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9 posts tagged "Kelly Osbourne"

Are Celebrities the New Fashion Critics? No, Not Really

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86th Annual Academy Awards - Red Carpet

Unfortunately, The Hills‘ opinionated but not terribly enlightened Kristin Cavallari launches her new fashion show, The Fabulist, on E! tonight. This morning, Fashionista tapped into an interesting conversation: What on earth gives celebrities such as Cavallari the gall to knight themselves fashion experts? The story’s headline asked, “Are Celebrities the New Fashion Critics?” Although the article went on to defend reputable, old-school journalists, like Style.com’s own Tim Blanks, it seemed to imply that the public may be inclined to turn to celebrities as their go-to fashion reviewers rather than, well, actual critics.

Celebrities’ fashion thoughts are often (but, of course, not always) molded by their skilled stylists and sponsors. And while Fashionista did not suggest that stars are the educated voice of fashion reason, it did refer to them as fashion critics. This caused me to raise an eyebrow, and it leads us to the question: What is a fashion critic? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe a fashion critic is an informed, hopefully unbiased individual who can discuss a collection’s or garment’s merits and/or downfalls in both a broader fashion context and, more important, a broader cultural context. It takes a certain knowledge base to do that.

During a 2010 interview with Style.com’s editor in chief Dirk Standen, Cathy Horyn noted, “Right now we have a lot of people who are coming at [fashion journalism] from left field, and they can have some really wonderful insights into fashion and they can see it from their generation, which is fantastic…But then there’s also just the question of the knowledge about it, the span of time, so you can make judgments and conclusions that reflect the sense of history.” I hardly think that Kerry Washington can do that while judging Project Runway. Kelly Osbourne certainly doesn’t do it on Fashion Police, and even the savvy Rihanna doesn’t bring that kind of expertise to the table on her show, Styled to Rock. Celebrities’ commentary about the sartorial coups or disasters we see on the red carpet or reality TV are indeed entertaining, but criticism isn’t merely about cutting takedowns and gushing praise—it’s about the bigger picture.

“Traditional criticism set standards, so traditional critics wielded enormous amounts of power,” Tim Blanks once told me. “But the role of fashion criticism now is to express an opinion as lucidly, as graphically, and as entertainingly as you can.”

Stars are undoubtedly fashion influencers—just look at how Rihanna’s choice to wear Melitta Baumeister and Hyein Seo in Paris raised the up-and-comers’ profiles. But critics? Hardly. Now, I’m not saying that celebrity, or general, opinions are invalid or unimportant. I’m just saying that they’re not criticism. There is room for all sorts of musings—and all are welcome. The viewpoints of celebrities, consumers, style obsessives, critics, and beyond all work together to create a narrative, however, looking back thirty years from now, Cavallari’s comment during E!’s Oscars preshow that “Lupita has been killing it this season” won’t really tell us anything.

Will the general public gravitate toward celebrities rather than journalists for criticism? Sure, they’ll tune in to TV shows and celeb Twitter accounts to be amused (it is funny watching Joan Rivers rip apart red-carpet looks), but if they want the facts, they’ll come to the critics. As Vanessa Friedman told me in an interview last week, “There will always be a need for some sort of analysis and an informed opinion, and despite all the white noise and opinions we see on social media, people still want real information and facts.” I have to believe that this hunger for knowledge isn’t in spite of fashion’s increasing presence and importance in popular and celebrity culture, it’s because of it.

We need to be careful how we throw around the phrase “fashion critic.” Let’s not do to it what fashion writing has done to “iconic” or “chic”—that is to say, make it meaningless. Because what critics write does have meaning, and purpose, and I’d like to keep it that way.

Photo: Getty Images

Crazy Horse Gallops Into London

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“Azzedine Alaïa used to come and study the dancers’ bottoms,” says Crazy Horse’s Andrée Deissenberg. “He wanted to see how the dancers moved; it was a design starting point for him. Plus, he just loved the show,” she said of Alaïa, who has famously attributed part of his fashion education to a very close examination of the Crazy Horse dancers‘ physiques.

The legendary Parisian cabaret, beloved by the fashion set (Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Louboutin, and Jean Paul Gautier have all collaborated with Crazy Horse over the years), landed in London last night with a VIP crowd that included some of rock’s most famous progeny, including Amber Le Bon, Daisy Lowe (pictured, left), Kelly Osbourne, Tali Lennox, and Alison Mosshart.

