The art of being Azzedine Alaia, darling decorator of fashion insiders

A stunning indicate at the Design Museum presents the master couturiers own vision although sadly he wont see it. By Kate Finnigan

When Azzedine Alaia, the Tunisian master couturier, succumbed of a heart attack in Paris last November, aged 82, the Design Museum in London was seven months into preparing a big depict dedicated to his run. It was to be the first style exhibition in the museum’s new building in Kensington and the choice of Alaia had been carefully attained.” The museum has very special architecture ,” says Alice Black, co-director.” What Azzedine Alaia created over his career is also striking statue. We felt that his work against the backdrop of the museum would be amazing .”

Black had come to know the tiny and charismatic decorator over the previous few months. The team had been working closely with Alaia himself, a man known for his perfectionism and hands-on approach.” Azzedine was the heart and soul of his label. For a while I wondered if the exhibition could still go ahead ,” tells Black.” But because he had really wanted it, everyone took it on themselves to make it happen. It was his concept, his idea, so we hadn’t been left to second guess .”

Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier, curated by Alaia’s long-term collaborator and friend, Mark Wilson of the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, opens this Thursday. The museum has defied the temptation to turn it into a retrospective and has stayed with the designer’s original vision for it to be a study of technique and craft, with more than 60 examples of couture pieces. It is the first-ever UK show dedicated to Alaia, who is less well known here than in his adopted France. But those who know style revere Alaia almost like no other. The industry loves a secret and there has been a cult surrounding Alaia for five decades, inspired not only by his unique- although much-imitated- style but by his passion for perfectionism( a dress could take five weeks or five years ), his refusal to be dictated to by commercialism and his personal style of business, largely conducted in his atelier-cum-apartment in the Marais around a kitchen table, where Alaia served guests with his own cuisine.

Turning
Turning heads: Azzedine Alaia with Tina Turner, Paris, 1989. Photograph:( c) Peter Lindbergh( Courtesy Peter Lindbergh, Paris)

The Alaia aesthetic is so powerful that, to those who know it, merely uttering the name will summon up a vision- a living, inhaling woman, her form enhanced by textiles that sculpt and mould, clinch and cling.” He’s the master of cut and fit, a sculptor,” tells Wilson.” He didn’t do describes that somebody else translated. He designed everything directly on to the body. That’s how he made things .” In both his couture and ready-to-wear collects his materials were Lycra bandages, smooth velvet, stretch woolen and leather- lots of it, moulded or cut like lace by laser or riveted with silver eyelets. Wilson is proving the couture garments, choice with Alaia, in themed clusters- velvet, African-inspired, bandage dress.” You get to see everything in 360 degrees and the groupings mean the viewer gets a better understanding of the craft and the technique ,” says Wilson, who has now curated six Alaia indicates.” If you looked at these pieces separately, you would insure less how each of them is very special “in ones own” route. You can really find the cuts and seaming and building, which in other exhibitions you might not be able to appreciate .”

Alaia insured the exhibition as an installation and asked artists to induce screens as a backdrop to his work.” I came up with the idea and Azzedine selected the artists, who include Marc Newson, Tatiana Trouve and the Bouroullec friends. Wrapping around the walls is a series of pictures taken by Richard Wentworth, who expended two years documenting Maison Alaia.

” I build clothes; females construct style ,” the designer told. For Black, the sorcery of the Alaia look is that it is timeless.” They are garments that you look fantastic in today, much as you would have done 20 years ago, or will do in 20 years’ period ,” she tells.” It’s that craftsmanship, the perfection. In the exhibition you do watch patterns and garbs that he’s been working on and reworking throughout his career, but in parallel you insure very interesting variations of cloth. He’s always bringing innovation in there- the laser-cutting or working with a glass powder that gives fabric an iridescence. There’s innovation as well as a respect of a certain tradition .”

When Michael Jackson induced the 1992 video for In the Closet– directed by Herb Ritts, co-starring Naomi Campbell and with a voiceover by Princess Stephanie of Monaco- Alaia Campbell’s barely there clothes, white crop top and flippy skirt. This was the glitzy stratosphere he occupied. The designer was induced more famous by a line in the 1995 cinema Clueless when Alicia Silverstone’s fashion-obsessed Cher is robbed at gunpoint and refuses to get to the ground with the immortal terms:” You don’t understand, this is an Alaia !”

But Alaia himself was not a flashy person. The word most used about him is “humble”. He was kind and empathetic, a friend and guide to many people, including Mark Wilson who knew him for 22 years.” Oh, he was a sweetheart. I loved him ,” says Wilson.” We were family. He was my favourite artist and he also opened his home to me .” He was a father figure for Naomi Campbell, who knew him as Papa, and moved into his apartment in Paris when she was 16. The model made a compassionate speech about him at the British Fashion Awards after his death last year:” Back in the day, our fridges weren’t stuffed with food: we bought what we eat on a daily basis and if there was one egg left in his fridge, Papa would offer it to me to make an omelette .”

Born in Tunis, the child of wheat farmers, he studied statue before transfer, self-taught, to fashion. He moved to Paris in 1957 and got a job at Christian Dior, but was dismissed after five days for not having the correct papers. After working with Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler he set up on his own, but it wasn’t until 1979 that he opened his own atelier, where he garmented Greta Garbo and Marie-Helene de Rothschild.

He is perhaps most recognised for garmenting the supermodels who bestrode the 1980 s and 90 s- Elle Macpherson, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell- as well as the awesome frames of Grace Jones and Stephanie Seymour. The height of these women and his lack of it often demonstrated irresistible to photographers; images of the 5ft 3in Alaia, towered over by some 6ft super-beauty, possess something of the fairytale. But his clothes were not only for Amazons. The Kardashian sisters, with their curves and gloss, look like they were conceived to wear Alaia and are devotees. So, too, is his friend the gallerist Carla Sozzani, as was her late sister Franca, who was editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue . Pale blonde Italian waifs, they slipped their slim frames into wide-tiered skirts with flat black shoes so that the architecture of the attires swung around them like kinetic sculpture.

