Monday, 21 July 2014

British Vogue August 2014 - Part 1

I decided on British Vogue this month as the US and French issues didn't have much to talk about.
But if you would like to see images from those issues then please click on to my Vogue Pinterest board.

There were two different covers for this issue and will show you the other cover in tomorrow's post.

Before we start...
The fashion world lost a guru called Louise Wilson.
She was truly in the know and a starmaker. 
I don't know if Central Saint Martins where she taught will be as desirable a school now she is gone.  She may not have been known outside the fashion world but it is truly a loss.

How could one ignore the ads especially when they take up half the pages?
Louis Vuitton is trying to be a hybrid of fashion and art.
It says it is a "curated series" which lends some gravitas. 
And at the prices those fashion photographers charge, they do justify being called artists. And they don't even set up their cameras and just click just like modern artists do when they have their production lines a la Damien Hirst.

Karl chose Kirstin Stewart to be his latest star of the Chanel ads.
She is holding a bottle of Chanel No. 5 which considering perfume sprtiz girls spray it with abandon it is tantamount to a weapon and storing it in a gun holster is apt.  
But I have an inkling he wasn't alluding to that.

She looks like a waitress at a Tex Mex restaurant which is obviously a "look" that passed me by.

Burberry is getting really good at showing their statement pieces and pulling me onto their website to have a better look.  
Christopher Bailey is trying to earn his salary I suppose.

Carla Bruni is a civilian again and free to sell her presence 
and be a supermodel again.
She looks good but illustrates that just because 
you don't have wrinkles doesn't mean you will necessarily fool anyone about your age.

Is it me or is D Squared flogging a necklace or one of those things people put on their necks after a car accident?
They went crazy with that bedazzling gun.

Onto one of many editorials.
Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that Vogue is a simple fashion anthology but it is a convoluted catalogue that incites purchases.

They are trying to flog us arm warmers.

This upsets me because the part between my wrist and elbows is one of my best features and only bit that isn't cellulitey.

To be fair to them, they are £55 so not exorbitant but a fairly needless item. The model is wearing a sleeveless dress coupled with the arm warmers to illustrate the futility...

This jumpsuit is dreadful. 
Like, totally, the losing outfit on Project Runway.
Imagine if you needed the loo in a hurry...

In this pic, it's hat, top and arm warmers.
 Even they conceded they were just flogging eyeliner.

The model below looks like a hooker who ran out of a hotel room 
during an emergency fire drill.

This outfit looks like what Lindsey Lohan would wear checking into the Betty Ford clinic.

Lady below is rebranding herself and going to 
Central St Martins / Parsons to study pattern cutting.
And a course in knitting to make a killing on those arm warmers.

Got nothing on this except I LOVE Celine!!

Chalet girl sneaking out of the bedroom of one of the guests because she needs to make him breakfast in an hour.

I like felt. 
But not as a coat.
It reminds me of projects in primary school and makes me search for Elmer's school glue as a Pavlovian response.

I love this so much. 
Lanvin has done a great classic grey suit.
It's in felt which is the fabric du saison which lessens its appeal but then that raw seam is the clincher. That unfinished edge makes a stern outfit so flexible.

Jil Sander is classic. 
So wearable and lasts for decades.
But this pictures shows why wearable clothes lack graphic appeal and rarely feature in editorials.

Remember this event made the rounds on social media a while ago?

Ralph Lauren made a very substantial donation to the Royal Marsden Hospital of which the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are patrons.
  But Kate decided 6 weeks before the event ( which is the PR equal of last minute ) that she wasn't going to attend and

There are cliches that are not only verbal but visual.
Vogue and Charlotte Gainsbourg ( or her agent ) has styled her in that French boho actress off duty look which is starting to get really boring already.

I am always circumspect when there is a feature about an area that is the next "it" place to reside.
This feature is trying to sell us Bruton in the west country of England.

The art gallery Hauser and Wirth have opened an outpost in the town and upped its cachet.
But it seems a bit disjointed because I didn't know what I was meant to feel after reading this.
Do I google house prices there?
Will I be cool if I share a garden wall with these possible neighbours?
This sort of thing belongs in Tatler and not Vogue.
But it is slightly suspicious as I remember there was a feature once on how cool the Queens Park area of London was. 
( It's not that cool. Expensive but definitely not cool.
It's the compromise for not living in Notting Hill.
 It's been up and coming for a decade now.)  
Then I found out that the editor of UK Vogue lives there and publicity like that doesn't exactly hurt house prices.
 So I reckon some Conde Nast staffers have a country home
 there and want to fortify their investment.
Just a theory..!

