Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oh So Glamorous!

I was kind of musing about fashion and race over the weekend. They kind of collided together in mainstream media both in print, online and on television.

First, Naomi Campbell's mug was plastered all over cheeky television clips as well as Websites & blogs after the 38-year old anger-management dropout appeared in court at Uxbridge magistrate's court in West London, UK following her latest emotional meltdown.

Check out the facts as reported by CNN ....if you really need to that is.

After hurling cell phones at her former assistant's head for not locating a pair of jeans, her most recent hissy-fit over one of her bags not being put aboard her British Airways flight is simply business as usual for the self-described "Supermodel".

Sure she was found guilty of kicking and spitting at two policemen, you think Naomi can't do better than that? DO YOU? HUH?!?

British Airways has apparently banned Naomi for life. Ouch! I'm sure it'll be such a struggle for her publicist to rustle up a private jet for the oft-deranged diva but God help her/him if they don't...no, seriously God, please protect them.....

The woman is exceptionally beautiful and successful in the business world but clearly has some complex issues (like not hitting people...?) and likely needs some professional help to deal with her explosive temper. I wonder how Naomi's bizarre escapades impact other black fashion models struggling to make it in the industry.

Like it's not hard enough for models of color in the culturally narrow and too often superficial confines of the fashion world as it is?

Cathy Horyn wrote a really a nice piece in New York Times last Thursday that painted a somewhat bleak and puzzling picture of the way the fashion industry treats female models with darker skin and African features. A world that quietly fears that darker skin won't sell as well in front of white magazine readers.

I read a cool piece on Essence Magazine fashion market editor Zoe Washington, an African-American professional who made it in the fashion industry by following her passion and working hard. Interesting that she and many other young women of color identify CNN's Elsa Clinch as one of their inspirations.

Years ago I heard a 2nd-hand story about dear old Elsa flipping a gasket right before shooting one of her little fashion pieces because the agency had sent a black female model to the set. Elsa allegedly insisted on having a white model and the black model apparently left the set devastated.

But that's just a story I heard from someone I know with friends who work in the New York fashion scene; gossip sure, but in the fashion world gossip is an art form and it's usually based in part on truth.

I'd love to hear the real gossip on what all those "fashionistas" think about black models. From the number of photo spreads and ads in the major fashion titles, I'd say not a whole lot.

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