• American Apparel/Instagram

    Teen Spirit

    Good for American Apparel’s Smutty Ads

    The retailer has been criticized for a photograph of a skirt hitching up to reveal a young woman’s buttocks. The real problem is a society insisting its youth grow up too soon.

    The shot shows a woman bent over a car, head unseen buried into its window: The focus is on her bare, colt-thin legs, and the ruffled base of a skirt teasing the outline of her buttocks. The articles condemning American Apparel for posting the image on its U.K. Instagram account block out the buttock area, or blur it—intriguingly, as without blurring it’s barely visible. The technique makes the advertisement seem more pornographic than it is.

    As ever when it comes to American Apparel, the photograph is less about the article of clothing and more about objectifying and sexualizing the wearer.

    Permalink
  • Bath Fashion Museum

    On the Home Front

    How the World Wars Changed Fashion

    Think shorter hemlines, the end of corsets, and (gasp!) trousers for women. It’s been 100 years since the start of WWI, but the war’s impact on fashion is still seen on runways today.

    Britain entered World War I on August 4, 1914. One hundred years later, the WWI centenary is being honored with a slew of exhibitions and commemorative events, from a light-a-candle hour to memorials for the fallen.

    The fashion industry is no exception. Several exhibitions from Britain to New Zealand are spotlighting how the war impacted women’s clothing, from raising hemlines to new utility wear worn by the ladies left at home. Some women even turned to their husband’s closets to dress themselves for their new occupations supporting the home front.

    Permalink
  • Gareth Cattermole/Getty

    STYLE MAP

    Paris’s Secret Fashion Week Haunts

    Couture Week in Paris is all about finding the perfect location for your show, with designers like Céline and St. Laurent racing to find not just the edgiest place to show off their threads, but also the most antiquated, including a sixth-century abbey.

    An engineering school (École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris), founded in 1783 by Louis XVI, might seem like an unlikely setting for a Paris Fashion Week show. But the old-world building on the Rive Gauche proved to be quite the ticket for the fashion set during the men’s week collections last month.

    Berluti staged its spring/summer 2015 catwalk show in the school’s leafy gardens, followed by a pasta cook-off with the likes of Dazed co-founder Jefferson Hack and actor Benn Northover cooking spaghetti (the carbs the carbs!) for all who watched the chisel-cheeked young models parade in warm summer hues.

    Permalink
  • YSL

    Man Repeller

    Cara Delevingne’s Bisexual Revolution

    Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss have matching tattoos and kiss on the mouth. In a fashion industry geared toward turning straight men on, these models are bucking the male gaze.

    One of the strangest paradoxes of the fashion industry is how, even though the majority of the customers are female, somehow the marketing seems largely geared toward the eyeballs and interests of straight men. Indeed, it’s often uncomfortably so, with images that shoot well past merely being sexually interesting for straight men and well into the realm of reducing women to objects whose sexuality seems to exist for no other purpose but for male consumption. The industry seems to assume that female audiences see themselves not really as consumers, per se, but as products for male consumption and to see the fashion industry as merely as form of assistance in making themselves the most marketable products for men to consume as possible.

    But, increasingly, it’s becoming evident that women actually want something else from fashion. Women don’t see themselves as products to be sold and don’t like marketing that assumes that’s what they get out of fashion. On the contrary, female consumers are increasingly interested in fashion that frames female sexuality not as merely a toy for men to play with, but as something that belongs to women themselves, to be used primarily for female pleasure. You know, the way men view their own sexuality.

    Permalink
  • China Photos/Getty

    Documentary

    China's Last Foot-Binding Survivors

    Photographer Jo Farrell has tracked down the last living survivors of a horrific practice that isn't as ancient as you think.

    In rural China, where the neon lights of the country’s big cities don’t shine, traces of the old country remain—hidden in tiny shoes.

    Foot binding, the cruel practice of mutilating the feet of young girls, was once pervasive in turn-of-the-century China, where it was seen as a sign of wealth and marriage eligibility. For a millennium—from the 10th to 20th centuries—the practice flourished on and off, deeply ingrained in Chinese society. Even after it was outlawed in 1912, many women continued to clandestinely bind their daughters’ feet, believing it would make them more attractive to suitors.

    Permalink
  • The Daily Beast

    The Perfection Trap

    Year of Living Like Gwyn & Jen

    No matter how often we mock them, we can’t help but try to live like A-list celebrities—we want Jennifer’s perfect body, Angelina’s perfect family, and Heidi's effortless cool.

    I’ll always remember the episode of Friends when Jennifer Aniston went from cute-enough girl next door to oh-my-God-I-want-her-body hot. The very scene, in fact.

