A novel’s worth of articles have been written in the past week or so, following the showing of Louis Vuitton’s Fall/Winter collection in Paris, heralding the welcome return of ‘the woman’ in all her well-endowed, curvy, glory. And it is something to celebrate; though a modern take on a 1950′s silhouette may not do a lot for women’s lib, it’s a welcome change for those of us who never quite suited more waif-ish styles.
Yet shouldn’t we be equally, if not more, concerned about the allegations surrounding Prada’s Japanese stores, that a senior retail manager was asked to “eliminate” some 15 or so managerial staff because they were “old, ugly, disgusting, or not having the Prada look”? And that the manager herself, despite 18 years experience in the industry, was requested to change her hairstyle and other aspects of her physical appearance in order to “fit in."
If the catwalk is the shimmering dream, this is the stark reality – that knowledge and experience mean nothing without the ‘right’ look to go with them. As a woman, I’m enraged that this could happen at a place that has a female designer at its helm. Despite all those words, we’re not more mature, we’re back in the playground, trying to be one of the popular girls, and picking on those who aren’t.
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