The High Fashion Look

10:04 AM

I'm sure this is something you have heard or read by now and honestly it wasn't something I was going to write a whole post about. I had a mini rant on the matter on my personal Facebook which quelled my frustrations. It wasn't until yesterday when I ran into a friend of mine who expressed that she would love to read a full fleshed out piece on my thoughts, that I thought maybe it's something I should consider writing. I don't want to beat a dead horse but perhaps a greater discussion on this is important.

A few days ago Gigi Hadid was assaulted when leaving the Max Mara fashion show en route to her next runway at Fendi. She was happily taking photos with fans, smiling, when suddenly a man grabbed her and lifted her off the ground without her consent. She did what any woman would do or should do in this situation, she defended herself. Most press came out in support of Gigi - few however choose to use language that described Gigi as "lashing out" and "not having model behavior." To claim a women is "lashing out" against someone, in a move that is clearly self defense, simply shows that there is this expectation that women should be docile even in the face of dangerous or uncomfortable situations.

Originally labeled as a fan, the man in questioned turned out to be a notorious 'prankster' a word I use extremely loosely as most of his 'pranks' involve sexually assaulting or interjecting himself in places without context on what the purpose is. His statement made to The Hollywood Reporter is that:

While I consider Gigi Hadid beautiful, she and her friend Kendall Jenner have nothing to do with high fashion. By doing this, I encourage the fashion industry to put true talents on the runway and Vogue covers instead of well-connected cute girls from Instagram.

You can call it a manifest or a protest. This is also a wake-up call for Anna Wintour, who turned Vogue into a tabloid by putting Kardashians and other similar celebrities on a cover of a well-respected magazine.
For starters I don't understand how anyone would have got all of that out of picking someone up off the ground. Regardless, I don't care what your opinion is on Gigi Hadid or Kendall Jenner or any of the Karadashians is. You have every right to dislike someone, but that dislike does not give you a free pass to assault them. To think that it is okay to do this to any woman and then try to spin this as some bullshit 'protest' movement is ridiculous. What is also more surprising to me, and not that Gigi needed them, but she was surrounded by men that could have came to her aid (and women) and not one did. You can argue that, oh well this was harmless this guy just was messing around. Yes this time it was, but what about next time? Or what if it wasn't? 

Women, every single day, innately have their guards up.  They get catcalled - and grin and bear it. They get harassed and hit on aggressively - and lie that they are in relationships to avoid the unwanted attention. They look out for other women by directing them, that are in uncomfortable situations, out. They are expected to be sweet, nice, and pleasant at all times and the second they are not they are called bitches. They are ignored and described by the men they associate with instead of their own achievements. They are judged as not as intelligent, strong or capable simply because of their gender. In short, I am tired of seeing articles that paint strong women in a negative light or sell them short. 

But for a second, let's entertain this 'prankster'. Let's ask: Is Gigi Hadid (and by association Kendall Jenner) high fashion? Do they deserve to walk runways, be in Vogue, and have the followers they have? 

The concept of what constitutes as a 'high fashion look' is constantly evolving. The standards of beauty are always changing. This can be a wonderful, and frustrating thing. What was considered the ideal look 30, 40 years ago is completely different today. This doesn't diminish their beauty but just what the fashion world wants, what inspires them. There has always been a sort of "social media" following, but obviously appropriate for the technology of the times. 

Evelyn Nesbit, who based on her widespread fame, would have been considered (and in my opinion is) a super model by today's standards. In the 20th century everywhere you looked you would see the face (and figure) of Evelyn. On newspapers, magazines, advertisements, calendars, beer trays, playing cards, postcards, etc etc. Sound familiar?

We won't go through every decade but very, very much later you have the era of the 'Glamazons' tall, leggy curvy models. From Evelyn to Naomi Campbell is a dramatic change in terms of high fashion. We then move from the Glamazons to Kate Moss. Considered flat chested, short, and skinny she was the complete opposite of Naomi and Cindy Crawford. No one, at that time, expected her to become the force that she did and the icon that she is today. More relevant for now: Cara Delevingne was also considered too short, odd looking, and was described as a 'dwarf' by Marc Jacobs. She became a it model, heralded as the next Kate Moss, with millions of girls wanting her thick eyebrows. 

Who cares if Gigi and Kendall have a million followers, who cares if they come from famous families? From my perspective they both seem like incredibly hard workers in their fields and beautiful women. They represent the era we are in now, the era of social media. You may mock it, but this is the time we are in - and this is what sells. Ultimately while fashion is an art it's also a commodity. If Karl likes them, they are okay by me. 

(Photo from Harper's Bazaar May 2015)

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