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23 February 2013

Unintentional peacocking

 A blogger looking very understated, not a peacock feather in sight.
A non-blogger, not dressed in a understated fashion...probably not just to get shot my Tommy Ton.
However, both photos are from Jak&Jil, take from that what you wish.

Everyone and their grandma has seen that Suzy Menkes article on, essentially, how bloggers are degrading the elegance of fashion week. Everyone and their blog has commented on it, retorts ranging from outrage to fair sided debates. At first, just like many bloggers, I was outraged at what Menkes was implying. Certain editors dress no less frivolous than certain bloggers, and to lay the blame on bloggers feels lazy and somewhat indignant. Gosh forbid ‘real’ industry members may commit such a crime as starting a trend of overdressing for Fashion Week. If anything, blogs serve as proof that slightly quirkier bloggers like Susie Bubble  are not in fact ‘peacocking’, but have a tendency towards the obscure every day, that is their style not a motive. And thus, their style does not affect their ability to have a valid, intelligent point of view. Needless to say, Menkes may have an underlying point. Having attended London Fashion Week myself, there is a certain stigma based around the idea that the crazier you dress, the more publicity you’re bound to receive. There will always be ‘attention seekers’ at any event, at any time. Whether a street style photographer wants to gratify that is their prerogative. So yes, I was rather irked by Menkes accusations that not only solely blamed bloggers, but also that she wrote as though bloggers in themselves are one entity worthy of disdain. If you want to claim that I am essentially Leandra Medine, I’d take it (gladly) but we are not all the same, and to assume so is ignorant. 

However, what really caught my attention was the picture at the end of the article whereby Menkes states that the French editors laid back style is true fashion. Essentially claiming that understated style is the only way you can not be accused of street style seeking.
Well, of course, it’s one type of fashion. It’s a wonderful style and should you wish to dress like Emmanuelle Alt then by all means, Parisian yourself away. It would be impossible to deny though that Menkes article implies that people who are inclined to dress perhaps on the quirkier side are all peacocking. If a woman wants to wear cat ears to fashion week, it’s ridiculous to judge that as her ‘fashion week’ attire; you have no knowledge of how she may dress on a daily basis. Those cat ears may in fact be the smallest of her collection, you can’t hear her potentially say to her friend ‘Gosh, do you think these ears are too much? You should have seen the ones I wore to Tesco last week, a baby started crying they were so sparkly!”. You shouldn't pass any assumption to her motives, because I assume on scientific merit that you do not possess accurate mind reading skills.

Just because a woman does not dress a certain way, that should not lead to a judgement that she is less fashionable or that she is only dressing that way to ‘peacock’ her way onto On a smaller scale, Menkes has rather ignorantly offended bloggers; on a slightly larger scale, she’s offended everyone who does not dress French. Fashion used to be about expressing a sense of personality and individual style, but it seems that Menkes wishes industry insiders to dress as an untouchable clan as she raises the question "If fashion is for everyone, is it fashion?". Thus hinting that her bitter tone resonates less with disdain, more with a resentment that the industry has become more accessible. As one designer comments on the post 'Your opinion is valued, Ms Menkes, but we have no need of gatekeepers'. I am neither dressed in furry Margiela headgear, nor clad head to toe in 'fashion-anonymous' black, but I am a blogger. If that makes me a species of bird (read: peacock) then perhaps you ought to retake high school Biology.

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  1. I guess Menkes likes simple chic outfits and she's judging everybody else who doesn't fit the description. I don't know about everybody else, but we all know for sure, that ADR is dressing that way since the combination of the words "street style" wasn't even invented. And it also offends me when she assumes that fashion is not for everybody...

  2. Just read the article. She should really come down from that pedestal of hers! Love your post though - really well written!


  3. This is a great post! I think she needs to address, or at least think about, the definition of style in comparison to fashion.

  4. Menkes just got burned

  5. Really interesting post ! The fashion world is no longer the same since the arrival of internet, but we are moving forward, it's a new way of learning, and discovering individualities. It's a really interesting debate, and I remember that Scott Schuman and Garance Doré mentioned it in one of the episode of Pardon My French !
    Have a nice week end xx

    PS : OMG I loved your Marrakesh Video :D ! I used to love the one that you had on youtube and I kind of miss them ;)

  6. Loved your post, but laughed really hard at the last sentence! Brilliant as usual :)

  7. The claws are out! Love it, I believe you are very, very right.

  8. This post is really good Camilla ! I wanted, at first, to let you know that I really enjoyed your new posts lately. It's still about fashion but you're expressing yourself more and I think it's cool you're not restraining yourself to only pretty picture.
    "If fashion is for everyone, is it fashion?" this sentence also shocked me, a lot !
    You go girl !

