Photos by Peter Stackpole, April 1959
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.
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.
Avocado toast seven ways. Avocado toast is SO GOOD. Seriously.
Literary Mothers is a new Tumblr favourite, but instead of cat GIFs, it’s essays about female literary influence (though if anyone makes a Flannery O’Connor GIF, I might cry with joy).
This woman is the reason we’re all checking our privilege these days.
10+ new essays re-examining seminal feminist texts, and why women need to look backward to go forward.
Street style at Frieze.
Looking for cracks in the fashion publishing machine.
And finally, Sarah Mower remembers Louise Wilson, the late head of the MA Fashion course at Central Saint Martins. One of the most remarkable and terrifying women I’ve ever met.
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.
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).
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.
Leandra Medine, a.k.a the Man Repeller, has gained a large and rabid online following the success of her blog, which promotes self-love through layering, harem pants and the wearing of generally unsexy things.
On paper (or onscreen, I suppose) it sounds a bit odd. In practise though, it’s unsurprising that Man Repeller became as successful as it did in such a short time. What sane women would turn down a free pass to experiment with her own sense of style, free from the Cosmo-lite rhetoric of fashion magazines that encourage us to dress so our boyfriends won’t leave us for other, much better-dressed, pert-bottomed women. I’ve given my opinions on the MP before (link to the Irish Times article here*) so here’s the tl;dr version (sorry, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Reddit recently) – Man Repeller is genius. Guilt-free love of self and love of fashion; style dictated for ourselves, by ourselves. If Medine didn’t come up with it, someone else would have had to.
Man Repeller: Seeking Love, Finding Overalls is Medine’s first book of essays, and it trades heavily on her existing internet fame. She’s brutally honest, self-effacing, funny and that special type of brave that is reserved for people who write about their lives and the lives of their friends and families with no regard for any personal fallout that might occur. While many bloggers present an idealised version of themselves, with only best best bits on show, it seems that Medine was self-aware enough to realise that growing up in a wealthy, loving family in Manhattan with an enviable wardrobe was already enough life-envy for most people to process without pretending that her personal life was something out of a Disney film. She gains weight, she loses weight, she loses her virginity to a guy who isn’t that into her and she has an unfortunate vomit-y mishap with a precious family heirloom. She’s insecure, she doubts herself, she makes bad decisions and she discovers the joys of reading Joan Didion.
That being said, Medine is no Joan Didion. She has a strong, strident, easy to read style, but ultimately it’s honesty that makes Man Repeller a page-turner, not writing.
In terms of fashion, clothes are woven into the fabric of Medine’s life. She constructs outfits for different social situations, worries what people will think of her outfits and devises her harem pants as a dating filter, weeding out the posers from the pure at heart. It’s a slim, small book that starts at infancy and ends with marriage, but it’s a style evolution that’s secondary to her own life. It’s a quick, easy and enjoyable biography of the original Man Repeller, not an analysis or step-by-step guide to man repelling.
*To answer Irish Times commenter Tommy, who asked, “Who reads this shit?” I’m not sure if you’re referring to the article or to Man Repeller, but the answer to both, conveniently, is lots. Lots and lots.
Alright Stevie G, you’re taking the piss. Just when I sat down to write this, my very last column, the veteran broadcaster, DJ and general nurturer of Cork’s creative talent, tells us that he’s leaving us. I didn’t have any thunder to steal, but if I did, I’d be rummaging through Stevie’s record bag trying to find it.
Cork has changed, lads, I can see it from all the way over here in London. It’s not the way it was when I first started writing for this fine paper in 2009. We were deep in the throes of a recession, the novelty only starting to wear off. Off in the distance was the cultural revitalising of a truly brilliant city; one I was immensely proud to call my home for more than six years. While Cork is perhaps better known in recent years for the flood of musical talent pouring out of The Pavilion, you can’t deny the creative output in other areas; film, art and, lest we forget, fashion.
When the Cork Independent’s editor Deirdre first suggested that I write a fashion column, I had my doubts. I knew that I loved clothes, but the problem was that I didn’t know very much about trends and definitely didn’t care about adhering to them. I still highly suspect that she only gave me the column to stop my aunt, confusingly also called Deirdre, from mentioning her fab writer niece every ten seconds in conversation. To both Deirdres, I will always be grateful. You gave me my first real leg up into the world of journalism. Without both of you, I don’t know where I’d be. Working on a building site in New South Wales, probably.
The Cork Independent is pretty unusual, in that it’s a free sheet that isn’t total crap. I was allowed to talk about pretty much anything I wanted, which is almost unheard of in print these days, doubly so for a writer with relatively little writing experience. I was allowed to be an honest voice, even if that honest voice was only talking about a nice hat that the writer saw on a woman on North Main Street.
