~The Fashioniste~Daily Post! – Done from the 7th - 17th of September, 2007! :^)
Monday, September 17, 2007 at 11:53 PM
~The Fashioniste~ Weighs In on the Miss South Carolina Craze
...SSSSSORT OF. Okay, in response to the multi-million-person debate over the intelligence or qualifications of those young women who compete in the "Miss Teen USA" pageant or similar ones, I here give you something a little more thought-provoking that deals with that exact subject: It's a few segments from an episode of the Morton Downey Jr. Show, a talk show from 1987-'88 that consisted of a very open forum about controversial social and political issues, but was unique in the way in which it brought together a whole range of voices and perspectives, rather than just the pre-scripted predictable "for" and "against" representatives you usually see on today's talk shows. Anyway, as you'll see on this particular edition, each of these guests and spokespeople--including audience members--would be unabashedly encouraged, mocked, or summarily attacked by the loose-cannon "loudmouth" host himself. The following clips are from the episode titled "Beauties Meets the Beast," with Mort acting as the go-between for a poignant and hilarious debate about beauty, featuring pageant winners, and defenders both male and female, as well as opponents, both male and female, too! It serves as an excellent cross-section of opinions on what defines "beauty," and what it takes to get on a stage in front of tens of millions of viewers and attempt to exemplify that definition....
Part 2, which I'll call "Feminism and Misogyny" - Here are some "teaser" quotations, and in some cases, you MAY be surprised at who said what!!
“Beauty pageants, by their very definition, have a limited and narrow definition of beauty…”
“The emphasis [is] on the superficial, artificial of what that human being looks like, rather than who that human being is!”
“That’s how ya succeed in this life—selling yourself!”
The spokeswoman from the Miss USA pageant talks about a Miss Teen USA pageant winner, and says: “She will receive approximately $15,000 in residuals, which will unquestionably assist her in her education!!” So much for “and such as”! I myself would’ve liked having an extra $15,000 when IIII was in college...FOR BEEEEER!!!!!!! (jk?)
“Parading is just of the concept, which is power and money, and men telling women, again, what we may and may not do, how we may and may not act.”
“You’re asking ME about big breasts?!?”
If the video doesn't immediately appear, here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzTPLi2BJvk
Part 4, which could aptly be titled "Race and Beauty" (at least after the opening minute of the clip, which is from the previous segment) – More great quotes, and trust me, this ain't spoiling it , 'cuz you MAY be surprised at who said what !!! --
“We are NOT shallow beauty queens!!"
“Miss USA is an opportunity for presentation…”
The Miss America pageant winner says: “The Miss America pageant is not a beauty pageant, it is a scholarship pageant, I think that should be duly noted… The person who does not have a talent that they can exemplify on a stage—they enter the Miss USA [pageant]!” Now...I myself am a "U.S.American" who would like, in my realms of activity, reach the level of outstanding success commensurate to that which any of these hard-working women have achieved...you know??! I have zero criticism to give Miss South Carolina, and actually a hell of a LOT to learn from her, both about success in the human world, and the culture of early-21st-century America. I mean, like I have what it takes, as the person I am now, to be the equivalent of a "contestant," by which I mean a professional competitor, in ANY realm of achievement...it is damn hard!!! Even just in terms of physical fitness, I couldn’t be a gym rat for 12 hours a day… But being a 12-hour-a-day computer mouse? LOLOLOL!!!
 “We value you in your entirety! And we’re saying, ‘Ladies, you’re wonderful and terrific and there’s so much you can do.’” Response: “I wanna be wonderful and terrific in my own way! I never looked down on any woman that wanted to be a lawyer. I admire them—gosh, I RESPECT their brains!!”
In response to one of pageant winner's talking about "girls" training to compete, the feminist advocate asks, for the third or fourth time in the show, “Why can’t you say ‘WOMEN’??” Okay, so a girl is actually a woman, and as we all agree, a woman is an adult, so, can't an adult make her own career decisions?!? Oh WOW, I oughta be a lawyer MYSELF!!! :D I'm really good at this stuff! XD
If the video doesn't immediately appear, here's the link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=uLdQjq9J584
Part 5, which I'll just say has a few "Last-Minute Surprises" - Quotes from the highly appropriate conclusion:
“Poise and self-confidence… poise...self-confidence.”
“Is there a Miss Right Cheek of Your Ass??” “We have BOTH cheeks of your ass!”
“DON'T get exploited...” HUH?!?!?? LOL
“These are wonderful American Ladies... Ladies... and these…are LADIES!!”
If the video doesn't immediately appear, here 's the link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=D51atZKM4xw
Another Link : The show's animated, Americana-filled intro theme! (both versions!) -
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Friday, September 14, 2007 at 11:46 PM
~ A *Sleek* Preview ~ The "Title Image" of Next Week's BIG Fashion-Art-and-Literature Collection, the first in a series of four! ~
The concept for this image was envisioned by me, ~The Fashioniste~, and designed by resident Photoshop expert, Jen Cowling of London, England, using images that I, as the renegade cyber-curator that I am, provided.
Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 11:55 PM

