Shown below is my full collection of drawings related to fashion.
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It was a ten year courtship and a very necessary one. With lessons to be learned from the whole Diana episode, the Monarchy took stock of the situation to ensure young Kate would be adequately tutored in what to expect from life as a Royal.
As a new mother, her perfectly natural post natal symptons – the occasional tired appearance and shock! Horror! grey roots – have been scrutinised by the British media ad nauseum, prompting vitriolic social media postings from members of the public. If not insensitive to such personal criticism, then at least unperturbed, The Duchess of Cambridge has been getting on with her daily existence, juggling motherhood with public duties. For her detractors, comfortable in the anonymity of social media postings, there remains the hope that they will ‘get a life’.
It’s been a life dogged by controversy and negative media attention, yet at 40 Kate Moss remains amongst the top five highest earning models in the world.
Discovered at the tender age of 14, by the director of a modelling agency who spotted her at JFK airport returning home from a vacation with her parents, she has since appeared on more than 300 magazine covers, capturing the hearts and minds of millions of young people with her looks. Along the way, there’s been the usual roster of high profile relationships, alcohol and substance abuse, motherhood and eventual marriage.
In an industry that relies on looks, it may be time to clean up her act, but the suspicion abounds that Miss Moss simply doesn’t give a f**k!
Diana, Princess of Wales
The sadly curtailed life of Diana, Princess of Wales (1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997) reads like a modern Greek tragedy invoking at the time of her death, a wave of public mourning and hysteria vastly disproportionate to her place in history. At the core of this national sentiment lay the roots of a movement that had brought the House of Windsor to its knees. Her own problems in life are now more than well documented, acquiring as they have, the hallmarks of a folk story that almost feeds on itself. So redolent is her story with chinese whispers, inaccuracies, downright lies and misconceptions that I find myself struggling to make sense of it all.
Long before Diana, Princess of Wales, there was Jacqueline kennedy. In contrast to other prominent women in Washington, DC, in the early 1960s, she was young (barely in her 30s), chic and, with her Irish and French ancestry, indefinably and refreshingly “exotic.”
Dressed in her custom designed Oleg Cassini outfits, throwing formal White House dinner parties for artists, writers, scientists and diplomats, traveling the world, utilising her command of French and Spanish, she was the face not only of a new era but of an utterly new type of American woman; at once warm and elegant, youthful and sophisticated, fun-loving and serious and most refreshingly of all, self-deprecatingly funny.
She was greatly admired by millions and recognised as the greatest of political allies by no less a luminary than her first husband, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America. By June 1968 however, and with her brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy cut down in his prime in the same manner as her husband four and a half years earlier, she sought refuge in marriage to Aristotle Onassis, a wealthy Greek shipping magnate, who was able to provide the privacy and security she needed for herself and her children. The American public’s love affair with her was over.
Jean Shrimpton was the world’s first supermodel and one of the defining faces of the 60s, but gave it all up and became a recluse. Well that’s the popular myth, yet the truth probably lies elsewhere.
In a world where millions seek their fifteen minutes of fame, Shrimpton was shrewd enough to appreciate the ephemeral environment in which she thrived, and opted out before she endured any lasting damage. “Fashion is full of dark, troubled people,” she says today. “It’s a high-pressured environment that takes its toll and burns people out. Only the shrewd survive – Andy Warhol, for example, and David Bailey.”
Christopher Moeller, a psychologist, recently told a German magazine, Der Taggspiegal, that people who aren’t using Facebook, could well be displaying anti-social tendencies. Social media has become the epitome of ‘normality’ in the western world, and individuals not represented on major sites such as Facebook and Twitter, are quickly becoming oddities.
