Thursday, May 03, 2007

British Reviewer Says Go Away To The Celebrity-hyped And Throwaway

"Women need to learn to trust their own tastes, to forge their own style and, perhaps, to think about investing in something they really love rather than spending money on something they have been told they should love."

In their ongoing efforts to capitalize on celebritymania--both in England and across the pond--the cheap-and-chic British boutique chain Topshop retained model and (allegedly) recovering cocaine addict Kate Moss to design a line of clothing that would reflect her eclectic and oft-admired personal style. And while the hype was successful in drawing huge crowds to the chain's flagship boutique in London Monday, it couldn't suppress the tidal wave of disappointment that flooded through fitting rooms and fashion columns alike. Liz Jones at the Daily Mail had this to say:

Monday night on Oxford Circus will go down in fashion history as the moment British women woke up to the fact that we have all been thoroughly duped.

Even the most sensible and sceptical among us - ie me - had been seduced by the tremendous amount of hype surrounding the new collection for Topshop "designed" by Kate Moss.

I turned up at 6pm on Monday to stake my claim outside the flagship store with hundreds of other women, all confident in the knowledge we would soon emerge stylish, cutting edge and envied - and all without having spent too much money. How wrong could we have been?


We gazed at the giant billboards featuring Kate in all her honey-toned glory and planned what we were going to buy. It was only once we got inside that the reality hit home.

The Kate Moss boutique in the basement reminded me of those really tacky, dingy shops in Camden, North London, that sell cruddy T-shirts and lots of awful studded belts.

Fears that the items I had coveted before I arrived - the Lurex halterneck dress Kate wore on the cover of Vogue, the shiny, mannish trouser suit and long tuxedo dress she was photographed wearing inside the magazine - would be sold out were unfounded.

There were millions of each item squashed on the rails, which made me think the whole KM range was not going to be as exclusive as we had been led to believe.

Faced with the 20-minute deadline, most women were panic-buying, and failing to try anything on. It was all remarkably clever: the build-up meant we were desperate to shop, even if most of what we saw was badly made, in horrible synthetic fabrics and dingy colours.

What was an ordinary ribbed cotton vest top doing in here? Or a pair of tiny denim hot pants you can buy anywhere?

Earlier in the evening, Kate Moss herself had been spotted briefly in the shop window in an orange maxi dress with butterfly sleeves, and you could tell that even she was desperate to tear it off and slip into something by Gucci.


The morning after, in a series of e-mails, all the shoppers I spoke to on Monday night were feeling rather ridiculous that they had bought into such a clever marketing ploy, and queued for up to five hours to get their hands on a few scraps of denim and polyester.

"I felt so silly when I got home, tired and bloody broke," a 30-year-old called Layla told me.

But what on earth does the hysteria say about British women? Have we been so deluged with cheap, instantaneous, disposable fashion that we have lost our minds? Have we lost all sense of reason and rationality, of what is important and what is actually worth aspiring to in life?

Are young women really in thrall to a skinny model with not one O-level to her name, who has admitted to rarely walking down the catwalk without at least two glasses of champagne inside her; who dates a serial junkie and whose only talent is to look good in clothes put on her back by highly skilled stylists before she is airbrushed into oblivion?

Well, yes, on the evidence of Monday night, they are.

The queue of desperate young women proved that we really do buy into all the garbage the glossy magazines tell us - not one publication has dared to publish anything remotely negative about the new collection, so terrified are they of losing advertising revenue or their 40 per cent Topshop discount cards or the chance to put Kate on a future cover.

So we now believe that if we buy this bag or these boots or those hotpants we will not only look like Kate, but will also live a charmed, glamorous life.

Heads up, fellow Stateside fashionphiles: according to this month's Vogue, a boatload of Moss-designed disposable fashion is headed here. But you know, I think I'll stick to my beloved vintage frocks--they're incredibly well-made, and in most cases cost less than a tenth of the price of their new, sewn-together-in-ten-minutes counterparts. I'm kind of old-school that way.

(via HuffPo)

Also at Shakesville.

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