The whole debate about celebrities covering magazines is an issue that doesn't seem to go away and Kim Kardashian is the prime example of just how far that trend has gone. Lynn Hirschberg hit the nail on the head when she wrote in W magazine that, 'Kim Kardashian can't sing, act, or dance, but she's found the role of a lifetime in the fine art of playing herself.' Based on recent events, it seems like that's one role that the fashion industry are no longer interested in.
As you'll remember, much was said about the reality star's absence from the Met Gala this month, with reports alleging that Anna Wintour did not want her there. Joe Zee also spoke out recently explaining that the most profitable Kardashian could not be considered as potential Elle cover star simply because that 'role of a lifetime' is not enough to bag her the big spot.' Is the fashion industry finally rejecting the overzealous interest in celebrity, or at least reality stars, that has dominated over the last few years? Well, at least that's what it seems.
'What's shocking to me is how important the red carpet is. At one point I thought it was ruining [fashion] but I don't think that anymore. I don't think any celebrity can take away from fashion,' André Leon Talley said this week. 'Not even Kim Kardashian could take away from fashion...Though, of course, Kim Kardashian didn't come to the Metropolitan Met Ball but [her boyfriend] Kanye West did.' While I'm not anti-Kardashian, there is a lot of truth in what he says. The rise in the celebrity-for-celebrities sake culture has been perpetuated by magazines who have been more than happy to put them on their covers and by designers who are increasingly clamouring to get them on the front rows at their shows, TV crews in tow.
'So would you ever dress Kim Kardashian?' Robin Givhan asked Ralph Rucci. 'No, I think that's bastardizing yourself [as a designer].'
I realized that so many clever people respect fashion so much and through my job … I have an open door to any kind of field. It’s a way of investigating all the different universes: architecture, art, film. I also realized people respect me because I’m good in my job.
Karl Lagerfeld is known for giving controversial comments in interviews. In the last year alone he has called Adele 'fat', Russian men 'ugly' and doubted whether Emannuelle Alt is cut out for the editor's job at Vogue Paris. In a press conference in Tokyo this week, his attention turned to Newsweek.
Last month Robin Givhan wrote an article for Newsweek/The Daily Beast where she questioned whether the designer is 'spread too thin' and called him 'overrated'. Lagerfeld responded by questioning who Givhan is saying that he had never heard of her but the issue came up again in the press conference where he was asked about Tina Brown and the newspaper generally. “First of all, Tina Brown’s magazine is not doing well at all…She is dying,” WWD reports Lagerfeld as having said. “I’m sorry for Tina Brown, who was such a success at ‘Vanity Fair,’ to go down with a shitty little paper like this. I’m sorry.”
UPDATE: Fashionista reached out to Newsweek this morning to find out what they had to say about Lagerfeld's comments and this is whaty they had to say:
In the past year since Tina Brown took over as editor in chief of Newsweek, newsstand sales have increased 30% year on year, advertising pages have seen a 27% increase for the first quarter of 2012, we have over 2.2 million people engaged in our social media communities and perhaps the most telling indicator of the renewed vitality of Newsweek, subscription renewals, in a consistent state of decline since 2005, rose by 3% last year.
The debate about the place of bloggers in the industry is always up for comment. Take Suzy Menkes for example. This month she wrote that 'no grain of gossip is too small to grow into a mighty story' for bloggers in reference to the controversy that ensued after she suggested that Stefano Pilati was on his way out at Yves Saint Laurent. In a similar piece she critically commented that: 'Now it is supposedly acceptable to review collections, blogger-style, via the Internet. (Meanwhile, in an ironic switch, bloggers are sitting front row, filling spaces left by journalists with zero travel budgets.).'
Robin Givhan spoke to Toronto Star about bloggers in the context of integrity. “I like to think that journalists understand the importance of keeping an arm’s length between critics and designers,” she told the newspaper. And if there's anyone entitled to flag such an issue up, it's Givhan. Throughout her career she has been known for her ability to remain objective, regardless of whether this rubs designers up the wrong. Her recent article for the Daily Beast titled, 'Is Chanel Designer Karl Lagerfeld Spead Too Thin?', is the most recent example. While her concern is valid, it isn't an issue that is limited to bloggers. Many magazines and their respective websites could learn from this.
