People make a Big Deal about the homogenization of beauty standards as beauty and fashion go global, but there’s also a countertrend lately of alternative models. Casey Legler had been an Olympic swimmer before she found her way into working as an artist, but along the way she’s been experimenting with her looks – and becoming friends with photographers as well. So when Cass Bird asked her to pose as the man in a fashion spread, well, why not? Now she’s signed to Ford Models on the men’s board, and as the industry’s first known female “male model”, has some interesting things to say about the fluidity of expression. Drink Black Water has an excellent interview with the artist/model about collaborating with fashion teams, and there’s a great video interview at Time as well. As for the longevity of this trend, Legler’s not making claims: “This is a unique little moment that fashion is allowing to have happen.” Time. Drink Black Water.
- Another “little moment” in alternative fashion modelling: 72-year old Liu Xianping was helping his granddaughter unpack clothing for her online fashion boutique, and started giving out his opinions on how to put the outfits together. They decided to shoot him in the outfits, and a star was born: the store’s sales have quintupled since Liu started modelling, and both he and his granddaughter are having a blast. He tells NY Daily News: “Why unacceptable?…I’m very old and all that I care about is to be happy.” See the adorable pictures at the link, just don’t watch the video, unless you want to be subjected to extreme “lookyloo-lifestyle” stupidity. NY Daily News.
- Every time there’s a public scandal about male infidelity, there’s a rash of speculation about “why he did it”. And that speculation so often points at the beauty – or plainness – of his wife. General Petraeus is no exception, especially as his wife has the audacity to “look her age”. Never minding the fact that we do not all age in equally graceful manner (and that women cheat as well), why do we so often assume that cheating is about the wronged partner’s looks? Autumn of The-Beheld writes about the role of beauty in discussion infidelity, and posits that it may be part of reducing a complex set of fears into something more simple: “I can’t help but think that maybe we want beauty and cheating to be linked. Because if they’re not, the statistics on infidelity are just too depressing.” The-Beheld.
- Fast fashion may be easy on the wallet, but it can be hard for the environment: even though the United States and Europe have banned the most hazardous chemicals involved in the textile industry, centers of production in more lax countries such as China and Mexico will include them if it helps get the right products to market. Greenpeace has tested 20 brands of clothing, and found that many should look more closely at what manufacturers in their supply chains are doing. The chemicals – the worst among them hormone-disrupting pthalates and carcinogenic azo dyes – seep into the waterways where they’re produced, as well as into the waterways where affluent consumers do their laundry. And while some manufacturers – such as H&M and Marks&Spencer – are working to make their clothing more environmentally safe, others – such as Zara, which came in third place as the most toxic – remain mum on the subject. The Business of Fashion.
- With all the instances of inappropriate Native American “homage” popping up lately, wouldn’t it be handy if someone came up with a list of more appropriate choices? Well, Dr. Jessica R. Metcalfe at Beyond Buckskin has officially launched a campaign to Buy Native this holiday season, and will be blogging her attempts to buy only Native-produced gifts this year. She also includes a nice list of designers and producers for perusal, including the Beyond Buckskin boutique, which features a selection of upscale clothing and jewelry designs. Beyond Buckskin.
In pictures: There’s no doubting that Jerry Hall was a supermodel in every sense of the word. Not only did she work the top jobs of her day and play rock stars against each other in love (she’s muse and cover model behind the tortured beauty of Roxy Music’s Siren), she was out and about in the clubs, making a stir with pals like Antonio Lopez and Grace Jones. Kay Montano writes a belated teenage valentine to a woman we all wished we could be when we grew up, and includes tons of Polaroids taken by Antonio Lopez and Andy Warhol – casual reminders of how innately glamorous Jerry really is. Kay.