Tag: terry richardson

Weekly Words: 28th October 2017

I know that last week I said that I didn’t want to spend too much time focusing on the sexual assault discussion that has permeated pop culture over the past few weeks but we are at a stage where it is impossible to ignore it. The fashion industry was dragged into the Harvey Weinstein scandal last week, when model Cameron Russell started the #myjobshouldnotinclude abuse campaign. From the campaign, changes in the fashion industry are slowly starting to occur. According to the New York Times “New York State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, a Democrat from Queens, announced she would introduce an amendment to the state’s current anti-discrimination laws. If passed, it would extend certain protection to models, putting designers, photographers and retailers (among others) on notice that they would be liable for abuses experienced on their watch.”. Basically, a legislation would protect the models in the workplace as the current protections in place are clearly not working. Read the full article here for more information on the topic.

“Terry Richardson Banned From Working With Vogue And Other Leading Mags, Leaked Email Shows” – The Telegraph

Lady Gaga shot by Terry Richardson

British newspaper, The Telegraph, got its hands on a leaked email from Conde Nast’s COO and Executive Vice President informing all publications that they were no longer to work with famed photographer Terry Richardson. The move was to be effective immediately, with any work of his that hadn’t gone to print to be killed and any future work to be cancelled. For some context, Terry Richardson is to fashion who Harvey Weinstein is to Hollywood. He is a notoriously creepy photographer who has been accused of sexual assault for almost a decade. However, he has managed to dodge any real scrutiny from the brands and publications that he works with because he has always managed to have an air of credibility due to the big names he has photographed; Terry Richardson has even shot Barack Obama. Although there have been rumors swirling around Richardson’s behavior for years, the rumors never seemed to stick. However, right now we are in an exodus period where anyone who has been sexually assaulted by a public figure is finally getting their voice heard. Since the Telegraph article broke, Valentino and Bulgari have announced that they are no longer working with Richardson (he shot both brand’s recent campaigns). Other brands will surely follow suit, although many don’t have to specifically announce that they are not using him as many haven’t booked him for years. Many of his close collaborators like Carine Roitfeld (whose magazine, CR Fashion Book, frequently features his work) haven’t spoken out. Business of Fashion did a good summary on why the latest moves to block Richardson’s work are “too little, too late”. I agree with what they say because the belated condemnation of Richardson makes it seem like his accuser’s words were thought to be invalid until enough people stepped forward so they couldn’t be ignored. It’s not like the Terry Richardson rumours are anything new, but then again, neither were the Harvey Weinstein ones. Weinstein seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“Let’s Face It, Buying Sneakers Has Become Way Too Complicated” – High Snobiety

I enjoyed this article from High Snobiety on sneaker culture. Sneaker culture itself is fascinating to me because I am so far removed from it. I’ve never tried to buy a pair of sneakers because of the hype surrounding them, nor have I ever waited in line for a drop. For that reason, I may not necessarily be the typical High Snobiety reader. This article basically discusses how sneaker culture is broken in a way, because it is all about reselling. People use bots to hijack shoe releases, causing them to sell out almost instantaneously and leaving everyone who actually waited on their computers and tried to shop like a regular person without the merchandise. The internet and online drops was meant to make sneaker culture more inclusive and bring it to an audience who may not live in a large metropolis like New York City. However, as with most things, there’s always people out there who like to ruin it for everyone. Those who use bots often resell their picks online (using Grailed, or similar services) which pushes the cost up, meaning that kid who lives in the Mid-West and wanted to get his hands on a pair of sneakers that originally would’ve paid $120 now has to pay $400. It’s lame. I noticed a similar situation myself one time when I tried to shop at Kith. I thought this was a timely story to tell given the drop of their second installment in the Bergdorf Goodman collaboration (which I love, by the way). It was the Coca-Cola collection which I’d read about online and seen on Emily Oberg’s Instagram. Some of the pieces were actually super cute so I thought I’d log on and buy some. I went on the site at 11am (the minute it dropped), added the styles directly to my basket, and by the time I hit checkout and went to enter my card details I got an error message saying the styles had sold out. I was disappointed and discouraged, and I have yet to try and shop a Kith drop online again, because I really feel like there is no point. Until retailers find a way to beat the bots, the only way regular people can get their hands on the product is to camp out in line. I sure as hell have never wanted any product that badly, but I know plenty of people who do.

“Diet Prada Is The Instagram Account Calling Out Copycat Culture In Fashion” – High Snobiety

I remember following this account on Tumblr back in the day when the #fashun community on the site was at its peak. It has since declined in favor of other social networks like Instagram. Diet Prada, it seems, has successfully made the switch. The premise of Diet Prada is calling out designers for copying one another, in a fun meme-like way. To see that it has hit the mainstream with coverage in various online news sites is so cool to me. We are at a stage in fashion where copying is so common that it can no longer go unnoticed. Brands get called out for their foul play regularly now. Diet Prada is good at creating the memes that go viral and often lead to change. After Gucci copied Dapper Dan, they agreed to fund his business re-opening and featured him in a campaign. What makes Diet Prada stand out from the rest of the fashion accounts on Instagram is the depth of their fashion knowledge. They can find references to collections from decades ago. It is a level of expertise that I hope to possess myself one day. Until then, I can rely on Diet Prada to do the job for me!


