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Not ‘Thin and Beautiful’? Abercrombie & Fitch Doesn’t Want Your Money

Abercrombie & Fitch: torn denim hot pants, naked ad campaigns, bare chested boys beckoning from its store doors. Abercrombie & Fitch has less to do with clothing, more to do with showing bodies — teen bodies specifically. It's the best possible business strategy for a retailer whose actual product is mediocre: sell to young people, make it about sex.

Abercrombie exploits the dumbest aspects of teen and college-aged social life, stoking the prurience (no one is more obsessed with sex than someone that's never had it), insecurity and drive to conformity which are the hallmarks of conventional American adolescence. (Another group the company exploits: the Filipino factory workers who manufacture its clothing; in 2010, Abercrombie made the International Labor Rights Forum's Sweatshop Hall of Shame.) 

There are many reasons to boycott Abercrombie, but here's one that's getting a lot of attention right now: Robin Lewis, who co-wrote the well-received book, The New Rules of Retail, recently told the website Business Insider (BI) that the reason the company doesn't carry plus-size clothing is because the CEO, Mike Jeffries, "doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people. He doesn't want his core customers to see people who aren't as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they're one of the 'cool kids.'"

As BI notes, Abercrombie doesn't sell women's pants above a size 10 (or 12, sometimes), which is unusual for its competitive set: H&M and American Eagle, also teen favorites, have options going all the way up to size 16 and 18 respectively. H&M just launched a seperate plus-size line, which includes sizes up to 24. To top it all off, the Swedish brand recently made the blog rounds after it ran photos showcasing its standard swimwear collection on a size 12 model, without sending out a press release or including any self-congratulatory fanfare on the site itself.

Anyone that follows luxury fashion understands the appeal of exclusivity, but it also makes business sense that mass market brands would want many shoppers (i.e. the masses) to to buy their stuff. Abercrombie is doing the opposite — trying to keep people out so that the 'cool kids' can feel good about themselves for 'fitting in' to the brand's clothing. Sadly, that equation seems to be working for them: in February, the company posted 11% revenue growth for the fourth quarter of 2012. 

Image via Getty

The Buzz Forum Buzz

Dior Releases Another ‘Secret Garden’ Campaign (Forum Buzz)

The Dior brand has launched another 'Secret Garden' campaign starring Dior favorite Daria Strokous. While Dior's secret garden is still located in Versailles, like it was in the first campaign last year, Daria and several other models are now seen lounging around, dancing and showing off their Dior handbags and outfits in a misty forest near Petit Trianon. Photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin were inspired by Édouard Manet’s famous painting “The Luncheon on the Grass” for the first image, but forum members also pointed out stylistic similarities with the photography of Annie Leibovitz.

"Very beautiful, more like US Vogue spread shot by Annie Leibovitz though," commented JoeHsiang

LagerfeldBoy agreed: "It's very Annie Leibovitz for sure. The first image is nice, but I find the second one to be too cluttered. I honestly don't get the point of this however."

LagerfeldBoy was not alone in wondering what exactly is being advertised in this campaign. "But what is this campaign advertising for? I don't get it," says Pricciao.

According to WWD, the models in the campaign are clad in outfits from the Christian Dior Fall 2013 collection although this is not an advertisement for that collection per se. Last year's 'Secret Garden' campaign was later said to be advertising the Dior Pre-Fall collection. Regardless of what Dior is trying to sell here, other than the Dior fantasy, the compelling images make me excited for the accompanying short film that is to to be released in June and it is nice to see how Dior is consistently establishing a new surreal and fairy tale-like aesthetic for the brand's ad campaigns under Raf Simons' creative direction.

Images: wwd.com via the FashionSpot forums

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Hooray for Kerry Washington! But, This Elle Cover Could Have Been Better (Forum Buzz)

Elle June 2013 - Kerry Washington

First, Kerry Washington is a stunning woman. Her face should be plastered on magazine covers all the time (as far as I’m concerned, anyway). But, come on Elle. You could have done better with this. Sure, black, white and red are great together, but this June cover is not quite working. Between the extreme overload of text and the lackluster styling, Kerry is completely overwhelmed.

Elle June 2013 - Kerry Washington“She is a refreshing cover choice, but I don't like the makeup or the styling here!” Miss Dalloway commented. “And jeez could they not fit in more text there? There is plenty more room,” she quipped.

“You would almost think that this text is wallpaper on the set… the styling is disappointing, but she is beautiful,” KissMiss posted.

Vogue28 actually liked the cover. “I think this works and is one of Elle's better covers,” he shared. “Whilst I'm not overwhelmed with the actual cover shot, I just love the colors and text placement. All of the smaller cover lines suggest I might come across a few hidden treasures inside the issue – something I might not have known was inside.”

Here’s hoping the next magazine cover Kerry lands on will be better than this one. It's not the worst ever (by far), I just think she has so much potential to look off-the-charts amazing. She consistently does it on the red carpet, and I'm waiting for that to happen on a magazine.

Images: usmagazine.com and elle.com

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Exclusive: Cara Delevingne, Anna Dello Russo and Others Get Sketched for V Magazine

Jamie Lee Reardin for V Magazine

The newest issue of V magazine — the "Drawn to Fashion Issue" — and its Miley Cyrus cover hits newsstands on May 9, and we have an exclusive peek to, um, pique your interest in what guest editor Derek Blasberg put together for your page-flipping pleasure.

