Fashion, The Reading List

The Reading List: The Vogue Factor…

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… by Kirstie Clements.

Clements, the Vogue Australia editor who was unceremoniously sacked in 2012, says something in her book that will really hit home with fashion journalists; a newspaper mentality is one that criticises negatively by printing negative reviews, but a magazine mentality is one that criticises negatively by omission. Kirstie Clements has a definite magazine mentality.

For from being the hatchet job that most people were expecting, The Vogue Factor is not a vicious exposé (though the less said about Australia’s Next Top Model, the better), but an informative read through the procedures and practises of a lesser-known Vogue. It’s also a timely reminder that, no matter how high you rise in the editorial ranks, there will always be some kind of invisible pecking order. The Australian fashion industry is beset with problems that are particular to a country that is relatively hard to get to, that relatively few people get to visit, with a relatively small fashion industry (According to Clements Australia has a fair amount of ‘surfies’ and ‘bogans’ – according to a judicious Wikipedia sweep, my new favourite word is ‘usually pejorative or self-deprecating, for a person with an unsophisticated background, or whose speech, clothing, attitude and behaviour exemplify a lack of manners and education). Unique problems means that there has to be a set of unique solutions, and Clements has obviously become, throughout her tenure at Vogue, an incredibly astute problem solver.

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So; not a tell-all. It’s a tell-a-little. There are no juicy anecdotes, no backwards swipes. no secrets spilled like so much Chanel nail varnish. The only sharks here are in the ocean.

Clements is at her writerly best when she’s talking about how hard it is to get tickets for Paris RTW shows, the worrying expectations put on models or the tricky art of negotiating honest content between the PR and the page. It’s very solid, and Clements comes across as a thoroughly likeable person who has no time for slug-a-beds and the unmannerly. A disproportionate amount of the book is dedicated to describing lavish press days and parties in France and New York, which can be a bit discomfiting. Is she promoting the PRs’ products all over again?

Those who want a job in the fashion industry should pick up a copy of this book. If you put down this book feeling disillusioned after finishing, that’s fine. The Vogue Factor, apart from the press day chapters, is free of the filtered, rearranged, idealised bullshit that most magazines are at pains to project to their audiences. It’s an honest look at an industry that deals quite often with fantasy and artifice. Just don’t bank on any tidbits about Anna Wintour.

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Subculture, The Reading List

Things to Read #15

Andre the Giant – some man for one man (via)

Andre the Giant – some man for one man (via)

“No other human has ever matched Andre as a drinker. He is the zenith. He is the Mount Everest of inebriation.” Andre the Giant, the greatest drunk on Earth. Modern Drunkard Magazine, a site dedicated to getting soused, raises all kinds of weird conflicted feelings deep in my gin-soaked brain. But mostly, those feelings are good feelings.

Warren G. Harding (The corrupt, weirdly charismatic Prohibition-era U.S president) and his saucy letters to his mistress. Hardly topical, I know, but who can resist gems like this?

I hurt with the insatiate longing, until I feel that there will never be any relief untilI take a long, deep, wild draught on your lips and then bury my face on your pillowing breasts. Oh, Carrie! I want the solace you only can give. It is awful to hunger so and be so wholly denied. . . .

Oh Mr. Harding, you do go on…

Direct provision laws in Ireland mean that many asylum seekers in Ireland are stuck in hostels and caravan parks for years instead of months, denied basic needs and entitlements, and given an allowance of €19.10 a week. The UN is not amused. Lives in Limbo chronicles the lives of some of these asylum seekers.

Jefferson Hack cagily talks Dazed and has a very hipster-y lunch with the FT.

Woman asks a question about tampons on Twitter and all hell breaks loose.

The perils of being a man and writing about feminism. STEP FORWARD, ROBERT WEBB. “To persist with our chainsaw-juggling metaphor, someone like Rod Liddle sits at his desk and saws his head off before doing anything else. You don’t read our Rod and wait for un-PC accidents. The accident has already happened. No, for a proper feminist high-wire act, you need a real liberal. Or a real idiot.”

Books, books and more books. A reading list that steps out of the usual book club comfort zone. The list includes Women in Clothes, the collaborative effort of more than 600 women including Molly Ringwald (!) and Miranda July (!!).