    Fragment de Style

  9. really well written! Please write more of these article-type posts, they're so good! x

  10. that gatekeeping thing is exactly what makes her look that bitter. she may rather write: if fashion week is for everyone, it isn't as exclusive as it should be - well, it's 2013 and she better get used to girls next doors sitting next to her front row...

  11. true... I hate that judgement !!!
    fashion is imagination, every one can wear a skirt with the pants in the one style, No rule in imagination.
    And that's amazing :D


  12. Really interesting post I was reading simultaneously your post and Menke's one I agree with you 1000 times that on Menke's really poor judgment.

  13. I completely agree, lovely response Camilla. Menkes definitely had poor judgement in writing such a piece but as a result of it we get beautifully written, intelligent responses from bloggers such as yourself,

    Chloe x

  14. fur cap !!! awesome ♥

  15. Oh my god you've said exactly how i feel!! What a great article. I love that you said menkes is clumping all bloggers together and yes I too will be so happy to be Leandra lol. I don't understand how someone so big like Suzy would write such a awful piece, esp someone who's experienced that much exposure to fashion week. I believe she's probably had some unfortunate experiences with bloggers, either seeing them blag their way or them clutter up the show space, but there's some subtext hate in her voice towards bloggers. And I really hated the way it ended, with images of Alt dressing 'normally' and 'french'. Has she even considered not everyone is 5'10 with long legs that can pull off every piece? If we should all dress french, designers shouldn't bother experimenting with textiles or shapes, because that would make us peacocks (I hate this word now...). OMG, how did we not see each other at fashion week, grrrr!!!!! Would still lurve to chat over fashion with you over fash-y coffee! <3 Btw, I've just upload my selection of street style shots I personally took from London Fashion Week, do tell me what you think on whether or not you approve of these street provokers.

    xx The Provoker

  16. I would totally agree. Frankly by 'peacocking' you're not going to make your way onto anyway; surely one is far more likely to gain attention from serious members of the industry by embracing the Parisian style of Alt. Bloggers etc whom opt for more unique and expressive outfits perhaps don't do it to get 'snapped' its just like you say: it's an expression of our style!


  17. Very well written, completely agree!

  18. Wow.
    Thanks for putting so much thought into this post. IT was a great read, and really eloquently stated. I respect everything you've said, and think that you've made a fantastic point about the difference between dressing weird for an occasion and dressing weird on a daily basis.

    That's a HUGE distinction I haven' tyet heard anyone make. Obviously ms. Medine has been dressing "weird" for quite a while, and actually, it seems, limits her fashion week ensembles quite a bit. They're actually a perfect example of the 'cat ears' scenario you illustrate above.

    You know what this article has led me to believe? That Menkes is in fact a Frenchophile (or Parisianphile at least), dreaming, like many do, of one day emulating the I-don't-care aesthetic of those Parisian women. We all have our idols, it just so happens that Ms. Menkes' are monochromatically clothed French women.

    And THANK you for highlighting that fantastic reader comment. holy kamole. What a brilliant little bit of wording. love it.

    Wonderful wonderful read. I think you're a marvelous writer.


  19. I see what Suzy Menkes is saying and it does bug me when people dress so crazy it's just not stylish (my opinion) just to get photographed. However, half these people might not even BE bloggers anyway, and most of the bloggers I love don't dress like that at all. Like you said, of course you can't lump all of them together.

    Also, what about designers like Vivianne Westwood and John Galliano- haven't they always dressed and designed clothes that are 'out there'? I'm pretty sure they've been around before blogging!

    Great response to the article, I really like your writing style :)

  20. PREACH! Keep doing posts like this I am a no.1 fan of your writing sista

    Shope xx

  21. Loved reading your thoughts on this, you are such a great writer!! I wear mouse ears to my workplace and I work in an office full of academics :) x

  22. best article I've read in a long long time! Camilla, your writing style is beyond amazing! :)
    Love it! Keep it up. Like seriously, it's amazing :D
    Love Lois xxx

  23. like the stunning black jacket in the first pic.


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