Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Three angry hens

Holiday commercials generally make me want to punch a hole in the TV. And when that TV is your parents’ brand new LCD plasma 3-D whatever contraption, taking out your anger on it is a poor and costly decision.

Gone are the days of yore, when the Christmas GAP commercials used to make me fly off the couch to dance along, and then run to Kazaa to download the tunes their sparkly-sweatered models were kaleidoscoped to.  I was an energetic child.

Anyhow, here is a sample of Joe Fresh’s answer to Christmas advertising:

Woah, woah, woah. Ladies. Whose first-born child did I unknowingly murder? 

Now, Tyra would say “FIERCE,” but I say “CALM DOWN.” These girls are doing the stare-down stink eye as best they can, and it makes me feel like they either really hate me or they really hate the dude who is filming them. Terry Richardson? I don’t know their lives.

Anyway, Joe Fresh has been my friend in the past, and while that friendship is sometimes damaged by their increasing prices and inability to make an accurately sized extra small, I will likely continue to shop there.

However, this commercial is stupid, to put it simply. It is unimaginative, boring, Christmas-irrelevant, and the song sucks. Also, I totally can’t handle that orange hat with the pink coat on the far right girl. And I respectfully disagree with the idea that different shades of the same colour work together, especially when they are pink down coats. 

Everyone in this ad needs to chill out, grab a festive cocktail, and put on a cute dress. No one wants to look at you when you’re looking at them like that.

Better luck next year, JF.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Speaking of which...

... just released the cover of this year's September issue. Kate Moss in a plum organza dress.

Yeah she's ok looking. And Kelly Osbourne looks fantastic in the wedding shots.

If there is one issue of Vogue you buy all year, make this it! Don't let the advertisers' 92 million bucks go to waste! THAT would be a shame.

Money talks

I am an intern, and I have recently learned that the longer I take to complete tasks, the less of a nuisance I am to the person who must assign these tasks to me. Keeping on top of Twitter and Facebook and blogs seems to be the best way to do this, and today during my Internet travels, I came across an article about a new Twitter account called @CondeElevator. It contains reports of what is said in the elevator at Conde Nast, one of the world's foremost magazine publishers. They own The New Yorker, Vogue, W, and Vanity Fair, to name a few. Basically, I'd sell my soul to the devil to work there. It's pretty funny, but not quite funny or regular enough to be the fabricated witticisms of someone who is pissed off at the publishing world they work in. In other words, it may just be real accounts of elevator happenings.

Anyway, the point is that this ABC article I was reading of course discusses Vogue and Anna Wintour, since she is the reason for a lot of the attention Conde Nast receives. The Devil Wears Prada, in which Meryl Streep's character is apparently based on her, and September Issue, which chronicles the creation of the September issue of Vogue, are films that give insight into what it's like to be a part of a magazine at the forefront of a massive publishing company. The article refers to these films, but the part that stood out to me the most was its mention of the upcoming September issue of Vogue. Apparently, the publication's largest issue of 2011 will have 584 ad pages. Five hundred. And. Eighty-four. That is A LOT.

See last year's issue above. 726 pages of fall fashion at every price? How about 727 pages of shiny things you can't afford? 727 pages was the ad count for 2007. However, not to worry, because Vogue still raked in a cool $92 million with its "disappointing" 2011 ad count.

While I know that when the September issue makes it to my mailbox, I'll be pleased to have 584 pages of material to flip through and criticize/fawn over for my blog, as a reader it's sort of disappointing. I really hope that editorials were not sacrificed to make room for an extra Louis Vuitton glossy ad, partly because their bags suck this season, but mostly because I buy magazines to read them and look at the photographs for inspiration, not to have more things sold to me.

As I said when I started this blog, I understand that publications need advertising revenue to stay afloat. And I think it's great that with the death of so many newspapers and magazines over the past ten years, Vogue is able to keep their advertising revenue up that high. It just makes me a little nervous that one day I'm going to open the September issue of Vogue, or any issue for that matter, and find that the only text within it is a list of cities that have a Tiffany & Co.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pretty young things

Just two short weeks after I received my July issue of Vogue (Canada Post strike/lockout sucks), the August issue showed up in my mailbox.  It’s become a bigger deal lately, since my mailbox doesn’t lock on account of the company that owns my building is extremely incompetent, so I get to have extra celebrations when I discover it waiting for me and not stolen.