I am currently still working on searching for all portraits—both photographs and paintings—that were used as inspiration for the Dior Fall 2007 Couture show, which marked both the 60th anniversary of the Maison Dior, as well as the 10th anniversary of John Galliano being the chief designer of the house.

I have also decided, at least for now, that I will only be uploading a Daily Post only from Monday – Friday. I’ve been checking out the daily visitor stats for the site–which is part of very reason I started to do a Daily Post–and I have also noticed that the visitorship on every weekday is nearly 4 TIMES what it is on Saturday or Sunday. Obviously this has to do with the fact that millions of Internet-users are either in classrooms, lecture halls, offices, or any other type of workplace on weekdays—and of course now with Blackberries, iPhones, and PDAs of every kind, everyone is more likely to be checking out more websites and more frequently on those days … So, I figured I would direct you all to what I think is the best and most exciting channel on YouTube. It's hosted by someone named “videobuff” who currently has nearly 800 videos posted, and it is the largest collection of rare Euro-Disco records from the early ‘80s—there is some late-’70s material, and some mid- to late-’80s as well, but most early ‘80s. So anyway, here are some of what I think are the best songs he’s posted, enjoy!!!! And note–because these are just uploaded right from actual records, it may take a couple seconds for the songs to kick in. Again, these are NOT produced videos, they are just SONGSSSS, so...TURN IT UP!!!!

Lisa – “Rocket to Your Heart”


Other ones I've listened to like, a million times:
Swan – “Don’t Talk About It”

Lime – “Come and Get Your Love”

Voggue – “Love Buzz” (yes, double-g)

Lou Sern – “Swiss Boy”

Sandy Marton – “People From Ibiza”

Tons of awesome songs!!! And new ones are added almost like every day!! :-D

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007 at 10:58 PM
When it Comes to Money, Ill-gotten is ill-spent?
Not Always!

The new issue of Time magazine has a whole section on the expansion of Luxury and Style in the three of the largest countries in Asia, namely those of China, India, and Russia. The report notes, however, that the respective culture of each nation is nevertheless very strong in the patterns of consumption: for example, in China, the simple and straightforward Lacoste brand is one of the most popular, while in India the majority of expensive clothing and accessories are purchased by men, since the vast majority of women still wear the native Indian wrap-dress known as a “sari”…Hey, apology accepted! I need a new Rolex anyway! (Best joke I have ever told.) Speaking of which—Rolex is one of the few top luxury brands that has garnered huge popularity in all these countries. But as for Swiss-made watches, there’s really only one that I myself prefer, and here it is. Lastly, in Russia, there are two native Russian designers, Vyacheslav Zaitsev and Valentin Yudashkin , who, according to the report, are considered to be on a high level with other global designers like Dior, Chanel, and Versace.

