meteorologically twist the old song – seemed as good a day as any for doing a job I hate. But this time, as I was piling them up (tears in my eyes!), I thought about a comment from Helene of The Luxe Chronicles on my blog about – well, bloggers, in fact (read her comment here), and whether the blog really could take over from the corrupt and collusive world of printed fashion magazines.
I share Helene's fear that bloggers will soon be no better than magazine editors if they become a major new means of fashion communication and are prey to the temptations of corruption in their turn. But only up to a point…. Bloggers are disadvantaged because we all know that what they write is neither edited nor refereed. So, at this stage at least, what they stand for is much more interesting than anything they might actually say. And they stand, in the main for a clean, clear way of looking. The other small problem is that they are also not normally experts in fashion – or, if they're only thirteen, in anything. But what they do have in many cases is a fresh enthusiasm that can transcend this lack of knowledge. And, who knows, it might develop into some sort of wisdom if they stick around long enough.
But then again, I don't really want them to … for their sakes. What we are all seeing is the rape of the innocents by the fashion industry just as it was in the thirties in the movie business, with child stars like Judy Garland destroyed for the rest of their lives simply because they looked cute on camera. Yes, young bloggers will probably be showered with privilege, just as their print equivalents are, but only for as long as fashion thinks they and their medium can deliver the publicity it needs. When they don't - it's out on your butt! And curly hair and cute dimples will not save you then, my girl!
There is another reason why, although in the short term the bloggers' freshness might help fashion out of its seemingly terminal creative stagnation, in the long term their future doesn't seem so rosy. And that comes back to my magazine clear-out. For a long time now, the catwalk has only kindled fashion's dynamic. The essential spark that makes the flame has come from the magazine pictures created by stylists and photographers of genius. And what they do, new technology cannot, at this stage, hope to compete with. It's a question of scale.
We all have our favourite magazines. Mine is Italian Vogue, usually as thick as a Mezzogiorno mamma's waistline but infinitely more
seductive. Its creative values are unrivalled and its variety is never allowed to stale. I paused in my clear-out. I simply couldn't bring myself to toss out the September 09 issue with its brilliant Steven Meisel story, Performance: page after page of boundary-pushing audacity (see the pictures here). It's going to be a long time before blogs can catch up with that sort of quality.
In the meantime, let the bloggers have fun and feel important (as well as sometimes giving us unusually straightforward, honest, from-the-heart appraisals of what they see). Enjoy that feeling of warm well being, my darlings. Every fashion journalist longs for that often too brief spell of being pampered, valued and cared for: the gifts ('Goody! Another Gucci bag!'), the front row seats (only three away from Suzy!), the private dinners with Dolce & Gabanna! … everything that seems to make life worth living for many of them. Fashion paradise doesn't last long. When your time has come to hit the mat marked Scram, it will come even faster than slipping in the snow and it will probably bruise your ego more than a pratfall in the snow will bruise your butt. As the say in the porno industry, 'It's your organ that has to be big, baby, not you.'
Picture source. Vogue Italia Sept 09. Sasha Pivovarova & Ash Stymest by Steven Meisel.