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Brace Yourselves Because This Chinese Met Gala Theme Could Go Terribly Wrong

The Met Gala is nearly upon us and as the fashion world braces itself for its very glamorous prom night, we can’t help but feel a bit uneasy about the affair. When we first heard that this year’s exhibit would be China: Through the Looking Glass, we let lut a Scooby Doo-style “Ruh roh,” nervous about what the red carpet gala might look like. Any theme based on a non-Western culture seems like a moment for some possibly tone-deaf costumery. 

Andrew Bolton, who is involved in curating the exhibit, did nothing to ease our fears when he explained to WWD the premise of the presentation, saying it “is not about China per se, but about a China that exists as a collective fantasy. It is about cultural interaction, the circuits of exchange through which certain images and objects have migrated across geographic boundaries.”

And whose “collective fantasy,” pray tell, will this exhibit reflect? Obviously, the perspective of Chinese fashion and art will be done through a Western lens. It is a premise that sounds rather problematic, toeing the line of Orientalism. As Vogue put it, “‘China: Through the Looking Glass’ will primarily examine how Eastward-looking Westerners have understood and misunderstood Chinese culture in an exchange that Bolton likens to a complicated game of telephone.” 

Here’s the problem. The story of the East, as told by the West is a narrative we’re accustomed to hearing. Putting a Western focus on a different culture should make us all uneasy, as historically this kind of practice has led to hurtful, racist and most importantly, inaccurate depictions of people. Why are we celebrating this phenomenon? Shouldn’t the emphasis be on the inspiration itself, rather than muddled, potentially disrespectful interpretations of that inspiration? Why not do an exhibit on the evolution and influences of Chinese fashion through the years? Or on Asian and Asian-American designers themselves and their impact on fashion?

Another thing bugging us about the event is that while it is focused on China, so far, the leaked guest list for the event (which we assume isn’t final)  is brimming with celebrities – few of which are Chinese, or even Asian for that matter. Of course, we’re not here to nitpick the diversity of the guest list – that would be ridiculous. But you would think that there would be a little bit more representation from Chinese designers, artists and luminaries for this show. Of course, that list is most likely not complete, so we still have to see how the actual event plays out.

This is not to say that there are no Chinese creatives involved with the exhibit. Actress Gong Li is listed as a co-chair of the affair, Wong Kar-wai is handling the art direction. Silas Chou will also be on hand to host the event. On the guest list are Chinese-American designers Alexander Wang, Derek Lam and Vera Wang. Still, it seems very curious to us that this Western-focused interpretation of Chinese culture didn’t at least ring questionable to some of the aforementioned people, or at least they haven’t expressed as much. 

But maybe we’re wrong to feel so nervous. Perhaps once the exhibit goes live, it will demonstrate the cultural exchange, rather than relish in exoticism and the good ol’ days where such behavior went unchallenged. We’re hoping that with the inclusion of Chinese artists, at least this version of Western storytelling will be more nuanced and respectful. As we know, innocent cultural appreciation too often turns into something more sinister. As Jezebel’s Kara Brown wrote, “The fact that the core idea behind the theme is how Chinese aesthetics have influenced other designers is troubling because that influence is often culturally insensitive or downright racist. There is, of course, a way to honor other cultures without appropriating them, but many people Hollywood—or really, any world rooted in elitism—have already proven that they don’t know how to do that very well.”

We’re hoping this time they get it right, but we have to admit, the whole thing looks dubious from here.

[via WWD, Vogue, Jezebel, UsWeekly]

The Buzz Latest News

Lily-Rose Depp Photographs Beautifully, Tells the Mundane Details of Her Life for Oyster

Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis’ daughter Lily-Rose Depp is poised to become the next genetically-blessed modeling sensation. The 15-year-old was spied a few weeks ago at Chanel’s Métiers d’Art show in New York, so it was only a matter of time before the fresh-faced teen was photographed for something

 

Introducing: @lilyrose_depp, now on oystermag.com shot by @danaboulos

A photo posted by Oyster Magazine (@oystermagazine) on

Oyster magazine is hot on Depp’s seemingly inevitable rise to fashion and pop culture prominence, and sat down for a Q&A with the budding star in which we discover vital information like her preference for the abbreviation “lol” over “hahaha” in text messages, which Netflix shows she binges on and her favorite bubble tea flavor. You know, all the basics.

Admittedly unremarkable details of her life aside, the photographs are the real meat here. Depp looks positively dreamy in the Dana Boulous-shot spread as she poses on a sunny roof in Los Angeles for the magazine. What can we say? The girl’s a natural. And something tells us that after this feature, we’ll be seeing a lot more of her. 

[h/t Fashionista Oyster]

The Buzz Forum Buzz

Constance Jablonski on Harper’s Bazaar Spain Fails to Impress (Forum Buzz)

We’ve been keeping a watchful eye on Harper’s Bazaar Spain after a whole new team took the helm back in March. Bazaar unveiled its May installment earlier this week which features Constance Jablonski, photographed by Nagi Sakai. The face and Estée Lauder spokesperson posed poolside and took to the sandy shores, resulting in two summery covers.

