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Things to Read #37

We just sent off The Coven‘s first newsletter! This is very exciting.

“Shirts don’t go bad, they’re not peaches.”

“How do you erase a stereotype? You confront it, and force others to confront their own preconceptions about it, and then you own it. And in doing so you denude it of its power.” Vanessa Friedman on ‘girlie’ dressing.

The disconnect between art and life has never been more evident in the portrayal of Japanese Edo-period courtesans.

All my cool friends have been reading Renata Adler and I’m starting to feel like I’m missing out.

“We went there for the bass, and the trance state resulting from hours of dancing to riddim that stretched forever, the groove a fabric of stacked beats fractally splitting into halves of halves of halves of halves, a tree that spread its branches through the body, setting the governor beat in the torso and shaking its tributaries outward and down through shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, feet so that you couldn’t stop except when you collapsed.” Proustian ruminations on reggae by Luc Sante.

Nine episodes of the X-Files that you have to watch.

Horrible shit happens when you’re a full-time writer.

Good question: Why don’t more women run away to the woods?

All the different ways to be trolled by a misogynist. Great.

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Things to Read #36

Read all of Cathy Horyn’s Fashion Month reviews online. She gets it.

“From Barnum’s correspondence it becomes clear that accepted ideas about the Circassian ‘beautiful white slave girl’ were paramount in his decision to add them to his roster.” Circassian beauties and how the freak show was fashioned.

“That Anna was not invited to Bob Marley’s funeral and spent the day inventing that thing where models layer designer vests over T-shirts.”

The New Yorker style issue is out this week, and that means some great fashion longreads are in store. Online; a photographic portfolio of Callot Soeurs’ dresses and an essay about the fashion makeover of the humble Birkenstock.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche is doing Vogue’s ‘Today I’m Wearing…’ this month.

Margaret Atwood loves Game of Thrones. Unsurprised.

MIA reflects on the tenth anniversary of Arular and unsurprisingly, Diplo turns out to be a Not Great Person. But Arular is still a great album, so I guess the lesson we can all learn is… Shit happens? Even talented people can be horrible? 10 Dollar is still a total choon?

“The funny thing about time in the OR, whether you frenetically race or steadily proceed, is that you have no sense of it passing. If boredom is, as Heidegger argued, the awareness of time passing, this is the opposite: The intense focus makes the arms of the clock seem arbitrarily placed. Two hours can feel like a minute.” But then Paul Kalanithi got cancer, and time started to warp.

Like most young women suffering from a Girls hangover, I have found a new love in Broad City. That being said, it’s almost heartening to know it’s not universally loved – and with good reason.

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Things to Read #35

“This is where Givhan starts building her case for diversity in fashion and where her book zips past the society wives and rarefied showrooms into the gravitas behind the battle. The Versailles show overlapped with an unprecedented moment when the industry realized it was time to reach beyond its fascination with chilly, porcelain runway models. After race riots, the Kerner report, and the ensuing “Black is beautiful” movement, US fashion found new energy with African-American models. Of the 36 American models at Versailles, 10 were African American. That’s more than the number of black runway models you’re likely to count during the entire span of New York Fashion Week.” Good GOD, I cannot wait to start reading Robin Givhan’s new book.

How Instagram has given women a platform to form their own images, and how Carrie Brownstein, Kim Gordon and Annie Clark (a.k.a St. Vincent) frame themselves within that platform.

The stylists have taken over.

The beauty industry is inching slowly away from a whitewashed world.

The weather got a tiny bit better this week, so I unearthed this from an old bookmarks folder dedicated to alcoholic delights. Then it got cold again.

Stuff You Missed in History Class is one of my all-time favourite podcasts, and this week’s one on the Night Witches is well worth a listen.

A comprehensive guide to contemporary fan fiction, replete with infographics, reading lists and pictures of Harry Styles (of course).

Sometimes, it’s OK not to lean in. A new take on the ‘having it all’ myth and how entering the job market can sometimes mean entering a career hinterland.

“It’s 2050, and do you know what science is now? The 1996 movie about teen witches, The Craft. It’s the feminist future, and women are the ones who sit with their knees sprawled out on the subway. Men have to sit on the floor, and if a woman tells them to lick the pole, they have to do it, because Kamala Harris is the eternal Goddess-King of America now. It’s 2050 and January Jones keeps the bones of Bill Murray in a golden cage and it’s illegal to watch or quote Caddyshack. This is what feminism is now.” Bring it on.

Never meet your heroes, and if they’re dead, never catalogue their work; on Man Ray’s Hollywood Album.