One Asian country that has long rivaled America in blazing trails in the realms of lifestyle organization, business, fashion, and technology, is Japan. And yet there is still, indeed, a very strong honor for tradition there, which was recently evidenced in a somewhat shocking news story, posted on Yahoo News, August 24, 2007:

Tokyo Housewife Hid $3.4 Million in Forex Gains

TOKYO (Reuters) - A financially savvy Tokyo housewife who made 400 million yen (1.7 million pounds, or 3.4 million dollars) trading in foreign exchange markets was fined on Friday for evading tax, a court official said. Yukiko Ikebe, 60, got a suspended jail sentence and was fined 34 million yen, after she used relatives' names to make her gains look smaller and avoid paying tax, NHK said.
"She felt it was unfair to have to pay tax on her gains, when she made losses some years," NHK quoted the judge as saying. "She spent the money on kimonos and jewelry."
Forex trading has become more popular in recent years in Japan, where low interest rates have led retail investors to seek new sources of profit.

It has been said that: “A person's treatment of money is the most decisive test of one’s character—how one makes it and how one spends it.” -James Moffatt, early 20th Century Scottish theologian (revised by me to apply to both men and women)

So…what do you spend your money on, hmm?

Anyway, the Wikipedia article on the kimono is useful and well-researched, but when I did a Google search for an actual kimono store online, I found an authentic one based right out of Japan, and their homepage, written in slightly imperfect English, featured a simple diagram of a woman in a kimono, and notes that women who wear one are to carry a “small sword,” adding “They always have it in case”--now does that mean "They always have it, just in case," or "They always keep it inside a case"? Quite different meanings, right? Well, judge for yourself. What's funny, though, if that the woman's sword not mentioned in the Wikipedia entry...huh. Well, I guess it’s just how the saying goes: Cultural Bias is Cultural BLINDNESS!

Although not to be remiss in my own “reporting” here, I now provide a recent study (from March 2006) about kimono wearing and ownership in Japan today. You will see that there is a direct proportion between how often a woman wears one, how many she owns, and how old she is. As the article quoted above points out, the very savvy investor, who spent her hundreds of thousands on those intricately women silk traditional robes, was 60 years old. So here are some stats. But I have to say, that when a woman knows as much about currency to be that successful in the international exchange market, who on earth would dare to criticize, let alone question, the currency (in the other sense) of her fashion preferences? ¥ou just can't argue with success, so don't even try. It would downright dishonorable. Thank ¥ou.

~*~ Related Pictures ~*~
HEY! What's SHE hiding???
(Ungaro Couture, Spring 2003, that's what.)
> Wait-- ¥34,000,000?!? Not bad! <
> ¥ ¥ ¥ <
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The Japanese-themed origami-styled models are from Dior Couture, Spring 2007.
OH--and by the way, the sash that ties around a kimono is known as an obi, and yes, the Star Wars creator and director George Lucas is known for having named for many of the story's characters from words in different languages (e.g., Darth Vader being loosely derived from the Afrikaans for "Dark Father," or Yoda being from the Sanskrit "Yoddha," or "Warrior"). And yes, there are male variations on the kimono. One example? Here:
What Jedi master--or any intergalactic samurai--would not be rendered utterly powerless by such a sight?


External Link: You know, if you search for stuff in other versions of Google, you get VERY different results!
Observe: "kimono" imaqes on Google.com vs. the same search on Google.co.jp
I will have more to say about this in future updates, but you can go ahead and look up your favotite stuff on the different-languiage versions of Wikipedia, then copy the URL of the entry, and paste it into the appropriate space on Google Translate (after selecting the appropriate pair of languages from the menu), and see for yourself!
Thank you.
> ¥ <
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at 10:40 PM
A Few Interesting Points about the World of the 21st Century, from:
Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google
Mineke Schipper, Dutch author and proverb expert
Bill Clinton, 42th President of the United States
and then a Concluding Statement

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, in a brief and candid interview:
(approx. 5 min. – Note: It takes five seconds for the video to appear!)
> If you can’t watch the video at the moment, or would rather get some key points first,
here are some of the highlights I have transcribed:

“Search…is life-changing.”
Everything you do with information in an information-rich world begins with search, because there’s too much to just say ‘Hey, I’m gonna look at this channel,’ or ‘I’m only gonna look at this,’ or 'I’m only gonna read this one source of information.' "

“The region is incredibly innovative, and the recovery [from business slumps] is driven by new models and new ideas…new investors, new passions, and that is a cycle that has gone on for many, many years…”

