Monday, 19 September 2011

Celebration or Denigration?






I've just spent the most wonderful weekend at London Fashion Week, where I saw fascinating shows, scribbled notes to my heart's content and met with good friends as well as interesting new people. I'll be covering much of this in a subsequent post. However, time is short and my teachers at college have decided that I should have no free hours this week, as I've been set several essays. Therefore, I thought it would be an appropriate time to post one of the articles that I submitted for the Vogue Talent Contest - particularly in light of some of the coverage that London Fashion Week and fashion in general recieves in the media. This was my polemic/ opinion piece:

Celebration or denigration?


As a reader of Vogue, have you ever had to justify your interest in fashion? Been accused of frivolity? Maybe someone has commented on the shallow ideals fashion promotes. Or you might have witnessed a shriek of – “It gives nothing to the world!”
Fashion, above other creative fields, is a magnet – repelling and attracting equally -- and disparagement is something it attracts with ease. Open up a newspaper and there’s another article screaming, “Why I Hate Fashion.” (Ergo, why my opinion counts more than yours because I am a serious individual, and to show how serious I am, I shall wear a shapeless cardigan). Or another claims smugly that catwalks are filled with, “emaciated teenage coat-hangers with spaghetti limbs on rickety stilts”. Furthermore, look at any fashion-related piece on a broadsheet website and scroll to the comments below. It is guaranteed that somewhere among the reactions will be an individual who is irate that the writer of the article chose to talk about anything other than world news or politics.
Fashion may not solve global crisis and nor does it claim to (though it can be valuable to help rebuild psychological confidence - as explored by Linda Grant in 'The Thoughtful Dresser'). In fact, it is one of the many means we use to distract ourselves from harsher realities – in the same vein as reading a book or enjoying good food. Why then the criticism reserved for fashion alone?
Firstly, the differentiation between ‘fashion’ and ‘style’ is not often recognised. Using the umbrella statement, “I hate fashion” is a little like basing all your assumptions regarding cinema on one trashy ‘romcom’. Fashion itself is the changing of trends every six months or so, with new collections being produced by designers twice-yearly. Style is using your clothing choices to express your personality. Sometimes the two coincide.
However, for many, the presumption is that anyone who actively enjoys and plans how to dress must be a bubblehead. For those sitting in judgment, it is apparently impossible to be both intelligent and stylishly attired: wear a leopard print turban simply because you want to, and you deserve ridicule.
Why is it alright to aim a pool of vitriol at conscious dressers? Where is the censure of such critics? Why does being a part of the fashion industry invite vilification?
It may not be a perfect industry - but then neither are the worlds of sport, fine art, music or literature. All similarly offer entertainment and enrichment. But fashion rises above these others in flack-attraction.
Perhaps attacking fashion is simply another form of bullying that goes unchallenged, an inverted status game of ‘my tribe is better than yours’. After all, clothing or painting the human body is deeply ingrained in our ancestral psyche. It’s an identifier, an instant signifier of belonging to a group. In colder climates, wearing clothes is a functional necessity. But more than that, with the luxury of choice, it’s a joy. Joy - now isn’t that something to celebrate, not denigrate?
                                -------------------------------------------------

In these photos I'm wearing an incredibly sumptuous gold silk Chloe dress. Yes, that's right - Chloe. No, I couldn't believe it either. This was a birthday present from one of the most magnificent, most beautiful and warm-hearted people I know - I call her my fairy godmother. I adopted her as my 'Fairy' Godmother because, after all, how else can you refer to someone who is not only able to whisk up a dress as fabulous as this, in a froth of tissue paper, but someone who also conjured her way to London to spend time by my hospital bed day after day in the aftermath of spinal surgery.
Here, it is worn with Office velvet heels and a long sleeved top from a charity shop. The straw bales accessorizing my look were appropiated from a local farmer, daahling. Or maybe that should read as my mum and I sneaking into the field to take some snaps just before the farmer arrived with tractor and trailer to cart them away into winter storage.

60 comments:

The Fancy Teacup said...

You look like a princess in that luminous Chloe dress! What a beauty. And I love how you differentiated "fashion" and "style." I've always told people those two were not the same.

♥, Jamie
www.TheFancyTeacup.com

TC said...

Beautiful article-- it is just so wonderfully written! I love your dress!
xxx
treschiccs.blogspot.com

TC said...

Beautiful article-- it is just so wonderfully written! I love your dress!
xxx
treschiccs.blogspot.com

Lydia said...

Beautiful dress. Perfect for fall.

