay to drop a pretty penny on Sears and we're almost back to the 19th century monopoly enjoyed by HBC during its fur trading years.

Image via The Bay

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