” He was at the service of women ,” tells Black.” Some have been his couture clients for a lifetime- once you start wearing Alaia you simply never stop. But even with his ready-to-wear he put so much attention into the structure. They don’t crumples and don’t fall the wrong way. A lot of the women we’ve talked to mention this feeling of empowerment they have while wearing his clothes. When you feel so beautiful, you feel confident and you can go out and take on the world .”

The museum will exhibit a few outfits in the public foyer, alongside photography, as a taster for a wider audience. With a new flagship three-storey Alaia store lately opened on London’s New Bond Street, this is perhaps the biggest year ever for the once tiny label. Alaia may have left us, but his legend will endure.

Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier is at The Design Museum from 10 May to 7 October ( designmuseum.org )

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Pirelli’s all-black calendar:’ Any daughters should be able to have their own fairytale’

Diversity takes centre stage as Naomi Campbell, Lupita Nyongo, Whoopi Goldberg and Sean Diddy Combs feature in Tim Walker and Edward Enninfuls twisted version of Alice in Wonderland

I chop off people heads and I like it. Naomi Campbell appears up from her telephone to tell a group of journalists about her role in the most recent Pirelli calendar. It is inspired by John Tenniels original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, and Campbell is on set in a photographic studio in north London, surrounded by a twisted fairytale scene of mouldy jam tarts and scorched doll houses.

She plays the Royal Beheader of course she does and is joined by Lupita Nyongo as a dormouse, Sean Diddy Combs as Campbells fellow beheader, South Sudanese-Australian model Duckie Thot as Alice, Whoopi Goldberg as the Royal Duchess and Sasha Lane as the March Hare. Fashions woke poster-woman and feminist activist Adwoa Aboah has been shot as Tweedledee. And RuPaul will also appear, as the Queen of Hearts.

RuPaul,
RuPaul, Duckie Thot and Edward Enninful backstage at the shoot. Photo: Alessandro Scotti/ Pirelli PR handout

This is a staggeringly talented and eclectic cast. It is also all black, with the calendar styled by Edward Enninful, the newly appointed editor of British Vogue, the first person of colouring to have held the post. That said, the concept is the work of a white photographer, Tim Walker, who explains his motivation by saying its never been did before. Alice has never been told like this.

This is not the first time Pirelli has featured an all-black lineup in 1987, a 16 -year-old Campbell posed topless for an edition that featured only black models. This time, however, the tone is wildly different. And it feels precision-engineered to strike a chord in an epoch in which way ultimately seems to be addressing its diversity problem, with Enninfuls appointment, the autumn/ wintertime 2017 runway collectings in just about every city featuring their most racially diverse cast ever, as well as Guccis recent campaign that featured merely black models all being presented as green shoots of change.

Adwoa
Adwoa Aboah. Photograph: Alessandro Scotti/ Pirelli PR handout

But reflecting, even leading, cultural conversations is what the Pirelli calendar does these days, which may seem bizarre given that it is essentially a promotional exert for tyres.

This was not always the way. For much of its history the calendar, launched in 1964, was most famous as a place where supermodels took off their kit sometimes artily for photographers ranging from Terry Richardson to Herb Ritts.

Alpha
Alpha Dia and King Owusu. Photo: Alessandro Scotti/ Pirelli PR handout

But in 2016 Pirelli commissioned Annie Leibovitz to shoot females known for their professional, social, cultural, sporting and artistic accomplishment, including Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Serena Williams and Amy Schumer, without the male gaze in mind. Earlier this year, Peter Lindberghs instalment continued in the same vein, presenting portraits of women with their clothes largely on: Uma Thurman was snapped in a rib-knit roll-neck. Both calendars inspired thinkpieces aplenty.

Thando
Thando Hopa and Whoopi Goldberg. Photo: Alessandro Scotti/ Pirelli PR handout

The cynical might question Pirellis motivatings for using an all-black cast, and whether its nod to manners vogue for diversity is a little too on the nose. With that box ticked, will Pirelli forget about diversity for its 2019 edition? Will the rest of the fashion industry, for that matter?

None of these concerns are at the fore on decide, however, where models wearing vinyl skirts and platform shoes mill around to a soundtrack of Aretha Franklins Respect and Otis Reddings( Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher& Higher. The dark detritus of fairytale is strewn about cakes with plastic hands erupting out of them, burnt toast and a looming, giant stuffed hare that refuses to stay upright.

South African Thando Hopa plays the Princess of Hearts. She is a law graduate who worked as a prosecutor specialising in sex offence examples, and only got into modelling because she wanted to have a greater level of representation for someone who appears so different( she has albinism ). Expended in the power of images you find someone portrayed in a particular way and it gives you inspiration and motive

Read more: www.theguardian.com

How Beyonce’s Ivy Park attained sportswear sexy

The vocalists fitness label rebrands bodycon by merging style and functionality. But can a gym-friendly version reclaim this unforgiving trend?

The hype surrounding Beyoncs new sportswear line, Ivy Park, is already off the scale. Its not even launched yet, and it has already violated the internet, or at least photo-sharing sites such as Instagram. No surprise, you might tell, she is very famous, and very zeitgeist. But that Ivy Park is, to an extent, a niche fashion genre fitnesswear as opposed to, say, shoes, suggests something is brewing in fashion. Why would the worlds most famous pop star( not to mention bellwether of style and fourth-wave feminist) undertake sportswear if it wasnt a trend sleeper, mass or otherwise? The brands manifesto has a go at answering this My goal with Ivy Park is to push the boundaries of athletic wear to subsistence and inspire women who understand that beauty is more than your physical appearance but equally, this feels at odds with what youre looking at: here is Beyonc, in the rain, outdoors rather than in the gym, appearing purposeful in a leotard, and wet. Could it be any sexier?( And: how am I meant to crosstrain in this ?)

