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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.

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Things to Read #26

This is late because 1) I was hungover and 2) I was working but 3) not at the same time, thankfully.

Here’s stuff I wrote for the Irish Times last week on supa stylist Celestine Cooney, who allowed me into her house, fed me cakes and let me flip through her magazines.

Beauty, anti-beauty and Instagram filters.

This post is worth looking at if only for Mae West’s 8 1/2 inch platform shoes.

Margaret Moser, veteran music journalist, on her life in music.

A handy primer on modernism and how modern art has gone a bit zzz.

Reading this New Yorker piece on hoarding, and worrying that you’ll die under a pile of old copies of The Gentlewoman and Acne Paper (they’re very heavy).

Chris Rock is doing the promotion rounds for his new film and he has a lot to say about a lot of things.

In praise of inactivity.

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Things to Read #24

Patti Smith and David Lynch talk Blue Velvet and Pussy Riot.

Here’s a little something I wrote about people who wear pizza onesies, amongst other things.

Street style is dead – kinda.

Robin Givhan’s precise analysis of fashion is always great. Here’s her take on the new fashion exhibit at the Met, which focuses on mourning dress – “A widow was also a potentially dangerous woman, one with sexual experience who was untethered from marriage. Mourning attire marked her and served as a visual reminder of her formidable, discomforting knowledge.”

Bonus Givhan! A look at the journalist’s attitude to life and work.

A very thorough look at Vivienne Westwood’s new biography in the LRB.

Putin’s isolationist policies are changing everything in Russia – even the fashion industry. BoF’s two parter on the fashion media and retail sectors are essential reading.

Are you listening to Serial? (I’m not, but only because I want to wait ’til every espide is done so I can binge listen.) Here’s two articles on the more troubling aspects of broadcasting an already-troubling story. Spoiler alert, obviously.

“And I’ve never been able to believe that peace is a good present to give a young woman.” We need more advice columnists like Colette.

What it’s like to be an Instagram celebrity.

A look inside the gay wing (actual wing name – K6G) of LA Men’s Central Jail.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on the foolishness of ignoring the Bill Cosby rape allegations.

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Things to Read #23

A history of the New York Time Styles section, in which it is confirmed that every subject I write about is seen by the general public as totally inane and useless. Yay?

Before Kim K and her oily full-frontals by Jean Paul Goude, there was Saartje Baartman.

Hipster problems.

Taylor Swift must be exhausted after filming her new video. So many paradigms to shift, so little time.

One man and a forty year search to find his bully (spoiler alert; the bully turns out to be an utter shit).

Self-care: What it is, why it’s important and how one woman does it.

A recently unlocked profile on Madeline L’Engle, whose book, ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ bamboozled the hell out of me as a kid.

Are you stealing your partner’s personality? I’ll get worried when I start playing Grand Theft Auto.

Everybody sexts, apparently. NSFW, but it’s Sunday right now, so appreciate the saucy illustrations at your leisure.

Dubbing films in French is very complicated.

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Things to Read #22

Hello. Here is an article that I wrote on fashion and feminism. HOT TOPIC ALERT! Yes, it mentions Karl Lagerfeld. Ugh, what a total hack.

What’s to be done about the t-shirt problem?

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei makes his first foray into fashion photography and pisses off a lot of people by shucking paint over young designers’ creations (pics here). Robin Givhan has her take on it here.

After finishing off a thesis, working and then taking on even more work this week, I can confirm that work burnout does exist. One unfortunate symptom is that your brain starts to resemble badly-scrambled eggs. A less unfortunate symptom is the impulse to binge watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries until the synapses knit themselves together again.

Mallory Ortberg’s ‘Texts From Jane Eyre’ may be the best Christmas stocking filler gift for the funny, socially-engaged woman in your life - note to my Dad, who once got me a copy of Derek Blasberg’s ‘Classy’ as a joke-but-also-not-a-joke.

My Little Bronie.

Was Vincent van Gogh murdered? Well, no, almost definitely not. But this is certainly a well-constructed flight of CSI fancy. Note to future biographers; Theo van Gogh would probably make an excellent 19th century Horatio Caine.

I don’t fucking care if you like it. Yes please.