Illustrator Jamie Lee Reardin was commissioned to create sketches of Blasberg's favorite street style looks at the Fall 2013 shows, worn by Taylor Tomasi Hill, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Shala Monroque, Laure Heriard Dubreuil, Ulyana Sergeenko, Anna Dello Russo and Cara Delevingne. I love that they all look inhuman and scary, mostly due to their supernatural chic-ness. It's the perfect palate cleanser to the heated street style debates which dominated the conversation surrounding Fashion Week this past season…

See more at Vmagazine.com

RelatedHas Street Style Gone Overboard? Dasha Zhukova's Documentary "Take My Picture" Looks for Answers

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Nicole Richie on #CandidlyNicole: ‘I Am Here in Regards to My Tramp Stamp’

Nicole Richie has come a long way since she first emerged in the limelight as then-national punching bag Paris Hilton's best friend on The Simple Life. Thanks to her acclaimed personal style and the launch of her own accessories brand, House of Harlow 1960, her reality show notoriety transformed into a kind of (more legitimate/respectable) fashion celebrity. Richie stopped getting DUIs and started getting married, started businesses, having babies — everything our society expects of mature and responsible adults.

Together with these more conventional strides towards maturity, she also built a strong (sorry this is such an icky way of putting it) personal brand. Richie has captured the attention of her over four million Twitter followers and remained relevant longer than anyone expected by being funny. So funny, in fact, that now she's even launched a web series based on being funny on Twitter.  It boggles the mind what celebrities are allowed to do.

#CandidlyNicole is made up of five minute sketch episodes (so far only two have been released) which riff on her most popular Tweets. The first episode, titled "Tramp Stamps," elaborates on a wildly successful post she made in November of last year:

Back in the early-mid 2000s, when Richie was a newly-minted celebrity, the tramp stamp was ubiquitous both as a fad and a punchline about hyper-sexualized and groomed young women with bad taste; Richie was a voice of that generation. Now she's in on the joke, but still making herself the butt of it.

Self-deprecation reads as a kind of sincerity and I bet many people (but especially women), tramp-stamped or otherwise, can relate to what it feels like to suddenly remember something shameful. That you can wake up in the morning, stained (in Richie's case, it's a literal ink mark on her body) — somehow degraded in the eyes of others. Yes, "tramp stamp" is a very funny phrase, but it's also a derogatory one, targeting women who display their bodies to seek approval from men … which is of course what plenty of social cues suggest that women are supposed to do in the first place. I'm just saying all this because I think there can be a temptation to dismiss someone like Nicole Richie as frivolous or unimportant. Resist it; it's sexism. 

"Today I am going to check out the process of getting my tramp stamp removed," she says in the debut episode of #CandidlyNicole. "It just…means a certain thing and I don't want to be a part of that group." 

Guess what? (Spoiler!) In the end, she doesn't even go through with the procedure. 

Watch it here (Big Brother fans: Dr. Will Kirby alert!):

Image via Instagram

The Buzz Latest News

Kanye West to Kim Kardashian at the Met Ball: ‘You’re So Awesome’

Image via Getty

If the rumors are true, Kanye West had initially promised to boycott the Met Gala if organizers didn't also extend a ticket to his pregnant girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, who was blocked from attending the swanky New York City event last year on the grounds of her low-rent reputation.

If I were pregnant with someone's child, I would literally kill them if they went to a fancy party I wasn't invited to. That's not hyperbole*. Whatever you think of Kardashian, her style and (if we can even call it a) career, it would have been beyond scummy if the gala's planners hadn't invited her, especially since Kanye was slated to perform. 

She chose to wear a custom-made floral print Givenchy gown with matching gloves and a thigh-high slit. A controversial choice, chiefly due to it being insane. Still, the number of "who wore it best" jokes showing Kardashian's red carpet look beside a picture of a couch makes criticism of the reality star seem pretty suspect. People deride Kardashian as low-hanging fruit, but then reach for the low-hanging jokes to further ridicule her.

For the past few months, tabloids and blogs have been laughing so hard at the mother-to-be's maternity style, you'd think it were an ab workout fad. And I find it frustrating. Pregnant celebrities face so much scrutiny for what they wear and how they look, you almost forget that the object of being pregnant is to create human life. Dressing well is challenging in the best of times — when you aren't worrying about how to flatter the lump of growing pre-baby attached to your torso. Kim Kardashian has been struggling to figure out how to dress for her changing pregnant body and sure, sometimes (often) it looks really weird. But I would much rather see her bundled skin-tight in a bizarre rose (okay, I'll succumb to calling it a) slipcover, than trying to be another glowing earth mama in a solid-colored, empire-waist dress. 

And Kanye West seems to agree. Revealing heretofore unknown layers of sweetness and errr… depth, the hip hop star devoted at least part of his Met Gala set to singing about how Kardashian shouldn't listen to what anyone says, because she's awesome. 

(Coco Rocha Vine'd it. Thanks Coco!!)

 

Read more: The Ultimate Met Gala 2013 Recap: The Red Carpet Goes Rebel

 


*Okay, it's hyperbole. 

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