Wednesday, April 14, 2010

BEIGE...

This morning I found myself thinking about the traditional fashion press vs. Tavi as blogger target practice debate. I've read a lot of guff from affronted journalists and actually not much from fashion bloggers. Maybe I just haven't been looking in the right places, or maybe it doesn't matter much - the affronted wailing of journalists could be considered death throes, as they topple off their front row seats. Apparently some fashion journalists believe that a blogger can't report on clothes as well as them, because bloggers don't know about fashion, the history of fashion and they aren't trained in it. Well, what if they do and are? I've met people who had fantastic jobs at magazines and been stunned to discover that they've only been interested in fashion for a couple of years, or that they're really into 18th century literature and only took that job at Vogue because their mum/aunt/sister got them in. Equally, I know people who didn't have the right connections, confidence or luck (edit: or private income, thank you Rose) but who are a font of knowledge - and blogging is the perfect medium for them if they have a strong point of view. The thing about magazines is that all the personality is removed from the writing to fit the voice of the magazine. Then you end up with an article that tells you there were a lot of beige coats shown in Paris, with little enthusiasm or insight into why.

So I really don't buy the notion that all the people sitting at shows and writing about them are experts. What I do understand is the access they have and the relationships they're able to build with designers which might allow them to give a different spin. Cathy Horyn (unarguably an expert!) does this brilliantly when she writes of sitting down to lunch at Alaia's studio, for example. But often the old guarded elitism stops that from happening - or the fear of giving too much away and spoiling the mystery (a less cynical way of putting it.) I think it can be done in a way that enhances, and it will be. Garance Dore's recent videos from fashion week were great at giving you a window seat into the world of fashion month and I'm hoping - since she now has the access, that she'll continue in a way that lets us see more about the clothes as well.

10 comments:

If Jane said...

great post claire and much food for thought!

two things have been buzzing through my head:
1)
even though i tend to hide behind sophia coppola's quote: "You`re considered superficial and silly if you are interested in fashion, but I think you can be substantial and still be interested in frivolity"

and even though i like pretty and nice things--i am bothered that some who are a part of the fashion world etc photograph and promote "homeless chic" as yet another fashion bar to pass.

where are we are a society...when we can even think to consider to want to mimic the look of someone in such an unfortunate situation??? it is beyond schadenfreude...

and
2) marcel duchamp with the idea of the "ready made"...andy warhol with his theory of "everyone's 15 minutes of fame"....guy debord's "the society of the spectacle"....and jean baudrillard's response: considers society to be a spectacle, and argues that things have reached a point where it is difficult to separate the spectacle and social reality--we are no longer alienated and passive spectators but interactive participants … [in a] huge ‘reality show.’"--coupling this with isabel marant's views on who now attends fashion shows...and the coverage behind the scenes and twitter, that fashion has lost it's mystery...

all of this to say...i am still thinking where i stand on this.

and i am realising that post modernism is still very much alive, re: the process being equally important if not more important than the end product.

but i must admit i don't think i am entirely a fan of "behind the scenes" or "the making of"...i think i agree with isable marant...i like a bit of mystery,....

sorry for writing a novel...but once again great post--much to think about...

Rose said...

This is a tricky one because while I clearly love blogs and have my own- and think coverage is often a lot better- I also love print and wouldn't want magazines to die away.

The problems are a) if no one buys magazines the ones that remain will either be brilliant but niche and super expensive or totally generic to try and appeal to a large cross section and gossip heavy b) bloggers making enough money to have the time to blog and be able to attend press days, events and so on c) to be fair the problem of people working for little has always existed has hasn't it and that's why lots of rich daughter types were able to get ahead- because they didn't have to work and could do the required internships or just live off the wages offered to get their foot in because they were supplemented or Daddy had a flat they could live in for free on the King's Rf (I am well aware that plenty of people also really really struggled!) d) there being lots of rubbish blogs that give blogging a bad name

am sure there are loads more issues too- it's interesting definitely. I love blogs but I also love the feeling of sitting down with a magazine- perhaps people will just between the mediums more and magazines will become better for it, more well researched, less throw away

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Rose - I completely agree - and maybe this "feud" will sharpen up the writing - I still love magazines and can't imagine many blogs being able to produce images to that standard, which is why I read er, I mean look at them! But the writing, especially fashion reports in newspapers, which I didn't specifically mention is embarrassing sometimes...

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

If Jane - There's a way of doing behind the scenes so that it adds to the allure - you know like how they've filmed inside Chanel's atelier and it's totally captivating to see them at work. Myself, I like to see the process but it can definitely be done in a controlled way. I don't want to see Isabel Marant eating her lunch, but I loved seeing bits of her studio and inspiration in Russh magazine! So maybe she does have the right idea - give snippets, like a tease but not everything. (she is French after all;)

Bombay Beauty said...

Very thought-provoking piece. Indeed, what you're saying extends far beyond fashion to many other realms. But there's one more twist. Some magazines are beginning to employ bloggers -- seems like a great idea -- but it is also a way to get writers without salaries or benefits...

Ideally there will be a symbiotic equilibrium!

xo

bb

Romel said...

well.. kinda great

coquette said...

Interesting post, but see, I want to see Isabel Marant eating her lunch. I really think that might be interesting! But I'm with If Jane I guess. I feel the behind the scenes stuff is as much a construct as the rest of it. But blogs allow *more frequently* though not always (and almost never on Garance's blog), for that dropped beat or glitch of imperfection that constitutes reality for me.

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Oh totally, but I'm happy with constructed or at least strictly edited behind the scenes! I totally understand wanting to protect the brand - I'd do it myself - you know, if I knew I'd be photographed and everyone would see it I'd brush my hair, apply a bit of concealer, make sure my skirt wasn't tucked into my knickers at the back etc at least...I like it if everything looks lovely so I don't mind that really. But anyway, most design studios really are interesting and full of inspirational knick knacks, so if they can show that but leave out the footage of Isabel Marant's (alleged) secret Pot Noodle addiction in full effect?!

Anyway, for me, since starting to read the girls from Vena Cava's blog for example - they're so hilarious it does make me more likely to want to buy one of their dresses - weird but true! I love seeing what they're influenced by. I need to make one of these behind the scenes videos - I promise no multiple vases of fresh flowers on every surface, overplumped cushions or freshly steamed clothing...x

coquette said...

Oh, you absolutely should make a video!

Eline said...

Exactly! I think fashion writers at magazines are probably just looking down on bloggers because they have a secret fear of them "steaking their jobs". Magazines are in peril as it is so...