Fashion Gets On Its High Horse

Paris Fashion Week is in full trot, and reading books is getting rather a good rep in fancy establishments such as Harper’s Bazaar and …And Just Like That, so I feel almost obliged to offer my observations.

Stop buying fashion magazines.
They used to be called fashion bibles, now they’re just bibles with hardly any fashion to justify their existence. What probably started as a benign response diversify the notoriously white and obnoxious editorship as well as hopefully the content of fashion magazines somehow resulted in every single one of the publications being exactly the same. What is the point of having different versions of Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar, if this is what I’m getting for my international money – see specimens below.

Interview with Tracee Ellis Ross in US Harper’s Bazaar November issue AND in the UK HB February issue.

Vogue Deutsch had the editorial freedom to assemble the loafers differently from those in UK Vogue.

Recycling feature stories and interviews (that also have been available online) months later in an overseas edition is infuriating. Yes, the adverts that make up for most of these magazines are also the same in all editions, but if the country-specific versions literally get just a couple of pages to fill on their own (which the Germans, rather confusingly, used on horoscopes), in what world is that advancing the diversity of fashion, or supporting local and regional talents on an international platform? After all, the editorial decisions are taken in the New York offices of Condé Nast.

Then, the actual fashion.
Dior show was fabulous. Obviously lot of effort was put on the details: there wasn’t an accessory that was not embroidered or beaded or both. This maybe was the result of both artistic visions as well as a political statement (what isn’t a political statement these days, you rightly ask): Fashion editor of The New York Times, Vanessa Friedman commented that Dior’s artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri “made a political point about the value of craft that is much more interesting and radical than her feminism.” (Dior’s “We Should All Be Feminist” t-shirts were her creations.) I agree a little bit with Friedman on this: bringing a bog-standard slogan t-shirt onto couture runway is not exactly an ode to craftsmanship.
Schiaparelli was also wonderful.
Chanel had the brand’s ambassador Charlotte Casiraghi gallop the runway on an actual horse, which was the most interesting thing about the event, and nicely brings me to the next topic, literature.

Literary Salons, Casiraghi-style
The Monégasque royal tells in the latest Harper’s Bazaar about a series of literary salons she has launched in an effort to bring about a better world for women (sic). One can watch these Literary Rendezvous on Chanel website. Except they are absolutely nowhere to be found, so here’s me making a world a bit better for you already by posting two examples below. They are not absolutely horrible, and might serve the purpose of French language immersion (Casiraghi’s French is soothingly clear and slow).

Above in French, with Leïla Slimani.

In English, with Jeanette Winterson on Virginia Woolf.

Now, absolutely without going into a discussion about the usefulness and/or justification for royals having to exist on taxpayers’ money (“tax” being a moot in the case of Monaco, of course), or even the ludicrousness of them collaborating with Chanel in order to bring about social change (I’m weeping, but also I’m kind of in awe of the Grimaldi Dynasty’s PR-department), well. So, without going into any of that, while the fluff-piece about Charlotte Casiraghi in Harper’s is not exactly a lecture on social injustices, it does serve some purpose by being so pervertedly far removed from the reality that it made me smile, something that the royals almost never do these days*.
Casiraghi talks about her literary salon without mentioning reading a single book, except when “Karl Lagerfeld, a close friend of her mother’s, sent her the journals of Virginia Woolf and books by Lou Andreas-Salomé when she was a teenager and the family was spending many summers at the designer’s Monaco mansion, La Vigie, which was also the location where Casiraghi was photographed for Chanel’s spring/summer 2021 campaign.” If this does not bring a smile to your face, I don’t know what does.
Oh, maybe this: “A great majority of women in the world still have absolutely no rights to be educated, to have financial support or a creative profession”, Casiraghi says. Opposite: Charlotte Casiraghi wears cotton T-shirt, £1,275, Chanel.

*I’ll refrain from commenting the hapless fools at Spotify, who two years ago handed over €20million to Harry and Meghan,”citizens of the world”, to “celebrate kindness and compassion” in a podcast series. After one episode out in 2020 and nothing since, the company now had to take the reins and step in, as, well, apparently the couple used up every “unrepresented voice to elevate” in the first (and only) episode, which featured Sir Elton John, Oprah, James Corden and a litany of similar, unrepresented voices.

And Just Like that-approved reading list.
Because Carrie is a writer, there’s rarely a scene in AJLT without her clutching a book, or a book having its own little storyline (I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t bothered yet). Vogue (what else) did the digging and published (an incomplete) list of books that made the final AJLT-cut. Here you are. In addition I spotted Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s brilliant Fleishman Is In Trouble in one scene. Yes, this is what I do with my time.

Photo credit: Casiraghi on a horse by Chanel Official.

One thought on “Fashion Gets On Its High Horse

  1. Oh K. Oh K, the magazines. When I moved house this summer I had so many magazines to pack (I keep a few select ones from each year, and have kept plenty from my old travels and I’m glad I have, as getting anything that isn’t in English is becoming very difficult here -I SEE YOU, BREXIT) but seeing Hearst and Condé Nast go down the same route as each other is so depressing. Yes, print culture in crisis. Yes, pandemic. But when they used to delay a US cover star or feature for a UK edition (or vice-versa), they often used to use a different interview or photoshoot to vary it somewhat. When Vogue made such a bloody big deal about photographing and interviewing Adele this autumn for two separate Vogue covers I thought it was a bit of a warning – they used to do this as a matter of course (and I think Harper’s Bazaar and Elle used to do repeats far more frequently than Vogue, which still wasn’t very often). I have seen Vogue re-use fashion shoots in two if not three recent editions, all in the same month-yawn. I’d rather they didn’t travel at all, did studio shoots with special effects, and became so specifically local you’d have to live in a tiny suburb in one obscure city to understand any of it. You buy three but are really only reading one… c’est pas mon truc!

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