Harper's Bazaar Spain May 2015 Constance Jablonski Nagi Sakai

IMAGE: HARPERSBAZAAR.ES

It’s only natural for one cover to outshine the other but which is favored by our forum members? “I like the idea and pose of the first cover but the styling is terrible imo. No words for the second cover, so awful. The photoshopped background, the lame ‘model 101′ pose, the jacket with the bikini…” discredited kokobombon.

“You’re right! Idk why fashion magazines are always trying to style a bikini? As if any woman would ever hit the beach like that!” replied A.D.C. not feeling the styling.

“What a disappointment after two stellar covers. Nagi Sakai is a tremendous photographer who is quite consistent with his work for other HB editions, but Constance just isn’t a versatile model. Beautiful, but she’s got zero range. To zoom into her face for a beauty shot is the best you can get from her,” Benn98 criticized, slamming Constance’s modeling abilities.

Creative shared the same sentiments. “Terrible. I had high hopes for this magazine, but it has been a complete disappointment,” he wrote.

Gossiping had a dramatic difference of opinion, however: “Constance is absolutely stunning. To me, one of the most beautiful women in the world!”

“It’s nice to see Constance on the cover again. These covers are perfect for summer,” appreciated narcyza.

Take a peek at the accompanying cover story and drop us a comment here.

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The Buzz Latest News

Bruce Jenner Wonders ‘How This Story Ends’ in Diane Sawyer Interview

Tomorrow night, speculation on what’s going on with Bruce Jenner should finally be put to rest. ABC will air an exclusive two-hour sit-down interview with the Olympian-cum-reality star, in which he is expected by many to go into the details of his alleged transition. ABC has released yet another promo for the interview, this one with a few more quotes from Jenner.

The rumored topic of the interview is still not explicitly detailed, but it sounds as if it is going to be pretty dramatic, or as Jenner says, “It’s going to be an emotional roller coaster.” And like the rest of us, it seems Bruce is just as curious as to where this new chapter in his life will go. “I wanna know how this story ends,” he says. So do we, Bruce, so do we.

Tomorrow night, we’ll have the answers to all our burning questions. The two-hour special airs at 9/8c on ABC.

[via ABC News YouTube]

The Buzz Latest News

Kim Kardashian Snags a Cover of Variety’s Power of Women Issue

Kim Kardashian Variety Power of Women

Image: Variety

We know her best as a reality star-cum-fashion icon, but Kim Kardashian does sometimes use her enormous visibility and popularity for a good cause. She’s not all selfies and expert contouring, folks. Kardashian has been included in Variety‘s Power of Women NY issue with a solo cover in honor of her work with the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Kardashian has been working with the hospital for the past seven years and has donated money and visited on several occasions, sometimes bringing along her husband Kanye or her sisters. Her charitable attitude has only grown stronger, she says, since the birth of her daughter North. “You realize how hard it must be to be a parent to a child with an illness. Your whole perspective changes.”

Kardashian is one of five women boasting their own covers – Lena Dunham, Whoopi Goldberg, Glenn Close and Rachel Weisz have also snagged covers for their philanthropic work. Watch them explain why they got involved with these charitable projects in the video above.

[via Variety]

The Buzz Forum Buzz

Binx Walton Lands Her First (Well-Deserved) Solo Vogue Cover (Forum Buzz)

Vogue Spain seems to be on a mission to feature models and personalities who’ve never graced the cover of the title before — Gigi Hadid snagged March, while Chiara Ferragni appeared on the April issue. Binx Walton becomes the magazine’s latest conquest, giving her the honor of her first solo Vogue cover, which has been long overdue. The American model and favorite of Karl Lagerfeld was captured by Nico Bustos for May wearing a Giorgio Armani embellished vest teamed with an array of diamond jewelry.

Vogue Spain May 2015 Binx Walton Nico Bustos

IMAGE: FACEBOOK.COM/VOGUEESPANA

Forum members were keen to see what Vogue Spain had in store for its May 2015 edition. “I love everything about this. It looks fresh, and unexpected!” Miss Dalloway admired.

“This cover is amazing! Very different from the usual and it works,” enthused Style Savvy soon after.

Sharing the same judgement was TeeVanity, who was quick to announce, “So gorgeous, love every bit of this cover. I am beyond happy to see Binx on the cover!”

“I’m loving all the diversity in this month’s covers! Binx for Vogue Spain, Aya for Numéro, Liya for Vogue Paris, etc. Please let this be more than a trend!” valliaddict hailed.

“Congratulations on her first OG Vogue cover! The layout looks fresh and summery, I’m just not impressed with her expression and the weird looking armpits,” commented Benn98 as the tone of the thread started to shift.

As usual, not everyone was jumping for joy. “It’s a nice cover imo but it’s missing something. It looks like a generic jewellery supplement cover,” disapproved kokobombon.

Bertrando3 agreed and responded: “Gorgeous girl but nothing pops out for me. It looks like a jewelry supplement indeed.”

Show Vogue Spain some appreciation and join the conversation here.

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