“It’s a global market…a new generation that wants to participate in [that] experience... What will happen when another billion people get online? Will they demand more from their governments? Or will they just say ‘I’m happy’? What will happen when everyone records everything? What happens to my privacy when I write down everything I do and then I’m a little embarrassed about what I did ten years ago? And then what happens when everything gets photographed because everyone has a camera? We don’t know, but we know that end-users (i.e. Web-users) are going to use these technologies for change, and they’re gonna drive politicians, political leaders, governments absolutely crazy doing it. [And of course,] simultaneous translations, so we can really understand…”

“Technology now allows you to mix and match, to do anything you want. The business models that empower end-users are the ones that will win. The business models that say No to an end-user will ultimately be replaced by one that empowers end-users, because eventually the consumer gets what they want.”

And if you're interested in reading the article he wrote about it, here you go: : “Don’t bet against the internet”

Mineke Schipper, Dutch author and proverb expert
Dr. Schipper is a  Dutch author and Professor of Intercultural Studies at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. She is also, like me, an avid collector of international proverbs, which is a field known as paremiology. In 2004, she published a extraordinary collection of proverbs called Never Marry a Woman with Big Feet, the subject being the views about women that have been expressed and communicated in hundreds of different languages and cultures from all over the world. In an interview about her research for the book, she said: “Although [the] early material was limited, I discovered something totally unexpected. In contrast to the assumption that cultures would mainly be marked by differences, I found fascinating resemblances in proverbs about mothers or daughters, or widows or mothers-in-law from all over the world. Wondering whether such similarities in ideas, and even in images, were just coincidental, I started recording proverbs whenever I came across them...” (Source)

In another interview she reiterated this point:
“Even though local cultural differences thus do play a role, generally speaking, the similarities appeared to be most overwhelming.”

“In today's world we finally need to learn how to communicate as men and women on an equal level and with equal responsibilities, cross-culturally. Obviously those who look for differences will only find differences between peoples, cultures, religions and the sexes, but those who look for similarities will be able to discover what we basically share as humans. In order to define where we want to go, and where we do not want to go, as men and women today, we first of all need to know where we come from.” (Source)

Bill Clinton speech at the University of Miami, from earlier this year:
(approx. 9 minutes)

~On Globalization and Interdependence~
> Transcribed highlights:
“What is the fundamental character of the 21st-century world? If you had to describe it in a word, what would the word be? Most people would say globalization. I far prefer the term interdependence—because the way we’re tied together goes way beyond economics, and it is fundamentally different not only across international borders, but within them. We are bound together by trade and investment and travel and immigration and growing diversity and information technology and culture, and a global awareness of things that would have been unthinkable a generation ago.”

“What does it take have a sense of belonging?…You only have to embrace one simple idea: that your differences are interesting, and make life more exciting, and aid the search for truth and progress, but [that] your common humanity matters more. Simple elemental idea. Easy to say, hard to do, but it makes all the difference.”

In Conclusion, a fine song that says,
“Let us live in peace!”


I hope I have provoked some thought, whether your desire is to fight for something you read or heard above, or to fight against it... You know, Google as a company has stated that their goal is not primarily to maximize profits, but to "improve the world" as the Sept. 1st, 2007 issue of The Economist says (p. 56). Well, I feel the same way! It's a nice thought, but even nicer as a real goal to which one may dedicate himself or herself, and toward which I believe anyone can work... Well, there you have it! Thank you all so much. :-D ~The Fashioniste~

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Monday, September 10, 2007 at 10:44 PM
Presenting some wonderful fashion and entertainment blogs that have newly linked to me –
Check 'em out! :^D

Info on that Image: Portrait presumed to be a young Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII of England (who went on to have six more), by Flemish painter Michel Sittow, c. 1502. And, apparently, she's using her brand-new Dell Notebook...sah-weeeet!!! It's really good, 'cuz now she can check out all her favorite sites on the go! The concept here was envisioned by me, ~The Fashioniste~, and designed by resident Photoshop expert, Jen Cowling, using images that I, as the renegade cyber-curator that I am, provided. Anyway, on a related note, my site will soon have a subscription feed, and all these galleries and new daily postings will each have those Digg, Delicious, Reddit, and Yahoo sharing links installed, so you will finally be able to get your fix of great, Northern Renaissance art, AND stunning fashion photos, AND bits of scholarly wisdom whenever you want, wherever you are—and all from someone as foolish as me...HA! :^D

