Disturbing

Jon Benet re-visited. Put the campaign on blast here.

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Sacrilegio

In a family of Christians and Catholics, I’ve always strayed farther from the cross, dabbling in Wicca and Buddhism. Being Filipino, you can only imagine the distress this causes some members of my family. During my Wicca days, I remember talking to my cousin about it while he was finishing up Christian college. In a fit of anxiety, he stopped me mid-sentence and said, “Can I pray for you??”

Without getting into my spiritual beliefs too much, I thought I’ve always had a healthy skepticism toward really orthodox religions, which is why I was intrigued by Francesco Vezzoli’s newest exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, Sacrilegio. In these works of art, Vezzoli takes portraits of Madonna-and-Child painted by various greats such as Leonardo, Giovanni Bellini and Rafaello and created needlepoint images, replacing the Madonna’s face with that of different supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Tatijana Patitz. (Refinery 29 lamented that Abbey Lee Kershaw wasn’t included to which I say, Pffft! She is no supermodel, sor-ryyyy! Yes, the era of The Supermodel is ovah.) What message is the Italian artist trying to send to the masses?

“The Church commissioned some of the most erotically charged images in the history of art,” Vezzoli explains. “Using supermodels is my way of saying that the original paintings are really sensual.” In conflating supermodels with historical religious icons, Vezzoli points to the societal worship of figures from the fashion and celebrity industries.
Provocative? Yes. Religious? According to Vezzoli, yes, though not in the way the Pope would approve of. As for Vezzoli himself, he declares, “I believe in the religion of other people’s creativity…Catholicism wasn’t for me. I’m not holy enough— I’m a dirty boy.” Word.
 

His Job Makes Me Sad

Just learned this little tidbit of information that made my stomach sink into itself: fashion blogger supreme, Bryanboy, “makes more than $100,000 per year.”

OMFG.

I am beyond jealous. I’m sad, depressed and a whole lot of resentful. Not shocked, though, because I follow his blog daily and I see the fahh-bulous hotels he sleeps in and gourmet restaurants he eats at while schmoozing with other fahh-bulous people. Ahhh, envy. Luckily, green is a good color on me. *winks*

I read some of the comments on the article and was also not surprised to read some of the rude and downright hateful remarks. While I think it’s awesome that Bryan is doin’ his damn thang, I get where they’re comin’ from. I’ve worked my damn ass off in grad school and get paid half as much as he does! Before taxes!! On the other hand, to all the haters who complain that Bryan has nothing to say about fashion: maybe he doesn’t say much with words, but his outfits make statements I don’t think them haters can even begin to comprehend. Not only that, but his “people” must be awesome publicists to get him paid that salary! It’s called marketing, people. He attracts a fan base which creates traffic which makes him the perfect advertising link for fashion. He is so damn lucky.

Walk Like A Filipina

Congrats to Danica Magpantay, first Filipina to win Ford Models’ Supermodel of the World Competition! While researching info for this post, I stumbled upon this gem of news and couldn’t help but be reminded of Samantha Chang’s op-piece in Vogue, Asia Major, regarding the upswing of Asian models in the fashion and beauty industries.

 I, too, remember flipping through Seventeen magazine as a tween, and looking wistfully at White girls swipe on coral and pink shades like there was no science to it. My struggle to find make-up that looked right with my skin tone proved unsuccessful and I spent much of my middle school years copping samples of Covergirl’s Toast of New York and Wet N’ Wild’s Raisin. I wasn’t alone in this, thank goodness; my fellow Asian classmates also bore the marks of a tint that may or may not have been slightly too orange (Covergirl) or gothically dark (Wet N’ Wild).

Anyway, while I’m happy for the 17-year-old Magpantay and the exposure it brings to Filipino beauty, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the first Asian supermodel was Filipino herself. Damn! Who woulda thought, right? Re-introducing Anna Bayle, one of the glamazon supermodels of the 80’s.

Her story isn’t much unlike any other model’s story: started off in Manila, Philippines going to college; was “discovered” while competing in the Miss World Beauty Pageant; realized that modeling was giving her money and freedom…cue superstardom, walking the catwalk for top dogs like YSL, Christian Lacroix and Versace with equally top models Cindy Crawford, Linda Evagenlista and others. But what is different is that this is a story from a Filipino woman’s perspective. Apparently, she coined the Anna Bayle Walk, a stride she created that emulated

the washer women from my country, the Philippines. They would wash their clothes in the river and when they were done, they would balance their wash load on their heads. They had to cross the river, stepping on wet stones, barefoot. They were light on their feet and always had pointed toes in order not to get wet or fall from the slippery surfaces.”