This looks like sportswear, but sportswear that you would also wear to a gig. Its not really on the catwalk at the least not overarchingly so and while sportswear and athleisure have always included tight-fitting pieces for various ergonomic and aesthetic reasons , none of it has really been in fashion. Athleisure, a very close way has come to accepting sportswear, tends to be loose-fitting, minimal and sometimes comes in cashmere. Its also lucrative athleisure is worth 6.4 bn and looks set to increase over the next three years. Ivy Park is, arguably, more than sportswear. Its a sideways take on bodycon or bodycon 3.0 as were calling it, given that its not new sitting somewhere between sportswear and fashion-tight. And, like bodycon, its sexy as hell, even if retailers arent selling it as such.

A
A Herv Lger dress, 1992. Photo: Associated/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Short for body conscious, in laymen terms bodycon is clothing usually a dress defined by its tightness. Historically, its one of the few tendencies that has leapt between catwalk and mass marketplace. Theres version one: Jean Paul Gaultiers outer-corsets; Herv Lgers bandage-style bodycon outfits which were, ostensibly, couture spanx; and king of cling Azzedine Alaas creations, which predominated the tight market in the 90 s. Version two, a slightly more formal take, was more about structure and tailoring than cling( find Roland Mourets galaxy dress and Victoria Beckhams first collections ). It was bodycon taken down a notch, but bodycon all the same.

Sitting simultaneously on the catwalk and in red-tops, bodycon has given us some memorable celebrity imagery: Liz Hurley safety-pinned into Versace at a movie premiere; Eva Herzigova vacuum-packed into a lilac dress on the 1993 Herv Lger catwalk; Victoria Beckham for the best part of the 2000 s.

So, in all regions of the 1980 s, 1990 s and early 2000 s, bodycon became the gold-standard of red-carpet fashion. This was status wear and power-dressing combined the acme of sexiness, designed to giftwrap the body.

But for whom the wearer? Unlikely. Bodycon was, arguably, womenswear designed for the male gaze. As style historian Amber Butchart explains, its a sign of the corset morphing from actual to internal, with bodies being shaped through diet and workout instead. This increased throughout the 20 th century and reached an apex with the rise of bodycon, she says.

Eva
Eva Herzigov, Kim Kardashian and Victoria Beckham do bodycon. Composite: Rex Features

If you think this feels at odds with new, gym-friendly bodycon not to mention Asos bodysuits and Calvin Klein bralets( a bestseller at Selfridges) then youre right. This version is as tight as its forebears but is more focused on fitness and leisure, constructed with technical textiles and with mesh detailing, for example. Is it simply a example of bodycon sexy, tight and unforgiving being skewed and rebranded back to us as something else solely?

Instagram hasnt helped: in the past few years, tight fitnesswear worn in or, increasingly, outside the gym has become acceptable to post. Ditto the way we post it usually in the mirror, usually with the wearers iPhone camera in shot, so as to reclaim ownership of the image. It says: I am wearing this and I am photographing this and you, the spectator, are secondary. Concurrently, bikini shoots appear to be on the decline, especially ones taken by your mates which objectify the wearer by default. And yet, in terms of body coverage and flesh-flashing, they are one and the same, even if the latter focuses on celebrating women bodies rather than fetishising them. The internetification of self-image might have changed but the clothes havent.

In the past 10 years, the catwalk moved away from tight-fitting clothes, with brands such as Cline, Stella McCartney and The Row going for extreme minimalism. Kenya Hunt, fashion features director at Elle, supposes the demand shifted to more volume and a more casual stance because it was easier to wear. The wide-legged trouser. The oversized cocoon coat. Various boyfriend-adjectived blazers, jeans and shirts. Cerebral fashion if you are able to. Christopher Kane, Marios Schwab and Saint Laurent leant towards fitted rather than loose, suggesting there is also appetite for this look, but on the whole, bodycon sat in the shadows of late 2000 s minimalism. Until now, that is.

Roland
Roland Mourets galaxy dress, 2005. Photograph: Fernanda Calfat/ Getty Images

Butchart guesses the recent resurgence of feminism might have contributed to the phasing out of bodycon. Not that there is anything unfeminist about these styles by any means, she says, but that there is much more debate now around identity politics and representation in the media, and creating spaces for previously unrepresented bodies. The change is palpable and the updated bodycon is aimed at all body kinds, with a focus on functionality and movement.

This is the thinking behind Selfridges brand-new Body Studio, a cavernous series of rooms dedicated to undergarments( swimwear, lingerie, hosiery) designed to be shopped by females. The designers, too, half of which arent household names, are predominantly females: The Upside, Michi, Lisa Marie Fernandez, Varley, Monreal are all designed by women and based on what they want to wear. Butchart tells: This underwear, sleepwear and bodywear is intended to be seen. Were insuring a shift away to a small extent from dictatorial beauty standards that the bodycon gym body of the past seemed to represent.

Liz
Liz Hurleys famous Versace dress, 1994. Photograph: Dave Benett/ Getty Images

Aside from sportswear( for the gym or, at best, the tavern ), high fashion is wading in, from the tight-fitting negligee-style garbs at Cline, Givenchy and Balenciaga, to the knicker and bra shapes at JW Anderson, Marc Jacobs, Dries Van Noten and Saint Laurents AW16 collecting. Hedi Slimanes swansong for Saint Laurent, and the fact that Anthony Vaccarello, monarch of the tight, high hemline, has moved to the French style house, both suggest that this seem may stick around for a while. The current issue of Vogue has a whole shoot geared around super-tight underwear worn outdoors, often caveated with a Dare you? caption.