Oh and look at this--Catherine of Aragon and the Floating Laptop! Oh YEAH, now I can be a Surrealist also! XD lol, what the hell..."That's not Surrealism; that's just laziness!" Hey, shut up! You're hurting my feelings! I'm like, a REALLY sensitive artist... No, really! (Okay, not really.) Anyway...I would expect a woman of royal status to have "wireless" in every chamber of her castle. That explains the missing plugs, though I understand that the average serf (myself included ;-) may not know how to WEB-surf with such a luxury as that:
Reference: The Wikipedia article about her (including links King Henry VIII's other wives)
'N you can be sure that this is as close as The Fashioniste will ever get to being like the UK tabloids and their nonstop invasive coverage of *the Royal Family*. Why, I say, for Heaven's sake! Let them be!
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Sunday, September 9, 2007 at 9:58 PM

~ A Miniature Multilingual Fashion Glossary! ~
So all you designers out there can at least label your collection for speakers in various countries... ;-)
It's a Global Village, baby!!! And how badly do you wanna be the Wardrobe Director for that village? Allow me to offer a bit of linguistic assistance...and then I'll get you those bolts of watered silk. I promise.

First, the words and names in English:

-Fashion Designer
-Ready-to-Wear, or Pret-a-Porter (“Pret-ah-port-ay”)
-Haute Couture (literally “High Sewing”)
Note: The pronunciation of it depends on how high-class you are or want to sound; quite simply, the closer to the original French, the higher class you are. But you must remember your audience, because there are plenty of high-class people who know nothing about fashion (blasphemy!) and who will hear you and be like “Whaaa??” But the obvious solution to that is to only surround yourself by those from the upper echelon (which is from the French word for the run of a ladder. 'Nuff said.)
-Fall-Winter (US; in the UK: Autumn-Winter)
-New York, United States
-Paris, France
-Milan, Italy
-London, England
-Berlin, Germany
-Barcelona, Spain
-Sao Paolo, Brazil
-Moscow, Russia

And here they are in:
-Portuguese &
Though let me just point out that the first 3 phrases are often just understood in all these languages when referred to as “Designer,” “Pret-a-Porter,” and “Haute Couture” by fashion-lovers, which includes international websites and blogs—and that the following translations are simply just literal, though guaranteed accurate! :D

Créateur de Mode
Haute Couture

New York, Etats-Unis
Paris, France
Milan, Italie
Londres, Angleterre
Berlin, Allemagne
Barcelone, Espagne
Sao Paolo, Brésil
Moscou, Russie

Stilista di Moda
Pronto da Indossare
L’alta Moda

New York, Stati Uniti
Parigi, Francia
Milano, Italia
Londra, Inghilterra
Berlino, Germania
Barcellona, Spagna
Sao Paolo, Brasile
Mosca, Russia

Bereit zum Tragen
Gehobene Schneiderei

New York, Vereinigte Staaten
Paris, Frankreich
Mailand, Italien
London, England
Berlin, Deutschland
Barcelona, Spanien
Sao Paolo, Brasilien
Moskau, Rußland

Diseñador de la Moda
La Alta Costura (literally "High Seam" YOW!)
Nueva York, Estados Unidos
París, Francia
Milano, Italia
Londres, Inglaterra
Berlín, Alemania
Barcelona, España
São Paolo, el Brasil
Moscú, Rusia

Estilista de Moda
Alta Costura

New York, Estados Unidos
Paris, France
Milan, Italy
Londres, Inglaterra
Berlim, Germany
Barcelona, Spain
São Paulo, Brasil
Moscow, Rússia

Высокая мода
("Visokiy" = High)
Нью-Йорк, Соединенные Штаты
Париж, Франция
Милан, Италия
Лондон, Англия
Берлин, Германия
Барселона, Испания
Сан-Паулу, Бразилия
Москва, Россия