Much has been said about the narcissism and other negative traits that people who are active on social media seem to share. But with the numbers of social media users continuing to rise, it raises questions about individuals who are not online tweeting, updating and sharing their thoughts with others. Of course, there is the counter argument that non social media users are too busy following world affairs to risk embarrassing themselves. Hurley’s August 2013, highly publicised tweet about Egypt, was a damning indictment on the model/actress, in which she expressed a desire to visit the country, seemingly oblivious to the daily carnage being reported. With the death of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi inciting bloodshed – 52 civilians and eight police officers killed at the time of her tweet – Hurley inadvertently revealed that applying Estée Lauder leaves her precious little time for world news. What next for the actress? A roving foreign ministerial role? – The mind boggles……
Hal Vaughn is an American author based in Paris, France. He has held several posts as a US Foreign Service officer before becoming a journalist on assignments in Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. He has also served in the United States Military in both World War II and Korea, and was involved in a number of covert intelligence activities as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer at Karachi and Geneva during the Cold War. His French-born wife, now deceased, worked with the U.S. intelligence community in Geneva, whilst the man himself undoubtedly has intimate knowledge of clandestine, international operations.
In 2011, Vaughn published his biography of Gabrielle Coco Chanel, prompting CHANEL® to dismiss the work as pure fiction. Defending the reputation of its founder with a terse public statement, the high fashion house that specializes in haute couture and ready-to-wear clothes, luxury goods and fashion accessories, was moved to comment:
‘More than 57 books have been written about Gabrielle [Coco] Chanel. To decide for yourself, we would encourage you to consult some of the more serious ones’.
Personally, I’m unconvinced Vaughn is little more than a ‘trash novelist’, but I accept that he will be reviled in certain quarters – after all, his biography asserts that today’s most coveted handbags, perfumes and tweed jackets are the creations of a confirmed Nazi spy, who cavorted with SS officers at the Hotel Ritz throughout the war, and became the richest woman in the world thanks to the Nazi seizure of all Jewish-owned property and business enterprises.
Today’s supermodels owe much to Lauren Hutton. In 1973, she landed what became a landmark contract with Revlon, and her status as the first $1 million-a-year girl had the collateral effect of increasing pay for models across the board, in some ways, giving rise to the more complex business infrastructure that surrounds modeling today.
The inevitable sojourn into acting followed – ‘American Gigolo’ (1980), ‘Lassiter’ (1984) and the made for Tv movie I particularly recall, ‘Someone’s watching me!’ (1978). Deemed too old to sell makeup, she was contractually released by Revlon at the age of 40, yet her subsequent return to modeling five years later was of even greater import, paving the way for the longer, more continually illustrious modelling careers for women well into their fourth and fifth decades.
She stands 1.77 metres tall with smoldering blue eyes, and has been the world’s highest-paid model for a decade. Undoubtedly, the most celebrated Brazilian since Pele, she revitalised interest in the fashion industry after its pampered princesses had been bumped from magazine and tabloid covers by pop singers, movie stars,and even politicians.
Along she came with her breasts, hips and great hair and whilst men wanted her, women also wanted to be her. If Wikipedia is to be believed, her relative importance is measured in poll listings – the sixteenth richest woman in the entertainment industry (2007), one of the top 26 greatest models of all time (Harper’s Bazaar magazine 2009), number 95 in FHM Magazines 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2011.
Let’s hope for her sake, that all this fabricated hype passes her by……..
Like millions of others, my awareness of AIDs was initially awakened in the mid 80’s as a predominantly transmittable disease involving homosexual men and drug addicts, yet more than five decades earlier, it had taken off amongst the general African population. As a result, those involved in the fight against HIV began to emphasize aspects such as preventing transmission from mother to child, or the relationship between HIV and poverty, inequality of the sexes, and so on, rather than emphasizing the need to prevent transmission by unsafe sexual practices or drug injection. This change in emphasis resulted in more funding, but was not effective in preventing a drastic rise in HIV prevalence.
Most Africans cannot afford the lifesaving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) that have transformed AIDS in the West to a treatable and manageable disease. ARVs are miracle drugs. We take them for granted here in the West, but to an African family they are tragically out of reach because of cost and even by some governments.
The supermodel Iman, as a past Global Ambassador for ‘Keep a Child Alive’, spearheaded the thought provoking ‘I AM AFRICAN’ campaign. It was designed to spark a global conversation, turn heads and create a new level of engagement about the AIDS crisis by connecting each of us to our Motherland. The campaign speaks to the African ancestry we all share.
Thanks to Kim Kardashian, I’ve actually learned what a selfie is.
Apparently, it’s a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone. Selfies are often shared on social networking services such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. They are usually flattering, made to appear casual, and are taken with a camera held at arm’s length or pointed at a mirror, rather than by using a self-timer.