No models walk like this anymore! I miss that vibe, when runways had more personality. I have to agree with Bayle who noted that the newer generation of models appear “robot-like” as they “‘march in’ and ‘march out.'” With all the fashion mags I look at, none of the models really capture my attention, except maybe for Lara Stone. It wasn’t until I started Youtubing the walks for Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell that I realized how much the 90’s have stuck with me. There was definitely a trend toward chiseled cheekbones and womanly features, a trend that has phased out to make way for the youthful looks for the Lindsey Wixsons of today.

Nice Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue-esque shot! Meanwhile, I’m trying to devour as much info about Bayle as possible. It serves as an inspiration for me to embrace the same gung-ho attitude she had that brought her success. No compromises. At one point during her career, it was suggested to her that she change her name to Maria Montezuma to which she replied, “I am Filipina. No matter what they do to me, I will always be a Filipina.” In fact, it’s rather comforting to know that as she was trying to break into the modeling business, she endured hardship, a fact of life that I’m still struggling with at the ripe old age of 30.

Although the fashion industry is trending toward Asians at the moment, “Asian” still means Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean. But, it’s different reading about these rags to riches stories of other models of different nationalities and ethnicities. When I read about Anna Bayle, her stories are rich with meaningful layers. There is communication on a whole new level; levels of validation, understanding, pride, kababayan.

Maria Montezuma. *shakes head* Ay sus! What will they think of next?

“She Looks Familiar…”

Remember the Dove Evolution vid I posted awhile back? Here’s the layman’s version of a digital transformation.

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I do imagine Photoshopping my face and body to my liking and delight in the fantasy of the immediate gratification –who would need to exercise to take care of themselves? Ever? Bigger boobs (of course), nipped in waist, erase the double chin that is forming, shapelier eyebrows, higher cheekbones, longer lashes, less jowls, thicker and shinier hair, firmer butt, thinner thighs, defined calves, less bony wrists —less bony wrists??? Wow, seriously, if I had Photoshop, I could pick apart all my flaws at the drop of a hat.

But what’s always been creepy about Photoshopped images of people is that it often doesn’t even look like the person it’s supposed to be in real life. It’s like plastic surgery gone wrong, but at least it’s only permanent on the page.

Oil and Spice and All That’s Nice, That’s What the Gulf of Mexico is Made Of

Driving to work earlier this week, I was listening to the usual morning radio shows and learned that 13 people had gone overboard after another oil tank had exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve been meaning to post this provocative editorial from Vogue Italia and recently found the perfect opportunity to do so. The motives for publishing these images are controversial: is it a social commentary on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill or is an exploitive attempt to sell clothing and make-up for commercial gain? Personally, I feel the pendulum can swing both ways. My gut reaction towards the images was one of horror, especially when I thought about how it was impacting real birds and other sea life, not to mention the humans who have also experienced direct suffering from the oil spill. I won’t discount the possibility that Vogue Italia was influencing consumerist intentions, but you gotta admit, if there was minimal awareness of the ecological tragedy from these oil spills, there most definitely is now.

In fact, it almost seems less like a fashion shoot than a campaign against harm to the environment, doesn’t it? I sure as hell don’t feel like buying any clothes or make-up after seeing this.

24 xiao

I was so excited to find this concept editorial on Asians. We need more of these! Better yet, we need to see one from a Filipino perspective. In the meantime, I’m completely enamored with 24 Xiao by Liang Su. It’s a contemporary interpretation of one of the cornerstones of Chinese folktales, “The 24 Filial Exemplars,” which emphasizes one of the most important cultural values: taking  care of your parents’ needs (which also can be very “Filipino,” come to think of it). The level of sacrifice involved in this is translated into the modern fashionista’s devotion to fashion perfection. 24 Xiao is an attempt to create a bridge between eastern culture and western fashion in the hopes of establishing a new way to view Chinese fashion. 

 

From an aesthetic point of view, I adore the use of muted tones associated with ancient chinese pictures and script with the expressive poses and modern dress of today. Pay attention to the title of each image and see if you can draw parallels between filial piety and one’s devotion to fashion. 

Fighting With Nature

 

Ice Fishing

 

The Masquerade

 

Wolf in Deer Skin

 

Tears of Bamboo

 

Useless Wealth

 

Servitude

 

As She Commands

 

Tomb-Side Tears

 

Stealing Beauty

 

Medicine Perfection

 

The Leap of Faith

 

Fruit Picking

 

The Quest

 

Statue Obsession

 

Bedside Manners

 

Taste for Sickness

 

Money for Life

 

The Ultimate Sacrifice

 

The Mosquito Lure

 

The Attendant

 

Shaking the Heavens

 

Sufficient Parenting

 

Emotional Telepathy

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