Fashion Drops the F-eminism Bomb

Fashion and feminism, two F -words which share an uneasy relationship, perhaps never more so than now are certainly strange bedfellows in today’s global society during Women’s History Month/International Women’s Day #ADayWithoutAWoman. For example, It’s possible that those who attended Paris Fashion Week got a glimpse of part of the problem namely the current Anthony Vaccarello for Yves Saint Laurent advertising billboard campaign. One ad features an anorexic looking woman in fishnets and roller skates spread cross-eagled on the floor, another shows an unnaturally lanky woman in a leotard, also in roller skates bending over a stool, each causing a stir on social media and in the streets.

Stylist du Jour Farren Fucci

I find it odd that the usually laissez-faire French, generally thought to favor artistic freedom over political correctness, now have the advertising police watchdog — the Authorite de Regulation Professionnelle de la Publicite (ARPP) on the lookout for posters which “objectify, humiliate or degrade women.” In addition, the ads — now covered with stickers reading “sexiste”– have been called out as “porno chic” (an offshoot of ’90s Heroin Chic) by France’s leading women’s group, Osez le feminisme (‘Dare to be Feminist’), demanding that they be pulled or modified as they are an “incitement to rape.” I wonder if famed past fashion photogs such as Helmut Newton or Guy Bourdin would even be tolerated, let alone celebrated, in this climate? I’m not even talking Terry Richardson!

Yet another notable French fashion figure namely Carine Roitfeld, seems to condone these types of images in her industry bible, CR Fashion Book as she once did at French Vogue. A recent interview with stylist du jour Farren Fucci who is responsible for the down and dirty looks of both Bella Hadid and Rihanna on  the last two covers of Paper Magazine, alluded to Ms. Roitfeld’s influence on his preferred methods. He has termed the look “Hoesthetics.” It seems elegance is passe, hookers are hot — or at least more editorial. Is transgender the final frontier? French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt decided to find out by putting Valentine Sampaio on March’s cover.

Nicki Minaj

Everywhere you look, be it an award show — (Lady Gaga at the Grammys); a fashion show (Nicki Minaj wearing a “Lil Kim” pasty), or a magazine cover (Emma Watson promoting the first “Beauty and the Beast” to contain a homoerotic scene, on Vanity Fair); more boobage is on display than ever. Watson recently took some heat over her overexposure vis-a-vis her claims of feminism. Not seeing how one impacts the other, Watson quotes Gloria Steinem — “there’s no feminist dress code” (or un-dress code really) in her defense. Wouldn’t you know it — just when they introduced “We should all be feminists” into a T-shirt worthy slogan?

Watching the premiere episode of “Feud,” the FX eight-part series (Sunday night at 10 p.m.) with its portrayal and re-creation of Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) and Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) filming the classic horror film “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” in the early 1960’s, I was struck with another type of horror. These two acting legends were in their mid 50’s (more than a decade younger than Lange and Sarandon now) yet Hollywood had no use for them. Forget the untouchables… at this point in their lives they were considered the unf*ckables. In a mock scene from the Oscars,

Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange on the set of Feud

Crawford glowers at Marilyn Monroe as she parades her best assets onto the stage. “I have nice tits too but I don’t stick them in people’s faces,” she deadpans, gulping her omnipresent drink. (These broads could definitely match most men drink for drink and smoke for smoke). Unfortunately, the ageism and sexism of Hollywood has gotten no better, according to several of those involved and interviewed for the series.

I recently learned, while searching for a rose colored dress, that if you type the word “pink” into a Google search, the next suggested word is “pussyhat.” I suppose we shall see the modern day symbol of the feminist movement (Missoni even tried to make them chic) out in force along with today’s designated red attire on those that choose to strike. Interesting how teachers doing so may impact working mothers who may have to take the day off in response.

How suggestive is it that, right in the middle of it all, Karl Lagerfeld decided to launch a giant phallic rocket ship during his most spectacular Chanel show of shows. Although the models looked amazing in their glitter boots, astronaut-inspired necklines, and Barbarella hair, I’ve gotta say, it was the “Rocket Man” who really took off.

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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