There was so much in this issue that I am splitting it into two parts.


  1. You had me at Victoria and the dog and hooker.

    I love all the insider gossip. I am definitely going to download british vogue onto my ipad!

    1. You should try it - they aren't as pastel and saccharin as US vogue. Some issues are better than others but the last two have been pretty good!

  2. Those outfits- ergh
    Your writing - fab

  3. I bought this issue just before I left England, very happy to read your comments. Naomi I really enjoy this bit of your blog, where we discuss current magazines, I love your point of view! Spot on and cracks me up!

    1. Thanks Dani - my husband cant stand it and yawns but I like doing it bc it is a common reference we all have right? x

  4. Mrs. N.
    Louise Wilson, how sad it is for anyone to die so young, with so many years of giving and enriching left to do. Perhaps that is the secret, you live full; you live large; you live without regrets, so that should the time come early than planned, well, at least you get to say “good job, well done”.

    Many things point to a decline in our civilization, potholes not repaired, escalators left unfixed, the Transformer movie franchise, and the Atlantis Paradise Island resort. I guess now we get to add arm warmers to that dubious list. For God’s sakes, arm warmers!

    As a rule, I am not a big believer in conspiracy theories, but any company that would tout arm warmers is surely not above increasing the value of certain editor’s weekend getaways. I am looking at you Conde Nast. I am looking at you Bruton.

    1. She had a direct hand in every British designer and then some. She was no nonsense and am sad she was quite ill at the end and had to suffer a bit...But she will be remembered.

      Arm warmers with sleeveless dresses might be coming to a store near you so get ready! I suppose if I was skiing or gardening in the snow I might need them but it is just funny bc I cant take it seriously at all!! But I do love a conspiracy theory even if I dont believe it :)

  5. And I thought arm warmer's were just to hide the track marks...silly me.

  6. Get to the good stuff and let's hear your take on Posh! I like seeing her as an outdoor girl, though I never would believe she is one in real life! XO, Jill

    1. It's coming it's coming - there was so much that I haven't finished downloading yet :) The whole outdoor thing isn't believable at all but she is a laugh xx

  7. I do like your dissections. This month's Vogue was pretty good, especially for an August issue when they're often pretty rubbish, I thought? I prefer the downbeat feel to UK Vogue. Not every page makes you feel like you're being persuaded to BUY something. Xs

    1. The last two issues were quite good and quite readable. I notice they dont do as many editorials but really expand on a theme. The downbeat London vibe sometimes works really well but sometimes I feel it falls flat. I like grit in doses. US is now officialy the worst! I think French Vogue does great visuals but their articles are a bit clunky and sparse. I like comparing the different vogues and seeing how the different editors have a different agenda and philosophy. But good point about August because you are right - it is normally a filler and everyone saves up for September. Let's see what they all have for us in Sept xx

  8. Loved this, especially the fashion comments. The clothes in Vogue are ridiculous, at most there are two readable features. I also wondered about that 'new hotspot in the country' article. Maybe it got lost wandering the halls of Conde Nast? Yet still I subscribe (FOMO?). Harpers is better, I can't help but feel - the thinking woman's Vogue.

    1. I subscribed to us vogue completely out of FOMO but no more - when my subscription expires I will let it go and only buy an issue if it grabs me. They are tied to the PR and press offices though and they don't dictate fashion as much as we think they do. But I don't believe in being a pawn. Harper's does have that notch above Vogue - less pressure maybe?

  9. Dear Naomi
    Loved your photo captions, I cracked up. If this is a sample of changes, bring them on. Thought the model in the first black hat pic might have escaped from the Blair Witch Project, just too immaculate.

