Hallowe’en Appropriate: Salvador Dali for Vogue Paris

Happy Hallowe’en everyone! I hope you’ll be having a spectacularly spooky evening, or at the very least having one that involves eating all the trick or treaters sweeties (I’m on my third funsize box of Smarties).

While not strictly frightening, this 1971 edition of Vogue Paris, edited by Surrealist supremo Salvador Dali, is just jarring enough to give you proper chills…

Vintage Vogue scans via Youthquakers, which is so fantastic I can hardly bear it.

Darcel (Never) Disappoints

Or, ‘Ah, to be in Paris in the Spring!’

Not for the whole ‘City of Love’ vibe either.  I’d much prefer to go to Colette and look at the 15/150 exhibition this Spring.  Don’t call me cynical.  I prefer ‘Pollyanna-challenged’.

For the 15th anniversary of the opening of Colette, Australian artist Darcel has created 150 fashion/photography/art/music versions of his eponymous Darcel Disappoints character, sold in limited edition prints of fifteen.

A special prize (half a packet of Polos and a limitless supply of Licentiate Dollars – cash value zero) to the first reader who can correctly identify the people in the pictures below.  No peeping.

The Lost Column: Gaultier vs. Winehouse


Another day, another designer gets accused of acting in poor taste. This time it’s french couturier, Jean Paul Gaultier. The alleged victim of his questionable actions is deceased chanteuse Amy Winehouse – a woman not totally acquainted with elegance and subtlety in her tragically short lifetime.

​Gaultier unveiled a couture collection this week that was totally wrapped around Winehouse. The clothing was very Amy; nipped in pencil skirts, Fred Perry-ish polo shirt details, Back to Black ​ veils and a strap ever falling off the model’s shoulders. The models, by the way, were trussed up in beehive wigs of different colours – only the cigarettes dangling from their lips were uniform.

​Bad taste? Definitely. But an insult? Maybe not. In conversation with Vogue, Amy’s father Mitch Winehouse said, ‘To see her image lifted wholesale to sell clothes was a wrench we were not expecting or consulted on. We’re proud of her influence on fashion but find black veils on models, smoking cigarettes with a barbershop quartet singing her music in bad taste. It portrays a view of Amy when she was not at her best, and glamorises some of the more upsetting times in her life. That’s upsetting for her family’.

​Those unfamiliar with Amy Winehouse’s story will probably have a lot of sympathy. Mitch Winehouse has often acted as an unofficial spokesperson for his daughter. A totally superfluous, unnecessary, possibly exploitative spokesperson who made a lot of money from his daughters woes as well as her successes. If Gaultier is a kettle, then Winehouse is a bloody massive pot.

​Nor can Gaultier be accused of railing against type – the man did co-present the first seven series of Eurotrash (alongside Antoine De Caunes – the guy from the Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles ice pop ad – and now-deceased owner of the world’s largest breasts, Lolo Ferrarri). It’s not exactly The Royal Variety show – unless the Royal Variety has started featuring porn stars in its roster.

​Amy Winehouse herself, the third point in this couture triangle, became an item of kitsch as soon as she died. On walking down the famous Portobello Road market, you can spot alongside the red telephone boxes and teddy bear beefeaters Amy Winehouse’s face – on a plate. You can see it on paraphernalia almost as often an the queen. She has become an emblem. Of what I don’t know. Her voice has been taken from her.

​Gaultier takes a lot of trashy tropes and does what it incredibly difficult to do. He makes magic. His perfume bottles are modelled on the bodies of courtesans and caricatures of sailor rent boys. He designed Madonna’s cone bra. One of his couture collections was based around sexy little old ladies. He’s no minimalist.

​Famed fashion editor Diana Vreeland once said, ‘while good taste is innate, vulgarity is a very important ingredient… as long as it’s got vitality’.

​Gaultier has vitality, as most men who wear kilts on a regular basis do. It’s just a shame that Amy Winehouse can’t weigh in on the bad taste debate.

Kiki de Montparnasse

>The past week I’ve been sick in bed, which is not fun.  The upside was that I finally had the time to read the books that I had stockpiled for such an occasion (and watch the boyfriend scurry about getting me hot lemony drinks).

A new addition to the pile, which arrived on my doorstep this week, was the graphic biography of Kiki de Montparnasse, the model, muse, artist, actress, drug addict, cabaret singer, prototypical scenester and general inspiration to large-nosed women everywhere.  I’m starting to love the graphic biography genre, because it appeals to both the comic book nerd and the history nerd that hold an uneasy truce inside my brain.

This book, by Catel and Bousquet, is a joy to read.  For the first time in years, the minute I finished the book, I went back to the first page and started to read it again.  Here she is as she appeared in the book.

Illustration by Catel for Self-Made Hero

 And here’s some real-life Kiki.

Kiki in Man Ray’s ‘Emak Bakia’ (source)

 Kiki was Man Ray’s long-standing muse until the arrival of Lee Miller.

Violon d’Ingres by Man Ray
Nu Couche a la Toile de Jouy by Tsuguharu Foujita
Kiki de Montparnasse by Pablo Gargulo

Kiki with Accordionist by Brassai

“All I need is an onion, a bit of bread, and a bottle of red; and I will always find somebody to offer me that.” – Alice Prin (Kiki de Montparnasse)

Distilled: Paris Fashion Week A/W ’11

This is the last in the series.  Paris, following on from New York, London and Milan, is probably the most-hyped fashion week, with a record number of high-profile designers showing collections (and a lot of monotonous flicking through photographs on style.com for me).

Here are some Parisian picks, arranged by trend – I use the word ‘trend’ in the loosest possible terms, because I’ve just made most of them up.

all photos style.com


Row 1 – Anne Demeulemeester, Cacharel, Haider Ackerman
Row 2 – Chanel, Maison Martin Margiela, Alexander McQueen
Row 3 – Jean Paul Gaultier, Miu Miu, Tsumori Chisato
Row 4 – Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Valentino
Row 5 – Carven, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Sonia Rykiel
Row 6 – Chloe, Christian Dior, Lanvin
  • Row 1 – Absolutes – Make outfit statements in one colour (or two) – emphasis is on texture and silhouette.
  • Row 2 – Come together, fall apart – Deconstructed, zipped and ripped apart outfits.  I shouldn’t love this because these are oriented towards the willowy of body, but I do anyway.
  • Rpw 3 – Little old ladies – Pour talcum powder in your ‘do, amp up the boxy silhouette and invest in a furry shopping trolley, as seen at Gaultier.
  • Row 4 – Night porter – Leather trenches with very little little on underneath for the dominatrix vibe.  Christian Dior jokes optional.
  • Row 5 – Plaid – pensive plaid at Carven, Playful plaid at Castelbajac and Sonia Rykiel – it’s all good.
  • Row 6 – Textures with pattern – wooly snakeskin at Chloe and flower print gazar fabric at Lanvin.
  • None – though when it comes to Paris, I have rose-tinted specs.  Perhaps there was an overabundance of fur, but that seems to have been an overarching trend covering all four weeks.
What are your PFW picks?