Louis Vuitton A/W 2013: Prostitution Chic?

Yesterday, I watched a short fashion film that I found to be a bit unsettling. Produced by Love Magazine's editor-in-chief Kate Grand and directed by James Lima, the film is meant to be a promotional video for Louis Vuitton's Autumn/Winter 2013-14 collection.

To say the film is "controversial" would be an understatement: the models are wearing the Louis Vuitton collection while they appear to be soliciting sex.

Since its release, Louis Vuitton has tried its best to distance itself from the video, according to French publication The Local. Since I first watched the clip on Huffington Post last night, Kate Grand has apologized for any offense the short vid may have caused in a statement to Fashionista.

I first wrote my response to the video last night, on a group board on Facebook, but I thought I would give you a chance to see for yourself what the controversy is about. Keep in mind that the fashion film is NSFW and contains brief nudity.

Here is my initial response:

This is the analogy I took away from the clip and its imagery:  The models, being paid to wear clothes and sell a brand, are prostitutes; Marc Jacobs, as the designer, is their pimp.

As a whole, whether it be through design or marketing, and other etc. whatnot, the fashion industry will always push boundaries. It will always make someone, somewhere feel uncomfortable. It would be silly to deny that sex sells. However, when I consider the devastating implications of human trafficking, I personally am disgusted by what the video implies. 

It seems as though Love, the magazine, is trying to make a point, but what is it exactly? That the industry is morally bankrupt on selling? I don't see a positive spin to the story portrayed.

What do you think of the video?

I can't help but wonder if the roles were reversed--if the designer was a woman and the models were men, would there still be outrage? Also, did Marc Jacobs have a part in the creation of the film? Despite Louis Vuitton's official stance, their creative director is not only featured--styling models backstage at the recent Louis Vuitton A/W 2013-14 runway show--but he is thanked at the end of the credits.

Film Credit: Love Magazine.


Music Monday: Lana Del Rey.

Lana Del Rey in a global fashion campaign for H&;M.

Lana Del Rey seems to be everywhere these days. Describing herself as a "gangsta Nancy Sinatra" and her music as "sadcore," the singer enchants with her seductive, Lolita-inspired lyrics. She's won awards, sung for worldwide fashion campaigns, and created music videos that feel more like full-blown cinematic experiences. Del Rey has already bounced back from harsh criticism, and has released two albums and three EPs. How did she start out, though? And is Lana Del Rey even her real name?
Del Rey in her music video for "Born To Die."

Sadly, the answer is no. Lana Del Rey is the stage name of Elizabeth Woolridge Grant (she has also recorded under Mary Jailer). After having previous recordings shelved, Lizzy Grant released her first full-length album in 2010, Lana Del Rey A.K.A. Lizzy Grant, to no one's anticipation.

It was a flop.

After a name change and image retooling, Lana Del Rey did something millions do: she posted a video onto YouTube. Weeks later, she was signed by Interscope. The song she posted, "Video Games," was named one of the Best Songs of 2011 by NME. However, a  bad performance on Saturday Night Live nearly ruined her ride to success. Her handlers canceled several shows in the wake of the appearance, even a gig at South By Southwest.  Still, within a month after her SNL mishap, Del Rey's Born To Die was released. The album went on to sell over 3.4 million copies, becoming the 5th best-selling album of 2012.
Born To Die album cover.

So what is Lizzy Grant, er, Lana Del Rey doing now? She was the spokesperson for H&M's 2012 campaign, and surprised critics by winning "International Female Solo Artist" at the 2013 BRIT Awards. Del Rey's most recent EP, Paradise, was released on November 12th of last year.
Promotion photo for Born To Die: The Paradise Edition.

Fans could either buy the EP as a part of the Born To Die: Paradise Edition, or by itself. The EP, made up of eight songs, featured more of Del Rey's smoky, lounge singer vocals over sleepy beats. Most saw the EP as an improvement from Born To Die. "Ride," released in September, was the lead single. 

What do you think of Lana Del Rey? Do you like her throwback, Americana style? 

Image Credit: Thanks to Lana Del Rey's official Facebook, Interscope Records, and H&M.


She's Crafty: Paint With Stickers Tutorial!

I don't know if many of you know this, but I love to paint! I'm not that great at creating portraits or landscapes, so I try to keep things fun with abstract projects. A year or two ago, I came across a little painting project on Pinterest that I am going to show you today.

