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Monthly Archives: September 2010


(Girlie alert!)

Milan Fashion Week, which kicked off yesterday after the so-hip-it-hurts crowd moved from New York’s Lincoln Center to London and now on to Milan, started with a very telling stink.

The fashion house of Elena Miro, which has been given the opening slot for runway shows for the past five years, was denied that opening spot this year because:

Head of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion Mario Boselli told the AFP, “Some labels just weren’t in line with what ready-to-wear week should be. We wanted to champion the values of creativity to reaffirm Milan’s role in the world.”

I can only wish it weren’t true.

Elena Miro, for those who don’t know, is a super-deluxe fashion house based in Milan, where you’d think they’d have that down to a very Italian art form, that caters exclusively to ladies above a US size 12/UK 14. In other words, the rest of Planet Earth not endowed with the ectomorphic fashion ideal. Women who look like women, as opposed to supermodels.

The standards of Elena Miro conform to the workmanship, care and quality you would expect of any high-end fashion brand. The cut is flawless and the clothes themselves are classy, luxurious, even opulent. More to the point, they’re every bit as stylish as anything else you would expect to find at Gucci/Prada/Dolce&Gabbana, and not only that – they celebrate the female form. If you’ve gone through your life cursing the sorry fact of your boobs, your butt, your all-round shoddy, non-conformist carcass that is so hard to clothe, look no further.

Which, I rather suspect, is precisely why they weren’t allowed their usual opening spot in Milan Fashion Week. Either that, or they refused to pay the bribe demanded to keep that opening spot…

Bodily curves are dangerous, subversive things. They interrupt ‘la ligne’, as they say in Paris, that uninterrupted line of cut and tailoring, cloth and design that constitutes fashionable attire. No one ever told that to Christian Dior, back in 1947, but that was a long, long time ago. Have a little – boob, a little butt, but not too much, or else the rest of us shall forever suspect that you lack the ability to control your appetites, control your body, control – yourself. Don’t forget – there’s an entire industry out there to bring you down should you ever get to the point – heaven forfend that idea – where you think you’re perfect as you are. If diet and exercise get you down to an acceptable size, then we’ll find something else to gnaw at your insecurities with – your skin, your teeth, your less than perfect hair, your less than perfect age.

There are runway models, women who are stunning by any standard, who have died from anorexia, forcing the fashion industry to conform to certain standards – no model below the age of 16, no BMI below 18 (which is still technically underweight) – and even so, I don’t see much in the way of change on the runways, not in New York, not in London, not in Milan. I don’t see too much of anything that would look good on a body that dares to live beyond the age of thirty. I certainly don’t see too much that would look good on me, presuming I even had that kind of cash.

Karl Lagerfeld, chief designer of Chanel and Fendi and his own eponymous label, famously declared that no one ever wanted to see “real women” in fashion magazines, prompted by an editorial change at the German fashion magazine Brigitte that decided to show fashion spreads on real – read, not model-thin or even model – women. He dismissed it as being tailored to “fat mummies eating potato chips in front of their TVs”.

On a popular TV show recently, one main character was forced to masquerade as a runway model. She was slim, gorgeous – everything you have to be to act on TV, in other words. On the show, the designer confronted with her said the immortal words: “So where is this girl? Is she hiding behind the fat chick who just walked in?”

It would be funny, if it didn’t smart of a real truth behind it.

They say that times are changing, that the fashion industry is coming around, getting real to the fact that women in general in the Western world are not getting smaller, but larger. The average clothing size in the US is now a size 14 – unlike certain of those New York/Paris/Milan designers whose clothes are only available in single-digit sizes. They say that the popularity of Christina Hendricks of ‘Mad Men’ – surely a textbook bombshell if I ever saw one – is one such sign that even in the perfectly flawless world of TV, things are slowly but surely beginning to shift.

Recently Christina Hendricks featured in an ad campaign for London Fog. Good for her. She’s freakin’ gorgeous. If a trenchcoat would make me look that good, I’d buy it too, even in leopard print. Alas, they didn’t think she was…good enough for the photo. They retouched her waist and hips smaller in the print ads.

So much for changes in attitude.

Even in Milan, even in Italy, supplier of va-va-voom bombshells since the days of Silvana Mangano, Gina Lollabrigida and Sophia Loren, the industry view of womanly is still restricted to the ectomorph, long-limbed, long-waisted ideal, the one without hips or breasts or other distractions. It’s about the clothes, people, the clothes, that aspirational business of sartorial perfection promoted by walking clotheshangers.

At least if you ask Mario Boselli.

But if you ask the customers of Elena Miro, who buy their stupendously beautiful clothes to the tune of 150 million € a year, if you ask the standing-room only audience at their runway show yesterday, if you ask the legions of bloggers and commentators who jumped at the chance of a little controversy, and even if you ask nobody, worthless me, the owner of definite T&A, a nonentity so poor I can’t even afford to window shop at the Salvation Army these days…if I had the opportunity, the expendable cash to buy her clothes – would I?

