Kate Moss is in trouble again, this time for looking too good.
After photos of her new campaign for Brazilian lingerie label Valisere appeared here and elsewhere on the weekend, numerous critics mocked both Kate and Valisere for releasing apparently airbrushed images meant to conceal defects in the wizened supermodel’s 36-year-old body. (Do a Google search for “Kate Moss photoshopped” to see what all the fuss is about.)
Frankly, I find most arguments in this debate to be both silly and condescending.
Silly because the answer is obvious and unequivocal: all fashion shots are retouched. Photoshop is the makeup of the digital world, as essential to the creative process for photographers, art directors, models and magazine editors as blush and mascara are to a teen on prom night. Its principal role is not to distort, but to enhance — to make the subject appear most favorably.
And condescending because the complaints presume that a woman of Kate’s age couldn’t possibly look so thin or unblemished. There’s a weird kind of reverse cultural stereotyping at work here — ie., women over 35 should look like hell — that is as objectionable as stereotypes related to weight, height, bust size and even skin color.
That’s a recent photo of KM on the right, looking like any hard-living but well-tended supermodel might look before the makeup crew and photo techs get their hands on her. Are the Valisere photos retouched? Of course. Could she possibly look that good at her age? Again — of course.
All of this comes at the end of a rough year for the fashion publishing industry, which has come under increasing attack for the practice of manipulating images to make models look younger, lighter, thinner and sexier.
Some fashion labels (Ann Taylor) issued public apologies for doctoring models’ photos, while others (Canada’s Jacob) promised to stop retouching photos altogether. Crystal Renn got chopped down to a size 2 in French Vogue, while girl-next-door Jenna Fischer from The Office found herself whittled down to Barbie proportions on the cover of Self (next to an ironic headline that read, “Lose Inches All Over!”)
Examples like this — and there are many more — have created a kind of hysteria among some critics and fashion bloggers, who have turned searching for bad photoshop jobs into a kind of modern-day witchhunt. To what purpose is anyone’s guess.
The photoshopping issue isn’t going to go away (although in Britain, some MPs have threatened to bring in legislation governing the manipulation of advertising images). In the meantime, how is an average consumer supposed to know if the fashion images they are looking at are “real” or Photoshop fakes? And why should they care?
Here’s a few pointers for dealing with fashion images that make you suspicious.
Telltale Signs of a Bad Photoshop Job
Remember, where image manipulation is concerned, if you have to ask, the answer is always, always yes.
When Is It Wrong?
Where To Learn More
If lingerie is as important to your sense of style as fall’s hottest bag, cardigan or shoe, then you have something in common with 24-year-old Jenna Leigh Blatstein, the founder of the eponymous lingerie line, Jenna Leigh.
Blatstein is on a mission to get North American women to change their ideas about lingerie. So, if you like your intimate wear heartily constructed in basic hues of nude and black, then Jenna Leigh lingerie may not be for you.
Blatstein has purposely designed her pieces to be flimsy, flirty and trendy, more fashion wear than foundation garments.
“A girl can have a full wardrobe of my lingerie,” Blatstein recently told Philly.com from her studio in New York’s trendy SoHo. “I want my clothes to be paired with the season’s trends, not hidden by them.”
According to this fashion-forward philosophy, Jenna Leigh lingerie pieces are created from beautiful fabrics like eyelet lace that are meant to be seen, not concealed.
“I purposely wanted my fit for younger people,” Blatstein added. “It’s not that much coverage … it’s totally on purpose.”
While some buyers have expressed concern over whether the majority of women really want this type of lingerie, Jenna Leigh has enjoyed success since its launch in 2009. Not only can you buy Jenna Leigh online, but the pieces are available in 40 stores across the United States, including a New York flagship and Barneys.
Her success is partly due to the fact that Blatstein has managed to create some great press for her line by cold-calling magazines and getting her silky items into high-profile goodie bags for events like the Academy Awards. At the same time, some have criticized the designer for trading on nepotism — her father is the Philadelphia property developer Bart Blatstein whose initial investment, and footing the bill for his daughter’s New York lifestyle, allowed her to launch her business. Many claim that Blatstein’s family connections with stylists and the like have gotten her noticed over other, less well connected designers and brands.
Regardless of whether Blatstein would be enjoying the same kind of success without said connections, one must concede she’s made the most of the ones she has.
Not only is Jenna Leigh lingerie apparently a favorite of celebrities like Mariah Carey and Leighton Meester (Blatstein is said to be trying to convince Meester to wear one of her pieces on the hit television show Gossip Girl, the veritable seal of cool recognized by fashionistas everywhere), but the line has gained editorial attention as well.
Marie Claire named Jenna Leigh’s Malawi bra one of the Top 50 Must-Haves for fall, while a recent Allure cover featured buxom Kim Kardashian in the line’s Elle balconette bra (Jenna Leigh was also featured in a giveaway on Khloe Kardashian’s website). One also can’t forget Lady Gaga on the cover of Cosmo (right) in vintage-inspired nude-toned Jenna Leigh lingerie.
Blatstein, who studied in Miami and London, is said to be inspired by “the beautiful people and places captured by photographer Slim Aarons, cutting-edge runway trends, and the metropolitan allure of her New York/Philadelphia/Miami lifestyle,” according to her website.
The Jenna Leigh lingerie line features collections named after different places like Notting Hill (more casual pieces fashioned out of super soft, ribbed organic milk cotton and lace) and Kenya, Croatia and Bali. Next spring there will also be a collection inspired by Canada’s ski resort town Mont Tremblant.
