Monday, January 3, 2011

Mélancolie urbaine.

(Before I lay out all my thoughts, I'll let you know that this post might seem lacklustre to you possible reader since it all in all hasn't much to do with the substance I've picked out to accompany my writing. Consider yourself forewarned - and apologies for this!)

I've been hell-bent on being a loyal purchaser of Vogue Paris through thick and thin, and I might not regret it when I'm back to poring over old issues of mine within the years to come. Yesterday I randomly fell upon their June 2005 issue, which had been tucked away in a shelve of mine probably since I got it. I can actually remember buying it off eBay in 2007 just for collection's sake, for both the cover and contents looked pretty coarse to me back then (and to be frank, over-tanned Demi Moore is still not the most appealing sales argument Carine has come up with).

Well, all in all, this encounter with the magazine proved to be a much more enjoyable experience than I thought it would be. I'm in a kind-hearted mood enough not to expound upon the infamous lieu commun "[back issues of magazines] are like wine they get better with time" but this saying is a great summation of the first thoughts that crossed my mind. I was definitely shown that you can't fully soak up the current fashion when caught up within the whirlwind of trends that rages as of the moment. You grow cognizant of the fashionable quality of magazines / collections a certain number of seasons after they hit the shelves / runways, when you can finally value them for what they are and not what you were expecting or willing them to be. The rediscovery of this issue actually took on an introspective significance as I was reminded the fashion enthusiast I was back in 2007.

It was peculiar to find myself gazing at pictures I would have literally disdained four years ago, while some of the pictures that used to leave me awestruck felt incredibly trite within my page-turning. For instance I laid eyes on one of the shot of the Chanel Spring / Summer 2005 campaign which I used to glorify - not only did I feel a tangible aversion to it this time around, but it also learned me why I've kind of hated most of location-shot Chanel campaigns of this past decade. If Karl's going to shoot outside, he can at least decides on doing so in France because - take a d-e-e-p breath - Chanel was born in France before being the widely-spread brand it is known to be nowadays. Not that I am uptightly patriotic, not that Lagerfeld should be burnt at the stake for displaying Chanel clothes in New York, but I still find myself a little appaled at people's unwillingness to stick to their roots - in general that is. Globalization was pleasant before starting to take away the cachet and idiosyncracy of every country, before bringing to being a flat and overpowering world culture (which I'm fully complicit in, much to my dismay). And while Vogue Paris dedicating an issue to American fashion (as they have done in regards to Russia, Brasil or China) seems to me like an in-depth study written from a French point of view, a Chanel campaign lensed in South America or Los Angeles appears like crossing out the French spirit that is full part of the brand.

On a brighter note, I was positively thrilled that my soft spot for this editorial of Daria's hasn't died out after all these years. Photographed by Mario Sorrenti and styled by Emmanuelle Alt, I love it for its self-reflective quality, which is eminently patent on the shot of Mrs Werbowy with her head affectedly leaning forward. The detachment portrayed all throughout the story could easily come around in us mere mortals' life. This is one of these lonesome moments you experience when you retreat back into yourself and ponder over your existence : your past, your future, but your present above all. What you are, what life and your surroundings have made you grown into and what you would have liked to grow into. In spite of the laid-back styling and Daria's nonchalant persona coming through, the story isn't devoid of tension. The casualness of this all collides with the intricacy of the process that goes into self-analysis, which is itself mirrored through the travel between frownings and eased-up expressions (for musings can be as soothing as desolating). This is such an enchanting editorial in that there is a storyline underneath all this sleek leather and raw denim and you can get a sense of a wide spectrum of emotions. Every shot can stand on its own in addition to working in concert with the other ones.

Spreads such as this one are delectable reminders about Vogue Paris not always being the forcedly tongue-in-cheek publication it tends to be mistaken for. Carine started latching onto the over-sexualized aesthetic that has come to characterize the magazine as a whole towards the second midst of her editorship. Prior to that, you'd get Liya Kebede by Corinne Day or Jessica Miller by Sorrenti within one issue, an no trace of Terry Richardson arising from it to boot. I find it really saddening that Mrs. Roitfeld intended so determinedly to make her stamp by founding (and limiting) her work upon recycling oh-so-hype stereotypes as to French people being free-spirited not shying away from cigarettes and erotism all the while beating up dress codes and managing to look classy doing so. It may have come off as daring and invigorating to begin with, but by dint of using up this cliché, this publication got stale and try-hard, it gradually lost its witty substance. Whoever the new editor in chief will be, I hope with all my might they drift away from the road Carine Roitfeld went down in her last days, and get the magazine back to being effortlessly risky with a twist of intellect.

source : via kasper! @ tFS


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