 

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Things to Read #34

Happy International Women’s Day! It’s probably the right time to announce that I (and some standup gals) are launching a new website in April and it’s about women and there will be monthly themes and thinkpieces and personal essays and it will be very feminist but it will not be a Feminist Website. *phew* So, if you are interested in submitting, email me.

Very much looking forward to Robin Givhan’s book, The Battle of Versailles. Read a snippet here.

“When I’m at Fendi, I don’t even remember what I am doing somewhere else, and if I am somewhere else, I forgot what I did here. What I do for Chanel never looks like Fendi. I have no personality. Perhaps I have three.” Oh, Karl. You are so opaque.

Shooting, smoking, drinking: vintage photos of dangerous women.

The mechanics of feminine badassery.

“I worry about making pain a ticket to gain entry into the women’s club.” Abuse and violence and how that shapes a woman’s identity.

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Things to Read #32

Mad about the boy: Why Alexander McQueen still has a hold on the public imagination.

“When I heard Vionnet was looking, I jumped on the plane that day and by afternoon I signed the memorandum of understanding,” Goga says. “I would have paid three times as much as they asked.”An interesting profile of Goga Ashkenazi.

The racial divide of fashion, as seen from an American perspective.

The relentless pace of fashion design, and the toll it can take on the mental health of designers.

It’s hard to feel sorry for Justine Sacco, but Jon Ronson makes it work.

Flaking, internet feuding and online stalking. A week of living dangerously.

A wallpaper that looks like a to-do list. A compulsive organiser’s dream.

Five Dials, a magazine by publishing house Hamish Hamilton, is free to download and full of good things. The most recent issue features sketches, collages and notes by graphic novelist Richard McGuire is available here.

Balloon Party!

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Things to Read #31

Mirada July gets the Coveteur treatment. She owns my dream pair of Prada shoes.

“To say that I was not a friend of Alexander McQueen’s would be stating the truth. He certainly didn’t like me. It’s interesting that both writers have quoted his outburst about me, which, many years later, still amuses me. ” Colin McDowell casts a more balanced eye over the new Alexander McQueen biographies.

I really want to read Kim Gordon’s new memoir. I don’t like Sonic Youth (sacrilege!) but I do love her.

What Men’s Rights Activists are like in person.

Beware of writers, for they may write about you – or in the case of my mother and boyfriends both former and current; tough shit, because I’m going to mine your life for material anyway.

AMY POEHLER: I liked the costumes depending on how easily I could take a nap in them. I always pitched a character called Sleeping Bag Lady, who just wore a sleeping bag, but it never caught on. The women of Saturday Night Live.

What the term ‘It Girl’ really means.

A food writer goes to the home of ramen, while I drool all over my keyboard.

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Things to Read #30

“It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, though it may have no connection, that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived. This was not at all what we men wanted, we were screaming for hundreds and thousands of other things and I don’t know who asked for lipstick. I wish so much that I could discover who did it, it was the action of genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance. I believe nothing did more for those internees than the lipstick. Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips, you saw them wandering about with nothing but a blanket over their shoulders, but with scarlet red lips. I saw a woman dead on the post mortem table and clutched in her hand was a piece of lipstick. At last someone had done something to make them individuals again, they were someone, no longer merely the number tattooed on the arm. At last they could take an interest in their appearance. That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.”

– from the diary of Colonel Mervin Willett Gonin, among the first British soldiers to liberate Bergen-Belsen.

In this week’s Irish Times – the link between happiness and getting dressed, and I answer a question about underwear.

“I treated them contemptuously because I marveled at their ability to be so naked in their assertion that what they looked like was something that demanded time and money and attention, and because I was afraid that kindness would mark me as a fellow soldier in the fight against physical imperfection, when all I wanted was to be so naturally beautiful I’d never have to ask someone to help me look better.” What’s it’s like to be the meanie behind the cosmetics counter.

Alexander Fury’s wrath is always fun to read (though I did enjoy Gods and Kings, the McQueen/Galliano book that he eviscerates in this article).

“When I heard this story I thought about all the women I know today who falter when it comes to pitching, the writers who have trouble selling their voices in professional settings against established male writers. To know Ager was so ballsy, so aggressively hungry, in the year Nineteen Thirty-Fucking-Three makes me want to step up my game currently.”

The past, present and future of Tumblr book clubs.

What one week of harassment on Twitter looks like.

Ask not for whom the bell trolls; Lindy West’s experience with the troll who impersonated her dead father, and what happened afterwards.

A look inside The Onion.

And things to watch: firstly, a Sundance panel talk with Lena Dunham, Jenji Kohan, Mindy Kaling and Kirsten Wiig (<3) and secondly, a Vice interview with surviving Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Luz.

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Things to Read #29

Stella Bugbee, editorial director of The Cut, gets the Coveteur treatment at work.