    I barely remember my first kiss. I have no memory of receiving my first paycheck. But Jennifer Aniston’s sculpted arms? They seared themselves into my brain.

    Permalink
  • Kim Kardashian celebrates her fragrance launch at Tao Las Vegas at the Venetian Hotel and Casino Resort on February 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Denise Truscello/WireImage)

    The End

    The Bodycon Dress Needs to Die

    EBay has reported a 200 percent increase in bandage dress sales since spring of last year. Fifteen years after Herve Leger created the Bodycon, it’s officially time to retire the look.

    Kim Kardashian has retired her collection of Bodycon dresses—and so should we.

    By we, I mean the number of eBay customers who purchased over 500,000 of the hip-hugging dresses from the online retail site between March 1 and May 23—a shocking 200 percent increase in sales of the style from the year before.

    Permalink
  • Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

    Fashion Cheat Sheet

    Katy Perry Supports Hillary Clinton

    And Juicy Couture is closing all of its U.S. stores.

    Katy Perry Wants to Write Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign Song: When Katy Perry met former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on a press tour for Clinton’s latest memoir, Hard Choices, the international pop star wanted to offer her services to the rumored 2016 presidential candidate. “I told hillaryclinton [sic] that I would write her a “theme” song if she needs it…” Perry tweeted alongside a photo of the two. “@katyperry Well that’s not a Hard Choice. You already did! Keep letting us hear you Roar,” Clinton responded. [Cosmopolitan]

    Dov Charney’s Termination Letter Leaked: After the founder of American Apparel, Dov Charney, was ousted last week, rumors immediately suggested the cause was his history of sexual harassment—had the Board finally had enough of his antics? As it turns out, there’s a whole lot more to the situation. According to Charney’s termination letter, which leaked on Sunday, the CEO misused company funds, discriminated against employees, and mishandled information pertaining to his sexual harassment lawsuits, among many other offenses. [Fashionista]

    Permalink
  • Landov

    Miss USA Pageant

    No, Miss Indiana’s Body Isn’t ‘Normal’

    Mekayla Diehl was rightly applauded for showing a healthier body during the swimsuit competition. But standing at a tall 5-foot-8 and fitting into a slim size 4, Diehl is still skinny.

    At Sunday’s Miss USA pageant, 25-year-old Miss Indiana, Mekayla Diehl, didn’t make it past the semifinals. She was one of 10 women who were eliminated from the superficial, “I wish for peace on Earth” competition after the swimsuit round, never to be heard from again. 

    Or that’s usually the story. Instead, after Diehl pranced down the runway in her skimpy white bikini, the Twitterverse ensured that her legacy would live on, with a flurry of tweets that congratulated her on taking the stage with a more “normal” body.

    Permalink
  • Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Oscars Snub

    Designers Won’t Dress Plus-Size Celebs

    There’s a real problem when even Emmy winner, Oscar nominee, and utterly fabulous Melissa McCarthy can’t get top designers to dress her for the red carpet. Sizeism in fashion must end!

    Melissa McCarthy got snubbed on Oscar’s night. And we’re not just talking about her award.

    In a new interview with Redbook magazine, the actress revealed that the perils of being a “big” big star are even worse than imagined.

    Permalink
  • Getty

    Ugly Resurgence

    Slut-Shaming Gets the YA Treatment

    Jennifer Mathieu has always identified as a feminist, but she couldn’t have anticipated the explosion of #YesAllWomen just before the release of her debut young adult novel.

    Rumor has it Alice Franklin had sex with two guys in one night.
    Naturally, that was all everyone was talking about.

    It sounds like a scenario straight out of a Monday morning high school hallway following a weekend of partying and promiscuity. And that’s why Jennifer Mathieu chose Alice as the protagonist for her debut young adult novel, The Truth About Alice: to battle the ever-present (and ever-growing) plague of slut-shaming girls.

    Permalink
  • Britain's Catherine Duchess of Cambridge waves as she walks with her husband Prince William after attending a Palm Sunday church service at St Paul's Cathedral in Dunedin April 13, 2014. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

    BARE TRUTH

    Don’t Tell Me How to Cover My Butt

    Suggesting the Duchess of Cambridge should have worn a slip to avoid pictures of her naked bum ending up on the Internet pushes feminism back decades. She’ll wear what she wants, thank you.

    When a photo of the bare derriere of a famous woman makes the rounds on the Internet, it’s sure to spark a debate: “Being in the public eye means you’ve signed up for this kind of thing!” “Creepy photographers are the ones to blame!” “Rich people deserve this kind of embarrassment!”

    When that woman is Kate Middleton, debate turns into utter lunacy.

    Permalink