The ongoing debate on the nature of street style and how it has become a bit of an industry in its own right has left some people feeling a little disappointed. With street-style fixtures like Rumi Neely and Leandra Medine getting paid big bucks to wear designers' clothing, there's a sense that these "candid" fashion moments are no longer authentic or organic. Not only has the industry banked on these street-style celebrities as a form of advertisement, famous photographers like Scott Schuman and Garance Doré (both of whom we admire) are also getting a piece of the pie through book sales — and even posters priced at $40 a pop. While there's no denying that the street-style momentum is still in full force, we want to hear your thoughts: is street style getting too commercial?
All the news bits fit to print.
- Could Victoria Beckham be pregnant with a fifth child? An insider says the designer declined to drink while celebrating the Spice Girls' performance at the Olympics this Summer, where she also talked "about having some strange food fads." [The Cut]
- Former WWD reporter Amy Wicks is now the contributing fashion news editor for Glamour.com. [@AmyWicks01]
- Select photographs from Scott Schuman's new book, Closer, have been turned into posters and are on sale for $40 each. [The Sartorialist]
- In related news, Yoox.com has started selling art in addition to the designer clothing, shoes, and accessories already available on its website. "The art world has evolved and buyers are keen to access art online — it's on their radar now," said the company's founder and CEO Federico Marchetti. [Style.com]
- Alexa Chung says the book she's working on will not be a style bible. "It's more like just imagery I find interesting and it's going to have a sense of humor," she explained. [Fashionista]
- Vera Wang's bridal show is scheduled for Friday — but she won't be there. She'll travel to Cambridge, MA, to join her daughter Josephine for Parents' Weekend at Harvard. [WWD]
"Every time I come back, I like London a little bit more," Schuman told us in between shows during London Fashion Week. "I like the youngness of it — people really seem to like fashion here; they're excited about it. I'm a little disappointed that in New York the FIT kids and the Parsons kids don't bring the same enthusiasm. They don't try to sneak into shows. I don't know why the kids aren't trying to sneak into shows?
"A lot of people say, 'Well, what do you think about all the young bloggers that go and stand outside the shows?' and I think the thing that's nice is that people feel they can go to the shows, and if they have a camera, they can take pictures and they can feel like they're part of the fashion world. Before, it was too intimidating. Now you can go and feel like you're part of it — whether you're a blogger or not. It's like going to a baseball game: you can go and watch the game. Most people can't get into the show, but now I think people feel like they can come here and take pictures and just hang out. So I think it's a good thing to make fashion feel not so separated from everyone — but yeah, I think the kids in New York could pick it up more. I think the information is too easy for them to get and it's easy here, too, but I don't know what it is."
Schuman also shared with us the virtues of traveling light during fashion month. "You know, when you travel as much I do, you really learn how not to need anything. Because things are going to break. You're going to forget your cashmere sweater — you're going to lose this thing. I used to want to go to Starbucks in the cities, and even that, it's just better if you don't need anything. The more you need something, the more difficult it is when it doesn't work out and the more upset it makes it you. I used to have essentials. Now I can live without my cashmere sweater, I can without my . . . It's not like we're going to Ethiopia. I can get whatever I need right here."
The Sartorialist's Name Change, Miuccia Prada's Great Gatsby, and Grace Coddington's Capsule Collection
Those stories and more in our daily news roundup.
- Scott Schuman has requested that a university street-style blog, Campus Sartorialist, change its name, as it infringes on his trademark on The Sartorialist. "I commend their entrepreneurial spirit and think the idea is great, but they don't need my name to continue to be successful," he said in a statement. [The Daily Beast]
- Miuccia Prada collaborated with The Great Gatsby's costume designer Catherine Martin to alter 40 pieces from the Miu Miu and Prada archives for the film. "I realized how many pieces could become very 1920s with a little intervention and another point of view," she said. [The Daily Telegraph]
- Grace Coddington designed a capsule collection for Balenciaga that features sketches of her cat Pumpkin. The collection includes a canvas tote bag, a silk scarf, and a wool scarf. Proceeds from the capsule will benefit the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. [Fashionologie Inbox]
- Elettra Wiedemann and husband James Marshall married in an intimate ceremony at a restaurant in New York's West Village. She wore Dominican designer Miguelina for the ceremony and changed into Giambattista Valli for the reception. [Vogue]
- Tom Ford has begun to question the industry's obsession with material goods. "I'm part of this industry that creates insecurity and focuses on materialism and things that aren't actually, for me, the most important things in life," he said. [Vogue UK]
Who better to comment on the future of street style photography than the man who helped propel the genre into the digital age? In an interview with Harper's Bazaar about his upcoming book, Closer, Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist explained that photographers have become too preoccupied with a certain kind of subject.
