ALEXANDRA SHULMAN’S NOTEBOOK: The rage of the mob in the fashion industry? It’s fashionable

Fashion has long used the power of provocation to promote itself, but times are changing and shock tactics once capable of boosting sales are rebounding on authors.

A furor has erupted over recent Balenciaga ad campaigns that threaten to unseat the company’s head of house, Demna Gvasalia. One shows sad-faced little girls holding teddy bears that have been outfitted in bondage-accented outfits, below. Another features a Balenciaga handbag perched on top of legal documents referencing the US Supreme Court’s child abuse ruling.

With hugely influential brand ambassador Kim Kardashian saying she contemplates her relationship with the fashion company that has given her countless sensational outfits, and with the commentators piling in to offer their condemnatory tuppence, Balenciaga tried to distance herself, blaming the designer set for the controversial images.

It is however inconceivable that the bosses of Balenciaga did not know what was in the photos. As someone who has been involved in creating fashion imagery for many years, ignorance is as unlikely as Santa denying ever seeing a Christmas stocking.

Fashion has long used the power of provocation to promote itself, but times are changing and shock tactics once capable of boosting sales are rebounding on authors. Pictured: Alexandra Shulman

No, the big fashion brands are intensely active when it comes to showing their product to the public. Not a single image would have been released without a black-clad team of top Balenciaga bosses poring over every detail. How big should the padlock around the white teddy bear’s neck be? Should the leather straps be around the wrists and ankles?

There have been countless examples of fashion designers using disturbing imagery to draw attention to their work. In the 1990s, Tom Ford ran a Gucci ad where the female model’s lover shaved the letter G into his pubic hair. John Galliano designed a parade based on homeless bums dressed in newspapers.

A furor has erupted over recent Balenciaga ad campaigns that threaten to unseat the company's head of house, Demna Gvasalia

A furor has erupted over recent Balenciaga ad campaigns that threaten to unseat the company’s head of house, Demna Gvasalia

But in today’s more puritanical era, Demna is now on the grid. Will luxury goods conglomerate Kering, which fired popular Alessandro Michele from Gucci last month, consider him too much of a liability?

We now live in a different culture and these sales tactics are under different scrutiny. Audiences that once enjoyed a disruptive, edgy, and sometimes obnoxious tone are now far more critical, scrutinizing everything for any perceived potential injustice. Social media allows everyone to join the screaming crowd.

These images are certainly unpleasant. They have no validity. But I wonder if the current knee-jerk, angry clamor – with a society so terribly enthusiastic in a rush to pull the trigger – is a good thing.

A royal loyalty that counted for nothing

A different world perhaps, but there is a similarity between Balenciaga’s outcry and that of Lady Susan Hussey’s unfortunate conversation with Ngozi Fulani at a reception at Buckingham Palace. It was certainly misjudged and condescending, but Lady Susan has obviously served the Royal Family, and in particular the late Queen, tirelessly. The idea that she deliberately tried to have Ms Fulani ‘deny’ her British citizenship is clearly nonsense.

Whether or not the Palace kicked Lady Susan out of the fold or her resignation was accepted is unclear, but the immediacy of her departure indicates a mentality where background counts for nothing and years of loyal service are stifled for fear of displeasing. loud commentary.

It’s the season of useless gadgets…

With Christmas comes the dreadful prospect of more things coming to this house. So it was kind of crazy last week to buy a big heated air rail that now has to be stored somewhere.

I can trace the stages of life through gadgets now piled up in a hard to reach place. The juicer bought when my boyfriend was sick and never used it; the patio heater which promised al fresco entertainment on freezing Covid evenings but did not work; the fat-free grill that would help lose weight; the spiralizer that would do something with zucchini. They’re all still hanging around.

For now, I haven’t yet succumbed to the gadget of the day, the air fryer, but it’s 50-50. As I sit in my colorist chair, conversations revolve around current offers on Zara’s website. More recently, I was scrolling through the various air fryers available, encouraged by Melanie who swears by hers. Roast salmon in seconds, she says. Just add a spicy bayou dressing.

Stuck on Meghan’s latest mesmerizing role

With the Sussexes Netflix documentary, may I just remind viewers that Meghan is an actress. What a range this performance allows him. Tears and laughter, dance and consternation, revenge and worry. I just wish I had the strength of mind to miss it.

With the Sussexes Netflix documentary, may I just remind viewers that Meghan is an actress.  What a range this performance allows him.  Pictured: The cover of Harry and Meghan's new Netflix documentary

With the Sussexes Netflix documentary, may I just remind viewers that Meghan is an actress. What a range this performance allows him. Pictured: The cover of Harry and Meghan’s new Netflix documentary

A double first of common sense

Bosses are increasingly ignoring the college degree classification of employees, recognizing instead that there are other markers of whether someone will be an effective worker. As a proud owner of a weak 2:2 I could have told them that, but maybe it’s not such good news for students taking out nearly £30,000 in student loans for what they hope to provide them with a better paying job.

Slim chance that I can eat like you, Brigitte

I wonder how so many politicians stay relatively balanced when they attend so many dinner parties. The Macrons were entertained at the White House last week with Maine lobster and caviar, followed by beef and triple-baked butter potatoes, cheese and orange chiffon cake with roasted pears and fresh cream ice cream. I don’t know how Brigitte Macron manages to fit into her slender Louis Vuitton wardrobe.

When phoning was much smarter

When we only had landlines, we simply dialed someone’s number when we wanted to get in touch. Now that we take our mobiles everywhere, we feel compelled to text to make an appointment to talk to make sure it’s convenient. It was probably easier not to pick up the phone if we didn’t want to answer it.

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