Sun Dec 04 03:52:46 SAST 2016

Fashion needs wind of change

Jacquie Myburgh | 2010-08-04 23:02:18.00 Comments

Jacquie Myburgh: If you have not yet discovered the delights of Hurricane Vanessa, I suggest you log on to your computer now to meet her.

In her other incarnation, the Hurricane is Cosmopolitan magazine editor Vanessa Raphaely. I have long outgrown the mag's monthly dose of flirting, sex and celebrity news but am addicted to her wittily cynical view of the world on her blog,

The one thing she's quite outspoken about is the land of fashion. Hurricane V dares to say the things that most of us only think and that the ever-reverential fashionistas would never dare to utter.

This week poor Raf Simons - the Belgian designer who is the current custodian of the cult-cool Jil Sander label - got it in the neck.

Of his latest collection, Vanessa writes: "Oh my Dog. If you, like me, look at these items - jumpers and bomber jackets - and think "golf club", you are sadly mistaken. And a Philistine."

"Mr Simons' clothing looks as if it should be made out of polyester and sold to dutiful but tasteless daughters to give, as Christmas presents, to their bank manager/ suburban/golf-playing embarrassing Step-Dads."

Take that, Mr Simons.

Iconic model Kate Moss, who's on the latest cover of Vogue, was next to feel the effects of HV: "With Kate Moss, there is no depth. There is no story. She says nothing and does nothing of interest. Ever.

"And there is such a sense of deja vu around everything Kate Moss.

"Another night, another party, another boyfriend. Another topless fashion shoot. Another leather waistcoat. Another pair of cut-off hot pants. La ronde."

This hilarious but brutal honesty is overdue in the fashion world, where much that is written and said is as vacuous and meaningless as yet another oversized handbag.

Have you ever read such opinions in relation to local fashion? I haven't. I haven't written any, either.

I am a fervent fan of the remarkable design talent we do have in this country and I always do my best to express that.

But I'm the first one to blame when it comes to telling it like it is about the mediocre ones - I simply haven't the courage to write off their work and then face them, their family or their friends at the next fashion week. The bravest I'll be is to condemn by exclusion.

A theatre critic once told me that it was accepted practice not to pan local stage shows because there was so much to lose in terms of income and career prospects if a production bombed.

I suspect much the same attitude exists on the local fashion scene: our own designers live such fragile existences, with minimal opportunities to make a decent living.

A bad collection usually passes with a raised eyebrow, whispers in the corridor and the belief that the market will decide the designer's fate. Maybe it's time for a bit more Hurricane-style honesty.

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Fashion needs wind of change

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