Saturday 16 December 2017

Should criminal good looks be in vogue?

Kirsty at large...

Fashion moment: 'Hot felon' Jeremy Meeks
Fashion moment: 'Hot felon' Jeremy Meeks
The image from the Facebook page that banned low-cut and short dresses
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Sometimes I think the fashion industry is ace. Sometimes I think it's utter pants.

This month, two things happened that typify everything I like and loathe about it.

I'll start with the positive; the Drouser.

If there is one thing fashion editors enjoy - aside from free goodie bags and a sense of unbridled superiority - it's a good portmanteau.

The Drouser is a dress and trouser combo - see Emma Stone at the Baftas.

It follows in the footsteps of 'jeggings', 'skorts', 'shants', 'coatigans', and the colour 'greige'.

I have got nothing but admiration for this - it takes a true genius to mesh two old ideas together and create something new and exciting.

It's something reality TV show producers try very hard to do but frequently fail at.

Case and point was weight loss dance show; Dance your Fat Ass Off which ultimately failed to rate its fat ass off and was cancelled.

So when it comes to Drousers - I salute you fashion crew. Good hustle.

However, I wasn't quite so keen about the unashamed love-in Vogue magazine has had with 'hot felon' turned model of the moment Jeremy Meeks.

Meeks became an internet sensation in 2014 when his criminal mugshot went viral. This week he made his catwalk debut during New York fashion week walking in designer Philipp Plein's show.

There's no denying Meeks is a very, very handsome man but the praise he has garnered seems a little effusive.

Vogue wrote all about his "mugshot to headshot" moment and explained how his "glinting crystal blue eyes, Greek god-like chiselled jaw, and lone teardrop tattoo eventually earned him a modelling contract".

There are many interpretations out there as to what exactly a teardrop tattoo on your face means but none of them are pretty.

The magazine concedes Meeks may have "a chequered past" (he served time for grand theft in 2002, and was found guilty for possession of a firearm) but quickly points out that "he's not the first person with a rap sheet to take the spotlight in the fashion world: Winona Ryder and Naomi Campbell have had their run-ins with the law, and both bounced back".

Okay, pause.

There are degrees of criminality. According to the Associated Press, Meeks was described as "one of the most violent criminals in the Stockton area" by local police.

I don't know if that's on a par with chucking your phone at someone, or shoplifting.

Vogue concedes criminality shouldn't be glamorised but then immediately undermines that statement by adding: "a reformed ex-con who happens to be criminally good-looking? That's one way to shake up a model casting moment".

That line seems a little at odds next to all those "right-on" think pieces about ethically and sustainably sourced kaftans.

I hate when people portray the fashion industry as vacuous but with statements like that - it's hard to be in their corner.

Who wants to be 'neat and discreet' on the dancefloor?

The image from the Facebook page that banned low-cut and short dresses

Hair mascara, your honour. I'd like to open proceedings with hair mascara.

It was blue because so was the Miss Selfridge boob tube I was wearing.

As were my velcro Buffalo trainers, and my eyeshadow. And my handbag.

That's what I wore to my first disco.

To my second disco - an U-15 night in the basement of a pub - I wore gingham hot pants, a string vest with the words 'Hoochie' written on it (sassy!) and a pair of black Korkys school shoes (not sassy).

I didn't splash out on the hair mascara that time. A fatal error which resulted in no one kissing me. You live and learn.

I'm bringing this all up because this week, Fusion Ball in Kilkenny introduced a dress code for its Under-15 Ball.

"Due to the deplorable dresses at the last ball," the organisers wrote on their Facebook page. "It is necessary to fully enforce a knee-length dress with no plunging neckline dress code for the mid-term ball."

The website posted a variety of images of 'deplorable' dresses with 'NO' written across them.

"Any dresses similar to the following will not be accepted. Keep it neat and discreet ladies."

Don't the words "neat and discreet" make your skin crawl? It's the type of thing that lady on the Senokot ads would chime before blowing leaves in your face and twirling away. Plus, nothing about being a teenage girl is neat and discreet.

You suddenly have boobs! You hate your parents! There are uncontrollable hormones swilling around your body! There are so many questions crowding your head like "Can you wear face while wearing braces?"

You need answers. You definitely don't need a group of middle-aged club promoters telling you to dress like a nun.

The whole point of being a teenager is wearing hideous outfits you will later regret. How depressing would it be to look at a photo of your 15-year-old self and realise you still wear the same pants?

Chucking on revealing and regrettable clothes when you're a teenager is a rite of passage. Be garish, be gaudy, wear next-to-nothing but don't, I beg you, be "neat and discreet".



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