Sunday, 9 December 2012

Bad Girls & Fashion's Nuclear Wintour


Ms Spats misses the old school bad girl: Cocaine Kate, Sienna 'I-have-probably-slept-with-your-boyfriend' Miller and Naomi 'PA Assaulter' Campell.  Nowadays who do we have? Rhianna? The scandals that come out about young starlets these days are predictably gruesome: rehab, eating disorder clinics and sex tapes. Yawn.

Also these girls cannot dress. Rhianna permanently looks like she is trying to appear  that she accidentally-on-purpose forgot her knickers, and ends up looking merely contrived whilst in receipt of  Lady Gaga's hand me downs, while Lindsay Lohan  is  predominantly clad in not very much with a sideline in satin shirts and eye popping cleavage. You cannot even cordially hate these girls as they are obviously troubled. They have an army of image consultants on hand, and the PR apparatus to stitch them back up and send them tottering in the wake of whatever bad surgery/bad boyfriend/bad trip escapade they fell apart from. Rhianna is back with a man who abuses her and waxes lyrical about bondage fantasies and LiLo is on a permanent roundabout of sexual confusion and alcohol benders.

Perhaps the problem is is that there are no more taboos to break. Ms Spats blames Paris Hilton and the Internet. Ever since her infamous sex tape went viral there is really nothing left to traverse. Tulisa,  member of some group and more latterly X-Factor judge, has a  sex tape that goes public and the world (with the exception of the Daily Mail) barely bats an eyelid. Of course there is a sex tape. Of course she is an idiot and lets herself be videoed. Of course it leaked out.

Ms Spats requests that the bad girls who were good at behaving badly are brought back, please. Bring back the bitches! We miss  the cigarette smoking, over sized sunglasses wearing, martini swilling girls whose just-got-out-of-bed hair is not courtesy of GHD and whose Chloe clutch bag holds nothing more than a stub of kohl, Rescue Remedy and a spare pair of knickers. Bring back the girls who do not kiss and tell and are never seen in daylight before midday. Bring back the seedy glamour. Bring back scandals that actually were scandalous and not merely a cry for help/marketing ploy to appeal to the lad market or women's magazines.

The last great scandal that truly was handled with aplomb was Kate Moss and Cocainegate. She did apologise, but clearly did not mean it. There was never any kiss and tell, no concerned friends lining up wringing their hands in despair. Instead Alexander McQueen wore a  "We Love You Kate" t-shirt on his victory lap down the catwalk and Kate ended up with a  flutter of even more lucrative contracts.  The question is, if Kate had blabbed, confessed all to OK magazine and had Max Clifford throwing doe eyes over the rim of his glasses banging on about her sincere regret and shame (although, as of late, he is probably not the best PR operative to go to ), would she still be in demand today?  Ms Spats would suggest that rather we were enchanted by her discretion, admiring of her brazenness and respectfully allowed her to get on with what she does very well indeed.  And now, she is married and retired from behaving badly. Ms Spats mourns her loss.

Bad behaviour is endemic in the fashion world, which  also has a surprisingly high body count. Maurizio Gucci's murder  back in the 90s and the conviction of his wife, Patrizia Reggiani, for ordering his death was one reminder that designing frocks can be life threatening.  In a highly original , not to say bonkers,  defence, Reggiani claimed to have done nothing more than voice a desire to see her ex-husband dead to her personal psychic (Ms Spats is not making this up),  who then hired two hitmen to knock her husband off.  And Gucci was by no means the last to fall.  The assassination of Gianni Versace sent another shock wave through the establishment, shortly followed by the untimely death  of one of his favourite clients, Diana Princess of Wales. Fashion it would appear is not only about the pretty, but also the pretty perilous.

Nor would you want to work for anyone in fashion: Naomi Campbell has been accused of assault ten times in a decade and has the dubious honour of being banned from British Airways for life. She was eventually sentenced  to five days of community service – and turned up in court tricked out in couture outfits.  The piece de resistance, however, came with her implication in the war crimes investigation against disgraced former Liberian president, Charles Taylor about a diamond allegedly given to her by Taylor. Delightfully she admitted to receiving “dirty looking stones” but claimed not to have known they were from Taylor.  But she looked divine dressed  by Alaia . And in white, no less.  You might hate Campell, but you must admit that she does do things with style. Or take the famously frosty Ms Anna Wintour, editor of the fashion bible, American Vogue, who was famously portrayed by Mery Streep channelling a Cruella De Ville vibe in The Devil Wears Prada. 

Perhaps because of the nature of fashion, with its high octane glamour and relentless obsession with perfection, any fall out is suitably lurid. Fashion is not a verbal medium, but visual and its corresponding scandals are  larger than life.  Fashion requires that everything be louder then words - its attributes must positively shriek.  It is a heady mix of booze drugs and fabulous frocks, outsize egos and very hungry women. The lid  is bound to blow off at a certain point.

What is most entertaining is when fashion goes all moral. Save for Kate, any bad behaviour - (caveat: which gets leaked)-  is suitably frowned upon. Political correctness in the most unfettered of environments is very much on demand.  In a biography of Hugo Boss, it was revealed that not only was he a Nazi supporter but also supplied the uniforms for the SS. Cue over half a century later, a fulsome apology was offered by the atelier  for the sins of its founder. Or, how about Galliano, whose anti-Semitic rants have resulted in losing his lucrative and highly successful stint  as creative director of  Dior.  His pleading of addiction and his evident inebriation was dismissed and it is doubtful that he will ever recover from the scandal.

So one must tread lightly in these PC times, but hedonism is, as ever, courted and lauded at every turn. It is with a giddy mix of anticipation, therefore, that Ms Spats heralds the news that  Anna Wintour might possibly snaffle the Ambassador to Great Britain role in Obama's administration, in acknowledgement of the oodles of green backs she raised for his re-election campaign. Apart from her questionable editorial lauding the first lady of Syria aside, she is no mean operator. She smoothed over Cocainegate and is known for her discretion, and her ability to terrify and alternatively soothe is legendary. Excellent skills for a politico.  Plus after the skulduggery of the fashion world, ambassadorship to the UK will be a walk (in St James') park.  Can you imagine the fun and faux fakery (putative) that this might engender? Ms Spats is hoping that sartorial standards will increment accordingly. She visualises Obama addressing the Nation whilst first doing a twirl about the podium to showcase a spiffy suit, or Vogue being on the top of his briefing schedule while inter office memos whizz about on the Arab Spring and how the administration's dress code ought to reflect its current stance ( re Syria - military coats are so very hot this winter). The infamous designer goodie bags might be de rigeur at ever major summit.  Ms Spats would suggest that the promise of swarkovski embossed slippers or the allure of a Hermes wallet might do wonders in brokering deals (sign here, boys and girls, and the loot is yours). Fashion could save the world, you know.

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