Danielle Steel, romance novelist and couture enthusiast.

Are fashion ads just made for the web now? Zeitgeist-tapping has gone all meta on us.

“The milliners of Paris, attuned to current events that could be translated into quick profits, commemorated the momentous event with an allegorical headdress dubbed the pouf à l’inoculation. Perched atop a woman’s powdered and pomaded coiffure, it depicted the serpent of Asclepius, representing medicine; a club, representing conquest; a rising sun, representing the king; and a flowering olive branch, symbolizing the peace and joy resulting from the royal inoculation. In commemorating the royal inoculation, the milliners and their female clients helped to publicize it, and the practice—like the pouf—instantly became all the rage.” How inoculation became a fashion trend, and how fashion quelled anti-vaxxers.

How Playgirl went from ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves’ to dicks and Dog the Bounty Hunter. *shudder*

The amount of shit that Björk has had to put up with is rather worrying.

This isn’t new, but the ultimate guide to DGAF is always worth GAF about.

“I mean, obviously, he said, they had to have come from somewhere, but there wasn’t the same feeling of your hometown waiting to claim you, that sense of preordination that he had miraculously felt himself climbing clear of as he first rose above the clouds.” The most accurate description of leaving Tralee (or any small Irish hometown) as yet committed to paper, by Rachel Cusk.

A case for the Leslie Knopes of those world – though as a happy Liz Lemon, I still endorse this.

Susan Meiselas’ compelling photobook, Carnival Strippers, is forty years old

Mimi Brune’s Instagram feed is a still-life delight.

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Things to Read #28

Hey Girl! It’s been forever. Let’s get drinks! Oh my goodness. Almost a full month has gone by since I’ve posted one of these things. A full month to let the festive dust rise and settle back down again. I’ve just got back to London after an extended stay at home in Ireland, in which I did things that are better not to mention, or not really worth mentioning at all.

But I did do some writing; here are pieces from the Irish Times on 2015 trends and how to craft a wiser wardrobe with a little help from Socrates. And I got street styled for the Irish Examiner! This almost never happens.

On Tuesday, I went to the Egon Schiele exhibition in the Courtauld, which ends today. The Radical Nude is equal parts disturbing and erotic, and the space was full of septuagenarian couples nodding thoughtfully at drawings of women with hoiked skirts and red, pulsing vulvas. It was weird. But the exhibition was amazing.

In the spirit of New Year’s self-improvement (my resolution is to finish what I start this year – also to floss more but that’s never going to happen), here is a link to a jazzy printable to-do list.

John Galliano’s first couture collection for Maison Martin Margiela happened this week, and the reviews are in.

Are fashion models too skinny? Caroline Evans, who quite literally wrote the book on the subject, weighs in (accidental pun and IT STAYS).

Gerry Adams. In Burberry.

Joan Didion’s recent campaign image for Celine has sprouted a lot of think pieces, including this short one by Lynne Segal on women of a certain age, a dissenting essay by Molly Fischer in New York Magazine, and a total humdinger from The Awl by Hayley Mlotlek.

Pearl’s photobook for her friend Sadie.

How the survival issue of Charlie Hebdo was made.

Miranda July’s first novel is out, and she has written an essay for Vogue about falling for a River Phoenix lookalike that evokes a lovely/horrible, nostalgic tummy squishy feeling in me.

Broad City, female friendship and sexing up a stately oak tree. Watch Broad City. Just watch it.

Otherwise, it’s a day for bimibap, this playlist and some sort of inspirational shit.

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Things to read #27

Andre 3000 discussing tour jumpsuits at an art exhibition in Miami.

“When it comes to love and friendship and the normal things in life, I think I am patient. Fashion, however, does not know patience. It’s an abnormal life.” A snippet from a very very very in-depth interview with Raf Simons for 032c.

People have always and will always love checking themselves out. Views from a two-way mirror in 1946.

I met a man whom I soon became interested in romantically. Nothing physical had happened between us yet, but things were going in that direction. When he visited my apartment for the first time and was gazing up at a beautiful fashion photo of my mother, taken by Irving Penn, he said, “It must be hard to have a mother who’s that beautiful.” ‘The Looks You’re Born With,’ by Amanda Filipacchi.

Champagne glasses unfortunately have very little to do with Marie Antoinette’s boobs (and a little to do with Kate Moss’).

The mind-poking work of graphic designer and artist Barbara Nessim, and how it relates to Nessim’s former flatmate, Gloria Steinem.

Oh, Stewart Lee. You get it.

Kurt Vonnegut is one of my all-time favourite writers, but even the best people in their fields can come up with absolute howlers. Rape howlers.

On women and cancer, and being a woman writer with a woman’s cancer.