Even as the with-it and hip turn out to be self-destructive weirdos being led around by an icy unlikable shrew.
Last week, President Obama made headlines by enlisting two relatively unknown New York City residents–Hollywood film star Sarah Jessica Parker and Vogue edidictatorette Anna Wintour –to host a big-ticket fundraiser for his 2012 reelection campaign. Naturally the fifty guests who coughed up $40,000 to dine with the President made it a great success, even if SJP’s house didn’t quite meet Ms. Wintour’s exacting standards.
Anyhoo, the confab got blogger-homie Edge of The Sandbox thinking about Ms. Wintour’s place in the fashion industry.
[Anna] Wintour became the Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue in 1988, when supermodels ruled the catwalk. They were gorgeous and skinny, but had some sort of curve on their improbably thin and long bones. Cindy Crawford recalls that back in her days models wore the US size 6; they are now zero or 2. Very few women can have the kind of bodies and the faces that grace the covers of fashion magazines because these covers represented an unattainable ideal. I know that, and I’m not raving mad because I don’t look like Cindy Crawford. This is not to suggest that there were no anorexic models in the 80s, but the causes of anorexia nervosa are complicated, and the 80s supermodels were valid as a female ideal. There were no mistaking them for underdeveloped girls, and no doubt that they turned heads.
Shortly after Wintour assumed the Vogue leadership, the fashion industry elevated a mousy junkie Kate Moss to the status of a fashion icon. Heroin chic became all the rage, and Moss’s reputation for hard partying solidified her hold on the industry. Moss did at least six US Vogue covers — far less than the UK and France editions, but still a formidable number. Last year, Anna Wintour dedicated the cover of her September issue to the wedding of Kate Moss. Makes me wonder how much space she will devote to her divorce.
It’s a great post, so make sure to clickie that linkie and read the rest of it.
Lots of folks decry the impact that fashion magazines have on women. The critiques usually go something like this: The glossy spreads devoted to high-end clothes and pricey beauty creates almost unreachable heights of glamour. Moreover, the low single digit–or no digit–size of the models are held up as a standard of feminine beauty that almost no woman can live up to except through drugs and/or eating disorders.
Let’s repeat a line of questioning Robert Stacy McCain has asked before: Who edits the fashion magazines? Who designs the clothes? Who hires the models? Who runs the modelling agencies?
Who buys the magazines that create all these problems we love to complain about? By and large, its women and gay dudes. Besides George Costanza, straight men don’t read or purchase glossies like Vogue.
Finally, who are the consumers of the clothes in the fashion rags? It’s women. To be fair, heterosexual males will pay the $900 it takes to buy a size 2 Dolce & Gabbana dress for their wives or girlfriends. But they don’t pay much attention to the fashionista trends that make their women want the piece in the first place. The only reason they’re picking up the D&G swag, as opposed to the girly-cut New York Giants jersey or the lady-fit camo coveralls, is because their chicks dig the frilly dress.
We can with some justification bemoan the influence a nasty hag like Anna Wintour has over our sense of beauty and fashion. The people who made throwing up after every meal and snorting Hefty bags coke a prerequisite of style are decadent ghouls. They are to be avoided, not emulated or encouraged.
The problem is that many people–both men and women–have become enablers of these monsters by throwing so much money at the designers and propagandists who push this wacked out standard of beauty. If we really think heroin chic is gross, why don’t women stop trying to be a size 0? If we actually like the classic feminine hourglass shape, how come we don’t see guys encouraging their women to double up on the Death By Chocolate cheesecake every once in a while?
In short, Anna Wintour’s aesthetic sensibilities would not be in vogue…or in Vogue for that matter…if we didn’t buy into it. Anorexia as a dramatic charming fashion statement, as opposed to a life threatening medical condition, is our own fault. Until we recognize that, we’ll never actually deal with the problem we keep insisting we must address.
More: I really do mean it when I say that guys have to shoulder some of the blame for the uber-gaunt look that dominates fashion. Men have girlfriends and wives. That fact presupposes that dudes will have at least some influence over the women in their lives. If they really don’t want their lady friends to be shaped like match-sticks, they should say so–in vociferous ways if necessary.
On the other hand, I hear a lot of women hate on the metrosexual look on men. Yet here we are in 2012, and there are still guys who engage in elaborate manscaping rituals. Ladies, if you don’t want the man in your life to look like an 11-year-old girl, you’re gonna have to stop taking him for mani-pedis at your nail salon. You like your fellow to have a hairy chest? Refrain from telling him about the great waxing place you heard about downtown. Are you sick of your husband spending 3 hours a day doing crunches to make sure his abs are perfectly toned? Stock the fridge with a case of Guinness Asphalt and cancel his gym membership, STAT.