According to Blatstein, her line is meant to give women “style and confidence” by providing them with fashion-forward lingerie pieces that you want to put on and wear all day. Jenna Leigh lingerie bra sizes range from 32A to 36D and run from $65 to $115 while panties range from $35 to $60.
Other items like nighties retail for around the $100 mark and can be purchased both in brick-and-mortar stores and online.
The photos below show some pieces from JL’s Fall 2010 collection — make sure to check their web store for availability. The photo at the top of this post shows their Elle set in a terrific bridal setting shot for the website AisleNewYork.
Kiss Me Deadly has found a novel way to introduce its fall collection and reinforce its image as a vintage lingerie label.
The UK purveyor of classic girdles and garters launched its new lines last week with a series of poster-like images inspired by WWII-era propaganda shots aimed at women. Recognize the iconic Rosie the Riveter reference above?
But the KMD poster shots don’t just evoke the 1940s — they remind viewers of the seductive, even dangerous power of women (which is pretty much what the war authorities were getting at when they tried the same thing).
Now, all you femme fatales out there will probably be more interested in the goods than the photos, so here’s what KMD is serving up these days.
The label’s Autumn-Winter 2010 collection of limited editions includes two new lines: the Candy Box set (above) which features a mesh-and-satin longline girdle with a printed front panel; and the Cherie classic teddy made of soft stretch satin with lace cups and trim.
The KMD permanent collection has also been expanded, with a new platinum style for the popular Sirena line with its flirty eyelash lace trim, and a royal blue treatment for the Alouette line of pieces featuring floral lace and black bows.
Most of the new KMD pieces won’t be available till next month, so if you’re a collector you’ll want to keep an eye on their website. Kiss Me Deadly has a reputation for selling out its hottest new pieces quickly, so, as they said in wartime, stay vigilant, ladies!
If you’re a little too old for trick-or-treating, but still want to celebrate Halloween, lingerie designers have come up with a ton of options to help you enjoy it in a more adult way.
Recently Victoria’s Secret debuted a slew of sexy little fantasy costumes while Etsy is chalk full of shops offering up everything from fang-tastic garters like the one above to corseted dress-up ideas.
And while people wear all manner of costumes for Halloween these days, we’re thinking these options are best saved for after the party, in the privacy of your own home. Here’s a few ideas for last-minute shoppers.
Sexy Little Costumes
Have you ever wondered what a Sexy Little Sailor looks like? How about a Sexy Little Kitty or Nurse? Well, if you have, Victoria’s Secret has got the answers.
The lingerie giant’s collection of Halloween lingerie is full of tiny ruffled skirts, garters and lots of requisite cleavage. Some kits — like the French maid (above right) — are especially see-through and risqué, while others like the Flight Attendant, are the type of costume that may be worn outdoors by some. See the full range here.
In many cases the main basis of the costume, as opposed to the lingerie, is the assorted headgear such as ears, hats and tiaras. Not surprisingly, along with the Sexy Senoritas, Brides and Princesses, Victoria’s Secret also offers a Sexy Angel alongside the Santa’s Helpers costumes, perfect for those looking to get a head start on their Christmas shopping (prices start at $68).
For those interested in other options, companies like 3Wishes also offer similar types of sexy Halloween lingerie costumes, such as the Seaside Flirt option pictured above left. Costumes come in various degrees of raciness, with prices starting at $29.95.
Vintage Halloween Lingerie
If you’re looking for a costume that is a bit more unique then why not opt for one like the Marie Antoinette outfit from Etsy seller Miala?
Etsy offers a great selection of shops that sell one-of-a-kind or vintage costumes like this silk corseted confection ($125) or a vintage French maid costume and other novelties from Lynnsrags.
Miala’s Marie Antoinette costume comes complete with a boned peach corset festooned with bows and a tiny, three-tiered black bustle skirt. For added mystery the vintage lace and satin mask is included.
Custom Made Costumes
For those looking for luxe and individual when it comes to their Halloween lingerie then custom-made may be a perfect option.
Consider becoming the mistress of your boudoir in this elegant geisha costume with the silk kimono custom-made to your specifications.
A custom geisha outfit from Starvisions will run you $169 and have you looking like a, well, vision come October 31st.
Seriously Spooky Skivvies
Sometimes you just want to get right into the mood of the holiday. If you’re the type who loves cobwebs and cackling witches this time of year then some creepily sexy Halloween lingerie may be just the ticket.
Consider the satin garters sold by Voluscious featuring skulls or vampires (top photo) or, appropriately, these Frankenstein briefs ($34).
Or how about the sweetly sexy spiderweb panties by Natrium11? These semi-sheer, side-tie printed panties are the perfect last-minute grab if you’re still wondering just what lingerie to wear for Halloween this year.
You can keep your SI Swimsuit Calendar — we’ll take the annual Aubade Calendar any day of the week.
This marks the 13th edition of the sumptuous black-and-white keepsake, which is printed each year in a limited edition and handed out to customers at Aubade’s European stores. The company also allows downloads from its site, once the calendar is added.
Some of the images in the 2011 Aubade calendar (including the cover) have been seen before; they’re from the Fall/Winter 2010-2011 lingerie collection introduced earlier this year.
But many are new, so there’s lots for admirers of this unparalleled luxury brand to fuss over.
Ladies, start drooling! And gentlemen, get out the gold cards!