“When there is so little fabric to work with, you have to look at things in minutiae. Every stitch has an impact,” said Marios Schwab, who dressed the dancers in lingerie from his brand-new Kallisti for ASOS line. To which Deissenberg added, “When we first approached Mark Fast, who is famous for his barely-there work, he was thrilled because usually the buyers tell him to cover things up, while our marching orders were ‘take it off!’ “

Photo: Courtesy Photo

Young Hollywood—And Its Stylists—Celebrate WhoWhatWear

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“I thought Oscar night was going to be my last outing, but Katherine is one of my best friends, so I said, ‘Pending I’m not in labor, I’ll be there,’” said a very pregnant Rachel Zoe at Thursday’s dinner celebrating the latest tome from WhoWhatWear’s Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power (above, with Zoe and Jessica Alba). And Zoe was in good company, sitting among fellow L.A.-based stylists Nicole Chavez (in Spring 2011 Prada), Emily Current of Current/Elliot, and Simone Harouche. The duo’s second book, What to Wear, Where, takes a look at exactly that, and includes a foreword from longtime friend Nicole Richie. “We get so many questions from our readers every day asking for styling advice that this book just seemed like the perfect follow-up for us,” Power explained. “And we’ve just received so much support from our friends in Hollywood who really appreciate that we just focus on the clothes and that we only show outfits that we really love and really celebrate,” Kerr added. Those friends include the likes of Gwen Stefani, who is set to guest edit the online magazine next month.

And celebrate they did with a little dose of Young Hollywood in tow, including The Hills co-stars Whitney Port and Lauren Conrad, Zelda Williams, and Kelly Osbourne, the latest face of Madonna’s Material Girl line. Also pregnant and Proenza-clad Jessica Alba was taking her new and changing look in stride, reflecting on the just-wrapped Fall 2011 shows—Lanvin, Prada, and DVF among her favorites. “Looking at all the shows and pictures I think it’s less about what I’d actually wear and more about the drama and the story the hair and makeup all tell.” Asked if she’s embracing her new curves, she just shrugged in delight. “I guess I have to.”

Photo: Michael Buckner / WireImage

L.A. Gets Odd

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Odd Molly co-founder Per Holknekt named his handmade and organic women’s label after a skater girl he met while living in California in the eighties. So it makes sense that the Swedish label’s first U.S. store debuts in the Golden State (L.A.’s Robertson Boulevard to be exact), where it all started. Friday night’s opening soirée, hosted by Helena Christensen, drew Heidi Klum, Kelly Osbourne, Kate Mara, Lake Bell, Mena Suvari, Tara Subkoff, Lydia Hearst, and Malin Akerman, among others, who sipped Champagne while Little Joy’s Fabrizio Moretti and Binki Shapiro manned the decks. “I love the way they mix fabrics, colors, and patterns—I like when it’s loose,” mused Christensen (pictured, with Holknekt and Klum). She knows what she’s talking about: For three years, she was the face of the line. Now she’s their photographer: She just shot Daisy Lowe for the label at the Chelsea Hotel.

The flagship boutique, which features indoor chain-link fencing, an antique chandelier, and clothing suspended from the ceiling, lives up to its odd moniker, but the fabulous attendees found plenty to love. “I’ve already ordered a piece,” said Heidi Klum, pointing to a denim jumpsuit on the wall. “The line reminds me of clothes you’d love as a kid,” added designer Tara Subkoff, who’s preparing to relaunch her own Imitation of Christ line. “It’s a little bohemian and fun.” Odd Molly’s got a launch in the works, too: its first menswear collection, which Holknekt says will be “nothing too extravagant, just good-looking clothing for guys who don’t want to look like they tried.”

Photo: WireImage/Courtesy of Odd Molly

Naomi, Net-A-Porter Partner To Help Haiti

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First Naomi Campbell staged runway shows to benefit Haitian relief efforts during New York and London fashion weeks, complete with celebrity catwalkers including Estelle, Kelly Osbourne, and Shirley Bassey. Now she’s joining forces with Net-A-Porter to go one better: Beginning today, the online retailer is hosting a two-week sale of pieces from the shows. From a one-shoulder Lanvin minidress to a gorgeous L’Wren Scott brocade cocktail frock, proceeds will all go to the White Ribbon Alliance, helping to save the lives of mothers and babies in Haiti.
www.net-a-porter.com.