A Godsend therefore, for the milleneum generation who are happy to follow stars famous for being – well famous.
Miss Kardashian has a figure to die for, but although her famous backside is natural, her tiny waist apparently isn’t. In March 2015, the reality TV star/fasion model posted a ‘waist trainer selfie’ on Instagram before heading to bed and showed off her incredible hourglass figure in the corset-style outfit. The newly blonde star pulled a serious pose as she shot the photo in her bathroom mirror and wrote on the social media site: “Organizing & cleaning up before bed and waist training at the same time!
It says much for how out of step with the times I am, that the suggestion to draw her came from my wife. I’d never heard of her!
The Equality Act protects individuals from direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Age is one of the ‘protected characteristics’ alongside others including disability, race, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against someone because of any of these protected characteristics. Nevertheless, the entertainment and fashion industries work somewhere outside of such legislation, and no doubt will continue to do so.
How refreshing therefore, to see some of the 60’s female icons still able to secure lucrative work. At sixteen, her gangly beauty saw her become the face of the decade. Fifty years on, Twiggy’s still very much in fashion. At 65, the model and Marks & Spencer designer has been named as the latest ambassador for L’Oreal. This time her enviable blonde locks will be the focus of the adverts for the brand’s professionnel line of hair products.
Her own hair is longer these days and the androgynous look has long gone, but ‘the face of ‘66’ is still around, busier than ever. Amen to that.
Mary Quant was the unrivalled queen of swinging London, creating the Chelsea Girl look and establishing London’s Kings Road on the world map. At the height of her fame, at least one article was unstinting in its praise – “It is given to a fortunate few to be born at the right time, in the right place, with the right talents. In recent fashion, there are three: Chanel, Dior and Mary Quant.”
Quant’s shop Bazaar was the place to be in London. Opened in 1957, within seven years the company had expanded throughout Europe and the United States, and was mass-producing designs on a multimillion-dollar annual scale. The Beatles often popped in to buy designs for their girlfriends, and George Harrison married the model Patti Boyd in clothes designed by Quant. Her friends included David Bailey, Terence Conran and Vidal Sassoon. Responsible for the mass popularity of min i skirts, hot pants, the Lolita look, the slip dress, PVC raincoats, smoky eyes and sleek bob haircuts, make-up would ultimately prove to be her most lucrative venture.
Inextricably associated with the 60’s, it was almost inevitable that her star would fade when the decade ended. Nevertheless, in the 80s her name would return to glossy magazines, but this time in the beauty pages, with blue nail polishes and silver eyeliners bearing the trademark daisy of the designer who had once famously said that “good taste is death, vulgarity is life”.
Making headlines after appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue, plus size model Ashley Graham has been on a path toward global stardom.
2016 was a year that saw her walking Paris Fashion Week alongside Jourdan Dunn and Freja Beha Erichsen, as part of H&M’s Fall 2016 Studio show. Utilizing her millions of social media followers to share a message of body acceptance, she succeeded Tyra Banks as the resident model mentor on the reboot of America’s Next Top Model. By any standard Graham’s accomplishments would be impressive, but the fact that her presence has opened doors for size representation in all corners of the industry makes her a trailblazer. As Ivan Bart, President of IMG Models puts it:
“Ashley Graham is truly reflective of the world we live in, She has challenged not only the fashion and modeling industry but also the nuances of what acceptance of beauty means in our culture today.”
I second that. I could tell everyone that those stick thin catwalk models do wonders for me, but I’d be lying. Here’s to the female form in all its wondrous pulchritude……………………
Model-actress Suzy Parker, one of the most recognizable faces of the 1950s and a forerunner of the supermodel, died in 2003 at the age of 70.
Parker, known in later life as Suzy Parker Dillman, had been married to the actor Bradford Dillman for forty years. Her health had been poor for several years, and throughout her lifetime, she had been fortunate to survive two serious car accidents, the first in which her father died when their vehicle was hit by an oncoming train.
Known for her full, red hair and beautiful bone structure, was the signature face for designer Coco Chanel, photographed by the likes of Richard Avedon and Milton H. Greene. Greene once said Parker helped redefine the word “elegance” in magazines.