What’s the deal with the dress up?

Boys in waistcoats, trilby hats, sharp suits, braces  and leather jackets. Hair in quiffs. Girls in polka dots, full circle skirts, neckerchiefs and stockings. Hair in waves. During a recent party at my place of residence I remember looking around the room thinking how stylish everybody looked (not sure these pics quite capture that vibe but for further proof of the chicness see Mars’ blog..)
It was, as is customary for our house parties, a fancy dress party. The theme? The rockin’ 1950s. My conclusion? Everyone looks better in old school dress up. And if you need further convincing of why a decade-themed party is necessary, here it is:
1. Great ice breaker to help with the initial mingling process- ‘love the Buddy Holly glasses! Who are you?…’
2. Perfect excuse to put together a vintage playlist of classic tunes. (Although these do tend to go out the window when various drunks decide they’d rather hear Meat Loaf)
3. Handy for identifying random out-of-era gate crashers.
4. Easy identification of individuals for post-party gossip sessions. ‘Oh you mean the one in the rubber elvis quiff? You didn’t?!’
5. The perfect excuse to put together a retro feast. In our case, candy coloured cupcakes and the haze-inducing Gin Daisy cocktail, which went down exceedingly well.
6. Aesthetics: For those concerned with such things at a house party and for some reason I am one of these people, a chic fifties or sixties themed party lends a little fantasy to what can otherwise be an ordinary  affair.
Now if only we could replicate the surrealism and humour of the notorious cake fight in the 1960s Nouvelle Vague classic Pierrot Le Fou!

April 3, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . fashion, films, Me, nights out. Leave a comment.

Fembots and Zoids

This post should come with a warning that it  involves a high horse and me getting on it. So read on if you dare…

Flicking through the pages of the well-known fashion mag, Grazia, there are lots of lovely things to behold: pretty people, sexy clothes and outrageous footwear – you know how it goes. (Don’t pretend you don’t, boys). I’m drawn to this eye candyfest as much as the next person

BUT

I’m getting increasingly upset by the number of what I would describe as ‘fembots and zoids’ on the pages, mainly in the ads. What I mean by this is the extent to which the faces and figures are airbrushed and distorted till they resemble no woman on earth. The one that caught my attention as a particularly horrendous example of this is the two headed, flat-faced monstrosity I spied the other day, which could also be described as two ‘beautiful’ women advertising lipstick.

Something about the vacant airbrushed faces upset me more than usual. I think because there are two of them and they’ve been done up to look like clones this is a particularly strong example of the  attack of the ‘fembots’. (Is it me or do they also look a little bit evil?)

What I wonder is how much further the airbrushed zoid look can go before they all merge into one generic computer manipulated image of ‘the perfect woman’ (which would probably look like Kate Moss as she is in every second ad anyway).

In a book of past Vogue covers that I have it is really interesting to see how much more creative editors had to be before the days of airbrushing and even fashion photography. It would be brilliant to see this type of artwork come back into mainstream fashion but I guess that’s a big ask.

Call me a blind optimist but I do believe it is possible, however, that one day we will see an airbrushing backlash which acknowledges the fact that no one really looks like this and nor should they want to!

March 28, 2010. Tags: , , , . art, fashion, feminism. 2 comments.