‘It’s not just about abusive photographers’: fashion and feminism in the world of #MeToo

From street style to catwalk, fashion’s statements are often bold but rarely obvious. Could a visit to the London shows help to decode how feminist the industry really is? The Saturday afternoon of London fashion week saw Christopher Bailey’s final show for Burberry, after 17 years designing for the label. The scene outside was post-apocalyptic – the flyovers of White City in west London looming over the aircraft hangar where the show was held, as maybe 100 people protested against fur. It was quite a slick demo – loudhailers and rhyming slogans, abattoir noises blaring from a speaker. It seemed, to someone who was alive in the 80s, vividly nostalgic, like a civil war recreation. A young man ran through the barriers brandishing a ticket, wearing a fur-lined hood. “Compassion is always in fashion,” called another guy with eyes red-splashed to look as though they were bleeding. “It’s not even real fur,” muttered the man in the hood. I’ve been to the fashion shows before for personal reasons (in the 90s, I was in charge of bringing a designer’s dog to the front row for the finale), but have never had the beat professionally or asked what this nest of predominantly female creativity says about feminism, because it’s very erudite. Its statements are bold but not obvious, its messages arrive in layers and contradictions, over time, and its most interesting minds are often not very interested in verbally articulating ideas whose visual impact is charged by their ambiguity. Yet, plainly, neither fashion nor feminism lives under a bell jar. If fashion doesn’t speak plainly about its feminist agenda, that doesn’t mean it says nothing. The same controversies that have arisen in the rest of the culture – #MeToo, most recently – have exploded in fashion, this week seeing allegations of abusive photographers that were foreshadowed but by no means encompassed by the uncomfortable existence of Terry Richardson, the open secret of his behaviour and the fact that he as good as kept a public visual record of it, over years. Debates about diversity and body image have arisen but have never been resolved. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Prost! How to drink ‘beer’ like a German Olympic athlete

The country’s team has been knocking back the alcohol-free booze to rehydrate. Here are five to try if you want to join them You may have seen headlines lauding the non-alcoholic beer consumption of German Olympic athletes and, tenuously, linking it to their medal-winning ways. Believe it or not, there is some scientific evidence that non-alcoholic, or very low alcohol, beer after exercise is a good thing. One set of research that supports this is from a 2012 study at Munich Technical University’s department of prevention and sports medicine, which shows the naturally occurring polyphenols in non-alcoholic beer have strong antioxidant, anti-pathogenic and anti-inflammatory properties, which help ward off instances of upper respiratory tract illnesses, significantly more common in people who exercise strenuously. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

From rainbow stripes to high-tide trousers: eight styles rules from London fashion week

The twice-yearly celebration of style finishes today. Having taken in five days of catwalks, we outline everything you need to know about next season’s trends With the red carpet blackout sweeping the board at the Baftas as well as the Golden Globes, the colour you wear is now a political statement. The only combination more woke than black? The rainbow. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Norse code: what’s the secret of the Norwegians’ Winter Olympics success?

Hailing from a nation of only 5.2 million people, Norway’s squad is outperforming teams from much bigger countries – and, no, it’s not just because they have so much snow Eleven days into the competition, Norway sit top of the medal table, out-performing much larger nations such as Canada, Germany and the US. How have they pulled it off? Here are some of the elements that have gone into their successful performance. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Outies out, innies in: the vogue for belly button reshaping surgery

Ashamed of your navel? Or just want to keep up with the Kardashians? Here’s the lowdown on the surgical procedure de nos jours I will never forget my first time. It was 1998, at Camden market in north London, on my lunch break from school: £15 changed hands followed by the blissful scrape of the needle pushing through the flesh of my belly button. I was 15, and crop-tops and Gwen Stefani were both big news. Plus, I had an outie (the shame!), and the prospect of bejewelling my crater-like belly button was too exciting to resist. Unfortunately, the bolt of metal in my stomach did not feel as attached to me as I was to it and, after weeping and turning a vibrant shade of red, my skin rejected the piercing. Some years later, having had three large babies who stretched and contorted my once-svelte stomach that even now, with my youngest aged two and a half, the skin on my tummy resembles an empty Ikea bag (with additional red scars). So it is with interest that I learn that the beauty trend of 2018 is belly button reshaping. Related: The latest cosmetic surgery trend? The ‘Melania makeover’ Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Finding Mr Alt-Right: my adventures on a dating site for Trump fans

Republican singletons were excited to hear about the launch of Trump Dating. The temptation to connect with the morally bankrupt fascist of my dreams was too much to resist I’m not normally in the habit of joining dating apps while already in a relationship, but over the weekend I made an exception. The internet was abuzz with news of a website for Trump supporters called Trump Dating and, well, the temptation to connect with the morally bankrupt fascist of my dreams was too hard to resist. I sat my girlfriend down and broke the news as best I could: “Sweetie, I love you, but I feel like joining Trump Dating is the alt-right thing for me to do. I hope you understand.” Succumbing to temptation when you’re already taken certainly seems to be something the people behind Trump Dating can understand. The site has been described as a sort of Ashley MAGAson, as you don’t need to be single to sign up. At first you could stipulate if you were “happily” or “unhappily” married, but they appear to have removed those options due to all the bad press. Meanwhile, one of the activists used as a face of the website was revealed by reporters in North Carolina to have a conviction for “indecent liberties with a child”. Whatever your relationship status, however, it is important to believe in the sort of good old-fashioned family values the president so stalwartly represents. (It should probably be noted that Trump Dating isn’t anything to do with the Trump Organization itself, despite its history of shambolic consumer misadventures.) Continue reading… [hmp_player]