Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

One Minute Review: Snog Marry Avoid?

March 24, 2009

Over to BBC Three land, where dunces are served hand-pumped goblets of drivel. Snog Marry Avoid? is a confused show which lacks a brain, in addition to all those missing commas.

The format is as follows:

  • We’re introduced to a supposedly tragic individual – underdressed, over-accessorised, half-naked, exhibitionist.
  • They’re interviewed by a sarcastic machine called ‘Pod’ who mocks their dress sense.
  • ‘Pod’ shows them footage of men who, having seen a photograph, have decided whether they’d snog, marry or avoid the contestant – generally revealing more about themselves than the person they’re judging (i.e. I would marry someone on the strength of a photograph).
  • The contestants are made to remove all their make-up – and all of them react as though this will kill them.
  • They are ‘made-under’ – and dressed like the clones in Grazia magazine.
  • The ‘snog, marry, avoid’ process is repeated.
  • They like it.
  • The end.

The major issue with the show is that the prey are all teenagers. Teenagers who are meant to look stupid. We appear to have reached a point where teen girls are expected to dress like graceful secretaries from Mad Men, but when I was 17 all the young ladies I knew dressed like military goths or slutty Polly Pockets. The boys in Snog Marry Avoid end up looking like utter arseholes from GAP adverts, but surely the teenage boy should be a greasy, shabby mess of hatred and resentment?

And the other thing that makes this show borderline unprocessable is that it moves along at such a zippy rate and is so inhumanly chirpy that it feels like you’ve danced through time and are watching ceebeebies in the early morning.

Maybe it’s meant for children.

Avoid. Like the plague.

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America’s Next Top Model

October 1, 2008

Something interesting happened on America’s Next Top Model on Monday night.

No – seriously.

In amongst all the usual shit, a sparkling moment of clarity. The truth outed itself for one instant, but then vapourised without leaving its mark. But for that tiny, shining moment, the grotesque absurdity of the whole franchise was called into question – and it came from the most unlikely of sources.

The important folk on ANTM refer to each series as a ‘cycle’. Not a ‘series’. Not a ‘season’. A ‘cycle’. When you dwell on this, the logic holds up. The girls all come from nowhere and end up back in sweet obscurity – so ‘cycle’ it is.

This cycle, we have the usual bunch of warped, seven foot in-breds doing walking, then doing standing still whilst under the scrutiny of a bunch of complete and utter cocks, headed up by the contemptible, neurotic bundle of blabber they call Tyra Banks.

Among the contestants this cycle, the only candidates of any interest are Marvita and Fatima. Marvita is an amazonian shit-kicker who’d eat you for breakfast. Looking like Chris Partlow‘s older, more aggravated sister, she talks through her history of abuse as though she’s reeling off a shopping list. Her cold, dead eyes are supremely likable for some reason.

Then there’s Fatima (pronounced ‘Fah-TEE-mah’, apparently – though I prefer the ‘Whitbread’ phonetic of ‘FATTY-mah’). Fatima is an out and out bitch who, in episode one this bicycle dropped the bombshell that she was circumcised at birth and suffered genital mutilation. Which is horrible, and we all feel for her. The first time she says it. By the time we’ve heard about it for the fourth time in 40 minutes, the goodwill sadly starts to diminish to the point where we forget about her campaign and realise she’s using it as sympathy-leverage so she can be this unicycle‘s wind up merchant, starting cat-fights like there’s no tomorrow. 

And finally in this brief round up, until last night, there was Kimberley. An unremarkable, plank-thick blonde with nothing to say for herself – last night she became a fleeting heroine as, when asked to step forward before they ripped the shit out of her photo on judgement day she said (and I’m forced to paraphrase):

‘Y’know – I don’t really like fashion much’

She went on to explain how she thinks that high fashion is stupid and that anyone who pays $2,000 for an outfit is an idiot and, sorry, but this whole thing just wasn’t for her.

