Tag: Naomi Campbell

Weekly Words: 21st October 2017

For this week’s edition of Weekly Words, I read through various articles on the internet about fashion and related topics and struggled to find anything that I could really share my opinion on, or even add to the conversation. The fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal has dominated the news cycle, and his involvement in the fashion industry and how that crossover works has emerged and is deeper than initially expected. Furthermore, the sexual assault / harrassment issues in Hollywood have permeated the fashion industry. Model and activist Cameron Russell started a hashtag on Instagram (#myjobshouldnotincludeabuse) where she shared stories of sexual abuse experienced by models, gathered through DMs which she kept anonymous. It seems like the floodgates have opened and the entertainment industry (fashion now included) cannot ignore it anymore. Check out Cameron Russell’s Instagram to read the stories in full. All are horrific, with many including underage models. Now non-famous people have gotten involved with #metoo being used to share stories of sexual assault. As the internet has been a dark and depressing place recently, I decided to try to keep this post a little more lighthearted (as some escapism almost).

“Naomi Campbell Recounts A Week Spent Doing Community Service—Wearing Dolce & Gabbana—In 2007” – W Magazine

Somehow I stumbled across this article from W Magazine’s archive this week and I’m so glad I did. Basically it is just Naomi Campbell’s diary from her time doing community service. She shares her experience with the Sanitation Department, the people she encountered, what she actually did, and explains the logic behind wearing the insane outfits that she wore. The supermodel’s community service week became a media sensation and it is hilarious reading about it now, ten years later, because it all just seems so ludacris.

“Azzedine AlaÏa Invents The Future: Alexander Fury Meets The Master” – 10 Magazine

Alexander Fury is my favorite fashion writer of all time. He has such a deep love for fashion, the whimsical nature of it, and the craft behind the clothing. This adoration manages to seep into his work, especially when he is writing a piece about somebody who he admires. His interview with Azzedine Alaia, friend of the aforementioned Naomi Campbell and one of the most revered fashion designers of all time (anyone who loves fashion loves Alaia, I promise), was truly heartwarming and it is a great profile of the designer who is famously media-shy. An Alaia show has no external photographers (he employs his own) and doesn’t stick to the traditional show schedule for the seasons. He makes couture-level pieces but doesn’t call them couture; Alaia refused to join the official couture group of France since the 1980s and shows no signs of succumbing now. It was just lovely to read a piece full of genuine admiration and respect for somebody who is truly a great artist. Everybody should know a little more about Azzedine Alaia so I encourage you to read this beautifully written interview!

“Where ‘Hitler’ Doesn’t Mean Anything” – The Outline

This piece was just strange because it was so absurd. Apparently they have no idea who Adolf Hitler is in Pakistan. The ignorance runs so deep that one of the most popular menswear lines in the country is named after one of the most deadly dictators in modern history. The thought of seeing storefronts with Hitler on the sign is certainly a jarring image. What’s more crazy is that when the writer asked people in Pakistan what they thought Hitler meant they said that all they knew was that he was an army general who was very disciplined. That’s it. Wow. You need to read the piece because it is really fascinating.


Naomi Campbell in Vogue Brasil

The perhaps ageless supermodel Naomi Campbell covers Vogue Brasil in three separate covers. Every time I see photos of Naomi I think how photogenic she is, truly stunning. My favourite of the trio is the main cover image with the fringed skirt and the turquoise eye shadow but the black & white images are striking as well. I’ll be buying this magazine if I can source it.

I’ve never actually bought Vogue Brasil but quite often I see covers that I like. I do find it one of the more interesting international editions of Vogue. Plus, they use models on almost every cover which I love (even if they sometimes are Instagirls). Jourdan Dunn had a nice cover earlier this year.

Fashion Flashback: Zac Posen Spring 2003

I think it is so easy to forget that Zac Posen didn’t always do ball gowns. Whilst it can sometimes seem that he exclusively designs evening wear, he actually started off designing 30s and 40s style dresses. The show that I’ve picked is actually only his second season presenting. Zac attended Central Saint Martins and after Naomi Campbell wore one of his designs, his name blew up. After that his own shows became quite an attraction, usually with a cast of big name models. His social circle and connections no doubt helped with the hype.

Apologies for the lack of sound in the video, it was a copyright issue. However, if you have a look at the models in the show, you’ll likely recognise at least a few faces – Naomi Campbell, Natalia Vodianova, Liya Kebede, Karolina Kurkova. My favourite looks are Naomi’s final dress with the wrap front and flirty short skirt, and also Natalia’s bustier and striped skirt look.

As a designer, Zac Posen holds a special place in my heart. His company was the first I ever interned for and I had a wonderful time in doing so. I can tell you from first hand experience that his clothes are to die for, such insanely good quality, and the gowns are fit for a princess. You honestly couldn’t tell that they’re not haute couture. I truly believe he is America’s closest couturier.

See the full collection here.

