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Stylin' 944

Author: Alyx Gorman
Tuesday, 24 February 2009

NEWS
Two weeks after the Telegraph proved what an upstanding and high quality publication it was by calling Gemma Ward a ‘roll model [sic]’ on its front page, the media furore still rages. It started on blogs like Frockwriter and The Fashion Spot forums, before moving back into the mainstream with an article in the Australian that delicately declined to name the offending newspaper, even as it wagged its fraternal finger. The original article sleazily attributed Gemma’s weight gain to the loss of Heath Ledger – and fair enough too, if an Olsen twin killed our boyfriend we’d bury our face in pie and never come out again – lingering over the idea of a once-super model who is now fat and grieving. The story came with candid shots taken on a long lens camera that showed Gemma walking up the beach. They were taken from an angle that flatters no one, and had the same furtive, desperate quality as a famed photo of Bigfoot. The Australian and others have been quick to point out the Telegraph’s hypocrisy for running the images, given the paper has been snarking about too-thin models for years. Personally we don’t think this is hypocritical at all – whether it be shaming models for weight gain, or blaming them for eating disorders – both kinds of stories have the same message at heart: It’s okay to exploit young women’s bodies to sell newspapers.

Speaking of exploiting young women’s bodies to sell things, it seems Miley Cyrus can’t put on clothes without coming under fire for her fashion choices (she tried going naked too, but that made everyone even madder). I haven’t seen a single picture of the Disney tween that isn’t accompanied by some sort of comment on her outfit’s age appropriateness. The two main gripes are that her clothes are too slutty, or too matronly. Given how actual sixteen year-olds in the real world dress, people should probably drop the slutty line and just feel glad she’s not wearing a cropped, stained, baby-doll tee that says ‘Child stars do it better.’ As for too matronly – we think that Sarah Palin outfit she wore at the ‘We Are The Future’ Disney concert was excellent marketing, given the pair share the same target audience and mental age.

To conclude this very special “little girls” edition of the Stylin’ news, in America everyone’s favourite First Family can clear out department stores faster than Kate Moss, Blake Lively and Agyness Deyn combined. Dozens of American media outlets are reporting that the Obama daughters, Sasha and Malia are new fashion forces. Any item of clothing the pair is seen wearing in public instantly flies off the racks. In fact, the little black dress Sasha sported on election night was so popular that the manufacturers changed the garment’s name to Sasha. We’re wondering if kid-sized boxes from Bergdorf’s and Bendel’s are beginning to pile up in the White House, because right now, dressing the first daughters seems like the best advertising money can’t buy. This craze is good news for the new President – he’s giving the flagging retail market a boost without even trying.

FEATURE
DRESSED UP
Cinderella must have had some serious mojo going to rustle up that last minute ball gown. But what did she do with it after Prince Charming slid that glass slipper on her- We don’t have confirmation, but we’re guessing she stuffed it in the back of Her Royal Closet. All those mouse-hours wasted! Had she been a little less keen to force her furry friends into slave labor, perhaps she would have visited dressedup.com.au and just rented her designer duds – every guy at the ball was probably doing it. We caught up with the website’s founder Serena Ross to find out a little more about her dresses for hire.

Tell us a bit about how Dressed Up works-
Dressed up is a designer dress hire website. You can borrow your favourite designer dresses for a special occasion, without having to part with the funds required to purchase the dress.

Where did the idea come from-

I have always been a lover of designer fashion and my wardrobe is a graveyard of beautiful dresses which have only been worn once. I just thought, ‘there has to be a better way.’ I think the dress hire concept is one which is long overdue and something that women everywhere have been waiting for.

Men’s suits have been available for rent for years, why do you think women’s rentals are only just coming about now-
With the financial crisis in Australia women are looking for ways to look great without spending the money they used to. In the past women have been happier to spend the money and wear something once, with the launch dressedup.com.au they have embraced the idea of wearing a different outfit every week for a fraction of the price they used to pay.

How does renting compare to buying in terms of cost-
The cost of renting is approximately 1/5 of the price of buying a dress. So you can have five dresses to wear to five different occasions for the price of one!

What are some of your favorite pieces at the moment-

My favourite piece is the Manning Cartell Swan Maiden dress. It’s perfect for summer and I have an extra one which I keep at home just for me!

Which labels do you stock- Will you be getting in more labels soon-

Dressed Up stocks Manning Cartell, White Suede, Illionaire, Wayne Cooper, Nicola Finetti, Camilla & LifewithBird. We are adding Rachel Gilbert in the coming months and international designers later this year.

Dressed Up is pretty unique in the Australian market, is dress rental more common overseas-
Dress rental for the formal market has been around for years, but hiring designer dresses is a fairly new concept both in Australia and worldwide.

Which pieces are you most excited about for winter-
Rachel Gilbert has some beautiful winter dresses. I can’t wait for them to arrive.

Have you had any dresses come back with mysterious stains- Are your dry cleaning bills crazy-
Yes I have had almost everything spilt on our dresses, strawberry daiquiries, grease, gum, beer… you name it; it has been on the dresses. Most things can be dry cleaned out though. Yes, I am by far my dry cleaners’ best customer.

What would your dream range of labels be-
All my current labels plus Sass & Bide, Collette Dinnigan, Alice + Olivia, Christian Dior, Celine, Lisa Ho, Nina Ricci, Missoni and Dolce & Gabanna.

What do you wear when you go out to formal events-
At the moment I am wearing beautiful maxi dresses from Wayne Cooper and Camilla.

PROFILE
POSTER BOY
Now and then we all deface posters. Whether it be sharpie-ing drool onto a least favourite actress’s face or writing obscenities across the pectorals of an underwear model, the urge to make our mark on advertisements can sometimes be irresistible. But now we’ve found someone who’s actually pretty good at it.

Meet Poster Boy, New York’s anonymous street artist de jour and our new pretend boyfriend. Armed only with a cheap blade, Poster Boy dissects and rebuilds the advertisements that line New York’s subways. Thanks to the material subway billboards are made from, they can be sliced up, peeled off and slapped elsewhere, just like reusable stickers, and it is this that allows Poster Boy to make his art, fast. What he’s doing is technically illegal, so like Banksy before him, he’s chosen to remain anonymous, but that hasn’t stopped him doing the occasional interview. In a New York Magazine profile he revealed that his work is inspired by the writings of Orwell and Chomsky, and that the aim of his art is to create a copyright free movement where any young artist can assume the identity of Poster Boy… then he got flicked off by a 16 year-old boy who was copying his style.

This anti-corporate sentiment is something our least-favourite media teacher would refer to as ‘culture jamming’, but we kind of prefer words like ‘funny’ and ‘diverting’ to describe it.  We’d beg for people to start mimicking his art here, but sadly our stations are still covered with paste and paper pin-ups. For more of Poster Boy’s work, visit his FlickR page: flickr.com/photos/26296445@N05.


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