I have been writing this column for four years, more or less. I have changed as the city changed and, while there is no way that I could outgrow such a unique place, there were unique opportunities presented to me as I learned more about my chosen subject and (hopefully) became a better writer. I would have been a fool not to pick them up. So, pick them up I did. I left. I moved to London, where I’m now doing stuff that I would never have thought of back in the days when staring at a blank screen, wondering how to talk about pink, was a weekly ritual.
I love Cork, I do. I still get sad when I think that I can’t just walk down the road and call into Miss Daisy Blue (still one of my favourite vintage shops ever) or order an Eggs Benedict at Liberty Grill. Sometimes I get so maudlin I even get nostalgic over avoiding the unsuitable boys I kissed, now almost a decade ago (!) in the Brog.
We change though, we get older. Cities change like people. Sometimes, the city you loved isn’t the city that exists anymore. It’s time to give up my corner of the newspaper, and by extension Cork itself. Thank you all for reading. It’s been quite a trip.
Kesh Angels, the work of Moroccan-born, UK-based photographer Hassan Hajjaj is a hallucinatory look into a young subculture that most people aren’t privy to – the Moroccan motorcycle girl gang. Women on scooters with Nike djellabas, knockoff designer slippers, heart-shaped shades and a flagrant disregard for perceived speed limits. They’re got the attitude and unblinking, unwavering stares of Russ Meyer film heroines, but the only killing these ladies are doing are with their threads.
It’s only a matter of time before this gets co-opted into an M.I.A music video – or maybe that’s kinda happened already…
P.S – If you like this, you might like this old post on the Hell’s Angels and the women who rode with them.
Kesh Angels is running at the Taymour Grahne Gallery in New York until March 8th
More photos at The Guardian.
Karen Walker is well-known for the originality of their eyewear campaigns, but this one is that little bit extra special.
The Visible eyewear range will be available from February 10th and is partly made in Kenya with a group of artisans under the UN’s ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative. The stars are the people who worked to make special beaded glasses pouches; assistants, screenprinters and specialist Maasai beaders.
A lot of campaigns pay scant lip service to ethical and sustainable fashion initiatives in Africa, so it’s nice to see a company doing slightly more than photographing a wistful celebrity in an arid, vaguely desert-like environment to hawk terrible, deliberately faux-naive looking stuff. “Look how desperate it is here!” the celebrity’s eyes say. “You must buy this bag out of a misguided sense of guilt. Oh, go on.”
What a fucking insult to the people of Africa. Sorry, I’ve gone off on a tangent here. Hopefully this campaign will persuade people to look at little deeper into African fashion in a real, engaged way instead of just pandering to the same old stereotypical images. If Karen Walker can do it, there’s no reason why we couldn’t either.
Pics via Karen Walker
It’s the second of January as I write this. It might not be the second of January as you read it. A few days always elapse between thinking something up, committing it to paper and watching the (sometimes not very well considered) thoughts as they are processed and printed.
Maybe, just maybe, the world will blow up between thinking and printing and no-one will ever get to read this. Why, I could say whatever I wanted! Um, Kim Kardashian is a waste of space. I can’t afford to pay my broadband bill. I’m absolutely terrified of the future and what it holds due mostly to lingering anxiety and an inability to trust people – even the nice people who buy me Kinder Eggs on a whim.
It’s not just reduced price tags, sample sales and enforced jollity that makes people go a bit mad with clothes shopping over Christmas and New Year. It’s also about the fear of change, the attempt to buy insurance for a future that may not yet exist. Here we are, in the first week of the New Year, looking out on to a sea of endless possibilities. Maybe the possibilities aren’t endless. Maybe there are only a few. A puddle of possibilities.
Either way, you will probably feel the urge to buy a rake of new workout gear, but maybe not a new gym membership. Maybe you, like I, will buy all your new clothes in a size too small, and still forget to buy a gym membership. Those two options rarely pay off.
There, however, are two options that are much more likely to bear fruit. The first is to buy clothes for a job you don’t yet have. It’s quite simple. If you already own a Ghostbusters shellsuit, you’re much more likely to get a ride in Ecto-1. If you look the part, you just might get the part.
Working in fashion, there is an expectation to buy clothes that make you stand out. Often, these clothes can be quite expensive. You don’t have to do this, of course, but it’s a supremely stylish, single-minded and probably incredibly tall and slim person who refuses to literally buy in to this way of thinking.
The second option is to buy clothes for the relationship you don’t yet have. This is a tricky one. Not everyone differentiates between dressing as a single person or dressing as a person in a happy relationship – clothes can only do so much.
A lot of people do differentiate between these two. Some people devalue themselves, considering themselves only worthy of nice things (including clothes) when they’re feeling loved. Nice clothes for a nice relationship.
When I recommend that you buy clothes for a relationship you may not have, I’m really recommending that you do that for the most important relationship you’ll ever have; the relationship, romantic or otherwise, that you have with yourself.
At the New Year, it’s easy to think that you are in need of a physical and mental overhaul. Realistically, you probably don’t. Love yourself and treat yourself. In this case, having something nice to wear is a necessary New Year evil.