Now you're that much closer to marketing your collection in 8 major cities worldwide! ;-D
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Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 6:32 PM
~ A Few Selections from the Spring 2008 Runway Shows ~
J. Mendel - Absolutely one of the most beautiful dresses of the season... Amazing!!!
Badgley Mischka - Whoa. She looks VERRRY dangerous... Damn, is this like some rich guy's daughter or something?? Does NOT look the kind of young lady whose bad side I'd want to be on any time soon. or ever.
Doo.Ri - Another lookalike to the famous "Madame X" painting by John Singer Sargent. In the first two "Lookalike" updates I did, I included different designers' dresses that, whether intentionally or not, resembled that of this lovely lady, and you can see them all RIGHT HERE....
Rag & Bone on the left, and Badgley Mischka on the right - Yes, speaking of another theme of mine, check out these two super-sexy "bookwormettes"! 8-O Chill out dude!! 8-] Ok...that's better.
And from the Menswear shows that took place earlier in the summer...
Thom Browne - A few years ago I worked for a marketing company on the Upper East Side. One morning as I was getting ready to leave my apartment, I realized that I had no clean (or at least non-wrinkled) pair of pants--hey, I had basically wumped into bed the night before from exhaustion, even though I had fully intended to do my laundry--so I took a chance, a very BIG chance, and actually went into work lookin' like one of these guys: with a jacket, tie, SHORTS, and dress shoes. WELLLL, as you could imagine, the girls I worked with (I was the only guy at this place) thought it was hysterical, but the woman who was my boss was none too pleased with the daring new summertime spin on corporate work attire, and immediately announced that there would be a "New Rule!" that no one could wear shorts. lol... Well, I was "dismissed" from the company two months later, but if only they knew I was setting a trend that would be picked up on by a cutting-edge New York designer some 4 or 5 years later...!! Then they would've been like "Okay, so what, you don't even do your job; you just sit at your desk writing emails and singing cheesy '80s songs all day" and then I'd be like "HEY! They're not cheesy...but yeah, I guess I DO just do that all day."
D & G - Annnnnd a similar story... I was working for an upscale courier service here in Manhattan, and I had to look sharp at all times because of the offices I was making deliveries to. Well, one day, as I was getting ready (oh here we go...) and was all suited up, but just could NOT find my shoes. I turned over everything in my entire damn apartment looking for them, but I just couldn't find them. The only thing I DID have was a pair of flipflops that I never even wore anyway, but this was as good a time as any to make use of them, right? Well...let's just say that when I had met up with the boss of the company to get the stuff I was supposed to delivery, he said he saw me from 5 blocks away and was "seriously, seriously hoping" I was joking. I eh...was not at that job for very long after that, either. But now look what we have HERE: the world-renowned fashion masterminds, Dolce & Gabbana themselves, are actually capitalizing on the look. It was just a brilliant accident (you know, the same way that Silly Putty was invented by accident, right?)
Now...can you imagine what that line of flipflops must have sounded like? LOL. Then again, this was actually at the end of the show, when D&G customarily bring out a whole series of models wearing some particular thing--in this case, footwear--distinct from the outfits that were just featured in the main collection (they did it with "Merry Christmas" tank tops one season, and with Elvis Presley half-shirts another season). So, as it turns out, the sound of the audience clapping had to have blended in with the clapping of all those flipflops on the floor. (See? Ya have to *thinnnk* about these things...and apparently I'm someone who does. ::proverbial roll of the eyes::)
All right dude, that'll be all! THANK YOU GOOD NIGHT! XD
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Friday, September 7, 2007 at 2:26 PM

High-End Fashion Designers Contend with Makers of Instant Knockoffs

The front page of Tuesday’s New York Times (September 4, 2007) ran a shocking article about how computer technology has enabled retail designers to instantly make accurate copies of brand-new runway fashions, and bring those new looks to mid-level retail shoppers months(!) before the more expensive originals arrive in the more expensive stores—and of course, for a fraction of the price. As you would expect, top designers are none too happy about this. Here’s the story—"Before Models Can Turn Around, Knockoffs Fly", but if you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, here are the highlights (and My Response follows) —

“If I see something on Style.com, all I have to do is e-mail the picture to my factory and say, ‘I want something similar, or a silhouette made just like this,’ ” Ms. Anand [the Indian-born woman who runs a company that produces instantaneous knockoffs] said. The factory, in Jaipur, India, can deliver stores a knockoff months before the designer version.

