Monday, October 8, 2012

Heroine Chic

As previously discussed, the fashion industry can be incredibly grueling. Designers barely have time to take their final bow for their fall collections before they start sketching for spring. Models will sometimes walk up to twenty shows a day during fashion week. It is amazingly daunting to always be expected to be innovative, creating something that has never been done before and for models to be perfectly beautiful and flawless at all times. It has almost become expected that some of the people we look up to the most in fashion get crushed under the immense pressure. They are almost like a ticking time bomb and we just sit and wait for the explosion. Of course, not all great icons are like this, some have endured the fashion industry for years and still manage to come out on top whereas others resort to unhealthy methods to dealing with the stress of it all such as drug and alcohol abuse. 

We have seen some of the most talented people in fashion being destroyed by their addictions or recreational habits. Most recently, John Galliano was fired from his position of head designer for Christian Dior and fined for having uttered anti-semitic remarks to fellow patrons while intoxicated in a Parisienne cafe. The event was recorded and of course, the video went viral leaving Dior no choice but to dismiss Galliano in order to save their fashion house. After making a public apology, little news has come from the designer as he will probably never be able to sell a collection again.

In 2005, super model, Kate Moss who was known for having pioneered the "heroine chic" look of the 90s, was photographed by paparazzi snorting lines of cocaine. Moss soon after lost some of her most high profile contracts with houses such as Chanel, Burberry and H&M,  all denying any further affiliation with the model. Although certain drugs have been known to allow people to lose weight, therefore helping Moss to maintain her lean figure, this publicity flop certainly did not help her attain the next level in her career.

In 2010, the legendary designer (Lee) Alexander McQueen commited suicide in his London apartment only days after the passing of his mother and three years after the suicide of his friend and muse, Isabella Blow. His body was said to be found hung and filled with sleeping pills, cocaine and tranquilizers. He had publicly stated before that he had several demons that he faced on a daily basis and of course, the stress of striving to create amazing collections could not have benefited him psychologically. The fact that McQueen allegedly used drugs recreationally could have also been a contributing factor to his suicide. One thing is for certain, the entire industry mourned the loss of an amazing man and a trailblazing designer.

As we watch some of the most talented people rise and fall, one cannot help but wonder if this industry is just so exceptionally harsh that few survive or is it because it attracts such fragile personalities. Karl Lagerfeld once said:  

“I see designing, running a company, like a high-level athletic activity. I don’t want to hear anything about the fragility or any of those things. If an athlete is too fragile to run, he cannot run. And this is exactly the same. You don’t accept this kind of business if you’re too much of an artist. I believe in discipline, so I’m not the right person to cry about weakness and things like this, but maybe I’m not human.”

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