All you need for this DIY creation is:
  • Canvas or paper suitable for painting. Be aware that there are different types of each, and what you use depends on your choice of paint.
  • Paint & Paintbrushes! I like to use acrylics in primary colors, as well as white. 
  • Alphabet Stickers. I bought my puffy stickers at Michael's

1. Come up with something snappy to put on your canvas! I chose a song lyric. Also, think of how you want to lay out your stickers before you stick them down completely. Do you want them to be straight, or do you want there to be movement between letters?

2. I suggest painting over the stickers first; I did this because I wanted my letters to have specific coloring. If you're using puffy letters like I did, you may need to hold them down to do this. Either way, make sure your stickers are thoroughly painted over, otherwise the final effect will not be as spectacular. 

3. Finish the rest of your painting.
4. Let the paint dry.
5. Remove your stickers! Because my stickers were puffy, they were easy to remove. If you're using flat stickers, keep an X-acto knife handy, as those tend to leave behind unwanted residue.

VoilĂ ! Lyrics from John Lennon's "Instant Karma."

An alternative to this process? Paint your canvas first, place stickers, then paint over your design in its entirety with a single color. Then peel stickers! The letters will then have a neat design on a plain-looking canvas.

What do you think, readers? Do you like to paint? What kind of DIY projects do you like to do? 


Music Monday: Sky Ferreira.

I'm stepping outside of my cozy fashion bubble. So here we are, on my first of many Music Mondays, starring the highly talented, and yet still slightly unknown, singer-songwriter Sky Ferreira.

Maybe you've seen her around; she's been featured in countless magazines and ad campaigns, including the current festival collection for Forever 21.

But have you heard her?
Sky Ferreira.

I first heard of Sky Ferreira in 2009, when reading a post on WGSN about up-and-coming musical acts. At the age of 16, the singer had recently been signed by Parlophone and was a YouTube sensation: on "Happy Dre," she sang The Beatles' "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" over beats from Dr. Dre's "Still D.R.E.". She recorded a stripped-down cover of "Animal," which was originally recorded as electro pop by Miike Snow. And she isn't just a singer: Ms. Ferreira made her film debut in 2010's Putty Hill.

Ferreira then released three singles: "17," a cautionary tale of an out-of-control teen; "Obsession," a catchy ditty detailing one girl's one-sided devotion; and "One," a poppy and unadulterated dance track. 
Ms. Ferreira on the set of her video "One". 

With her popularity rising, you would think by now there would have been an album release. For whatever reason, her record label decided to push back her debut LP, and opted to released two EPs, As If! and Ghost. As If! was originally released on iTunes in March of 2011. However, since Ghost's release in October of last year, all of the tracks on As If! and the EP itself have been removed. This is likely due to Sky Ferreira's ever-changing sound that appears on Ghost.
Ghost EP; cover shot by Hedi Slimane, creative director of Saint Laurent.

Ghost has received generally favorable reviews, particularly the single "Everything Is Embarrassing". Pitchfork named it one of the best new singles of 2012, and New York Magazine named it Song Of The Year for 2012. An 80's throwback to the extreme, the dreamy pop song has the singer lament over a failed relationship. 

Other singles from Ghost include "Red Lips" and "Lost In My Bedroom," a song that was featured in a recent episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Ferreira is currently touring in support of her upcoming LP I'm Not Alright. She will be at South By Southwest for the music portion of the festival in Austin, TX, March 12th-17th.

Needless to say, she is undoubtedly one to watch in the coming months.

Image Credit: All photos were sourced from Sky Ferreira's official Facebook page.


The Moment You Remember That You Have A Blog.

Something's been gnawing at me for the past couple weeks.

When someone tweets about SXSW, or I see a fashion magazine detailing Taylor Swift's style transformation, I feel a pang in my heart. 

I'm completely and absolutely forgetting something. I'm forgetting something big that I love. 

And the feeling hasn't disappeared. It follows me around the house, hangs over me at work, and invades my thoughts when I'm watching Downton Abbey.

What is it that's been bothering me?

I realized it this afternoon, while I was reading an e-mail from a friend.

It's my blog!

My blog has been neglected, to the point where I haven't updated in five months. Yes, five months.

What have I done in that five months?

I began working at a major department store. I work in kids' wear, so it's been an interesting change of pace, to say the least.

I've moved three times; John and I did our final move in December. 

I adopted a cat; her name is Sapphire.
Sapphire & Biscuit: sisters from different misters.

So much has happened. And yet, the blog remained to be not updated.

The truth is, there are not as many fashion events in Anchorage. There aren't as many events, period.

So I've been writing a few ideas down, some that have nothing to do with fashion. I hope you'll look forward to them because starting Monday, Bella Vogue will be back. For real this time. 
All content, unless written otherwise, is property of Chelsea Hands.
Use of author's personal photos is strictly forbidden.