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Cult Melbourne Label P.A.M. Called Out for Banal Cultural Appropriation

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Cult label P.A.M. might be about to lose some of its street cred thanks to an accusatory Vimeo clip.

About a week ago, a video titled ‘p.a.m (it’s a white thing too)’ was uploaded to YouTube’s more sophisticated cousin by an anonymous user attempting to name and shame the beloved Melbourne brand as racist.

"For a group of people who freely use African textile patterns and traditional ornaments, put on performances using didgeridoos and dot painting, and casually deface images of black people, you might think they have some personal connection to the cultures they have profited from," the video states. "But they are just as white as their $150 T-shirts. T-shirts which are cheaply made in China, but have the labels removed and replaced with 'Made In Australia.'"

The video then calls out the National Gallery of Victoria for displaying their “banal cultural appropriation” in their foyer. “Perks and Mini – for when you’re privileged and you’re bored. Bored of being white,” the video concludes.

While Native American culture has seemed to bear the brunt of fashion’s obsession with cultural appropriation over the last few years, thanks to Coachella and the Navajo “trend,” there has been a heightened awareness of sartorial racism as of late. Celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Lily Allen have been called out for picking and choosing elements of black street culture, and Katy Perry learned the hard way that Geisha costume is a surefire shortcut to social media bloodletting. And let’s not even get started on the Halloween/blackface debacle.

With this heightened customer awareness of cultural appropriation in fashion, YOLO is no longer an acceptable attitude to take towards racial context. And as The Vine's Jake Cleland points out, insouciance is a big part of P.A.M.’s design aesthetic. In an interview with Meander Journal, designers Shauna Toohey and Misha Hollenbach described their process thusly: "We're interested in things that are steeped in mystery, things that cannot be explained. If you believe that a giant serpent vomited up the cosmos, then it sounds cool to us, regardless of whether it happened or not."

We get that mystery can be visually pleasing, but that’s the sartorial equivalent of a kanji tattoo that translates to “egg roll.” C’mon, guys—no one ever called out a label for being too sensitive to cultural context.  

Perks and Mini have yet to respond. 

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Agent Provocateur Creates a Domestic Fantasy in New Spring 2014 Campaign

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All images courtesy of Miles Aldridge

Agent Provocateur has gone all Stepford wife for its new spring/summer campaign, bringing to life the distorted fantasy world of a suburban housewife.

Of course, that is if every bored housewife cavorts around the house in colour popping silk satin and red lace. That is what Agent Provocateur would like us to think, enlisting the help of photographer Miles Aldridge who seemed all too happy to help to bring one of his own personal dreams.

“Shooting with Agent Provocateur was like a childhood dream come true where I drop by unannounced on a school friend to find his mother home hovering in the kitchen in just her lingerie. These sensations from early adolescence run through all my work, like the pink sugar writing inside a piece of well sucked Brighton rock, except the endless word in my rock is woman, woman, woman, woman, woman.”

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Taking on the role of the ‘wives’ is Hailey Clanson who can be seen washing floors in a violet plunge bra as well as taking up a spot of hoovering in a black sheer number. The 18-year-old model has stepped into some well trodden heels for the lingerie brand, following the likes of Karen Elson, Kate Moss and Daria Werbowy.

Creative director Sarah Shotten loves the characters that Clanson embodies saying that she was "interested in the irony behind the idea of the ‘Perfect’ woman, unfazed by the everyday pressures of life. Our campaign girl has it all, she’s a lady in the street and a wildcat in the bedroom and the collection mirrors her pretty perfection."

Whether the perfect woman can be found at home or not, she certainly looks powerful here.

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Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards Guest List is Worth Getting Excited About

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I can barely contain my excitement over the new CAFA news trickling down the wires recently. As I mentioned waaaaay back in August, the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards is set to host its inaugural gala this February 1, having wrangled an inimitable panel of judges, a decadent venue at the Fairmount Royal York and a swarm of attention for Canadian designers to boot. Now the event is about to get even more tres magnifique with the announcement of some A-lister attendees.

Design duo Dean and Dan Caten of DSquared2 (yup, that talented double act again), supermodel Coco Rocha, my personal girl-crush Elisha Cuthbert and Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro (!!) are among the notable names expected to attend the event, billed as the first of its kind in Canada. I guess the organizers really weren’t kidding in their hope to rival the British Fashion Awards or the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards.