Read more

Best of 2014 – All Fashion Editorials

In the increasingly online world, actual paper publications face threat. With the mass of online magazines and blogs ruling the web, it seems unlikely that magazines will remain in print. However, fashion magazines appear to remain triumphant. The mass of editorials doesn’t seem to have slowed in the past few years, even though the digital world dominates. Luckily, due to the internet, people share images in a way that could not be done decades ago. For that reason, I (and all others) have access to fashion editorials from publications all over the world. Language is not a barrier in terms of editorials as it is purely visual. Like my previous post on the Best of 2014 – Vogue Editorials, I am doing a similar thing here and compiling what I consider to be the best of the rest. Enjoy!

Elle UK

“Collections SS14 Road/Shadow”

Model – Cameron Russell

Photographer – Kai Z Feng

Stylist – Anne-Marie Curtis

See full editorial – Road.

See full editorial – Shadow.

Vogue Germany

“Poly Pur”

Model – Natasha Poly

Photographer – Luigi & Iango

Stylist – Patti Wilson

See full editorial here.

Vogue Netherlands

“Super Lara”

Model – Lara Stone

Photographer – Angelo Pennetta

Stylist – Sara Moonves

See full editorial here.

W Magazine

“Field Day”

Models – Sasha Luss, Marina Nery, Malaika Firth & Juliana Schurig

Photographer – Craig McDean

Stylist – Edward Enninful

See full editorial here.

Vogue Russia

“Black Mark”

Model – Vivien Solari

Photographer – Emma Tempest

Stylist – Camilla Pole

See full editorial here.

i-D Magazine

“What an absolute beauty!”

Model – Imaan Hammam

Photographer – Zoe Ghertner

Stylist – Tracey Nicholson

See full editorial here.

Vogue Japan

“La Canzone Del Mare”

Models – Nadja Bender & Dalianah Arekion

Photographer – Boo George

Stylists – Anna Dello Russo & Giovanna Battaglia

See full editorial here.

“Tokyo Love”

Model – Naomi Campbell

Photographer – Nobuyoshi Araki

Stylist – Anna Dello Russo

See full editorial here.

So that is it for another year. Hopefully the new year brings in some exciting new things in fashion. For one, I can’t wait to see Prada Spring 2015 in print. I’m also looking forward to, hopefully, seeing some new faces in terms of models or have some old favourites return (Snejana, Gemma?). What is your favourite editorial? Have I missed it?

Vogue’s Lack of Cover Diversity

UPDATE: This post has been edited to remove Jourdan Dunn from the below list as it has been revealed that she is British Vogue’s February cover model. Definitely a step in the right direction although she does look eerily whitewashed. Lets put it down to the Instagram filter right?

As we bring in the new year and move into the future, it is only expected that we reflect back on the past. Vogue, both its US & UK editions, rather innocently posted an image of all of their covers from the year of 2014. However, this move prompted much backlash. Why? Because of the lack of model diversity. For British Vogue, there were zero women-of-colour; for American, there were just a few (including Rihanna, Lupita Nyong’o and Joan Smalls who was on the multi-model September issue cover). British Vogue has no excuse. They had 2 Kate Moss covers, 2 Cara Delevingne covers and actually, to their credit, a few models – but no non-whites. It may seem slightly trivial to call such attention to a matter as, seemingly, small as models on a magazine cover but really it is a big deal. Now, I do think it would be slightly unfair to call the Vogue staffers racist but their actions aren’t far off. It is not like there is any shortage of beautiful women-of-colour out there: talented models, actresses, and singers.

Can we call this racism? I think so. Unfortunately, 2014 was the year that we all realised that racism really isn’t dead. I rather naively thought that it wasn’t as rampant as it was 50 years ago but have been proven completely wrong. The high profile cases of police brutality against blacks in the USA have brought global attention to the issue and have led to widespread outcry. It is so fucked up, that’s the only way I can describe it. When you highlight major issues like that, it sounds rather silly to complain about models on a magazine cover but it is actually a major issue in its own right. In Britain, we are a very multicultural society; even more so in London, where British Vogue is based. From looking at the magazine covers from the past year, you would never know. There is zero representation of anybody that is not white and that really doesn’t make sense. I mean, at least American Vogue did a little bit better but really, it is still not good enough.

Instead of harping on about race issues, something that I feel completely under-qualified to do, I am going to suggest some suitable models/celebrities who I think are deserving of a cover. As I have said previously, there are plenty of women-of-colour who could/would/should be on the cover of Vogue but I am going to offer up a few suggestions.