If this is bodycon( and it almost certainly is ), it smacks of the commercialisation of feminism, a savvy intersection between retailers and purchasers that endorses tight garment by not branding it overtly as sexy. Bodycon with a different narration. Cynically speaking, it could be interpreted as health and wellness being sold back to us, a rebranding of sportswear as sexy but functional. Of course you can wear it to the gym and doubtless people do but, as the Vogue shoot testifies, its also designed to be seen: Paco Rabanne heralds the return of the corseted playsuit with a new athletic spin. Do you dare to sport it alone? The answer may well be no, but, as Heather Gramston, buying manager for Body Studio explains: Who would have believed girls would so espouse the pyjama trend?

Yet fashion commentator Caryn Franklin remains unconvinced: The latest bodycon look from Beyonc is a believable offering of 21 st-century womanhood despite the unnecessary smoulder and sulk in the marketing suggesting the male gaze is still paramount. Still, she concedes, sweat, grit and healthy body ideals signal modernity. Either way, even if bodycon is back, the women who buy into it are more interested in looking good for themselves. If they look sexy, too, well thats just a bonus.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Pirelli’s all-black calendar:’ Any daughters should be able to have their own fairytale’

Diversity takes centre stage as Naomi Campbell, Lupita Nyongo, Whoopi Goldberg and Sean Diddy Combs feature in Tim Walker and Edward Enninfuls twisted version of Alice in Wonderland

I chop off peoples heads and I like it. Naomi Campbell seems up from her telephone to tell a group of journalists about her role in the most recent Pirelli calendar. It is inspired by John Tenniels original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, and Campbell is on set in a photographic studio in north London, surrounded by a twisted fairytale scene of mouldy jam tarts and scorched doll houses.

She plays the Royal Beheader of course she does and is joined by Lupita Nyongo as a dormouse, Sean Diddy Combs as Campbells fellow beheader, South Sudanese-Australian model Duckie Thot as Alice, Whoopi Goldberg as the Royal Duchess and Sasha Lane as the March Hare. Fashions woke poster-woman and feminist activist Adwoa Aboah has been shot as Tweedledee. And RuPaul will also seem, as the Queen of Hearts.

RuPaul,
RuPaul, Duckie Thot and Edward Enninful backstage at the shoot. Photo: Alessandro Scotti/ Pirelli PR handout

This is a staggeringly talented and eclectic casting. It is also all black, with the calendar styled by Edward Enninful, the newly appointed editor of British Vogue, the first person of colouring to have held the post. That said, the concept is the job of a white photographer, Tim Walker, who explains his motivating by saying its never been did before. Alice has never been told like this.

This is not the first time Pirelli has featured an all-black lineup in 1987, a 16 -year-old Campbell posed topless for an edition that featured only black models. This time, however, the tone is wildly different. And it feels precision-engineered to strike a chord in an epoch in which way eventually seems to be addressing its diversity problem, with Enninfuls appointment, the autumn/ winter 2017 runway collections in just about every city featuring their most racially diverse cast ever, as well as Guccis recent campaign that featured only black models all being presented as green shoots of change.

Adwoa
Adwoa Aboah. Photograph: Alessandro Scotti/ Pirelli PR handout

But reflecting, even leading, culture conversations is what the Pirelli calendar does these days, which may seem bizarre given that it is essentially a promotional exercising for tyres.

This was not always the style. For much of its history the calendar, launched in 1964, was most famous as a place where supermodels took off their kit sometimes artily for photographers ranging from Terry Richardson to Herb Ritts.

Alpha
Alpha Dia and King Owusu. Photograph: Alessandro Scotti/ Pirelli PR handout

But in 2016 Pirelli commissioned Annie Leibovitz to shoot women known for their professional, social, culture, sporting and artistic accomplishment, including Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Serena Williams and Amy Schumer, without the male gaze in intellect. Earlier this year, Peter Lindberghs instalment continued in the same vein, presenting portraits of women with their clothes largely on: Uma Thurman was snapped in a rib-knit roll-neck. Both calendars inspired thinkpieces aplenty.

Thando
Thando Hopa and Whoopi Goldberg. Photograph: Alessandro Scotti/ Pirelli PR handout

The cynical might question Pirellis motivatings for using an all-black cast, and whether its nod to styles vogue for diversity is a little too on the nose. With that box ticked, will Pirelli forget about diversity for its 2019 edition? Will the rest of the fashion industry, for that are important?

None of these concerns are at the fore on set, however, where models wearing vinyl skirts and platform shoes mill around to a soundtrack of Aretha Franklins Respect and Otis Reddings( Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher& Higher. The dark detritus of fairytale is strewn about cakes with plastic hands erupting out of them, burnt toast and a loom, giant stuffed hare that refuses to stay upright.

South African Thando Hopa plays the Princess of Hearts. She is a law graduate who worked as a prosecutor specialising in sex offence lawsuits, and only got into modelling because she wanted to have a greater level of representation for someone who appears so different( she has albinism ). Expended in the power of images you ensure person portrayed in a particular route and it gives you inspiration and motivating

Read more: www.theguardian.com

The rise and rise of Calvin Klein underwear

Calvin Klein logod underwear has been a consistent hit for the past 25 years with no signs of abating sales of womenswear are also on the up. Why do we love the branded waistband so much?

Stealth wealth is a noble idea, but as Calvin Klein the American designer who turned underwear into a status emblem, and by proxy, its wearers into sex symbols once said: The only way to advertise is by not focusing on the product. And lo, the logoed underwear was born.