Anyway, this particular issue of Vogue carries the theme of Age. This means that we’re discussing what style is to women of all generations. I think this is a great theme, because I’ve seen women (and men) anywhere from 15 to 85 reading Vogue. However, a lot of bloggers, Facebookers, and the New York Times have been criticizing the piece about the Fanning sisters. It revolves around their impressive resumes, with over 25 years of experience between the two, and how they have managed to develop wisdom beyond their years when it comes to fashion.

Youth is coveted. No shit, right? But when we start discussing the style genius of young actresses, mostly those between the ages of 11 and 16, I think a few things are forgotten. For one, these children (they are children, remember) are extraordinary and lead extraordinary lives. And with this extraordinary existence comes a team of people to take care of them. And not the typical “eat your broccoli, do your homework” type care; this is about getting them to shoots on time, scoping out suitable scripts, and finding the right outfit for red carpet appearances.

Don’t get me wrong. I know stylists aren’t everything, and in the end, the person being styled does have the final say. I also know that there are some pretty damn smart and sartorially-aware tweens out there (Tavi Gevinson never ceases to amaze). But I do feel that when you’re 13, there probably is a whole lot more handholding going on than, say, over at Helen Mirren’s house.

However, one young woman who has been in the spotlight for just under a year appears to be taking care of herself. I haven’t seen True Grit, but I have seen Hailee Steinfeld walk down the red carpet in a striped Prada fishtail gown and because of this, I know that acting isn’t her only talent. Now, she is a beautiful, charismatic 14-year-old, and it can’t be very hard to make her look good. But choosing Miuccia Prada’s designs, as she often does, demonstrates a level of maturity that we rarely see from those twice her age.

Steinfeld has worn Prada and Miu Miu countless times over the course of her new and blossoming career. Clearly, she has had a love thing going on with Ms. Prada for a while now, and what better way to cement actress-designer love than to make the actress the face of the designer’s campaign?

Especially when this is the result:

Steinfeld joins the likes of Selma Blair, Evan Rachel Wood and Katie Holmes, among others, as she steps in front of the camera for Miu Miu’s newest campaign. When I saw the ad for the first time, I was a bit surprised, but after thinking about it for all of two seconds, I realized that this was an obvious move and a very smart decision. Steinfeld has been extremely loyal to Prada, which is always a nice thing to know when an actress is endorsing a product. And, as they say, great things lie ahead. There is no doubt in my mind that she will not only grow in to an incredible and adequately decorated actress, but a style icon, and a muse for many more designers.

In this issue of Vogue, Anna Wintour’s editorial makes it clear that she is pretty stoked about the theme. I would be too, especially after the amount of discussion it has sparked. A brand new generation is taking its place at the front of the fashion pack, and in my opinion, Steinfeld is leading the way.

This was the perfect place to debut Miu Miu’s new campaign, featuring Haliee Steinfeld, and I can’t wait to see more.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Birds of a feather

I’m supposed to be doing some freelance work, but as is generally the case when my Vogue arrives, I started reading that instead of what is supposed to be happening in my life.  I was slightly disappointed by the thickness of the July issue, but my disappointment soon faded to excitement when I got five pages in, to this:

Yes! Finally, another amazing Marc Jacobs/Juergen Teller ad! I love Helena Bonham Carter. She is so whacked-out and beautiful and talented, and she never looks boring. It helps that she’s married to Tim Burton, I think. He would make for some decent inspiration when it comes to insane yet inspired outfits.

Anyway, I’m really pleased that Marc Jacobs has chosen Helena as the face of his Fall 2011 campaign. His designs are always so unique, and sometimes unpredictable, so who better to represent his latest collection? Here are the other two that I found:

 Excellent. We’re friends again, Marc.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Is this going to involve implants?

People often take up careers they shouldn’t. Heidi Montag, for instance, probably shouldn’t have tried her hand at singing, and Lindsay Lohan would have been better off focusing on maintaining her sanity rather than designing a line of leggings.

In the same way that these two women should have stuck to what they know, Kim Kardashian should stick to… having a really nice ass? I’m not really sure what her “career” is, but I am quite certain that it’s never going to be dressing me. This ad popped up on a blog I was reading the other day:

First: NO. I would not like to “get styled” by Kim Kardashian. Pretty sure all she does when choosing an outfit is call up Herve Leger and get them to send her their latest bandage creation, grab one of the six thousand pairs of Jimmy Choos in her closet, and then head out the door. No disrespect to Herve or Tamara Mellon, I’m just getting at the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of depth to Kim’s style.