Pulitzer Prize–winning fashion writer Robin Givhan is landed another book book deal. Based on the Grand Divertissement à Versailles, a competition held in 1973 where five American designers (Oscar de la Renta Stephen Burrows, Halston, Anne Klein, and Bill Blass), were put up against five French (Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior by Marc Bohan, Hubert de Givenchy, Emanuel Ungaro, and Pierre Cardin) designers , the books explores the impact that the competition had on the American fashion industry. More interesting, it will also explore the historical move to only use models of colour like Pat Cleavland and Billie Blair to show off the designers collections.
Bernard Arnault has said that he is going to think carefully before appointing a replacement for John Galliano at Dior. In a recent interview with Robin Givhan, the LVMH boss explained that he is more inclined to hire a more even tempered designer like Celine's Phoebe Philo, who has been responsible for the brand's three digit growth.
“It will take time, but [Celine] is on the way. Phoebe has the potential. She is doing a style which is completely in line with our time,” he said. “My daughter Delphine, she’s working at Dior, but she wears Celine.”
We all fell in love with those pronounced jackets and distressed denim jeans at Balmain but unfortunately that's the most that many people did - simply admire them from afar. With t-shirts coming in at a whopping $1,625 and those statement jackets costing $10,000, the collections were only reserved for the elite customer.
Balmain's high prices have not come without great criticism over the years. Back in April Robin Givhan most notably slammed the brand arguing that: "The cost of his fully bedazzled mini-dresses could reach well into tens of thousands of dollars, easily making a couture client hyperventilate. His tailored jackets, though beautifully cut, were also a king's ransom at $10,000." She continued: "In fairness, some of the prices could be explained by the skill put into the cutting and the elaborate beadwork - one Prince-inspired collection, for example, featured frock coats lacquered in gold sequins. But Decarnin's tattered jeans and t-shirts were equally as expensive - think $1,000 for an artfully torn tank top...There is no justification for that sort of pricing other than it exploited one of the worst marketing tactics in the fashion industry."
But it looks like the brand has taken the fierce criticism on board as they have announced that they are launching a secondary 'affordable' line called Pierre Balmain. If the news excites you as much as us, you will be even more happy to know that the sources allege the line will be made available as soon as September.
Certainly, the fashion industry - as a purveyor of beauty ideals, fine craftsmanship, and creativity - is better off without the aesthetic that he and Balmain popularized...The cost of his fully bedazzled mini-dresses could reach well into tens of thousands of dollars, easily making a couture client hyperventilate. His tailored jackets, though beautifully cut, were also a king's ransom at $10,000. In fairness, some of the prices could be explained by the skill put into the cutting and the elaborate beadwork - one Prince-inspired collection, for example, featured frock coats lacquered in gold sequins. But Decarnin's tattered jeans and t-shirts were equally as expensive - think $1,000 for an artfully torn tank top. And no, he did not come to clients' homes himself with a pair of shears to do the snipping to their personal specifications. There is no justification for that sort of pricing other than it exploited one of the worst marketing tactics in the fashion industry. Balmain's jeans and t-shirts reeked of the most grotesque prestige pricing.
Just before the start of the next fashion season we get excited. It's that time again: ELLE has hit shelves and has released the latest installment of their biannual guide to the collections. The latest issue is more special than usual as it sees the magazine celebrate the 10th edition.
If you're new to ELLE Collections, the magazine takes the reader behind-the-scenes of all of the big shows, shows the complete catwalk looks from the big collections and includes articles by acclaimed writers like Robin Givhan as well as fashion blogger favourite, Susie Bubble. "ELLE Collections is unlike any other newsstand magazine in this country," Lorraine Candy said. "As well as being a tool for the fashion industry due to the breadth of information from the runway shows and the exclsuove access to designers, it also has very high production values and an extraordinary approach to design and layout."
Earlier this week, a panel consisting of Ashley Olsen, Robin Givhan and Isaac Mizrahi, met to discuss, amongst other things, the effect the recession has had on the fashion industry. The expert panel was invited by Cindi Leive, Glamour magazine's editor-in-chief, to sit as guests at the 92nd Street talk 'The Future of Fashion', and were asked their views on a range of topics including celebrity designers, Michelle Obama and designers breaking the model mould on the runway.