Tom
Tom Hintnaus from the Calvin Klein Advertising Archives. Photo: Bruce Weber/ Calvin Klein

Klein didnt invent it it, but he surely owned it, and never has the season-by-season rhythm of fashion been so tested than it has been by Calvin Kleins perennially popular underwear which, according to Selfridges, has been a consistent bestseller for the last 25 years that shows no signs of abating.

Jo Hunt, head of buying for womenswear at Asos, says it has find a rise in the branded slogan or logo, or slogo over the past 18 months, and quotes Calvin Klein( among other authentic American brands) as key to this shift. And in high fashion, an entire photoshoot in the present issue of Vogue starsMica Arganaraz in a pair of Calvin Klein pants.

Mark
Mark Wahlberg. Photograph: Herb Ritts/ Calvin Klein

Thongs, boxers, briefs, running commando; theyve all come and gone like whisperings, but Calvin Klein pants, briefs and boxers, and now bras and swimwear in womenswear, remain the resolute king of underwear.

The success is arguably down the jacquard waistband, and a mix of great product and smart marketing. The original Calvin Klein campaign image a 1982 Bruce Weber shot of Olympian Toms Hintnaus lying on a hot roof might have been less about logo and more about flesh, but it sanctioned the idea that underwear was more than lingerie. It was designed to be seen, conferred status and wealth, and was totemic of its wearers tribe( from metrosexual, to lad to hip-hop to mass-market.

Robert Johnston, style director at GQ, says the waistband logic is voice, and is fundamental to the brands success: If you spend money, you want people to know it. Wearing it, as people do, above the waistband, is a stamp of approval a sign that you feel confident.

Calvin
Calvin Klein intense power thong, 21.00 at Asos. Photo: Calvin Klein

The advertising campaign has always been minimal, black and white, starring big names and has been relentless in its pursuit of aspiration. But this doesnt explain the longevity. Other brands with the same prowess make overtly-branded underwear Tommy Hilfiger, Armani while other, newer brands have simulated the monochromatic branding( most recently Ivy Park ). The most recent campaign up-skirt shots, overt innuendo ran viral. So too did a campaign that focused on personalities and their relationship with #MyCalvins.

Sam Diss, a style writer who wore it in the 1990 s, may have the answers: It gave you a savor of being Mark Wahlberg without the talent or the hours in the gym, he says. Diss still wears it now, through a sense of nostalgia, and says the looking is enduring as it transcends way: In a decade with no real original esthetic, it remains a much-needed piece of easy iconography to latch on to.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

French style firms pledge to stop using underage and size zero models

Owners of brands such as Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton say they want to persuade others in the industry to follow suit

France’s top fashion homes have pledged to stop underage and sizing zero models from featuring in catwalk reveals and advertising campaigns.

The move, which comes on the eve of New York fashion week, was announced by French luxury groups LVMH and Kering, owneds of some of the biggest labels in haute couture including Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Gucci.

The industry has long been accused of promoting unhealthy body images to women and ignoring well-documented health problems experienced by models. This year the French government voted through a statute requiring models to have a medical certificate confirming “theyre not” dangerously underweight.

The LVMH-Kering Charter on working relations and the well-being of models bans certain decorators from featuring women who wear the French size 32- a size zero in the US. Female models must be at least a French size 34( US size 2; UK size 6) and male models a French size 44( internationally labelled as XXS ).

It added:” No model under 16 years will be recruited to take part in fashion proves or photographic conferences representing adults .”

Antoine Arnault, son of LMVH director Bernard Arnault and a member of the company’s management, said:” A young girl of 15 years old does not have the necessary experience to deal with the difficult world of modelling .”

Francois-Henri Pinault, son of Kering owner Francois Pinault, added:” We wanted to move quickly and hit hard so that things really change. We’re trying to persuade as many others in our profession to follow us .”

Kering and LVMH said the rules would apply to all companies in their groups.

” The two groups are placing respect for and the dignity of women at the heart of their values: that’s why we’ve always had, in particular, the wellbeing of the models we work with in mind ,” it said.

” The two groups have agreed to only work with models who hold a valid medical certificate proving their good health and ability to work, which must have been obtained in the six months before a photo conference or prove .”

As well as banning underage models, those between 16 -1 8 years will no longer be allowed to work between 11 pm and 6am and must be accompanied by a mother or chaperone if required to stay away from home.

” The wellbeing of our models is a fundamental subject ,” the statement from LVMH read.

A bill approved by the French parliament in December 2015, that came into effect this year, built it obligatory for models working in France to obtain a medical certificate to prove they are healthy, with fines handed out to those who don’t. The bill also obliged magazines to flag up photographs that had been touched up or Photoshopped.

In France, up to 40,000 people- most of them adolescent females- have anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder with a high mortality rate.

Eric Perceval, secretary general of the French Federation of Model Bureau, welcomed the charter and the new regulations, saying modelling agencies had been unjustly blamed in the past.

” Until now all they( agencies) have done is respond to the requirements of the clients … bureaux have never been the ones who’ve had the final judgment over what model will do what advertising campaign or indicate. All they’ve done is propose models they guess correspond to the clients’ criteria ,” Perceval said in a statement to the Guardian.

However, he said he did not believe the measures would reduce cases of anorexia, which he added” is an illness that existed before the development of the fashion industry … To criticise models and decorators as causes of anorexia is a refusal to understand the real source of eating disorders .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Pirelli’s all-black calendar:’ Any girl should be able to have their own fairytale’

Diversity takes centre stage as Naomi Campbell, Lupita Nyongo, Whoopi Goldberg and Sean Diddy Combs feature in Tim Walker and Edward Enninfuls twisted version of Alice in Wonderland

I chop off people heads and I like it. Naomi Campbell seems up from her telephone to tell a group of journalists about her role in the latest Pirelli calendar. It is inspired by John Tenniels original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, and Campbell is on set in a photographic studio in north London, surrounded by a twisted fairytale scene of mouldy jam tarts and scorched doll houses.