    Kristen Stewart in a Chanel ad? Agree, no! Don't think this works. Karl does make mistakes sometimes, eg the Brad Pitt series. Sad about Louise, hadn't heard of her before but she does sound like a very special figure in the fashion world.
    Interesting, so far in your review this month's Vogue does sound rather underwhelming. Take the point about it being probably the low point before the September issue.
    Had only just bought two days ago the June issue (the latest available in our local newsagency in Oz). Was really quite impressed by it, in particular some of the articles. Eg, Daisy Goodwin's tribute to her dead mother the free-spirited Jocasta Innes, "A style of her own"; Savanna Miller's "Panamania", including the way she manages unpretentiously and seamlessly to slip in a quote from Milton, which eloquently encapsulates her theme; the Hillary Clinton piece; Cecil Beaton "An Artist at Home"; and even Cancida Lycett Green's article on roses which manages to quote so effectively some of my favourite lines from TS Eliot
    "Footfalls echo in the memory
    Down the passage we did not take
    Towards the door we never opened
    Into the rose garden"
    Had been marvelling at how much better English Vogue was than Australian. Can't imagine Oz Vogue including quotes from either Milton or Eliot, unless they lifted pieces directly out of this issue. Of course there are things that irritate, eg the creative directors'/model's summer packing tips - such a cliché, always the same things: sunglasses, bikinis, costume jewellery, flip flops, nail polish, moisturiser. Really? And we need to know this because? Have we not read it all before? Cheers, Pammie xx

    1. The issue with Aussie Vogue is that it has a tight budget and they have to borrow and franchise a lot of articles that don't really relate to the Aussie lifestyle or climate. I felt very frustrated when reading Aussie vogue when I lived there because I thought half the clothes and attitudes don't apply. I think Karl doesn't really "get|" pop culture try as he might so things get lost in translation and his muse Amanda Harlech while good at what she does isn't really the urban correspondent. She splits her time in Paris and Shropshire. And the rest of his team is too scared to say anything - did you see that 5 part documentary about him - It was in French and such a hoot!!! If you haven't then I will post a link to it bc it is fabulous. But yes hard to reinvent the wheel...xx

    2. Don't mind at all when articles are different from Aussie lifestyle or climate, makes it more interesting than endless beach or bush shots would be. But I do feel disappointed when several pieces are lifted straight out of other national Vogues I've already bought and read. I take your point about the tight budget but would have hoped they could come up with something original that doesn't cost the earth. Repeating articles could be counter-productive anyway as it has certainly stopped me taking out a subscription and I won't usually buy an issue if I open it and discover I've already read at least one of the articles elsewhere. Just doesn't seem good value for money (at a time when we now think twice about impulse purchases) and as a reader I kind of feel cheated.
      Karl is very clever, despite his occasional slips, but can imagine that no-one would dare tell him anything he didn't want to hear (have worked for governments like that). The movie sounds worth watching. Somehow missed it. So would love a link. Just saw the YSL movie last Friday. Such a sad life he had really despite his enormous success - he was truly brilliant and it was interesting to see some of his inspirations. Have always loved his creations - we saw the retrospective at the Petit Palais about 4 years ago now I think. Totally spectacular - so beautiful. So interesting to see Karl in it and discover their connections. Pammie


      You will love it! It has subtitles and I wish it was a regular show... It is in 4 parts but it will go fast I promise you. I have yet to see the YSL one but will do so. Pierre Berge seemed like the long suffering wife poor thing according to a documentary I saw. Karl is amazing but I suppose a few things fall through the cracks!

    4. Many thanks N. Yes, in the biopic, Berge is the long suffering wife. As you'd expect, it presents him v sympathetically - the actor who played the role was really rather attractive. Also interesting that YSL at one point fell in love with Karl's boyfriend.

      I think there's another biopic that doesn't have Berge's imprimatur? Might be interesting to see an independent version.
      Have you seen "Venus in Fur"? - the new Polanski movie? We went the other night. Still thinking about it, but very clever and very spooky, as you'd expect, I guess. The two actors were brilliant! Pammie

  10. I am in the middle of a very cold week in winter....even I, cold as I am, do not want those arm warmers.

    1. Well, in my youth, I did wear something of that nature. :(

  11. Love it. The UK fashion mags are the best right now. We don't get much here in the colonies and US vogue has become simply terrible. Love the cover of this issue. Delish!

    1. Is there Canada Vogue? I should go and check it out. I think the British cynicism helps balance things out a bit. It's a hard balance to be groundbreaking and be the fashion model for the masses.