Copying, which has always existed in fashion, has become so pervasive in the Internet era it is now the No. 1 priority of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which is lobbying Congress to extend copyright protection to clothing.

“For me, this is not simply about copying,” said Anna Sui, one of more than 20 designers who have filed lawsuits against Forever 21, one of the country’s fastest-growing clothing chains, for selling what they claim are copies of their apparel. “The issue is also timing. These copies are hitting the market before the original versions do.”

Most of their designs are original, or partly inspired by market trends, the women said; but some look like direct copies, and some of those are made at the specific request of retailers. At the factory in Jaipur the company contracts with 2,000 workers who specialize in pattern making, design and tailoring, and are equipped with computer programs that approximate the design of a garment from a Web image without the need to pull apart the seams.

The cut or details of a garment cannot be copyrighted under existing law, although logos and original prints can be protected. Anna Sui’s suit against Forever 21, which has 400 stores and sales estimated at more than $1 billion, claims it has infringed against her prints on 26 occasions. “It seems to be their business model to find things that are popular in the marketplace by other designers and copy them,” said Marya Lenn Yee, a lawyer for Ms. Sui.

“Some people don’t want to spend $300 on a pair of jeans just because of the name,” said Siovhan McGearey, 16, from London. “They may look nice, but why pay $300 when you can go down the street to Forever 21 and get jeans that are $30 that look exactly the same?”

She sees her work meeting the needs of the vast majority of consumers who cannot afford designer prices. “Especially the younger girls do not have so much money,” Ms. Anand said, “but they want to wear fashionable clothes.”

“They want to look fabulous,” she said. “It’s their right to look fabulous.”

My Response:

It’s their right to look fabulous—and do they have the right to remain fabulous, as that guy on the Style Network always says? Well, if they can afford it, sure…but even if they couldn't, now they can! :-D

Now seriously, this new and very sneaky use of computer technology and copycat tailoring is undeniably a cause for alarm if you are or aspire to be a high-end fashion designer…but it also makes an interesting point about the economics of style: it has been said that there are two kinds of consumer stupidity: buying something just because it’s on sale, or buying something just because it’s really expensive. The first just wants the item just because it costs so little, and the second one wants it just because it costs so much. But to return to some of the ideas of my recent deliberately cynical take on fashion and beauty, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yeah, and really, how much can clothes and makeup—or lack of time spent on one’s clothes and makeup—change the onlooker’s level of attraction to the person he (or she) sees?

I once heard someone say, to the agreement of several guys and girls listening, that on the scale of 1 -10, a person’s “margin of control” over their own attractiveness can only ever be made one point higher or one point lower than his or her ordinary “level.” This is to say that, even with only a few hours a sleep and no time spent on grooming, that a person is only one point below their normal level; but that, on the converse side, after five hours with a team of professional stylists, they can only increase to one point above their normal level. Plastic surgery is another matter altogether, and I’m not counting that here, despite the continually increasing rate at which people, mainly women of course, are getting such procedures done—and the mainstream fashion magazines now regularly run articles about it and certainly refer to the phenomenon several times in every issue. Now, whether or not I agree with that "1 - 10" theory of that aforementioned judge of beauty—and we are all judges in the runway show of public life—is one thing, but what I do agree with is the assessment of 1930s designer Elsa Schiaparelli, who said that “Women dress alike all over the world: they dress to be annoying to other women.” And, in giving the male perspective on this subject, I myself have once pointed out that:

"The core of high fashion, or luxury, is ostentatious redundancy. How much of a difference does it make to a man if the perfect-faced, perfect-bodied 18-year-old girl he looks at is wearing an orange cotton bikini that cost $2, or one made of embroidered silk that cost $2,000? It is a case of one-upmanship between women in that imaginary global beauty pageant that goes on amongst them, very much unbeknownst to guys. Nay, we should perhaps call it one-upwomanship…ergh." (“Fashion, Money, and Power!”)