  1. Naomi Campbell – It seems insane to even have to suggest Naomi, especially since she is one of the biggest supermodels ever. She is on the same level as Kate Moss, I’d say, who had 2 covers this year and countless editorials all throughout. Just to let you know, Naomi hasn’t had a British Vogue cover since the August 2002 issue.
  2. Imaan Hammam – Technically she has already graced the cover of Vogue in the past year but it was a multi-model cover and this time around she deserves a solo. I think Imaan is one of the most stunning models of recent and clearly has success ahead of her. She is Dutch but of Egyptian and Moroccan descent and has what is perhaps the best hair in fashion at the moment (those curls!!). PS – She’s in the Givenchy campaign this season which I have another post coming up about…
  3. Malaika Firth – Another British model who has only made it big in the past year or two, Malaika has walked many shows and has fronted campaigns for Burberry (alongside Cara Delevingne) and Prada, where she was the first black model to star in a Prada campaign in almost 20 years.
  4. Kerry Washington – Perhaps one of the most stunning actresses EVER, Kerry Washington has held her own in her part in the US-TV drama Scandal, a role in which she has received much acclaim (An Emmy, A SAG & A Golden Globe). She also made it onto TIME Magazine’s Most Influential People in the World list in 2014.
  5. Beyonce & Solange – This seems a bit too dreamlike but how amazing would a Beyonce & Solange shared cover be? The sisters would contrast each other with their totally different styles (Solange, edgy and very-much fashion/Beyonce, laid back and casual). Also, everybody knows that Beyonce rules the entire world so why not share some of that with her sister?

The Face VS ANTM

Currently I am sitting in my pyjamas watching a recording of The Face USA. It has been almost a year and we are finally getting it on British TV. We did however get a UK version but out of all the girls on it I didn’t see any who looked like they could become a model; but who am I to judge? Naomi knows best. To me, The Face is just Naomi Campbell’s version of Next Top Model but it seems a little more credible. I mean her judges, Coco Rocha and Karolina Kurkova, are worthy judges and successful models in their own rights as opposed to Tyra Banks’ strange mash up of a judging panel.

We are on week 5 of the USA one now and I still can’t see anybody model worthy. However, it is just a reality tv show. We should never forget that. Whilst the aim of the show is to find the next big face of modelling, you know that nothing will come of it. As most people know by now, the one of the finalists of the USA version was spotted with Naomi Campbell’s ex boyfriend and promptly dropped from her modelling contract.

Despite this, I am here to argue why The Face is better and more relevant than ANTM. While Tyra provided great entertainment to me over the years of my childhood, it all got too unrealistic. No real models were produced; the tasks got sillier and sillier; the judges got less credible; Tyra got crazier. It was all too much.

What is different about The Face and sets it in a whole other league is a few key points:

1 – The clients are real, high profile clients and the prize has stayed consistent

On The Face we have seen the girls working with i-D magazine, Longchamp, W magazine, Ulta & Maxfactor. The prizes are real. It’s not like on ANTM where upon winning a test you are rewarded with a walking lesson with J. Alexander. Yes ANTM used to offer a modelling contract with Elite or IMG or Wilhelmina and a Cover Girl contract and in one series that I can remember, even an editorial in Vogue Italia. In a recent series the winner became the face of a ANTM perfume and a spread in Nylon as opposed to the more prestigious prizes previously offered. On The Face, although there isn’t a guaranteed contract at the end, the models make connections. If you are Naomi’s favourite you know she could set you up with a contract just like that. The models become the face of a cosmetics company hence the name. In the first US series, ULTA Beauty; in the first UK series, Max Factor.

2 – The judges are of a much better standard than ANTM

This may be a little unfair to say as ANTM used to have some wonderful judges (Janice Dickinson, Twiggy, Kimora) some of who were knowledgeable and true fashion veterans and others who provided entertainment. However, Tyra has since fired all her known and loved judges (ie. Nigel Barker, “noted fashion photographer”, who has since jumped ship to present The Face) and replaced them. Now there is Kelly Cultrone who I struggle to believe has time to run her business and do any real work with the amount of reality tv she does; anyone remember The City? Rob Evans, who is reportedly Tyra’s boyfriend, is another judge who I’m not too sure why they are there. Last but not least, I have heard that blogger Bryanboy has some involvement with the show.


What sets The Face apart is that the judges are all huge models in their own right. They have industry experience and knowledge which is so valuable for the contestants. The judges are mentors. They are there to help train up the contestants to be working models unlike on ANTM where they are left on shoots without direction from anybody besides the photographers. Whilst I am not a Coco fan, I can respect her as a judge. Arguably one of the most famous models of the 2000’s and known for her posing, there is not many models who could be a better teacher for the girls. Karolina Kurkova is a former Victoria’s Secret Angel and can teach the girls how to do underwear, how to do commercial, the lot.

3 – In a battle between Naomi versus Tyra, Naomi always triumphs

There is no battle really. They are in different leagues. Naomi is an original supermodel and world famous. Tyra, while a successful model in her day, has become a celebrity. She left fashion a long time ago. After her Victoria’s Secret contract ran out and fashion work dried up, Tyra became a full time personality hosting her talk show and ANTM. Naomi, however, never really bowed down and out. She was always a prominent figure in the industry. For a while she was more famous for her well known diva personality and court trips than her work but she remained important in fashion. Tyra did not.

There has been a long standing rivalry between the pair but Naomi always comes out on top.