  12. Ha! So funny re your last bit. I remember someone locally banging on about the wonders of apartment living, and it turned out they had an apartment in the block they were promoting left right and centre.
    I was looking forward to your Vogue US assessment though - I really want to discuss how many pictures of Cara D you can fit in one issue at the moment. Seriously, if you played a drinking game where you downed a shot whenever you found a picture of her, you'd be passing out by page 30. Every ad, at least one fashion shoot per issue, and then the current issue has an article on her (that tells you precisely nothing). xx

    1. Cara D will hopefully give up modelling and become the actress she wants. But it does seem counterintuitive bc she is flogging everything at the moment so when I see her I don't think one brand and it all gets muddied. She should just stick to one brand in each sector and charge them an absolute fortune each but then again I am sure her agents are bullying her to milk it while it lasts. Isn't it funny how so many articles now say nothing - it's like everyone including Vogue is now a political magazine...xx

  13. Wherever you do take the blog please keep doing this! Carla Bruni is unrecognizable and why Karl chose K. Stewart is beyond me; I've never seen her on screen but her pics don't arouse the slightest interest in me. Well done Naomi!

    1. Carla would actually look even more stunning with just letting her self not be pumped. She had an effortless beauty and cheekbones so to inflate her whole face diminishes her unique beauty. But thanks GSL I will and I will most likely to all 3 Vogues in September!

  14. There must be something about Cara D in person that enslaves photographers, designers and fashion editors. But what? And why? Otherwise, why so many pictures of her? She seems to have been flavour of the month for so long that I can't help wondering that she hasn't yet reached her use by date. She generally looks so pouty and bored too. The Bruton promotion thing reminded me of an episode of Ab Fab when Eddie attends a magazine staff meeting where the editor discusses some of the things she's featuring in a particular issue so she can get whatever products she's after (can't remember exactly what - bathrooms/car maybe? - but so funny!) Pammie

    1. Cara D has the thing the Brits love which is pedigree plus let's not forget that her sister has worked at Vogue for a few years...It pays to have an entryway and foot in the door in castings and parties. She is bored bc she wants to be a movie star now. Yes the Bruton thing is actually sooo Ab Fab!!

  15. No arm warmers! No arm warmers! Thank you for letting me know where to focus my sartorial rebellion this year:).

    1. Ha! Lucky you live in the West coast and hopefully you will NEVER need them!

  16. I love your fashion comments - always right on target!

  17. Re Tori, she's so fascinating _ I just saw her on FF's blog in a dress that was amazing. Cool how she can go from those tight sheaths to flarey to sculptural. (And hasn't she got the most requested nose ever in doctor's surgeries?) she did not come across well in a NY TImes interview, very aloof and vain and talking about herself and ourselves as The Product (yuk) but I wonder if the reporter disliked her from the beginning. Interesting to read this interview

  18. I was gobsmacked by the death of Louise. She was one tough old bird.

    Don't those arm warmers look like cut off sleeves from a Blue Peter how to make it thingy...the rest of the jumper will be appearing later as a tabard! And that hat...what was the AD thinking. Can't look at those pics without wanting to re shoot them with a model that doesn't look like she's been dragged though a hedge backwards, and better lighting!

    Carla should retire. Please, for the sake of the rest of us.
    Charlotte always looks like that. No stylists were harmed.

    And meanwhile in France the word on the street is that Holland is to wed the mistress of the mistress that he left his common law wife and kids for. Pourquoi faire simple quand on peut faire compliqué, non?

    Yup, looks like a staffer is selling up in Bruton. Nice nag though.

    1. Carla won't retire she has had pent up energy when she was the dame! I think that sometimes they could do with a fresh eye bc as people are tightly knit in that industry if you say something then you wont get rehired! Yep someone is def selling up hehe.

      PS I can't wait to see the wedding pics of Hollande - funny ho French pressies love a wedding!!

    2. Well they do have an audience to keep entertained for 7 years.

  19. I thought the same, they do similar for horrible parts of Suffolk and Norfolk, I've been there and know the truth, but looks like if anyone from Conde Nast buys in the area it becomes 'the place to be'.
    There was also a very suspicious piece a about St Barths a few months back that was evidently just a 'thank you' from a grateful editor. This is Vogue, not a blogger trying to make a crust, they should rise higher than this!


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