She plays the Royal Beheader of course she does and is joined by Lupita Nyongo as a dormouse, Sean Diddy Combs as Campbells fellow beheader, South Sudanese-Australian model Duckie Thot as Alice, Whoopi Goldberg as the Royal Duchess and Sasha Lane as the March Hare. Fashions woke poster-woman and feminist activist Adwoa Aboah has been shot as Tweedledee. And RuPaul will also seem, as the Queen of Hearts.

RuPaul,
RuPaul, Duckie Thot and Edward Enninful backstage at the shoot. Photo: Alessandro Scotti/ Pirelli PR handout

This is a staggeringly talented and eclectic cast. It is also all black, with the calendar styled by Edward Enninful, the newly appointed editor of British Vogue, the first person of colouring to have held the post. That said, the concept is the work of a white photographer, Tim Walker, who explains his motivation by saying its never been did before. Alice has never been told like this.

This is not the first time Pirelli has featured an all-black lineup in 1987, a 16 -year-old Campbell posed topless for an edition that featured merely black models. This time, however, the tone is wildly different. And it feels precision-engineered to strike a chord in an epoch in which way eventually seems to be addressing its diversity problem, with Enninfuls appointment, the autumn/ wintertime 2017 runway collectings in just about every city featuring their most racially diverse cast ever, as well as Guccis recent campaign that featured only black models all being presented as green shoots of change.

Adwoa
Adwoa Aboah. Photo: Alessandro Scotti/ Pirelli PR handout

But reflecting, even resulting, cultural conversations is what the Pirelli calendar does these days, which may seem bizarre given that it is essentially a promotional workout for tyres.

This was not always the style. For much of its history the calendar, launched in 1964, was most famous as a place where supermodels took off their kit sometimes artily for photographers ranging from Terry Richardson to Herb Ritts.

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Alpha Dia and King Owusu. Photograph: Alessandro Scotti/ Pirelli PR handout

But in 2016 Pirelli commissioned Annie Leibovitz to shoot women known for their professional, social, culture, sporting and artistic accomplishment, including Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Serena Williams and Amy Schumer, without the male gaze in intellect. Earlier this year, Peter Lindberghs instalment continued in the same vein, presenting portraits of women with their clothes largely on: Uma Thurman was snapped in a rib-knit roll-neck. Both calendars inspired thinkpieces aplenty.

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Thando Hopa and Whoopi Goldberg. Photograph: Alessandro Scotti/ Pirelli PR handout

The cynical might question Pirellis motivatings for using an all-black cast, and whether its nod to styles vogue for diversity is a little too on the nose. With that box ticked, will Pirelli forget about diversity for its 2019 edition? Will the rest of the fashion industry, for that matter?

None of these concerns are at the fore on decide, however, where models wearing vinyl skirts and platform shoes mill around to a soundtrack of Aretha Franklins Respect and Otis Reddings( Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher& Higher. The dark detritus of fairytale is strewn about cakes with plastic hands erupting out of them, burnt toast and a loom, giant stuffed hare that refuses to stay upright.

South African Thando Hopa plays the Princess of Hearts. She is a law graduate who worked as a prosecutor specialising in sex offence examples, and only got into modelling because she wanted to have a greater level of representation for someone who seems so different( she has albinism ). Invested in the power of images you assure someone portrayed in a particular way and it gives you inspiration and motivating

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Air pollution causes wrinkles and premature ageing, new research depicts

Toxic fumes may be the primary cause of scalp ageing in polluted cities such as London, New York and Beijing, scientists say

Air pollution is prematurely ageing the faces of city dwellers by accelerating wrinkles and age places, according to emerging scientific research.

The effects of toxic fumes on skin are being seen in both western cities, such as London and New York, as well as in more visibly polluted Asian cities and in some cases may be the primary cause of ageing. The pollution is also being linked to worsening skin conditions such as eczema and hives.

The scientific discoveries are now driving the worlds biggest cosmetics companies to search for solutions, including medicine-like compounds that directly block the biological injury. But physicians caution that some common skin care routines, such as scrubbing, build the damage from air pollution even worse.

Poisonous air is already known to cause millions of early deaths from lung and heart diseases and has been linked to diabetes and mental health problems. But perhaps its most visible impact, the damage caused to skin, is just beginning to be understood.

With traffic pollution emerging as the single more toxic substance for skin, the dream of perfect skin is over for those living and working in traffic-polluted areas unless they take steps to protect their skin right now, said Dr Mervyn Patterson, a cosmetic doctor at Woodford Medical clinics in the UK.

Unless people do more they will end up wearing the pollution on their faces in 10 years time. It is definitely something people now need to take seriously.

Prof Jean Krutmann, director at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Germany, said: UV[ injury from the sunshine] was truly the topic in scalp protection for the last 20 -3 0 years. Now I guess air pollution has the potential to keep us busy for the next few decades.

Air pollution in urban areas, much of which comes from traffic, includes tiny particles called PMs, nitrogen dioxide( NO2) and chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons( PAHs ). What is very clear is that PMs are a problem for scalp, said Krutmann, whose work has shown PMs increase age spots and wrinkles.

But one of the his newest analyses presented NO2 also increases ageing. They analyse people in both Germany and China and discovered that age places on their cheeks increased by 25% with a relatively small increase in pollution, 10 microgrammes of NO2 per cubic metre. Many parts of the UK have illegally high levels of NO2, with London breaking its annual restriction in the first week of 2016, with levels reaching over 200 microgrammes of NO2 per cubic metre.