The judges’ faces dropped. As they sat there with jaws on their laps I hoped that, even if only for a millisecond, they felt humbled by the logic of a nobody – suddenly realising that the show they’re working on is a fatuous, risible and futile mess that creates absolutely nothing of any meaning or value. Unlikely, but maybe she hit her point home for a fraction of a moment.

Kimberley – I salute you.

Britain’s Next Top Model

April 22, 2008

Britain's Next Top Model

I got sucked in while the missus was watching this and, with shame and misery overwhelming me, absorbed the flipping lot. I’m dripping with self-disgust. This review is my only hope of purging slime from my contaminated braincells.

If it doesn’t work, I’ll end up watching next week, then the week after, till the whole series has somehow passed through my brain-filter and left me an expert on all the back-stabbing, plank-thick idiots who populate it.

The girls were introduced one-by-one, as is the way with this sort of thing, all declaring their beauty, their ability and their personal variation on charm. Stefanie, a latino temptress with smoky eyes, let herself down the minute that trapdoor of a mouth opened. Blah blah blah, she went on, with not word registering as in any way interesting. Aaron, despite having a boy’s name, reckons she’s got ‘the whole package’. Sophie‘s a gibbering wreck, making little sense and looking like she’s coming down from a particularly hedonistic indie disco. Catherine looks about 12. Musayeroh is the black girl who won’t win because these sorts of shows are all inherently tokenistic. Lisa reckons she’s quirky, but is actually just a dreadful bore. The rest waft past, pretty and pointless, like air-freshener or pot pourri.

The fact is, they’re all attractive and have basic intelligence, but they’re so young and not yet fully formed that it’s unfair to create a fair opinion on them. They’re little kids who’re being put through the digital TV mangle for our entertainment in the hope of winning a title which could see the producers crushed by the Trade Descriptions Act.

Britain’s Next Top Model? Do me a favour. A one-off cover shoot on Company magazine isn’t exactly knocking Moss from her pedestal is it? It’s hardly Vogue. It’s the Razzle of fashion mags. Or so the wife tells me.

They all troop straight into a big hall immediately upon arrival for task one and are forced to take some questions from a really questionable bunch of people who all look extremely odd. These people might be fashion students, but I don’t recall the coiceover actually telling us who the fuck they are. One of them is wearing a red balaclava with only one eye slot and is painted black, despite obviously being white. One of them is in drag. If they’re fashion students, they haven’t got a hope. They all have worrying facial tics. It’s alarming.

Aaron fucks up, apparently, by saying she doesn’t think she’ll win. Nice – I like a bit of modesty – attractive in a girl. A couple of others do the same, and all three are reprimanded by Lisa Snowdon for their lack of belief later on. She’s ‘insulted’ by their humility, it seems. The berk.

How did Snowdon get the job anyway? Apart from a bra advert in the 90s, has she done anything of note? I’m waiting for an answer on that one.

Later on they have to split into teams of two and take polaroids of one another’s best feature. One particular little twat (I think it was Alexandra) opts to take a shot of Aaron’s eyes. Now, Aaron does have lovely big sparkling eyes but Alexandra reveals her reasons for taking this shot. It’s to highlight the fact that, without make up, a scar is visible that covers part of her photography partner’s eyebrow. So she’s picking this one tiny flaw out and amplifying it to get rid of the competition in a demonstration of just how superficial and idiotic this shit is.

The later task is to split into pairs for topless shots. While most perfrom quite well, Sophie looks blankly ahead like she’s been beaten about the head with a kilo of smack while Stefanie and Alexandra go for a Zoo magazine-sponsored shot. High class. That’s the pic at the top of the article. Quality soft porn – but not really Tatler.

Sophie goes, leaving a trail of grey matter behind her after being voted out by a twat in a hat, the once-upon-a-time-Z-list Snowdon and the living dead. The latter is fucking terrifying. As she passes judgement she lurches around like a reanimated sloth and slurs away in an icelandic accent. If you allow something like to judge you, then you deserve to be judged.