"I think the thing that's tricky and why it hasn't taken the next big step forward is because photographers now are going to the shows and they're trying to shoot these 'star editors,'" Schuman explained. "You know, when I started, people knew who the editors in chief were and a few others, but nobody knew Giovanna Battaglia or Anna Dello Russo or those people. I was really shooting what I was responding to. And Giovanna ended up becoming somebody. And Anna Dello Russo ended up becoming somebody. I think that the part that's holding people back now is that they basically only go to the shows. There's very few of these street blogs that go back to their city, wherever that is, and shoot. People just get very obsessed with getting a picture of those known names, as opposed to really speaking from the heart and shooting from the heart — having the bravery to shoot a 'third row' person or not going to the shows and shooting somewhere else. For street style to be successful, photographers need to shoot in a more unique way to them."
Photo courtesy of The Sartorialist
Scott Schuman doesn't pull any punches in a new GQ profile that examines his rarefied place in the fashion industry.
"It shocks me when young kids still say, 'I want to do a magazine,'" Schuman, who started the blog The Sartorialist in 2005, says in the piece. "Really? Do you want to do a magazine because you want to be an editor — what you think that life is, that romance — or do you want to communicate? Because if you want to communicate, why the f*ck would you put all those obstacles in your path and have to print pages, as opposed to going right on the Internet and actually communicating?"
Alex Pappademas, who wrote the profile, describes Schuman as being able to travel "nimbly between fashion-world insider and outsider" — which could explain his license to say what he feels and his ability to sit front row at high-profile fashion shows. Read on for more of his quotes from the profile.
On meeting Ron Frasch, president and chief merchandising office at Saks: "He's looking right over my head," Schuman says, "and I remember thinking, I'm gonna make this f*cking blog so he looks at me when I'm talking to him."
On sitting Dolce & Gabbana's Spring 2009 show: "They got a humongous amount of press," Schuman says. "Look, we brought the bloggers in and gave them the front row. Look at the dancing-monkey bloggers! I could barely bring myself to sit down . . . Like, 'Ugh, I don't want everyone looking at us.' Like, Oh, look at the cute bloggers! Isn't that cute! Are they playing Angry Birds? When you've got Ron Frasch behind you going, 'I spent two f*cking million dollars on D&G's last collection, and I'm sitting here? For these little schmucks?'" (Schuman later clarified that Frasch didn't say anything to this effect.)
Kanye West on Schuman: "Scott gave me my first opportunity to be photographed in a different light than the normal rap way. So anytime Scott does anything, I don’t care where I am in the world. I'll be there."
>> In a new interview, The Sartorialist's Scott Schuman ballparks his blog revenue: "American Apparel bought advertising for the whole year and then I just got an email yesterday that Net-A-Porter.com is going to buy advertisements for the rest of the year as well. So those two ads alone are a good fraction of a million dollars: more than a quarter million and less than a half a million." Furthermore, he adds: "My audience is so much larger than everybody else’s that advertisers, well at least American Apparel told me that I am not in their Internet budget. My order is so big and they have to pay so much that I am actually in their magazine budget. That comes from having a good size audience."
He also gives his opinion on the Tavi phenomenon: "Well I don’t think her audience is that big. I think her success is a little bit of a conspiracy by established print media that wanted to show that this blog thing is not that important, that it’s done by a bunch of twelve year olds. But a lot of us are serious grown-ups. I think it’s great that Tavi can create a blog and write for other people that are like-minded – probably other kids around her age – but I don’t know how that is going to help a 26-year old, if she has never had a boyfriend or any of that kind of stuff. She’s just a kid, so she can talk about art and stuff only in an abstract way ... to me it is like a five-year old Michael Jackson singing about love – to him they are just words. It is just an abstract concept."
Scott Schuman, the Sartorialist, has gotten together with Kiehl's to produce a bunch of beautiful Father's Day photos along with a limited-edition Dopp Kit for Men ($55) intended to please even the most foppish father. The photos Schuman has taken of fathers around New York City are absolutely gorgeous (and pretty ovary-melting, too). Check them out to see some adorable kids and seriously cute fathers.
Photo courtesy Scott Schuman, The Sartorialist
>> After three years of dating, Garance Dore and Scott Schuman are making it official — residentially official, anyway. Dore received her visa last month and has recently moved into a prewar Greenwich Village loft with Schuman, on West 10th Street. “I don’t make sacrifices,” she says of her move. “There is no, ‘I leave everything for my man.’ I just do things when they make me feel good and they feel right." But: “I wanted to be with Scott," she says, adding: "I never felt at home in Paris.” [NY Times]
>> Intel followed The Sartorialist's Scott Schuman around just before the holidays to produce a seven-minute short documentary on how he works. As the film shows Schuman going for a haircut, walking around Manhattan and stopping people on the street for photographs, he talks about how street photography is something he wants to do for 30 or 40 more years to come, and how he imagines his chronicle of photographs and the subsequent comments they get "will look very interesting a hundred years from now," as attitudes and tastes change.