Krutmann said other factors, such as UV exposure, nutrition and smoking contribute to ageing: But what we can say is that, at least for the pigment places on the cheeks, it seems air pollution is the major driver.

It is not a problem that is limited to China or India we have it in Paris, in London, wherever you have larger urban agglomerations you have it, he said. In Europe everywhere is so densely populated and the particles are being distributed by the wind, so it is very difficult to escape from the problem.

The accelerated scalp ageing was seen in relatively young people and Patterson said: If you are seeing these changes in middle age, these are worrying trends.

Other recent research is summed up in a review paper in the publication Frontiers in Environmental Science, which concluded: Prolonged or repetition exposure to high levels of these[ air] pollutants may have profound negative impact on the scalp.

Understanding exactly how air pollution causes the skin injury is at an early stage, according to Krutmann: We are just now dipping into the mechanisms. But many of the pollutants are known to pass easily through the scalp and cause a variety of impacts.

These agents have a very irritating effect and once they get into the scalp, they activate multiple pathways of inflammation, said Patterson. Some pathways erupt the melanocytes, which create far too much pigment and end up giving you unwanted sun spots.

Other pathways kindle messengers that build blood vessels grow, thats what outcomes in increased redness and potentially rosacea, he said. Also, if you damage skin, it goes into repair mode and arouses enzymes which re-adsorb damaged collagen. When you have too much chronic rednes, these enzymes remove more collagen than your skin can create. This produces skin laxity and thats where fine lines and wrinkles come in.

Dr Debra Jaliman, a scalp expert based in New York City, says her patients are now worrying about the impact of air pollution on their skin, which she said can cause darkening of the scalp and acne-like eruptions, as well as ageing.

At the moment, there are not many products for prevention[ of air pollution injury ], however it may be a trend in the course of the year as it becomes a much bigger issue, she said.

Major beauty companies have begun their own the investigations and are launching the first products devised to battle skin injury from toxic air. Dr Frauke Neuser, senior scientist for Olay, a Procter and Gamble brand, has operated examines presenting significantly more skin hydration in people living in polluted areas and lab analyzes showing that diesel fumes and PMs cause inflammation in skin cells.

Her team then screened for ingredients that could counteract some of the damaging effects. We observed niacinamide – vitamin B3 – to be particularly effective, she said. We have recently increased its level in several products by as much as 40%.

Fraukes work has also shown direct correlations between spikes in PM air pollution in Beijing and an increase in hospital his mission to people with skin conditions including hives. This indicates that not only scalped ageing but also skin health are affected by air pollution, she said.

LOreal, another cosmetics giant, published a medical study in 2015 showing that eczema and hives were more common in people in Mexico exposed to higher levels of air pollution, a conclusion supported by separate research in Canada. The next step is to understand more profoundly the environment-induced damages, in order to develop skin ageing prevention routines and products, said Dr Steve Shiel, scientific director at LOreal.

Clinique, a big makeup brand, has already launched a sonic face cleansing brush it claims better removes pollution. This[ air pollution] is not going to go away. This is not a problem that is easily fixed, said Janet Pardo at Clinique.

However, researchers are now working on medicine-like compounds that block the damage from air pollution from occurring in the first place. Krutmanns lab helped Symrise, one of the worlds biggest suppliers of cosmetics ingredients, identify one, though the lab has no commercial stake in the product, which is called SymUrban.

We found one molecule that can do the job, he said, and it is now being registered as cosmetic ingredient. In a few years from now I expect we will see cosmetic products that can specifically protect against scalp ageing from air pollution.

Patterson said it is possible for people to give themselves some protection now. You dont have to sit back passively and put up with it. You can take sensible, easy steps that will make a difference.

If your skin is genuinely healthy, it is quite a good hurdle, he said, explaining that the top layer is like a roof – flattened cells like tiles separated by protective lipids.

Certain skin care products are very disruptive to the surface of the scalp, he cautioned. So a darling of the industry is retinoids, but these have a very profound negative impact on obstacle function. Another darling of the industry is glycolic acid, but it is also very disruptive to the external skin hurdle. People believe these are good skin care, constructing the skin look smoother, but they are not helpful for the overall health of the skin barrier.

Patterson is also dismissive of face scrubs: The skin is trying its damnedest to make this wonderful defence mechanism and what do women and men do? They scrub the hell out of it. It merely doesnt make sense. He said products that help repair the scalp obstacle, by delivering the pre-cursor lipids the cells need, are beneficial, as are ones that tackle inflammation.

You can also put on a very nice physical shield in the form of good quality mineral makeup, he said. That produces an effect like a protective mesh and probably has some trapping effect, protecting against the initial piercing of particles. But you also need always to try to remove that shield in the evening, washing the slate clean every night.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Cardigans and older models: the 2017 Pirelli calendar is more diverse than ever

The annual calendar have all along celebrated nudity, but lately a marked change in the subjects and the way it is shoot proves its moving in a new direction

In one image, Nicole Kidman gazes soulfully into the lens, her pale eyes smudged with eyeshadow. In another, Kate Winslet sits at a table, leaning into her cupped hand, a dark cardigan around her shoulders. And in a third, we ensure Uma Thurman laughing as her hair is taunted into place, a chunky rib-knit roll-neck framing her jaw.

It could be a series of candid examines taken for Vanity Fair, or an expensive advertising campaign created to appeal to an aspirational fortysomething girl like me. But its none of the above. This, somewhat curiously, is the latest incarnation of the Pirelli calendar, annually produced by a tyre company and which also includes Charlotte Rampling, Helen Mirren, Julianne Moore and Lupita Nyongo among its roll call of subjects.