Weekly Words: April 8th 2017

I’ve had a thought. There’s often so many stories that come out in fashion and so many articles that I read that I’d like to make a comment on but I don’t have enough to say to make an entire post so I don’t discuss it at all. Instead of just ignoring all of these things I decided that I would start a weekly round-up of these things, to be published every Saturday. I’m basically just going to pull content from various sources that I’ve spotted and been inspired by over the previous week and put it all in one post. Hopefully it turns out to be a more concise way to share my thoughts with everybody in a more snappy, easy-to-follow format. Let the series begin!

“The Olsen Twins’ Ex Stylist Tells All” – Refinery29

I actually read this article on Snapchat (and sent it to myself, something that I was unaware you could do?) and thought about it afterwards. I have always loved the Olsen twins, ever since I was a little kid. I watched almost all of their movies and tv shows, read every single one of their books, and followed their fashion careers from the very beginning to the crazy levels of success that they have now reached. Who would’ve believed that child stars could become credible fashion designers?

I particularly liked reading about how their former stylist, Judy Swartz, helped pitch and develop their clothing line with Walmart and hearing about the product development side of things as I am currently taking a class in this area and find the process interesting. I was also shocked to find out that the collections were inspired by designer pieces or vintage books because I think we often think private label brands, especially for stores like Walmart, have no design influence whatsoever. To find out that there was somebody actually pulling together a sophisticated array of references and translating it all into childrenswear was genuinely surprising to me. I also had no idea that the twins wore designer pieces in their movies, like Pucci, Prada, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana. It’s worth flicking through the slideshow linked in the Refinery29 article, if not for the words for the images. Throwback MK & Ash is always welcome in my mind.

“Paul Smith’s pink wall is an LA Instagram phenomenon – but is it paying off for Paul Smith?” – Fashionista.com

I’d like to preface this by saying that as a regular Fashionista reader I was keen to find out how their content would change when one of their editors, Dhani Mau, moved to LA as the site was rather NYC-centric. As the West Coast editor, I feel that she has managed to introduce more California-based fashion content to the site in an authentic manner and I really like her articles nowadays.

This article in particular spoke about the infamous pink wall on Melrose that everyone stops and takes a picture with. Countless bloggers and influencers have images on their Instagram in front of it, so much so that it is becoming a tourist attraction with many people either being unaware that it is, in fact, the Paul Smith store or simply not caring. I remember when we drove past in February saying “oh look, it’s the Paul Smith wall from Instagram!”. We kept driving, however. The article goes more into depth about how do these images translate into sales for the store and how does the online engagement and geotagging help the brand. Unsurprisingly so, out of the vast majority of people who stopped to take a photo, only a few went into the store and even less actually made a purchase. Mau found that only 0.17% of the images geotagged with this location were posted by people who actually follow the Paul Smith Instagram account, but many still tagged the account in their final images, perhaps hoping to be spotted. It seems crazy to think an entire article (and a rather lengthy one for Fashionista) could be written about a wall outside a store, yet Mau has managed to do it in a way that didn’t come across as vapid and actually went into great detail with social analytics and comments from the consumers and the brand. I encourage you to read it.

“Porter #20 – Bella Hadid shot by Terry Richardson”

I adore this cover. I don’t like the photographer. Bella actually looks really beautiful, albeit slightly sunburnt, and natural. The cover reminds me of something we would see on the newsstands back in the day of the supers, perhaps like an early Gisele Bundchen, and the background is really beautiful. Porter has caught some flack for using Terry Richardson, and I agree with the comments. I thought most magazines had stopped working with him, never mind giving him cover stories. However, I don’t think the cover image nor the accompanying editorial even looks like his work. It is a different style than we are used to seeing and is much softer and prettier. The editorial images that have been released so far look really good too, with this image from “Ignite the Night” standing out to me.

On Nudes in Fashion

After the EIFF panel that I previously mentioned, I thought about sexual images in fashion. I have become so desensitised to nudity in fashion that I don’t even flinch when I see breasts through a sheer top on the runway or a completely nude photograph of a model in a magazine. Nudity in fashion is normal, and models who go naked are not stigmatised the same way that models in magazines like Playboy are. I think I know why this is. It is all down to who the images are aimed at. Playboy is aimed at men; fashion magazines are aimed at women. Go figure.

If a woman has naked photos leaked, she is called a slut. There is rarely focus on the man who actually leaked the photographs and how awful he is. No, the focus is on the women. Similarly, men are glad to consume images of naked women in magazines like Playboy, in pornography, and in sexualised images like bikini shots but still look down on women who pose for photos like this. Name a female celebrity who hasn’t been stripped down to her underwear or a bikini in a photoshoot. Sex sells, and men like it. The hypocrisy is that they don’t like women owning it, being empowered by it, but they’re happy to look at it.