Indeed that premise underlies the thinking behind the Swedish-based clothing brand H&M, who aim to sell trendy and in-style clothes for extremely low prices. When H&M expanded to America in early 2000, it promoted the opening of its new stores with a campaign featuring top supermodel Claudia Schiffer in underwear that were indicated as costing no more than 10, 15, and 25 dollars, but regardless of however affordable those bras and panties may have been, there was somewhat of a crime wave happening at stores and malls across the east coast, in which the ad-posters and billboards were actually being stolen! I myself can remember being in college and taking to the bus to the local mall, and when I stepped off the bus, I remember seeing one of these ads behind the glass of the bus shelter...and a few hours later, when I was walking back to the bus stop, I saw that the glass had been pried open, and that the poster was missing! I just did a Google search on this, and the first result was a news report about how it—only the story was not about it happening in America, but in Germany! Here's the tidbit, from December of 2000 (evidently the ads appeared in Europe after America):

Claudia Schiffer’s biggest fan base is her home country of Germany, Her latest underwear campaign for H&M has caused havoc all over the country, so much so that in Frankfurt, 300 display cases holding her posters have been broken into and the posters stolen. There is also concern that billboard posters of her scantily dressed are causing traffic accidents, with male drivers not keeping their eyes on the road ahead. (Source)

Anyway, H&M has been very successful in the States, and has continued to get top models to do campaigns for them (though none causing the same controversy), and has gotten several well-known designers to do collections for them—namely Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld, Viktor & Rolf, and later this fall, Roberto Cavalli. Lagerfeld’s relationship with the franchise went awry when he found out that they had taken his designs and made them in size larger than those he had specified: "What I designed was fashion for slender and slim people," he said. And he had a lot more to say than that, as reported by FashionUnited.co.uk at the time:

Lagerfeld offended by H&M - November 22, 2004

German designer Karl Lagerfeld's collaboration with mass retailer H&M has left behind a bitter aftertaste. Lagerfeld has expressed his disappointment in the Swedish retailer's limited sales policy of the collection he designed for the chain.

Accusing H&M of snobbery, he expressed his distaste for the manner in which limited number of his designs were produced. By limiting the amount of creations, H&M were going against Lagerfeld's principle for designing for the chain retailer. His aim had been to make his designs available to the masses, but instead H&M had tried to create an exclusive line within their operation. Lagerfeld was infuriated by the fact that many people had missed out on the opportunity to purchase his creations. "I don't think it is very kind, especially for people in small towns and countries in eastern Europe. It is snobbery created by anti-snobbery," Lagerfeld told Stern magazine.

Lagerfeld was also angered by the retailer's decision to produce the designs in larger sizes. He said that he had created the clothes for slim people. Lagerfeld himself lost 42 kilograms two years ago and revels in finally being able to wear Hedi Slimane designs [The aptly named Slimane was the chief designer for Dior Homme until this year—and here's what I'm referring to]. The Lagerfeld for H&M designs are already being sold for higher prices on internet, much to the amusement of the designer.

Lagerfeld To Apologise - November 28, 2004

Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld has been ordered to apologise to British women after claiming they are too fat for his clothes. The designer threw a hissy fit when high street chain H&M made his designs bigger to fit the average British woman, who is a size 16. He complained they had been created for 'slim, slender people'. Now H&M directors are demanding he apologise for insulting their customers. (Source) As a sidenote, I was unable to find anything that either confirmed or denied whether he retracted his comments. So that's pretty much that, I guess...and now...

Related References You May Find Interesting... ;-D

A brief and very funny perspective on the weight issue, which was buzzing around in the media for a whole two weeks or so, last fall: "Karl Is At It Again"

Marilyn Monroe and Plastic Surgery: Was She the One Who Started It All?!?

And here are the jaw-dropping pictures you've been waiting to see (scroll down!). Note how the guy who posted the pictures actually mentioned the story about the ads too, LOL. Anyway, thank you. Or rather, you're welcome.

And as far as how much guys ought to concern themselves with their own appearance, I quote Serbian proverb which says that, “A husband is judged by his wife's face, and a wife by the appearance of her husband's clothes." Speaking of which: "Extreme Makeover: Boring Pathetic Wanker Edition" (Indeed!)

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