It marks a altered in direction for the calendar which historically has employed provocative images. Whats more, it follows last years U-turn which was heavy on jokes and again, a roster of women who were more diverse than ever before, which suggests this new direction might be here for good. Both are in stark contrast to previous Pirelli calendars where nudity was the norm, and an acceptable kind of soft porn has been celebrated in various guises by acclaimed image-makers such as Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Norman Parkinson and Terry Richardson and Mario Testino. This year, 53 years after it first launched, we have Peter Lindbergh championing a most varied sort of sexuality.

Uma
Uma Thurman on the decide of the 2017 Pirelli calendar shoot. Photo: Alessandro Scotti

I dont know about you, but Ive become so inured to the incessant parade of celebrities in a public state of dshabill, that Id barely bat an eyelid if anyone strolled down the red carpet stark naked. In a refreshing take on the beauty of the female form, Lindbergh has instead elected to photo some of the worlds most respected female actors, mostly fully-clothed. Last year there seemed to be more nudity and research results this year looks set to be equally sexy in a glorious, grown-up way.

The idea of beauty today is a bloody mess. Its really awful, explains Lindbergh, whose name is attached to the prestigious project for the third hour. For the calendar I shot in 2002, I photographed naked models and I thought it was really boring. Talent is more important than nice body parts.

It wasnt so long ago( if youre of a certain age, like me, 1994 still feels relatively recent) that Elizabeth Hurley shocked us all in a Versace dress held together with safety pins, revealing a risqu glimpse of fleshy bosom. Yet at times, even in a supposedly economically more advanced society, we are witness an abundance of nudity, on and off the red carpet, sometimes to such an extent that it makes headlines.

Nicole
Nicole Kidman behind the scenes of the 2017 Pirelli calendar shoot. Photo: Alessandro Scotti

Lindbergh has also made a welcome stand against the present obsession with heavily retouched imagery, and says the idea of the calendar is to show what real beauty comes from and not what people impose on you to believe is beautiful.

His subjects are largely females beyond their youthful best but all possessing a certain, knowing allure that feels intelligent and attractive. Theres the odd shoulder on show, and a bare leg or two, but the focus of this Pirelli portfolio is simply a portrait of womanhood.

Theres nothing illicit or improper about baring all these days: naked bodies are two a penny. The allure of a stolen glimpse of nude flesh has long gone. Quite frankly, get your kit off is no longer sexy, and Pirelli just made me want to buy their tyres.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Blanket ruling: a Snuggie is not an outfit, and other wacky court decisions

Snuggie has won a lawsuit classifying it as a blanket not an item of garment( for tax purposes ), but its not the first tribunal combat to elicit chuckles

Its official: a Snuggie is not clothing and not only because you look stupid wearing one.

The blanket with sleeves is a blanket, a US federal court ruled last month.

The Snuggie was dubbed by the Guardian back in 2009 as the astonish manner hit of the recession, and now its had another win, with parent company Allstar Marketing Group successfully suing the United States government.

Of course, the lawsuit isnt just for funny headlines, but instead because the company wanted to change the the categories of the item so that it could pay reductions in import tariffs, noted the Washington Post, which first reported the case.

Imported garments, aka attire, get a 14.9% tariff, while imported blankets merely pay 8.5%.

So Allstar filed a lawsuit back in 2013 to assert the Snuggie had been improperly classified, since what kind of clothing doesnt even cover your hobo?

The subject merchandise was not intended to be worn by a human when that person is walk-to, argued the complaint filed by Allstar.

Apparently walking isnt defined as taking a step and pouring a kettle, as depicted in the infamous infomercial( simply dont spill your cuppa while jumping to the sofa ).

Thats
Thats a wrap: Guardian reporter Emily Rotberg models the astonish style reached Snuggie in central London. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

The US government had tried to argue that the Snuggie was like clerical or ecclesiastical garments and vestments and professional or scholastic garments and robes.

And while the infomercial seemed to show an intergalactic cult made up of only suburban white people, the court didnt suppose the Snuggie counted as a robe because the back is open.

The court finds the subject import is properly classified as a blanket, reads the United States court of international trade decision filed on 10 February.

Its not the first time that legalese brings the lols.

Back in 1893 the US supreme court ruled that a tomato was a veggie. Thats because veggies were taxed and fruit was not and John Nix, a make seller, tried to argue tomatoes should be exempt from tariffs.

Part of the case involved both sides reading out the definitions of various veggies from the Websters Dictionary, including parsnips, potatoes, peas, eggplant and carrots.

Although botanically a tomato is classified as a fruit, the Merriam-Webster dictionary today defines it as a pulpy berry of a herb and notes it is eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable. No mention of the f-word at all.

Nix lost the case, with the magistrates ruling tomatoes are veggies in common speech.

In 2003, Rubies Costume Company filed a lawsuit questioning whether Halloween attires such as Cute and Cuddly Clown classified as a baby outfit or a festive article( newborns garments were subject to 16.7% in import tariffs, compared to festive articles being duty-free ).

Festive newborns aside, the lawsuit was aimed at Rubies contenders, since Rubies was a domestic manufacturer and didnt important pre-made costumes.

The lawsuit involved a big discussion over the word fancy dress did it mean glamorous and expensive garb or also inexpensive Halloween garbs? The federal court ruled that fancy dress covered Halloween garbs, and Rubies competitors got hit with higher import tariffs.

In 2006, superior court judge Jeffrey Locke ruled that a burrito is not a sandwich. Panera Bread, a bakery coffeehouse chain, had sued the White City Shopping Center in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, for permitting a Qdoba Mexican Grill to open in the same mall, since they had a clause against another sandwich shop opening.

But a sandwich is not built with one tortilla, ruled the court.

A sandwich is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos and quesadillas, which are typically constructed with a single tortilla and stuffed with a choice filling of meat, rice and beans, wrote Locke in his ruling.

The jury is still out on whether a hot dog is a sandwich.

Read more: www.theguardian.com