Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Fad / Jessica Simpson's Unretouched Marie Claire May 2010 Cover

Well, you had to see this coming. With magazine sales down in record percentages and on a steady decline, Conde Nast, Hearst, Time Inc., and the like had to come up with something to get you girls to buy buy buy what's in print. First, it was curves -- the inner demon of the fashion industry. Countless spreads were popping up from Milan to Los Angeles of models who appeared to actually finish their fettuccine alfredo without a lick of guilt. Then, a few magazines began to target the issue of the seldom cast minority models, even tossing a few of the more prominent ones <gasp> covers [note: though Anna Wintour has yet to follow suit in this realm. I'm waiting for you Anna, patiently waiting.

Which brings us to today's FAD: retouching. You'll recall the Ralph Lauren & Filipa Hamiliton scandal (not only was she fired from the brand for being "too fat" but her images were retouched to near vanishing for print) and what a devastating blow that dealt to fashion print media. French Marie Claire's entire April 2010 issue is retouch-free and now America's Marie Claire is following suit, well, in part. For the cover and inside spread, the magazine's feature on Jessica Simpson is retouch and makeup free. 

What do you guys think about this? Should we get on board with this latest craze and accept whatever concession we can get our grubby little hands on in order to "feel good about ourselves" or should we repudiate this  minor concession and demand this as the standard or just wait for all of those fatty, ethnic broads and those without makeup to collectively return to relative obscurity and continue enjoying the rail thin unattainable beauties that represent 1% of the population?  

Images courtesy of Marie Claire


Anonymous said...

Grrreat post. I'm over the skinny bitches and the use of the big gurls like myself to make a quick buck. All in or nada in my astute opinion.

Roya + the Machine said...

This "no retouching" fad, just like a sprinkling of minority models or "plus" size models is dumb as hell. I love how the industry thinks they can do this stuff for 5 months, then shove it away forever and keep people shut up.

I feel that retouching is a necessary part of the industry. People just need to stop themselves from getting too excited and pretty much erasing a model's waist. Mags claim that they do this shit to heighten women's self-esteem - "She's just like you!" But the reality, that stars & models aren't just like us, is even more clear in a non-retouched photo - because hello! - how many of us look like that just chillin', going about our day? If anything, it just widens the gap. Same with plus-size models - you think, "Damn, she's the same size as me, but is STILL don't look like that!"

And while I don't think excluding plus size models is necessary, to be honest, including them isn't either. (I say this, being plus-sized.) Because the reality is that people have control over their weight, not to mention clothing just LOOKS better on skinnier people. In shoe stores, they always put out the smallest shoe size. In fashion, they put the clothing on the smallest girl. It looks better, and they're trying to sell their product. I can't blame them.

But to me, it's important to use people of all races as models, because all races can be shown as a beauty standard. To me, the skinny thing isn't about a model's "beauty" per say, it just makes the clothing look good. But I'm pretty sure all skin tones can work designer clothing, not just pale white girls. So the industry needs to get on that shit.

Roya + the Machine said...

Sorry for the novel, by the way.

Leah said...

I wish this no-retouching craze will not be just a craze but the standard. I prefer to see real persons in magazines.

The reason why I stopped my subscription in fashion magazines is because I don't believe that thin models should be the fashion icons. I prefer streetstyle blogs who show real stylish people of all shapes and sizes, sans retouching.


Helen said...

Roya + the Machine pretty much summed up everything I was going to say. Holla.

Serina said...

I agree with Leah, it should be the norm, and people should stop trying to make money off it, because it is really dishonest!

And thank you so much for the lovely comment! Made my day :) Following xx

Simone said...

I am doing a research at my university in Denmark right now with almost the same topic.... The funny thing is that when we doing interviews, people think it's good to see "normal" girls in adverts, but they wanna buy the things where it's a skinny girl who is the advert model... Eventhough I'm a thin girl I think this result is sad actually! But great debate!

Sorry for my english by the way, hope you understand my point:)


KALIN said...

Honestly, I don't find anything wrong with minor retouching- I believe what magazines are selling is to some degree- fantasy. This is especially true in the case of fashion magazines. However, I do think this embrace of reality is probably a good thing for magazines that cater more to "women's issues" than to fantasy. Also, I think that raw look works on some level. American Apparel's success is largely due to an ad campaign that makes normal girls think they can be as sexy as the models- because they are.

Anyway, done ranting. Great blog :)


EBoogie said...

As far as editorial trends in general, I think they're fun to follow if you can see right through them. This "makeup/retouch free" movement isn't a noble mission to promote inner beauty, it's a mission to sell more Dove products, sell more mags, increase ratings...yada yada yada. Digest this media with your eyes wide open.

Curiouser and Curiouser said...

she looks pretty good if she really has absolutely no make on!
fashion magazines are there to sell an ideal and I love seeing all the glamourous editorials even if they have been retouched (or in some cases redone!) Most people know not to believe what they see these days.

Sarah said...

Great insightful post. I'd rather see normal girls (albeit great looking) that I can steal tips and learn from than some unobtainable unreal image. x

Black Widow said...

grat post!and thanks for your comment!

InnyVinny said...

Honestly, this is just like anything else you'd find in a magazine; it's an attempt to get people to spend money. If Conde Nast thinks people want to see curvy, unretouched women, that's what they will print. Not because they believe that the industry should change, but because they need to move glossies.


The CultureCynic said...

this is a trend. And just like Ralph Lauren polos, eventually the trend embracers will soon find something else to cling to. The fashion industry will never change well not to the extent that regualr ppl demand it to be. When u have fat ugly men designing dresses for skinny gorgeous women, the apparent identity crisis is nothin short of ironic. who are they really trying to impress, think of every designer and think about how very mismatched their image is with their brand. Except for the occasional Tom Ford or Marc Jacobs (after he found a shower) (insert whoever else) most designers and so called taste makers are just always facinated me. Why doesn't the the Rodarthe girls have girls who actually look like them, why doesn't Anna Sui prance 'chubby' girls down the runway...i cld go on and on. Shit will never change when the ppl who actually have the ability to change it stand by and watch. As consumers we have only buying power, not necessarily the voice. there is a Machine, and that machine sells us whatever they think we want to hear at any particualr time. It doesn't mean they are actually listening necessarily, they just want us to think that we hold all the power. Rubbish. Trends like this exist so regualr ppl can feel good about themsleves for a little while, come next season, they will go back to telling us how we could look way thinner and be better.

Even if everyone in the Industry suddenly developed a self awareness or a 'conscience' the truth is models offer something for ppl to aspire to, who cares if none of these ppl actually represent them. How many ppl are naturally thin and over 5'8?? yet that doesn't stop us from buying the very magazines that continue to show us images that r so far from our daily realities....ppl want to live vicariously through others who appear better than them, is the same old game. i refuse to buy into the mind game, i raise up!

SinfulLyo said...

i'm not crazy over the j simpson spread but that's mainly because i don't think she photographs well in general [except for candids].

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