Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A minor rant - why won't you smile?!

Models. Now before you all groan and say you've heard it all before, just hang in there. 

It's not about their weight, although whilst I still accept that there are naturally skinny people out there, I do think there should be a wider representation of all shapes and sizes. After all, it is real people who will be buying the garments (though it is debatable as to whether people who shop at Chanel in the way we shop at Sportsgirl are actually considered real...).

Anyhow, the thing that I really don't understand about runway models is why they don't smile. I just don't get it.

So much excitement for parading for Chanel... not!
Though I don't entertain the idea of buying bejewelled lingerie with complementary angel wings, I really admire how the Victoria's Secret models showcase their pearly whites with every show.

I can't be sure it's genuine - it's probably more "I earn the big bucks and have a body you can only dream of... jealous much?". But what I do know is that it makes women (not just men!) a whole lot more interested in what they are promoting.

It's not the models faults, I know. But seriously, will it take a fall to convince them to just have a giggle. So seemed to be the case for Agyness Deyn in February last year (those shoes are getting ridiculously high - ouch!).

Perhaps this no smiles business is an attempt by the fashion industry to present themselves in a more serious light; to ensure that everyone knows they don't take fashion lightly.

However, as the editor in a recent issue of SMH's Essential Style magazine said, clothing should not wear the person. It should be the person wearing the clothing.

This seems a simple enough concept to understand, but many in the fashion industry insist that the model should be a blank canvas on which apparel is showcased.

To them, I say in the nicest way possible, please just get over it. Fashion shows should be fun - give the models something to truly smile about already!

On a bit of a side note, big news has emerged in the past week regarding John Galliano's sacking from Dior, just a week from Paris Fashion Week. I have mentioned in previous posts how I am in awe of Galliano's designs - they truly are incredible, and Dior would have to be my all time favourite label. I always knew Galliano was a bit odd, but his racist, anti-semitic comments have taken it too far. 

The latest print campaign with Natalie Portman
The new face of Dior's signature scent Miss Dior Cherie, Natalie Portman, is calling it quits, telling the New York Times that "In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr Galliano in any way." For the SMH's full article, see

P.S. I'm putting a poll at the bottom of the page as I'm interested to hear what you all think - do you think runway models should smile or is it a matter of professionalism to keep a straight face?


Amy said...

I voted no on the poll but not because I favour the idea that we should be focusing on the clothes. In my opinion, there are some runways where smiling is appropriate and others where it is not. For clothes that signal grunge or gothicism or are suited to office work, a smile may seem a bit out of place. Whereas for the playful knits of Sonia Rykiel, a stern or serious expression would appear equally weird. Moreover, runway shows usually advocate continuity and to have one person smiling (presumably wearing something along the lines of a fruit-themed piece or modelling head wear alike what Anna Dello Russo has been pictured sporting) juxtaposded next to another who is not (in a more serious piece, i.e. continuing the fruit pattern in a muted tone) would maybe undermine the idea of a coherent collection. I believe that a pout would better suit both looks better than a smile, mind you, this could be because, as you mentioned, the straight face has long been the norm. Moreover, one could argue a pout or straight face to draw more attention to the clothes, as you also hinted at, or rather, better showcase the makeup.
This seems to be a very contradictory rant but I really can't be bothered to think much more or attempt at a putting forward a coherent point of view.
BTW, totally agree re Galliano. Natalie is a wonderful role model in disconnecting herself from the designer even if it may involve financial loss.

Laura said...

Epic comment there Amy, but I do see your point of view! I understand the continuity issue, and good point on a smile not suiting certain style, but I don't know, I'm still pretty divided on the issue. I appreciate hearing the other side of it though, because you do make sense.

I think I read somewhere that Natalie was originally hesitant about signing up for an advertising campaign, so she is quite obviously someone who isn't willing to compromise her own values. Definitely a good role model!