Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Phone-throwing fur traitor Naomi Campbell and Jodie "skinny" Kidd at Julien Macdonald

A Julien Macdonald show usually requires a special effort. It's the frenzy that seems to be associated with this show. No doubt exacerbated by the ultra strict security, the bag checks at the front door etc... - all apparently in a bid to thwart the best efforts of PETA, who have a major problem with Macdonald's use of fur. People frequently complain of double-booked seats and the general atmos is one of pandemonium, as scores stand packed around the edges of the seating, elbowing each other out of the way for a better view.

It's a relief once the show starts - because you know you won't have to put up with any more of it in 15 minutes' time.

There is lots and lots and LOTS of fur on the runway - in addition to a plethora of dazzling crystal-fringed flapper dresses worn over skinny black cropped trousers.

Another reason why tonight's security may be extra tight is because Naomi Campbell opens and closes the show.

Macdonald, in PETA's view - and as they advertised on his own runway during one show, via one of their famous protests - is "fur scum".

Campbell is apparently worse than fur scum however. She is what the animal rights lobby calls a "fur traitor".

I mean they kind of do have a point: in the early 1990s, Campbell joined a few other naked supes in the famous PETA billboard campaign, "I'd rather go naked than wear fur". Campbell, like Elle Macpherson - a new face of Blackglama - also signed the Models of Compassion petition saying she would never have anything to do with it forthwith.

Yeah, right.

Campbell has long since recanted her anti-fur pledges, claiming she made a "mistake" with PETA.

After the show she gets whisked through the backstage area at lightning speed and I manage to grab a few comments.

"I thought it was beautiful and feminine and made you feel like a woman and sexy and glamorous and elegant" says Campbell of the collection.

Apparently the fur went down well.

And skinny models? I mean I had to ask.

"I think it is not fair to blame our industry for a disease that is psychological" Campbell replies emphatically. "It can happen in any industry. I'm a model, but I think it's really unfair to point the finger particularly at the fashion industry when anorexia, like any other disease, is psychological and it's not fair".

She adds, "And I've never seen size 0 in any clothes in my life, never".

I also manage to throw a couple of questions at front rower Jodie Kidd, not on fur but skinny models, a subject that I figured must surely be close to Kidd's heart.

In the early 1990s, when she started modelling, Kidd's skeletal teenage frame (blamed at one stage on a bout of glandular fever) caused a media furore. She was widely accused at the time of promoting anorexia.

You are the original skinny model - what's your position on the current debate?
Jodie Kidd: Fashion always goes in circles, so whether it's the voluptuous era between my time, before I came in, of Cindy and Helena, then I came in and it was a very androgynous look, it was very Kate, it was very flat-chested... And then it moved to Gisele and the voluptuous ones. So everything moves in this massive circle.

It was a pretty big story at the time for you though.
I was young and that's the thing. They use very young models. I was 15. That was my body shape. And I've only just started growing into my body now and I'm in my late 20s. It's very difficult for me to say something about it because I was being booked as a young girl by the editors, by the designers, by the magazines, to do a job and then we're the one that gets the finger pointed at and we're the ones who get blamed.

They really singled you out.
They did. They also singled out Kate. They singled out a few other people. And now it's gone back and it's Lily (Cole) and a few other girls. We've always been subjected to something along the way. We're just turning up, we're doing a job, we're put into that position by the people that are booking us and paying our fees. So it's kind of very difficult for us to then try and just justify why we've been put into that situation. But you know, it will change. It will change next season I'm sure.

Update (15/02/07):

It was so chaotic backstage last night I didn't try to track down Macdonald, especially having already spoken with Naomi. Besides, Macdonald's response to my fur questions last season was to just completely duck on the issue with a deadpan 'No comment'.

But perhaps Macdonald has suddenly become a bit more bolshy.

Today I noticed a story on the show in one British newspaper. I was craning to read it over someone's shoulder on the Tube, and all I could make out was the word "shocking" - in relation to the show's heavy use of fur - followed by the following response from Macdonald. The quote had in fact been blown up in bold type as the story's headline, so it was a little hard to miss:

(words to the effect) "I think fur is beautiful and anyone who has a problem with that can just p*** off".

Original post and comments.


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