I've been judged by "non-fashiony" people who think they're above me because they aren't into something so "frivolous." I think it's completely stupid and a waste of my time to be offended over. First of all, visionaries like Alexander McQueen and Nicholas Ghesquiere are truly artists, as well as plenty of other designers whose medium is fabric, leather, sequins, etc... There's nothing shallow about the art they create. And secondly, so what if I care about how I look and like to have fun with it? There are too many gorgeous clothes out there and fun ways to wear them to be boxed into some plain uniform everyday. I can love fashion, and still be intelligent and cultured. Thanks for this post.

Julie Khuu said...

Gorgeous gold tones! Love the shiny/matte combo...so modern and chic!

xo-Julie
Peace. Love. LOL!

Haute Khuuture Blog

HABINKIM.blogspot.com said...

Your writing is so so beautiful! An inspiration to us all. Thank you for letting me take your photograph at LFW on sunday, pleasure meeting you, loved your outfit. These photographs are incredible too, the gold dress works so well with the back drop :)
www.habinkim.blogspot.com

Closet Fashionista said...

I looove that dress!
And that article is amazing!! I wish I was as talented as you at writing. I can see why you were the winner :D
http://www.closet-fashionista.com/

adrielleroyale said...

Oh my dear you are the essence of Fall in these photos!! I LOVE that last shot :) As to your piece, very well written as well as a very mature way to look at it. I have found that no matter what your choices, you will always have a harsh critic which you must learn from or ignore completely. People can be such hypocrites. But then, every now and then they surprise you with their goodness too. I can only assume your fairy godmother must be the wonderful Mrs. Dot, am I right? :)

Have fun this week! :)

soccer boy said...

your photos are beautiful, and your thoughts are amazing. what a combo :)

Natalie Suarez said...

this is absolutely stunning! like a marc jacobs ad! xx

natalieoffduty.blogspot.com

Aliya said...

Wow! Your pictures are sensational!!! Why are you not already in every fashion magazine there is?!

x Aliya
www.papermoonsandmacarons.blogspot.com

Autumn said...

I'm greatly moved by your article you submitted to Vogue. Fashion may not save or help anyone in need essentially. But, I believe fashion can move people to have a greater sense of caring and of artistic heights. For me clothing conveys feeling and emotion.

Your outfit is gorgeous and obviously the hay-bales had been set their for you to take photos with.
~
Autumn

the nyanzi report said...

Hey Roz, it was a pleasure to see you again. You were seriously working the crowd and I loved it.

We didn't get a chance to chat properly but you know, no rest for the wicked...

sacramento said...

MY dear Rosalid I have seen you in the front row of some fashion show with famous people, but I see you keep a calm and sensible head on all matters.
I am so proud.
Much love.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Vix said...

After reading your submission I'm really not surprised you won, Roz.
Loving the golden frock on you, perfect setting, too.
To be honest fashion doesn't interest me, I don't get the need to wear a certain garment just because some anonymous person has deemed it an essential item for the next few months. Clothes, on the other hand, I adore. x

Hazelnut said...

Gorgeous pictures! You picked the perfect location for the photo shoot. The hay kind of compliments the golden color of the dress.

You look stunning in all the photos! I love every single pose you did. You're such a natural at modelling.

Penny Dreadful said...

Well-written piece Rosalind, no wonder you won. I often feel that the attack on fashion is a piece of insidious sexism - it is seen as being a very female form of creativity, which invites calls of 'frivolous and silly', whereas the more predominately male interest of sport is supposedly logical and deserving of such over-representation in the media. x

cameron said...

Well said. Some people do express their creativity by dressing to stand out, which can make them tempting targets. Get to know them, as I've done through street fashion blogging, and find that they are a charming, witty, generous lot who project their inner harmonies through clothing. Good to see you on Face Hunter!

Dina said...

Will read the article properly as soon as I possibly can. I'm sure it is magnificent! But for now: Fairy Godmother is a true goddess, I love how the satin of the dress reflects the sunlight and makes you look so radiant.

P.S. E-mailing you something exciting. x

Izzy/Bella said...

Congratulations on your Vogue win! I tried to find the article, as I live above a bookstore with all sorts of international magazines but right now they only have Vogue Italia and French Vogue. I really hope I get to read it, and yes, please post your other entries.

I wish I had time to write more. I both agree and disagree with you. The issue I think is with people attacking those who enjoy style and expressing themselves visually. If Britain is anything like America, there's a lot of bullies out there who'll attack anyone who's different. However, what I think a lot of people in the press are attacking is "status" or "conspicuous consumption" not "style" or "self-expression." So much of fashion is not about expressing yourself but rather expressing your wealth (I live in Soho, so it's particularly irksome in my neighborhood. Every girl will have the same Mulberry bag, the same Michael Kors watch, the same...er... Ray Ban Aviators (okay, I have those ;)). This is bad for the planet and it's bad for the soul! I love vintage and making my own things and wearing trends, so what I seek in my own life and blog is a balance between expressing myself but not falling prey to a cultural ideal imposed by a corporation.

