Things have changed dramatically, but we still have a ways to go. Years ago, if you looked at an agency's roster, maybe 2 percent was black and 1 percent was Asian. I am not faulting the agencies, though; if there was demand, there would have been more. Today, if you open up the newest issue of Vogue, you'll see Joan Smalls, Liu Wen, and Arlenis Sosa representing the most prestigious beauty brands in the business. The challenge for fashion brands is to understand what is considered "cool" in Tokyo, as that’s different than London or Austin, Texas. We have to piece together an inclusive casting of people, but stay on point with the message of the brand. Now, as casting directors, we have to cast our nets further by traveling ourselves or using social media to find that tattooed skater boy who is just as likely to come from Singapore as he is from Bushwick.
MTV had Beyoncé to thanks this weekend for giving them their highest viewing figures in the awards shows history but they're not the only one thanking the singer. Dolce & Gabbana - along with Lanvin - had the honour of dressing the singer when she made her big pregnancy reveal on Sunday night.
"We are very happy for her for her maternity, and we are proud she announced it while wearing Dolce & Gabbana!" Domenico Dolce told The Cut. "She is versatile, determined, and never afraid of changes," Stefano Gabbana added. "She will be a fantastic mother and we are sure that during her pregnancy she will not lose a bit of her glamour and sensuality."
No, you would assume that. I put on 40 pounds (18 kilograms) but I wasn't fazed. I was eating so much and my grandma was like, ''Love, you had better stop eating. You're going to make a big baby and I don't know how you are going to push it out.'' I was like, ''Nan, it's fine,'' but she was the only one who knew....I did yoga during the whole pregnancy but, honestly, I totally gave my body over. I didn't care if I got stretch marks, I didn't care if I didn't get back into shape. My main focus was to have a healthy child and it didn't matter to me if I could model or not. I didn't have any aims to get back in shape. I'm also breastfeeding, which I think helps get everything back into shape but I was really happy because I have my skincare line, I've got my book, I'm happy to be a mum, so I wasn't pressed to get back to work but I thought that if I can balance it, I might as well do a little [modelling] while I can because it's a short-lived job compared to others.
The whole retouching debate is never far from the headlines. Back in June the American Medical Association made it clear that they plan to take a tough stance on retouching, particularly with brands appealing to teenagers, and Coco Rocha announced that her Jacobs campaign will not be retouched. And now the issue is in the press again but this time Maybelline and Lancôme are in the hot seat.
Christy Turlington and Julia Robert's respective campaigns have been banned by the UK's Advertising Standards Agency for being 'misleading' due to an alleged over-retouching. When asked about Robert's Lancome campaign, the ASA said:
On the basis of the evidence we had received we could not conclude that the ad image accurately illustrated what effect the product could achieve, and that the image had not been exaggerated by digital post production techniques.
While I applaud the ASA's strong stance, I'm not convinced that their position will help improve the situation. Over-retouching and depicting an unattainable ideal is something that has become entrenched in advertising practice making it naive to think that this could be bypassed so easily. That said, we have to start somewhere.
Last month Nicola Formichetti was the centre of attention after he allegedly made derogatory statements about overweight people to W magazine - an assertion that he vigorously denies. Now the stylist is in the headlines again but this time for alleged ageist remarks. In the latest issue of ELLE Collections Formichetti said, "I think old people should just be old and go away," adding, "It's not about being in the industry for ten years anymore: it's about good ideas."
As The Cut point out, this clearly seems a case of wrong timing. After the W controversy it seems that people instantly interpreted these comments as being ageist when in actual fact, he seems to be referring to people that have worked in the industry for a long time rather than the elderly generally. He made this clear when he added: "[Fashion] still has this elitist feeling — it's really scary ... Me and Gaga, our motto is 'fuck fashion' because we love it so much we want to destroy it and start again and keep it fresh."
Clearly Azzedine Alaia isn't the only designer being unusually frank to journalists this week. After presenting his menswear show in Milan on Tuesday, Giorgio Armani reportedly criticised the menswear collections produced by Prada and Dolce & Gabbana arguing that both collections were not something that any man would want to wear.
But it didn't end there. “Fashion today is in the hands of the banks and of the stock market and not of their owners," he explained whilst criticising the press for not actively scrutinising the collections. "In a direct insult to Prada, he added that he doesn't need to go public because his company doesn't have debts, is independent, and produces clothing that makes men look handsome and elegant,' The Cut reports.
You can always rely on Azzedine Alaia for a good quote. In a refreshingly frank interview with Virgine magzine he discusses the pressures placed on designers today to produce several collections a year, why he is not afraid of Anna Wintour and dislikes her fashion sense and why he thinks Karl Lagerfeld is simply a caricature.
On Anna Wintour
I said it before. She runs the business (Vogue) very well, but not the fashion part. When I see how she is dressed, I don’t believe in her tastes one second. I can say it loudly! She hasn’t photographed my work in years even if I am a best seller in the U.S. and I have 140 square meters at Barneys. American women love me; I don’t need her support at all. Anna Wintour doesn’t deal with pictures; she is just doing PR and business, and she scares everybody. But when she sees me, she is the scared one. [Laughs.] Other people think like me, but don’t say it because they are afraid that Vogue won’t photograph them. Anyway, who will remember Anna Wintour in the history of fashion? No one. Take Diana Vreeland, she is remembered because she was so chic. What she did with the magazine was great, with Avedon and all the great photographers. Vogue remains while its fashion editors come and go."
Franca Sozzani is always ahead of the race. Back in 2008 she created the legendary 'All Black Issue' and has since continued to champion black models and for the latest issue of the magazine, the Vogue Italia editor booked three plus size models.
Sozzani has been criticised in the past with many arguing that the creation of the 'Curvy' Vogue website was merely a gimmick, but perhaps the latest cover shows a long term commitment of the magazine to championing a healthy body image in the industry.
This week The Cut spoke to the editor about how the shoot came about, why Crystal Renn was not included and whether she thinks the cover will have a serious impact.
When it comes to fashionable basketballers, you'll be forgiven for having Amar'e Stoudemire's name spring to mind. Afterall, the sportsman has been courted by American Vogue and is often seen sitting front row at all of the big shows. But Stoudemire isn't the only basketballer that is trying to get a foot into the fashion world.
Last week Carmelo Anthony confirmed that he has just shot a spread in Vogue Italia shot by Mark Seliger in a studio in New York. Yeah, actually I did like a six- or seven-page spread for Italian Vogue,” he told The Cut. “It was just me in a fashion spread, six to eight pages, something like that.”
Karl Lagerfeld isn't lacking in the awards department. This week the designer was in New York to receive a Gordon Parks Foundation Award for his creativity but despite his big win, people were more interested in asking him about his highly anticipated collaboration with Carine Roitfeld on Chanel's Fall 2011 campaign, which was leaked this week.
“It’s about one woman who is transformed," he told The Cut. “Everybody talked about this campaign and wants to see it,” he said. “Apparently there’s already a few images on the net. They were stolen; because we had shown nothing.” Despite having to pose in a small photo booth, Freja Beha Erichsen - who walked the red carpet with Lagerfeld at the event - explained that it was actually very easy. “He knows exactly what he wants," she explained, "and he has a whole vision in his head, and he’s very creative, and he’ll come up with ideas for every single shoot, which makes my job extremely easy.”