daily style inspiration: the anti-peacock

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Earlier this week, the lovely Navaz (of Disney Roller Girl) highlighted an article by Suzy Menkes for the New York Times’ T magazine. In it the doyenne of sartorial scribblers rails against peacocking and how bloggers blatantly accept bribes for coverage.

I’m with Menkes on the show offs. Although I’m not an all-black-wearing, dark-glasses-donning old-school fashion journo, as London Fashion Week approaches, I’m guarding myself against the onslaught of the hey-look-at-me Somerset House flash mob. I’ll be on crutches, they might come in handy.

But please don’t misunderstand me. I love street style photography and couldn’t care less if a designer has leant a blogger something spectacular to wear in the hopes that Scott Schuman will snap him/her for his blog. If it looks good, shows thought and reflects the wearer genuinely, then I’m all for it. What I can’t abide, however, is the outlandish outfits that are worn to do nothing more than cause a stir. For me, this is not style, this is costuming at its most vulgar and contrived.

I know it’s subjective, but fashion is an artform and beauty is in the eye of the proverbial. So, as I hobble my way to the shows, I’ll be channeling the understated – inspired by the above and below. I’ll be on the look out for some of the like-mindeds too. Who knows, I might even take a snap or two myself.


And just to address Menkes’ point on bribes: surely she can’t tell me that fashion editorial isn’t led by advertising. At least bloggers are open about it. Transparency trumps hypocrisy any day of the week, don’t you think?


All image sources here and here.


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12 thoughts on “daily style inspiration: the anti-peacock

  1. Duck

    Two quick points I thought after reading this…

    1. I think, by writing for a large newspaper, the work of Suzy, Cathy, et al is probably not so influenced by advertising pressures as for magazine “journalists”. I don’t see many fashion adverts in the NY Times/IHT, and their reviewers have been pretty harsh/realistic with designers in the past. Magazines, however, seem to me to be completely controlled by advertising. For example, several journalists (and now editors), were DMing me last season about how awful they thought the SS13 Prada collections were. But obviously on their official Twitter accounts, Tumblrs and in the pages of their magazines, they raved about it. The majority of fashion publications in this way are just as biased, if not more so, than the high-flying brand-endorsed bloggers are.

    2. It all just seems like a big fuss about nothing. I mean, fashion is by definition not an objective topic. Unless the critics are examining the quality of the stitching or the detailed fabric production, an ‘expert’ design knowledge is not necessarily important or interesting for the reader/consumer. And a reviewer basically can’t tell you what you’ll like or what will look good on you. They’re only really reporting what is in the collection (which we can now see for ourselves online anyway). I think the best fashion writers need to take what they see and use it to say something else – to tell a story about the designer’s life, the ethics of manufacturing, the economic impact, the cultural relevance etc. That would be interesting journalism. That’s also something that bloggers like Susie Bubble or 1972Projects do anyway. There’s no point comparing them to Bryanboy or Pelayo Diaz or me, because we’re not interested in doing that, and we’re not claiming to be journalists. Different kinds of blogs provide different kinds of entertainment, I don’t get the problem with that.

    1. Kate Post author


      First, I really hope you’re right re: the advertisers. I’ve never worked for the newspapers, but from my magazine jobs here and abroad, I know how much sway the advertisers have. Your Prada example is depressing, but no surprise.

      Secondly, I’d love to see more articles like the ones you mentioned. Journalists should be finding the stories – not just photo captioning and looking for the next big thing – though professionally I’m guilty of the latter because that’s what I get paid to do (albeit for a different market). It’s the old quality vs quantity argument.

      And different blogs, indeed. I love yours and many others like it. Like writing, if you’re true to yourself, your style is genuine. But you have to admit that some people just put tinsel in their hair and parade back and forth past the street stylers in the hope that someone will take their picture…


  2. Roz

    Really interesting points both in your post and the comment above. To address Duck’s desire to see more innovative journalism, honestly not just self-promotion here, but a lot of what I write about fashion goes beyond summarising the show and instead talks about narrative, ethics, cultural relevance etc. For example, after last LFW I wrote this piece for Lionheart on the theatricality of the event: http://www.lionheart-mag.com/fashion/2012/10/rosalind-janas-take-on-london-fashion-week-ss2013

    To return to what you said, I’m afraid that of the two categories given I’m more likely to fall into the position of peacock. Although I do not dress up especially for the shows (various friends can attest to the outfits I turn up in to college), fashion week is still a chance for me to enjoy the process of putting together a number of looks that really focus on colour, shape etc. However, I would say that for me it is very much a form of expression, rather than any sense of attention-seeking or advertising. It’s just one aspect of the week. I think one of the issues is that everyone has a different definition of costume – for some its minimalist, others extroverted.

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