Anyway that book you mentioned sounds fascinating. That's what fashion has been for me. I will definitely read it, The Thoughtful Dresser I mean.

Well, I hope you don't mind me (somewhat) disagreeing with you. Thank you for the thought-provoking post!

All the best,
Izzy
www.misadventuresofme.com

Sofie Marie said...

You really realise the enormity(that almost sounds like an insult!) of your legs in those photos-how lucky you are to be tall.
I like your piece on fashion-it's an intriguing topic-because on the one hand I find myself quickly defending fashion to those who complain of it's frivolity or how superficial an industry it is. On the other hand, I'm a bit uneasy with it all myself.
Again,well done on your article,and winning the competition!
Sofie
ps the 4th photo in the post below is wonderful,you really are an inspiring blogger.

Elizabeth @rosalilium said...

Hey Rosalind,
Just been catching up on your blog after my little hiatus from the online world. And a massive congratulations is in order for winning the Vogue contest. It is thoroughly deserved and it is so wonderful to see your dedication and talent rewarded.

Also, love the Chloe dress, it is so dreamy.

x

Jessica said...

I saw you in Vogue and pointed you out to my mum :')! I love this outfit, and your legs look so long! Congrats again, another great post, and lovely article in vogue!

http://chicgeekblogger.blogspot.com/

Please take a minute to look at my trunkshow;

http://iouproject.com/tsh/jessica-karen/

Celynne said...

Amazing outfit, and fantastic dress! I love the shoes too, such a great green. Digging the different textures here.

Kate said...

That Chloe dress is beautiful, and I love the way it almost blends in yet stands out from the hay, you look like a professional model!
You are so lucky to have been to London Fashion Week, and I can't wait to see your post about it!
www.styleisalwaysfashionable.blogspot.com

Missbobino said...

The shoes are superb!

http://missbobino.blogspot.com/

Fashionistable said...

The light is so beautiful in these shot not to mention you of course. Magnificent dress. You winning piece for Vogue was inspired. So wonderful to spent time with you again. Xxxx

The Foolish Aesthete said...

If there is anyone who can dispel the notion of intelligence equated with a burlap sack wardrobe (or shapeless cardigan), it would be you. I find your insight amazing for someone so young. Then again, many people reach adulthood and old age without gaining any true wisdom, so I guess age really has nothing to do with it.

I was so thrilled to see you in many bloggers's posts for LFW. When I see beauty, style, talent and intelligence embodied in one person, my hopes are bolstered for the youth of today! You look absolutely stunning in the gold Chloe and velvet shoes (thank you, Fairy God Mother). And the straw bales are the perfect accessory! xxx

Flis said...

No wonder you won the Talent Contest - you write so well :) I too get annoyed with people who label fashion as fickle. X

http://felicityotoole.blogspot.com/

Lucia said...

As I said before, you have a true gift for writing. This is written oh so well, and you really make your point. I completely agree with everything you're saying, I have been criticised and misjudged many a time for having an interest in fashion, people make so many assumptions. Also, I love how you are so passionate, amazing !

styleeast said...

I've been saving this to read until I had more time and a clear(er!) head, and it was worth the wait. Your writing is so inspired and mature, and for that matter so are the insights you write about. I can see exactly why they picked you and, as I've said to you before, I think this is only the beginning. Well done, you very very talented young lady xx

Raez said...

absolutely stunning! love how you've styled that Chloe dress and how you chose a matching setting :)

xx Raez

Shervin Nassi said...

your photos continue to inspire me! pls keep it gogin!!
thanks for coming by my page i always love ur comments!

www.shervinsworld.com

the Citizen Rosebud said...

I love your photo shoots! They seriously remind me of magazine editorials, and this one is no exception.

Caitlin Rose said...

Well the outfit is gorgeous as always, and you are such a good model! I could learn a thing or two from your poses my dear!

but your article! gosh I love it Rosalind. It's so direct, not overly defensive! It states what happens, what we feel, what others feel etc. etc. I often battle with devoting my life to fashion, but then again, I don't devote my whole life to fashion anyway! And I do just love it! how many dentists can say that. haha.

great article!

oh and I wanted to thank you for your lovely comments about my video, they take so much effort to make I'm so happy that at least a few people are enjoying them!

xx

Caitlin rose

Amanda said...

this is just so amazing u are so creative and unique! Much love =)

Rosa Goodchild said...

Oh my goodness! Next to Fendi, Chloe is my favourite designer! And I must say, you look absolutely stunning, darling!

I love everything about this post - well done!

Lx said...

The last picture on this post is stunning! You look wonderful, the dress is fabulous and the photo all together is very inspiring...
you write beautifully and your articles are always such a pleasure to read.
thanks for brightening my day, x.