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Inspiration, Photography, The Reading List

Things to Read #14

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The 28th of July marked the centenary of the start of WWI. Much of the past few weeks has been eaten up with research into my great-great grandfather,  a career soldier who served at Gallipolli and died at the Battle of Verdun. A lot of Irish people don’t talk about family members who served in the British army during that time period. I suspect that, until now, it’s been a source of shame for a nation whose identity is so ingrained in rebelling against the British and the colonial system. Seeing the minutiae of a soldier’s life humanises the conflict. These men were not traitors. My great-great grandfather was my age when he died. He had four kids.

“His eyes, the one part of his original face still intact, dart like anyone’s eyes, and I find myself chasing them, the only reliable clue as to what might really be going on in there.” An excellent (and very long) look at Richard Norris and his exceptional face.

Fashion advertising – where has the controversy gone?

The curious, sexist world of the Irish model.

‘Beauty as Duty: Patriotism, Patriarchy and Personal Style during WWII’ – excerpted from the rather good Worn Archive book.

The Believer talks to Joan Didion.

Advertising without Photoshop. It’s art.

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Art, Fashion, Inspiration, The Reading List

Things to Read #11

ben giles

Ben Giles’ new collage series, All in My Head, is super.

How do you solve a problem like the Monty Python reunion? This is a great article.

“With visibility is supposed to come admiration, respect, access, affluence – and for most of such men, it delivers. Yet for the rest of us, with visibility comes harassment, stalking, threats, loss of career opportunity and mobility, constant public humiliation, emotional and sometimes physical violence.” How being internet famous (or just visible to other people) can make women a target for online violence.

“Even today, several generations removed from the devastating critique of their triviality that was at the heart of first-wave feminism, Marie Claire and other women’s magazines remain obsessed with the appearance of female public figures, an obsession that still extends far beyond them into leading news publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post. You can take the woman out of the woman’s magazine, but the style of coverage—and it is all about style—remains the same.”

The London Review of Books goes to London Collections: Men.

Diane von Furstenburg talks Warhol and Studio 54 and some more stuff that she’s perennially associated with.

On being a Times Square Elmo (it’s never as much fun as it sounds, is it?)

This Nabokov essay from 1972 is a must for anyone who struggles with writing inspiration.

 

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Fashion, Film, The Reading List

Things to Read #10

Tears. Tears upon tears.

Tears. Tears upon tears.

Sometimes you mean to get your work done on a Sunday. Other times, you spend your Sunday lounging around in the sun, napping and glugging gin and tonics. Guess which one was done on Sunday.

When not glugging, I was having my heart ripped out by Before Midnight, the last in Richard Linklater’s film trilogy about seemingly perfect couple Celine and Jesse. This scene is why. Linklater kills.

Read every single article linked by this post on Gawker provocateur turned author Emily Gould and marvel at how one woman can provoke (and create) such a sheer amount of bile and resentment from otherwise reasonable adults. Links include a live-tweeted suicide intervention, which is one of the final symptoms of the Internet finally eating itself and an Elle profile that manages to be both cutting and strangely adoring – ironic, since the central theme of Gould’s newest novel, Friendship, is about, um,  female friendship.

The Independent republished Lynn Barber’s 1990 interview with Jimmy Savile and, in light of certain revelations, it’s an even more unsettling read than it was over two decades ago.

Badass bald women.

Arsenic dresses and the allure of poison clothes.

The secret history of Canadian TV show Fashion Television. With clips!

IFB’s look at why we click on a certain website’s links even though we don’t want to. Fall for the clickbait-y stuff every time.

GO AWAY, Robin Thicke. Or at the very least, take a sexual harassment course.

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Fashion, Photography, Subculture, The Reading List

Things to Read #9

Yesterday, I had to go see a man about a Springer Spaniel and, to edit a very boring story into a mildly entertaining footnote, I thought that it was Monday. Term only ended last week and already freelance work is messing with my brain. I’m going to have to start walking around with my name and address pinned to my sleeve. So, no Sunday post.

It’s doubtful that many people noticed – after all, Sunday is now the day for relaxed reading and there are a lot of websites posting up Sunday links (this particular series being a blatant rip-off loving homage to Ana Kinsella’s Week’s Clicks.

This Richardson shoot for Vogue Paris in 2010 was that first that made me think that something was not quite right. I also might have suppressed a vomit. *burrrp*

This Richardson shoot for Vogue Paris in 2010 was that first that made me think that something was not quite right. I also might have suppressed a vomit. *burrrp*

One of my all-time favourite magazine editors recently  justified (no names, unfortunately; ‘off the record’ is still very much a thing) using creepy-as-hell photographer Terry Richardson  by saying that his work should be separated from his wrongdoings. Which is bullshit, really, as his work is what makes his behaviour acceptable. New York Magazine have released their much-anticipated  feature ofnRichardson, asking if he’s an artist or a predator, perhaps conveniently forgetting that you can be both. The piece itself is … weird. Read it for yourselves and make up your mind.

