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Its Carmel, Miss Snow if you’re nasty…


Paris: The Lean Black Line, The Cloud of White Fox_

Reading Carmel Snow’s report on the Paris Haute Couture from the  1954 September issue of Harper’s Bazaar invites a wry smile. For instance:

“In general new materials are at their inventive best…Wool and Orlon woven with a puffy surface. Jerseys ribbed exactly like corduroy. Acetate and wool shot with a gilt thread..

Balenciaga’s giant puff of white fox, abloom with a pale rose… News because it’s more hat, and more allure, than we’ve known recently…”

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Funny Fact: Carmel White married a society lawyer called George Palen Snow so I guess you could say she was as pale n’ white as snow or just call her Snow White. Hilarious, no?

It all seems so quaint and outmoded now but flicking through the pages I realised how closely linked Couture was to general fashion for the masses. It wasn’t just a laboratory of ideas and overblown fantasies to help shift a few tubes of mascara and bottles of Eau de Piss in the duty free at Stanstead Airport. The clothes featured were fantastic but they were also real – real, expensive clothes for real, expensive women. And the not so expensive but nevertheless just as real women emulated those outfits or aspired to owning the real thing. It all seemed attainable. Couture was relevant. Nowadays ready-to-wear has more influence. Prada, Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton, none show couture but their influence is irrefutable.

Snow-White’s many, many dwarves_

Richard Avedon, Louise Dahl Wolfe, Diana Vreeland, Alexey Brodovitch, Truman Capote, Jean Cocteau, Lauren Bacall… The list of photographers, artists and tastemakers Carmel Snow discovered, worked with or supported is endless. She coined “The New look” in reference to Dior’s 1947 collection. Genius? Most definitely. Its hard to comprehend how vital and influential she was but in her time she was every bit as powerful as Anna Wintour, if not more so. Carmel, we salute you.

PS Miss C was apparently fond of a noonday tipple or two. We like that in a girl round these parts…

Creaky joints. Bunions. Lavender mist. Blue Rinse. Purple haze. Cliff ‘effing Richard…

Grannies have a bad name.

But one woman’s on a mission to change that – even though she isn’t a granny just yet and she’s a decade shy of her first OAP [old age pensioner] bus pass.

One word. Madonna.

Her of pilates and far eastern hokum. Shangri la la. Our Lady of the Lurex Crotch – see Confessions on the Dance Floor period. One has to applaud her verve. You see, our Madgesty has broken down barriers in her time (gives a whole new meaning to Like a Virgin, does it not?)

People say, oh, you harridan, you! Gyrating your creaky pelvis when you really should call it a day. You’re over fifty, you know. Have some self-respect.

What utter nonsense!

I saw her new video for the single, “Celebration”, the other day and thought to myself, what a wonderful whirl… literally. There was our Madgesty thrusting and jerking in a micro Balmain dress like her life depended on it. She looked fantastic. The song was a dense slice of clubland manna. And why not? The penny dropped. Why give up the ghost just because of a few hot flushes and grey hairs? Your body’s tight. You’ve built a successful career. You’re a doting mother – see the alternative take where Lourdes appears on screen with her mother dressed as bride a la Like a Virgin. Cute.

You go “Gran”!

Get into the groove.

Her Madgesty 3

Don’t we all love a good old-fashioned comeback? Don’t we? Been listening to the new Whitney Houston album endlessly on her website not as a form of self-inflicted aural torture but as a sign of respect. Respect, you ask? What, for a crack head baby mamma? Hey, we all make mistakes AND I’M ROOTING FOR HER. Gives us all hope. Well done, Whitney! Good for you! Ok, I don’t love the album but I can sympathise with how difficult it is to pitch yourself to the right audience when you’ve blacked out for pretty much a decade. You’re older, you sound a little husky [kind of like that, actually] and you’re a bit out of touch. In all fairness it’s not too ballad-y, if you know what I mean and Million Dollar Bill is a sonic slice of happiness. It’s not bad at all. Actually, I quite like it. And she’s looking great. A bit more like her Aunty Dionne Warwick as she progresses through to her twilight years. At least she’s no longer in the Twilight Zone. And I hope she’s checked out of there permanently…


Dionne Warwick