Milan Fashion Week Ready to Wear Spring/Summer 2014

The Toronto-born Catens are being recognized in the outstanding achievement category, as well as being nominated for the international Canadian designer award, which honours those who have achieved success abroad and brought attention to Canadian talent on the world stage. Fellow nominees include Mark Fast, Erdem Moralioglu, Jason Wu and Jeremy Laing. Elsewhere across the nominations board, potential winners read like a who’s-who of Canadian clothing, as you can see from the full list on CAFAs site.

Toronto-born, Richmond, B.C.-raised Rocha is among the nominees in the model category and best style segment (for embodying the spirit of Canada), while comedian Gerry Dee, star of CBC comedy series Mr. D, is slated to host the stylish soiree. As for del Toro? Well I think he’s just showing up for a bloody good time! 

Images via CAFA and KIKA/WENN.com

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Ellery Makes Her Pre-Fall Debut (and a Strong Case For Flared Suits)

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ellery-smallThe international trajectory of Ellery continues with the brand’s first ever Pre-Fall collection.

‘Interfacing’ is a concise collection of contradictions built around Kym Ellery’s masterful use of shape. Fabrics are both fluid and rigid – the most visually luxurious a foam-backed velvet and triple-layer organza dress – and silhouettes both masculine and feminine. Coats, which Ellery always does exceptionally, are either nipped in and scaled down or blown up and completely engulfing the body.

Ellery says the succinct collection encourages the wearer to have an upright posture. Corsets, funnel necks, cinched waists and décolletage necklaces appeal to your inner steampunk, though have maximum draw power when slightly obscured by one of those giant pod coats. We’ll take the one in powdery lilac.

There’s also plenty of cool suiting that fuses Savile Row tailoring with outré details. No one charges into the dubious territory of cropped legs and kick flares quite like Ellery. The trousers here, if you’re daring enough, are good reason not to leave your ankles out of your beauty routine. And to get psyched for the designer's Paris Fashion Week sophomore outing next month. 

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Maria Borges Closes Versace Haute Couture Show (Forum Buzz)

image credit: imaxtree.com

image credit: imaxtree.com

In terms of model castings, the Haute Couture Spring 2014 season started off with a bang. Givenchy campaign model Maria Borges provided for a “WOW!” Moment when she closed the Atelier Versace show on Sunday evening, looking stunning in an all-black hooded gown. Members of the tFS forums could not stop raving about Maria’s appearance.

Moofins swooned, “Seriously amazing in Versace. That's a strut that will set the bar for future seasons.”

“Teach them Maria! Amazing that she closed, although I hope it's not an entirely one-off random event,” mused Fiercification.  

“Maria closed Versace. I ain't complaining anymore. Peace!” posted Cold, who had voiced her discontent with the casting when it became known that a large number of the models walking the show were girls that are new to the Versace runways. 

image credit: imaxtree.com

image credit: imaxtree.com

But Maria was not actually the only casting highlight on the Versace runway yesterday. Karlie Kloss, Sasha Luss, Andreea Diaconu, Jacquelyn Jablonski, Nadja Bender, Lindsey Wixson and Anna Selezneva were other top girls that walked the show. Hot new face Anna Luisa Ewers, who stars in this season's Prada and Alexander Wang campaigns, opened the show. Are we excited for more casting surprises this Haute Couture week? Of course we are!

Related: Spring 2014 Haute Couture Kicks Off with Versace (and Lady Gaga)

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See All the Roberto Cavalli-Designed Outfits for Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz Tour

We've just got wind of what Miley Cyrus will be sporting during her upcoming Bangerz tour, all designed by Roberto Cavalli—and it is a doozy. But we wouldn't expect any less of this match up, really. "Skimpy" is the operative word here. Along with teensy, shimmery jorts and denim bras, there are two stand-out outfits that can best be described as "raunchy zebra"—a bodysuit with zebra stripe, body-revealing cut-outs—and "matching bikini and diamond choker." We aren't sure we want to know how the latter really works—it's reminiscent of a spray-on diamond bikini, and also recalls a certain look we've seen before on another pop princess. But we can't think of anything more appropriate for a live rendition of "Wrecking Ball" than this nearly-nude look. Still taking bets for how Miss Miley will be sporting her hair for this outing, though.

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