The press followed the dwindling amounts of Labour Party supporters down to bonny Brighton this week, who in turn were there to see Ed, Ed and the rest orate just how they will save the country from its current state of mortal peril. What no one banked on was Miliband and his wife re-enacting the opening stills from a soft-core porno. However joyous I am that Ed has unbuttoned his top button, there was really no need for the photo-op that the Labour Party conference vomited out of its PR-invested underbelly. Also note: Sally Bercow (they let her in?) looking slightly, ahem, mannish; Sadiq Khan doing it right.
NO TIE, DON’T CARE
Full marks to Yvette who says no to the trouser suit and yes to boucle jacket
Justine Thornton spotted out of the arms of her sex-god husband (thumbs up for the earrings); Sally Bercow looking like she’s well up for hitting Brighton freshers week after she’s done with this snooze-fest (thumbs down for the make-up and, well, being Sally Bercow).
Sharp: Is Sadiq Khan our own Obama?
“Did I mention I’m a family man too?!”
There are no words.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post that asked why Ed Miliband has an insatiable need to always wear a red tie. I naively assumed he was the most colour and image-conscious of all the British party leaders. I was wrong.
Step forth, Natalie Bennett. An Aussie who quietly slipped into Caroline Lucas’ shoes as leader of the Green Party last September, Bennett hadn’t really done or said that much on the political scene until the party’s conference in Brighton last week. There, with a powerful lexicon and a will reminiscent of Julia Gillard’s excellent Misogyny speech, she caught onto both UKIP and the Lib Dems’ coattails and milked the dream of a varied, multi-party system. She contended that the Greens are the best alternative to “three virtually indistinguishable neoliberal parties” as they are an ethical, socially-minded party that have the power to compete with the corporate, bloodsucking world. Her hyperbole, not mine.
It all sounds great (and did they mention they want to save the environment at the same time?) but the Green Party’s primary problem is that hardly anyone takes them seriously. Not only are their aims and policies a little unworkable in the current context, but they are in serious need of an image overhaul. Their name conjures visions of hemp, hiking boots, Caroline Lucas being dragged away screaming by police at a fracking protest, and the very worst: vegetarianism. And Natalie Bennett is not doing much on the fashion front to move the party forwards in terms of seriousness.
Just like Miliband and his red, Bennett has her green. She also has her outdated floral blouses, shell-inspired rope necklaces, badly fitted wool suits, fleeces…the list goes on. However nice it is that politicians can theoretically come from all walks of life, they can’t look as if they do. The Green Party is crying out for a leader that won’t look out of place on the front bench at PMQs; someone who can discard the party’s hippy, utopian reputation without sacrificing their core principles. Ironically, Natalie Bennett just looks too much like a Green Party member to fulfill this role.
I recently stumbled upon an incredible article by Colin McDowell entitled ‘Why Fashion Needs its Fourth Estate.’ It commented on the odd lack of real criticism within the industry: if fashion is an art form, where are the fashion critics? Not just the FRowers and the Fashion Editors, but those who – detached from the corporate web of air-kissing – are free to critique. And critique in a way separate from the Olivia Firth’s and Lucy Siegel’s of the world; the ethics of fashion is a grand fertile soil for investigative journalism, but what of the fabrics, the prints and the forms? There is a chasm in the fashion world crying out to be filled by a Tom Ford-clad Mark Kermode…and yet no-one has stepped up to the mark.
McDowell puts it all down to over-zealous and over-competent PR firms, that in turn breed obsequious fashion journalists. Unlike film and music, and to a certain degree, food and art, fashion still lays down a circle of exclusivity. To write about the Spring/Summer trends is to see them in Autumn. Put simply, journos need access to shows in order to do their job proficiently. Yet tickets to said shows are controlled by the PR companies, so any amount of negative press could put the writer’s access to the next round of fashion weeks in jeopardy.
This is only part of the problem. The rise of Anna Wintour has proved that designers and editors can now sit on the same plinth if they entangle themselves enough. But designers are at the top of the food chain: critics need to tame, arse-lick and cajole their way up. Throw into the mix a glossy magazine empire precariously balanced on advertising revenue and you are left with very few reasons to negatively critique a designer.
WWP sees no reason why this can’t change. Someone needs to fight dirty with the fashion industry’s mortal enemy: the internet. There must be a blogger out there, deserved of publicity, who watched the Thom Browne collection go down the runway this week and thought ‘that corsetry is amazing, but the make-up is an unnecessary distraction,’ instead of gushing about quirky face paint and the legacy of Alexander McQueen. When bloggers of this calibre begin to gain respect then the door can be opened a crack. It’s not about creating the Perez Hilton of fashion, and its certainly not about elitism or pretentiousness. It’s about honest, constructive criticism in a artistic-cum-commercial world; it’s about restoring the balance of power between designers and journalists.