Teddi said...

exquisite photos of you! i think of fashion as functional art on your body. seeing as we can't really go walking around naked, the clothing provides the function. then the fashion, is the way i choose to express myself, that day is by sending a message or feeling with how i dress.

http://honeybeelane.blogspot.com/

Meena Dhuga said...

thats so cool! love the chloe dress, it looks great on you!

http://pinklemonsorbet.blogspot.com/

Meena ♥

Pearl Westwood said...

It was so lovely to finally get to meet you in London and it is blindingly obvious why you won the competition x

Evi said...

Lovely outfit!!! You look like a model... Amazing photo shoot!!!

Evi xoxo

www.thenotebookofafashionlover.blogspot.com

jarfullofpennies said...

Hello Roz!
I found your blog not too long ago and I can't stop reading! I really enjoy the way you pair fashion and writing together. This is one of my favorite posts so far, because I totally agree with you, and I appreciate how carefully thought out and well argued your article is. Great job :)

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Oh you look beautiful in your gold dress Roz and yes, you certainly do have a fairy godmother - so kind:). I enjoyed reading your piece (so glad you won the Vogue comp!!!!). It occurred to me that when people have been living and dressing according to the laws of oppressive governments, one of the first things people do is get rid of their "uniforms" or limited clothing choices dictated to them. They embrace colour, variety, texture and tactility. They choose their own clothing and invariably go for richness of colour and embellishment. It is a natural thing to decorate ourselves. It alters our mood and the way we look at life and encourages tolerance. Comments by the shapeless cardi brigade just do not register or pierce my individual space. i know what they're thinking and saying and it's nothing new. Sorry for rambling xoxoxoxoxoxo

Sigrid said...

My Favorites are the third and last pictures! They just scream high fashion to the extreme. U are lovely! I really want to travel to London or England for that matter! It would be loverly! :) In school we are working on my fair lady and I bet you would love to see the costumes I am getting. eventually when it gets closer to show time I will have pictures of my Ascot Gavotte costume! :) I GET A BIG HAT AND A train! :)

I love when you hop on by and comment on my posts it makes me so happy :)

Have a lovely weekend!

Love Sigrid

from
http://dancingsinginganddreaming.blogspot.com

Miss Mellie said...

Your dress is so gorgeous and the pictures are beautiful. I think you make such a good point that fashion is joy and something to celebrate!

Clara Turbay said...

I like so much your blog, i hope you can check out mine.
http://paquetevistasbien.blogspot.com

Sam said...

These are amazing photo's. And your legs... They're so unbelievably long! So amazing. And lovely outfit too!

Natalie Koltunovskaya said...

Lovely pictures! So well made!

ѕтαrr said...

Your polemic/opinion piece is so eloquently written. I can relate to what you are saying; in fact, I sometimes am the predator rather than prey. You're absolutely right when you say this conflict is yet another competition between two tribes. After all, one of the main motives of human nature is to be better than someone else.
I think I've become more cautious when conjecturing the stereotypical fashion-freak after reading your essay. Again, congratulations on winning the Vogue Talent Contest!

India Mackenzie said...

I'm so happy I found your blog! I love your style and your writing, and I love how you seem to be so determined in all that you do. I think that you are a wonderful writer with a gorgeous blog!

thefashionultimatum.blogspot.com

CALAMITY JANE said...

Oh Rosalind you look like a little kid all dress up for a wedding! extremely cute!!
As regard your piece of work I think it's as you picture it, why do people always asumes that because someone loves clothes you have to be a bubblehead? That always happens to me, they find it hard to believethat i'm an A-student!!

PS: the last picture is awesome, i love how the shape of your body creates a horizon.

Lucy said...

Aah Roz these are stunning! The Chloe dress is perfect, it looks so rich! I adore your poses, the length of your limbs.. you look beautiful as an autumnal fairy! Very pleased to at last read your piece! it was a joy to read. Such a shame again that we just missed each other at LFW, all that texting and to no avail sadly.. ah well, next time! big hugs xxxx

Fay Oberdorf said...

Wauw, so beautiful <3
Love it love it love it!
X
www.faysfashionwardrobe.blogspot.com

second vogue said...

gorgeous lady!!
no words to say!! ^^
I saw you on style yourself magazine! stunning

LOVE

http://secondvogue.blogspot.com/a

LBVieVintage said...

j'adore your vintage style!! <3

Ireland Casswell-Clarkson said...

Beautiful outfit the concepts are fantastic

isa telaraña said...

You are lucky. Your grandmother has got a very good taste for clothes. I like this dress very much!!!

AestheticJungle said...

gorgeous photos and blog!
now a follower :)
xx

share the love? aestheticjungle.blogspot.com

giulia s. said...

this photoshooting is wonderful!
nice blog!
xxx
G.