Then it ends. Like passing an enormous, uncomfortably dry turd, it’s finally over and you’re left a tiny bit satisfied, a little bit raw and too dirty to sit still any longer.

Roberto Cavalli for H&M

November 7, 2007

I went shopping in H&M once. I needed some new trousers, but had no idea whatsoever where one went to buy trousers. I knew that shops existed, of course, and I knew Meadowhall was a pretty good place to start, but when it came to knowing which shops were fairly priced, which shops were decent, which shops did what I liked etc… I knew nothing.

My friends Graham and Camilla took me to H&M. As we entered the store Camilla banked right into the ladies’ section and Graham headed left to the mens’ leaving me in the doorway wondering where the trousers were. So overcome was I by the difficulties facing me that I immediately did an about turn and went outside to get some fresh air. And so ended my shopping experience.

The point I’m trying to make with this story is that fashion, and indeed attire in general, has never really troubled me. I am well aware that to some people it’s a desperately important part of their life but I just can’t see it… Equally the same with the fashion industry in general; I know that it is an industry worth billions of dollars but to me it’s just a load of overpaid, self important onanists who believe that face value is the only value of any interest.

I was therefore equally baffled and confused when I saw the latest advert from the former instigators of my shopping palpitations; a series of wafer beautiful models and, by extension, celebrities and teeeeeerribly important people too, gather at some swanky European mansion to drink champagne and be teeeeeeeerribly important to each other. As the flurry of dresses, tuxedos and ribs swirl around we hear how it is the party to end all parties – how you can never be late for it, how people stay for so long they lose their jobs… An eccentric old lady arrives in a helicopter; “pick me up in three weeks” she brays in her aristocratic pomposity.

Finally the man of the moment appears. Roberto Cavalli descends the staircase flanked by sticks with heads and no tits; “you’re missing the party” cry the guests with all the conviction of a Kevin Smith crowd. “Missing it?” he autocues back “I am the party.”

No Roberto, you’re not the party – you’re a sad old man with two hookers on his arm and skin that has to be hung out and stretched each morning before you put it on. Your guests aren’t the most beautiful people on earth, they’re lonely, soulless, empty vessels staggering through the night drunk on their own ego and foolishly believing that because they wear clothes they are more than already forgotten footnotes in history. They may be cheering you, Roberto, but they’re cheering your free booze. You’ve made a load of cut price blouses and cheap skirts, they’re sure as fuck not cheering you for that.

I guess I’m just not that susceptible to advertising. I don’t see a life of glamour and envy, of fabulous people and celebrity worship. I see delusional fools, misguided souls and a bizarre sense of self importance that I can’t believe exists. I’m confused as to what they’re selling me. Are they saying that if I were to buy this £30 hat I would instantly become invited to the most glamorous parties? Were those £12 sandals to become mine I would immediately become as styled as a multi-million dollar advertising campaign? I’m pretty sure those people in your advert are all decked out in the newest £25 cardigan from H&M.

Since I’m not one of those people who the advert is aimed at I’m sure it doesn’t matter what I think. I’m sure there are millions of people out there who will believe this shit and think they are buying into class by going to the high street. That’s how fashion works.

I’m still amazed, though, that in this day and age of cocaine breakdowns and heiress vaginas and pathological media scavenging they are still holding these people up for admiration. I find it offensive that we’re shown these freakshows of image manipulation and are still meant to believe that’s the ultimate achievement of human endeavour.

The parties and lifestyles and the adulation of these people is only touched upon in the advert, the truth is infinitely worse. I don’t care about their existence – they can do what they want and believe they are gods most magnificent creations if they desire, but can we all stop pretending that they’re the best we can be?  These people make cheap clothes off the back of cheaper labour, and they sell them to us. That’s all.