Speaking of creepy sexual predators, this story of an online romance gone horribly wrong will make most sentient women never use their phones for anything other than Angry/Flappy/Zombie Birds ever again.

This is by no means new, but for people who are curious about what cultural appropriation is (note: eating sushi is NOT cultural appropriation and not just because I ate my weight in mackerel sashimi this weekend) please read this.

Drunk texts from famous authors. Much better than getting the following phone call from Barcelona. “I’m at a beach bar! Do you want to hear my Spanish accent? Ola! Olé… *ridiculously deep voice* OLÉEEEEE (trails off).”

James Franco wrote a weird short story about how he definitely absolutely no way didn’t but maybe he did  kinda sorta have sex with Lindsay Lohan.

Long long loooooooong read about Donna Tartt and why critics are pooh-poohing her latest literary blockbuster, The Goldfinch.

Britney Spears went to Vegas and this is what happened.

The anatomy of school dress codes.

Them Victorian fashions will kill ya.

This Style Bubble post on fashion houses and rebranding is interesting. Typeface love.

 

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Art, Fashion, The Reading List

Things to Read #8

One of the very shamefully hipster-y things I like to do is eat and drink out of jars, so these recipes for overnight oats are just the ticket. I don’t know what a chia seed is, but I want to eat one.

DIY faecal transplant (that’s having someone else’s faeces syringed into your body) is a real thing, and it might save lives. “It’s still the same concept of using a microbial ecosystem or community of bacteria,” says Petrof. “But we’re just moving away from taking it out of the toilet.” *shudder*

The ten best uses of body fluids in art (best not to read the last two links with your overnight oats).

Viv Albertine (she of all-woman punk and post-punk pioneering band The Slits) has a memoir out today. It’s called Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys Boys and is, by all accounts, rather good.  Not new, but still worth mentioning, Albertine has unsurprisingly great taste in music.

A profile of Rihanna’s stylist Mel Ottenberg, who is running out of clothes to put on her.

“Fixating on a woman from afar and then refusing to give up when she acts like she’s not interested is, generally, something that ends badly for everyone involved. But it’s a narrative that nerds and nerd media kept repeating.” Misogyny, entitlement, nerds – and Elliot Rodgers.

 

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Fashion, Subculture, The Reading List

Things to Read #7

One hundred (!) longreads here. Very, very America-centric, but something for everyone to enjoy.

Nellie Bly, one of the first notable female journalists, had something to say about writing what you want.

Just who is a feminist now?  I’m confused. Curtis Sittenfeld has a separate, personal take on the topic.

I Wanna Marry Harry has the be the most takedown-able reality show ever, starring possibly the world’s worst Prince Harry lookalike.

Fashion’s fascination with the childlike body.

In praise of the bad girls of Young Adult literature.

An oldie, but still relevant. Joan Didion on the “faux-adult” characters of Woody Allen films.

I want to go to there. 27 Incredible Airbnb locations in Europe.

 

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Fashion, Photography, Subculture, The Reading List

The Reading List: Seven Sisters Style

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Well, I read Rebecca Tuite’s new book on the female variant of prep, Seven Sisters Style, and it is just delightful. Really and truly delightful.

I’ve written more on the subject for today’s Irish Times. If you can’t pick up a copy, you can read it right here.

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Art, Fashion, The Reading List

Things to read #5

This week was Met Ball week. Hooray? I wrote a dress down for the Irish Times here.

Brandon Stanton’s pictures and profiles of the attendees (Bryan Cranston and his wife Robin Dearden, that’s forever love).

Martin Filler and Colin McDowell ruminate on the life and work of Charles James, the man this year’s Met Ball was all about.

A. Boogert and the underrated art of mixing watercolours. So many pretty colours

A. Boogert and the underrated art of mixing watercolours. So many pretty colours

 

I was never a huge fan of Elizabeth Bennet anyway. Lucy Snowe, on the other hand…

“But fuck Photoshop. Photos are already lies.” Molly Crabapple’s searing piece on Photoshop and feminism.

How the celebrity profile got to be great, and how it got to be so boring.

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