Sunday, 20 February 2011

A view from the other side: reviewing an LFW review

Friends, followers and strangers who glance at my Twitter feed occasionally - you know me well enough by now to know that it does not take a lot to make me angry. I've come close to punching people who press the button at pedestrian crossings when it's CLEARLY ALREADY LIT on a shameful number of occasions. If I blogged every time something pissed me off, I'd have little, if any, time for anything else. So you know that this must have really annoyed me:

I don't normally read fashion magazines/blogs, because for a model, such as I am, I have alarmingly little interest in the genre. I know what I like, I don't really need someone telling me what I "should" be wearing, thanks. But self-Googling is an affliction that affects us all, so of course I was going to check out the reviews of the show I modelled in (completely against both my will and better judgement, I'll add).

I understand the appeal in the bitchy style of review. It's fun and you get to show off how very witty you are. Lord knows, I do it myself all the time. But would I write it differently if I knew what was going on behind the scenes? I like to think so. For the sake of accuracy I shall henceforth point out what this journalist might have changed if she actually had a clue.

On accusations of "cheesy bum wiggling": Pierre, the designer you so readily praise as though he were nothing to do with his own show, was the architect of his own misfortune on this score. Models were instructed, by him, to "walk like a cat". I'm not sure if cats wiggle their bottoms when they walk, in a cheesy manner or otherwise, but that was what he wanted; he demonstrated himself. Signs were up all over the backstage area saying "Walk sexy - swing your hips!!!". So please don't criticise us for doing what we were told to.

On accusations of "sleazy pouting and winking at the camera": again, the models didn't magically come up with this idea on their own. There was much fraught discussion of how we were going to look like absolute idiots if we went along with the poses we were instructed to pull. But a good model does what she's told, and that's what we were told, by both the woman heading up the organisation (who this journalist seems also to think is blameless in all this) and the designer. Again with the signs: "Be sexy, bitchy, playful and FLIRT" was also plastered around the dressing area. You wana know why people were winking at the camera? Probably because they were instructed to "flirt with the camera". Yeah, that cheesy old line. Not one "sleazy" pose wasn't pre-approved - the woman organising the catwalk made us practise our poses all night and shouted if they weren't flamboyant enough. So yeah, maybe ask WHY people are behaving in a strange manner next time, because there's usually a reason.

On snarks about "the shaky footwork of unexperienced (sic) models: first up, and I know people hate to be pulled up on spelling and grammatical errors, but it's inexperienced models. IN. Do you not have a spell check? You should turn on the automatic spell check thing that most modern operating systems have. The word "unexperienced" came up with a squiggly red line underneath when I typed it. There are forces in this world greater than yourself. Accept that and accept their help. You'll be happier for it, I promise.

Secondly, we weren't all newbies you know. I'm the model that tripped and provoked the simultaneous gasp from every person in the audience. I'd have laughed were I not so mortified. Why did I trip, when I've actually been doing this for more years than I should let on if I still want to get booked for anything? Shitty, cheap-ass, ill-fitting shoes, in a word, Well, several. You know when Naomi Campbell, supermodel, fell arse-over-tit on the catwalk? It clearly wasn't because she didn't know what she was doing, it was because she was wearing platforms that really should have never made it out of the design stage on health and safety grounds. And so with the shoes last night. These weren't couture, they were New Look, spray painted with shit stuck on the front and the heels. "Embellishment" I believe you'd call it in your line of work. Nothing wrong with New Look shoes, obviously (although it's nice not to have to stuff your shoes with tissue because they're too big); the problem is the DIY. There were large net flowers stuck on the front of my shoes. Not a problem in and of itself, but there were also loosely attached strings of beads that suck out from underneath the flowers. Beads and net - a couple made in Hell. As I walked, feet perilously close together, as instructed (apparently, that's how cats walk), the string of beads on one shoe snagged the net on the other. Over I went. I damn near broke my neck, so I'll thank you not to snigger.

Finally, on the journalist's sincere hope that Pierre will next time "invest in the right cast to better execute his idea". Yes, one can only hope he'll sack that bitch of a woman who insisted we pose like inpatients at a sex addiction clinic. And if he wants better, less "unexperienced" models, the tight bastard might consider paying them. He's not a new designer, he can afford it. Instead, he recruited models through open castings advertised on those dubious "model connection" websites where anyone can upload a web cam picture and call themselves a model. Those of us with agencies did rather wonder why we'd been sent there. All so he can save a buck or two. You reap what you sow.