Even the picture they chose highlights her lack of fashion sense. It’s all about her boobs and her long shiny hair. I mean, the most interesting thing about that black dress is the neckline, and you can barely hear it over how loud her boobs are screaming for your attention.

Then there’s the copy. I’ve addressed the whole getting styled part, but bringing high fashion to the masses? Is she trying to be charitable? Once again, you don’t need to be wearing what was just on the Dior runway to look good. It’s about cultivating a sense of style, taking inspiration from those around you, and piecing items together in a unique way that reflects who you are.

Basically, the day I let Kim Kardashian take me shopping is the day I start wearing jumpsuits to work. Actually, those two events might be simultaneous.

Monday, June 27, 2011

No room for guessing

I moved to the big, bad city of Toronto about a month ago, and if anything, it’s provided me with a lot to look at. I live in the gay village, fondly known as the gaybourhood, so I see a lot of really well-dressed men who don’t give a rat’s assless chaps that I think they look good… I’ve also seen a lot of assless chaps.

When I do leave the gaybourhood, it’s generally to go to work, and that takes place in the financial district where the suits are expensive and stress levels are high. Toronto has never been a city that made me think of style. I knew there were a lot of wealthy Torontonians with cash to blow on what Vogue tells them to, but Montreal or Vancouver always seemed to be far more sartorially-aware.

While I do see a lot of stylish people, Toronto reminds me on a pretty regular basis that money does not buy you taste or style. I see women with massive Coach bags that are basically turning them into walking advertisements; these kinds of branded bags are status symbols. But when you’re pairing your bag with sweats and sneakers and completely relying on said bag to achieve some sense of style, there’s a serious disconnect. That cool thousand bucks you put on your credit card could have been put to much better use.

Anyway, that rant has a point. In the same way that Coach reminds me that money does not equate to style, GUESS continues to remind me that just because a retailer wants to charge you 300 dollars for a micro mini, it doesn’t make it classy or stylish. GUESS is a brand that has always bothered me. Now, their price points aren’t quite as high as Coach’s, but they’re toting the same stuff that Dynamite shoves down the throats of 16-year-olds, with the big, main, in-your-face difference: it’s got that GUESS label slapped on it, in and out of sight.

And their ad campaigns are SEXY. Did you notice? Did you know that women with their boobs falling out of their bustiers and pouty lips and big hair are sexy? Also, did you know that Barack Obama is the first black American president and that peanut butter is made with peanuts? It’s pretty blatant, is what I’m getting at. See the picture below of a window ad from the GUESS in Manhattan:

Alright, here we have a typical image that GUESS uses to convince you that it’s time to purchase something that is going to Vastly Improve your life, and you’ve come to the right place.

Everyone is pretty aware that the world is steeped in phallic symbols. Everything from a hot dog to a skyscraper evokes male genitalia, and whether you write that off as misogyny or smart architecture, it’s all around you. However, I’ve never really thought binoculars were particularly penis-like… until GUESS made them that way. And, to top it all off, there are two cylindrical protrusions! Perfect. I guess whatever bird or whale or drowning child that lifeguard dude is neglecting must be pretty exciting to make her mouth hang open like that. Again, perfect.

There is a better image from GUESS' spring 2011 campaign that I can't seem to find. It's pretty similar to this one, except only her face is in the shot and he is holding the binoculars a lot closer... I'll find it eventually and put it up.

Anyway, it's just a little frustrating that advertisers feel the need to resort to such blatant sexuality to appeal to consumers. You don't have to make me understand that sex sells; I have the Internet, and I went to high school. But it's pretty clear that GUESS' words are speaking a lot louder than their actions, because I bet the majority of the population would rather have GUESS billboards on their walls than GUESS clothing on their backs. The ads are cheap, distasteful, and are clearly trying hard to make up for what the brand's apparel lacks.

Rant OVER :) It's been bothering me since I left New York in April, and the flame of discomfort was reignited when I arrived in Toronto.

Side note: Yes, there is a rather large gap between this post and the last, but it's summer now! Things will change! I'm visiting Montreal a lot!