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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.

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Things to Read #20

“Still, for the women of Playboy who decided to step back in front of a photographer’s lens for New York, that sense of control, however illusory, was a large part of the appeal of posing — both then and now.” A look at Playboy Playmates from the 50s, 60s and 70s and how they view themselves now.

Joan Didion wrote ‘On Self Respect’ to an exact character count, just as Vogue was going to press. Vogue has republished it here, with the original layout.

A letter to the late Oscar de la Renta.

Eight writers on classic images of fashion, power and women. Chanel, Dietrich and… Merkel?

To live in Alan Moore’s brain.

“I was passionate about school. I wanted to be at Yale forever, holding people, writing down literary revelations, reading from tales of men long dead, smiling from inside out. The idea of returning to a dressing from in a Winnebago, being called Miss Foster, seemed foreign, unnatural.” Jodie Foster’s 1982 Esquire essay on fame, college and John Hinckley Jr.

There are a few good aspects to the ever-worsening weather, and one of them is the opportunity to stay inside and eat more complex carbohydrates. A one-two punch of sweet and starch, the sweet potato, is a godsend. It’s cheap, it’s filling, and it’s the one vegetable you can acceptably eat with melted marshmallows.

 

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LFW Craft 2/3 – Meadham Kirchhoff

Meadham Kirchhoff are notoriously difficult to interview. This is more by rule than by rumour; their distaste for mass media is a sign, I think, that they hate how their message is interpreted.

So, what better way to counter the (usually) well-meaning spin that the media puts on their creativity than to release their own zine? It’s surprising how no-one has drawn on this irony; Meadham Kirchhoff dislikes the output of many journalists, so they craft their own media project.

Their Spring/Summer ’15 cut-and-stick-and-copy ‘zine/show notes are an obvious tribute to riot grrrls, feminism, musician Viv Albertine and pure bloody-mindedness. Full of loves (‘Quentin Crisp’, ‘Jayne County’) and hates (‘cultural appropriation’, ‘Terry Richardson’  – we’re with you there, guys), the Xerox-alike zines have been making the rounds online.

Fashion likes statement, but this zine isn’t a statement. It’s a frustrated, frenzied yowl into a chasm. Meadham Kirchhoff don’t just reject the circumstances of modern living with fashion – they also reject it with words. And tampons.
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(Featured image via)

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Things to read #18

There is much to say about last week’s Chanel show – a rather cruel joke played at women’s expense. A lot of people made a lot of unimpressed noises.

Vogue catalogues the best of the new(ish, mostly U.S.-based) indie magazines.

“My walk-in closet with a rug thick as a blanket. I lie on it and stare at my clothes like they are my psychoanalysts. They are.” Arabelle Sicardi muses on what the contents of her closet taught her.

Judith Thurman’s 2005 profile of Rei Kawakubo has been recently unlocked by The New Yorker.

“A little screen played the footage of Emily Davison going under the King’s horse on loop. Her glorious ‘mistake'; did she intend death, or just distraction? We’ll never know.” Suffragettes at the Museum of London.

Before I came back to London after a summer misspent at home in Ireland, I made a Mexican dinner for fifteen friends. This Buzzfeed piece on carnitas and homesickness strikes so many chords it could be packaged into a One Direction b-side.

The jarring GIFs of Kevin Weir.

The jarring GIFs of Kevin Weir

The women fighting ISIS, and the stopped heartbeat of the editor’s note.

Every book that Daria Morgendorffer read or mentioned – and where to get it for free.

I’ve been reading a lot of advice columns since starting my own humble fashion advice series for the Irish Times (for ‘humble’, read ‘piss-taking'; my mother calls me ‘Mrs Mills with clothes’ and I choose to take that as a compliment). Unf**k Yourself with Scaachi Koul is becoming a fast favourite.

While it’s essentially a plug for a sauce range, this piece on former Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba and his formidable wife Shauna gives me hope for the future of WAGs.

From nothing to something and nothing again. A graphic exploration of one person and his relationship to the universe.

Featured image via.

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The Reading List: The Vogue Factor…

… 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.

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

Things to Read #15

“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 (!!).