04 February 2012

Weekend Reading List: Fashion

“There’s only one thing in life and that’s the continual renewal of inspiration.” - Diana VreelandI forgot to say before that just before Christmas I recieved a couple of books that I wanted but never got down to buying; I guess I didn't want them badly enough. One was Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel. I spent a very pleasant afternoon looking over every page with BG on his sofa, feeling excited and inspired. After that we went outside and repotted a cactus, and pruned back his passion fruit vine. Reading and gardening: I can't think of a more agreeable way to spend a Sunday afternoon - unless it's to work on a painting or drawing, but that's just me.
Lots of you would rather hit the gym, I'm sure, or trawl a 'sauna', but different strokes for different folks, as they say (I'm quite sure it should be 'folk' not 'folks', by the way).Anyway this book made me look at Carine Roitfeld's Irreverant with a bit more perspective - not that Irreverant isn't a splendid overview of Ms Roitfeld's work so far. It is, and much of it is excellent and definitive, and I'm her fan. Also, I like the personal bits of information, and the archival photos of her family. The thing I object to is the title, as well as the sense the book projects that her work, or her attitude actually pushes the moral or aesthetic envelope in some extreme, innovative fashion. You must be very short-sighted to not see that what she does had already been done half a century ago at least. Her ouevre is but an echo of the truly shocking (and yes, irreverant) path scorched by Helmut Newton, Chris Von Wangenheim (see below), Guy Bourdin and Robert Mapplethorpe. So accomplished, yes, irreverant, hardly.And can someone tell me how someone as immaculately stylish as Ms Roitfeld begot a daughter who looks so common? In Julia Restoin Roitfeld's every slutty outfit, one can see that Carine's style really isn't for everyone.
I'm also struggling with the magazine Industrie (the one with Franca Sozzani, the editor of Vogue Italia, on the cover) and also Love (Kristen Mcmenamy). Poor Ms Sozzani is striving, isn't she, to fill Ms Roitfeld's heels, to be the queen of fashion? The grizzled one wants to be irreverant too! But she succeeds only in being disagreeable and frankly repugnant - the interview amply illustrates the reason why fashion people have such a negative vibe, and why they should remain behind the masthead and not appear on the cover. Plus she looks like Madonna with all the filler vacuumed out of her. Oh, and Industrie has a story on Glen O'Brien.
Does anyone even need to know one thing about Mr O'Brien?
As for Love, the less said the better. A quick flip shows that the magazine has no direction whatsoever. Since I'm way behind in my reading, I'll struggle with Love no longer - into the bin it goes! Ms Mcmenamy's 1992 Vogue Italia cover (Steven Meisel) directly 'inspired' the 2010 Vogue Paris cover.

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