At the drop of a hat or a platinum Visa and in a Milan millisecond, and with my extended middle finger to the likes of Mario Boselli!

Even nonentities, even non-conformists, even the non-conforming like me simply want to look beautiful. Thankfully, someone out there agrees!

________________________________________________________________________________

Source: The Curvy Fashionista
Image: Elle, from the Elena Miro Spring-summer 2011 collection

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Somehow, I managed to survive five days straight without Blabbermouth.

For the not-quite so dedicated among us, Blabbermouth, run by Roadrunner Records but otherwise unaffiliated in terms of content, is basically the Reuters of all things metal and rock. I never, ever believe one rumor unless it’s made it to the first page of Blabbermouth. I have examples of stories making it there before the news breaks on the band’s official website, even. Blabbermouth is where all press releases go to…circulate rumors on upcoming releases, upcoming tours, ongoing tours, tour mishaps, reviews, interviews and so on and so forth. It’s everything you think you need to know, not a few things you sorta wish you didn’t, and on several occasions, a source of total hilarity, intentional and otherwise.

Back from the dead, there’s a big stink at what I’ve come to call The Daily Snark. A stink that says a few things, not just about the originator, but also about the two-way street between bands and fans, between news and news-worthy and the running commentary of metalheads who have a soapbox for the opinions that had nowhere to go but other metalheads for so long.

Snark, I’ll have you know, is good. It shows initiative, it shows attitude, it shows that you care, even if it means you care by attacking someone else’s Primeval Forces in no uncertain terms. We all have opinions in this online age, and they all stink.

Enter stinkaroo of the day, Evan Seinfeld of Biohazard.

Never mind that musically, Biohazard just ain’t – my brand of poison, not even if they are from Brooklyn.

Never mind that despite touring in 2009, they haven’t released new material since 2005. Never mind that Evan Seinfeld until recently had a sideline career as an adult film star with his now-ex wife, has participated in a few reality TV shows and in general seems to be doing quite well in marketing Evan Seinfeld for at least one other reason than being the bass player in Biohazard, that reason being he has one thing in common with half the human race, give or take a few.

No, his main pet peeve is attacking the users and commentators of Blabbermouth for being – in no particular order, gay keyboard ninjas who are symptomatic of ‘everything wrong with metal today’.

Interpret that as you please. It gives me infinite pleasure to twist it in the general direction of –

‘You are metalheads, you are our fans, you buy our tickets and CDs (if we’re lucky) and you should henceforward SHUT THE FUCK UP, because we Gods of Metal have better things to do than give a damn about your opinions. (Make porn flicks, for instance) In the unlikely event that you refuse to be silenced, you shall be branded as gay, armchair critical keyboard ninjas without lives because you dare to voice any brand of critical faculty I don’t happen to agree with.’

So – Blabbermouth is lame, gay etc. etc. He never reads it. In that case, how does he happen to know about it?

For so many years, metal was a genre without a voice, a genre regarded as somehow inferior, primitive, intellectually degrading and demeaning. Never mind that not all metalheads are stupid, never mind the clichés of long hair, tattoos, all-black blablabla. In the pre-Net days of metal, information was passed on through newsletters, zines and my all-time favorite Info Central – The Record Store.

Remember those? Where you could while away an afternoon in congenial company and maybe make a few new discoveries, too? Practice your social skills and armchair critic tendencies on your fellow metalheads, doing the exact same thing?

Maybe not. I must be feeling my age.

But now, we have – the Net. Now, we have no shortage of non-stop, no-holds-barred barrages of (dis)information, metal forums, Facebook, Nonelouder, MySpace, metal e-zines and fan sites and.

And. And. And the one-stop Reuters of metaldom – Blabbermouth, telling us everything by constantly updated press release, and not only that – we get to comment on them, too – all wrapped up in a handy, one-stop destination for snark, for info, for edification, for entertainment, for education on anything and everything metal, which makes it to Blabbermouth because – there still are bands and frontmen and bass players, even, who need that kind of exposure to generate that kind of buzz that will make fans former and future aware of the new album, the new tour, the latest, greatest, most grating…metal.

Which is – correct me if I’m mistaken – still about the music, right?

Right, guys? And what with free speech (I use that term advisedly) and the right to comment on interviewed dudes like Evan Seinfeld, who is doing precisely what we’re doing, except he’s Evan Effing Seinfeld, with a right to his opinion – and in his opinion, we’re not, because we’re not – Evan Seinfeld.

We’re just the anonymous, useless, idiot schmos who buy the albums, who go to concerts, who get the t-shirts, who…

The ones who justify the existence of the likes of Evan Seinfeld, in other words.

Metalheads of the world – fuck what he thinks! Be as snarky and as snide and opinionated as you please, because you have a voice, you have an opinion and it matters that you do, it matters because Blabbermouth wouldn’t be Blabbermouth without it.

That, my fellow metalheads, is everything that is right in metal today!

Image: Sharkforum.org

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