Fashion photography can be thought of as empowering as it is often a celebration of women. Fashion photos tend to depict beautiful women in beautiful outfits doing beautiful things. When the women are naked, it is an image of their naked body that is not done in a disrespectful way. It can indeed be very discreet. It doesn’t feel invasive or forced. I think this is because the images are made for the female gaze which is often admiring, adoring, and platonic. It may invoke desire, but that desire is not normally sexual. I know that when I see nude images I often think the nudity adds to the photo. Often I don’t know what exactly it adds, but I do think it works. I don’t find it shocking.

I hate when people are nude in images for shock value, because I feel that it isn’t moderately shocking at all. Times have changed. Millions of girls take nude photos and willingly send them to their partners. Girls leak their own nudes online because they are feeling them. Strippers and sex workers are celebrated online. We have reached a new age of female sexual empowerment and women are increasingly refusing to stigmatise other women for doing their thing.

Natasha Poly shot by Terry Richardson

I just wonder where the line is crossed from an artful nude to a trashy nude. Is there a line? I do believe it lies in who is meant to consume the image. I love women celebrating other women. If you look at my Tumblr you’ll probably realise that I am fascinated by women. I think they are beautiful, infinitely more interesting creatures than men. I don’t feel anything sexual towards women. My gaze is one of full admiration. However, I have lots of photographs of nude women on my blog yet I don’t feel like that is shameful, or like it should be shameful. As long as consent is involved, everything is ok.

In fashion, lots of the most famous photographers are men. It isn’t because there aren’t any women photographers (they are less in number, definitely, but still there) that there are so many men, just that they dominate almost all areas of fashion like they do in other industries/life. So my next question is, are nude fashion photographs taken by men any worse than nude fashion photographs taken by women?

There are two distinct sets of photographers: gay and straight. This is the same as designers. The way that the straight photographers take photos will be different than gay and it can be apparent in the final images. Think of the controversial Terry Richardson, who has been accused of sexual assault by various different people he has worked with. He has a bad reputation that I’m sure he has earned for a reason. However, before all of the accusations came out he was one of the most prominent photographers, used by most major magazines. He has shot the majority of big models and various celebrities throughout his career. I actually like some of his work – for example, he has great photos of Lindsay Wixson eating spaghetti – but everything is undeniably sexualised. I also adore Helmut Newton’s images. They are often sexual in content, or at least suggestive, but I don’t look at them in the same way as I look at Terry’s. Nor do I look at the images of Steven Meisel that way. I’m sure if each of the photographers mentioned were given the same brief, the outcome of each set of photos would be completely different. Terry’s would be sexualised and realistic, Helmut’s would be stylised and cool, Meisel’s would be divine (I mean, can he take a bad photograph?).

Lindsey Wixson by Terry Richardson for Vogue Nippon (2011)
Lindsey Wixson by Terry Richardson for Vogue Nippon (2011)

Think about the photographs of a young Kate Moss topless. She was just a child in them. However, I think Corrine Day managed to justify them by saying that they weren’t sexual, because they weren’t supposed to be. Day took many of the photos that made Kate Moss famous back in the 90s, and in many of the images Kate was in various states of undress. The appropriateness of this is an issue for another time, but I do think that Corrine’s images clearly come from a different place than a male photographer’s. They’re not meant to be erotic. They may contain nudity but it is meant in the most natural way.

Kate Moss by Corrine Day for The Face (1990)

Kate Moss has since taken many nude photos. She wasn’t initially keen on it though. I read about her being particularly traumatised by the Calvin Klein adverts with Mark Wahlberg. She was just a young girl in them, yet people all over the world were seeing her naked, wrapped around a muscular man. No matter how famous you are, when you’re young that can be a little bit too much to handle. She also walked topless in a Vivienne Westwood show, licking an ice cream lolly, and covering her bare breasts with one arm. It is easy to think of Kate Moss as someone who doesn’t give a fuck about anything so when I read that she was troubled by some of the photographs and scenarios that she was in as her younger self, I was slightly surprised. She has previously said that if she didn’t do the jobs, she wouldn’t get booked again. That is unfair. You cannot force someone into a compromising situation like that, especially someone so young.

Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg for Calvin Klein (1992)

I think consent is the crux of the matter, on all things sexual. I do think I sometimes mentally gloss over the shortcomings of fashion photography because I find it so marvellous. The final product that we see in magazines may be beautiful but I truly hope that the models are happy to be a part of that journey. I don’t want to think about other young models who may be in the same situation as Kate Moss was 25 years ago and do things that they don’t want to do out of fear of losing work. That’s not what fashion should be about. Nudity is only empowering if you want it to be, but the most empowering thing is being in control of it and how you are presented to the world. Sometimes I think models are not afforded this privilege, especially if a male photographer presents them in a way that they disagree with morally.