I can remember way back in the day when Liz Jones lost her job as editor of Marie Claire for – allegedly – complaining about having to use bulimic models. This was before she started her Daily Mail rant columns and pre-wrecking her own marriage by sharing every nano-second with Mail on Sunday readers. She wrote really openly and honestly about subsequently being turned away from fashion shows and watching others sitting front row while she stood, craning for a view at the back, if indeed she was allowed in at all. At the time, I remember being glad that she kept control of her almighty fall from fashion grace by telling anyone who’d listen the whole painful details and splashing it across national newspapers. At least that way, the whispering and back-biting became all a little pointless since she was literally bleeding out the news herself. Liz also leaked the finer points of soul-selling, gifting, you-scratch-my-back-etc games, the ego-jostling, cold shouldering and tantrums. At the time, I worked in beauty and it wasn’t my world at all…I was just a freelancer starting out…but even in beauty we felt the ripples of such searing honesty. Fashion folks were quaking in their Jimmy Choos; one misjudged moment and it was all over for her – and it could have been any one of them. Liz has subsequently made her anti-industry stance and brutally open confessionals her trademark, and seems to do very nicely, thank you, proving there is life after fashion.
Since starting a style page a few months ago (initially, I just longed to be writing about lipstick and have only just started to compile it with any degree of confidence or comfort), I’ve had my eyes well and truly opened. It’s not all awful either – in fact, ending up in Louis Vuitton on Fashion’s Night Out was the highlight of my week – it was buzzing with excitement and bursting with people who were thrilled to be there, just loving the atmosphere of the evening. On the flip-side, there were outrageously overdressed people there who literally swanked in and out just to be seen (since I didn’t have a clue who anyone was it was a gesture lost on me!) and a queuing system for general public and a ‘guest list’ that got you straight in if you were on it. It was also my first ever fashion blag, since I wasn’t on the guest list but winged it – and got in.
One thing though, that has cut deep is being dropped from the Chanel sample sale list. Ouch – that really did hurt. Despite a decade of slavishly following the brand, featuring the brand and actually really shopping the brand, I didn’t make the cut to whatever level it is you need to be on to make it through the hallowed doors. I suspect they’ve made it fashion only and not beauty but I’ll soon be able to tell if there’s a rash of Chanel bags at the next big beauty launch! My rational self says it’s all very shallow and I didn’t even want or need a cut-price bag really. The email said they were sure I’d understand. But my real self doesn’t bloody well understand at all, does mind – hugely – and really, truly did want that cut-price bag. It took ten years to get on that list; the only one I’ve ever cared about being on, and after two I’m off it again. Another bit of me is embarrassed to be admitting to being dropped – not sure you’ll hear anyone confessing to such a thing all that often; but that’s the point – I’m taking a little bit of a lead here from Liz in that I might as well say it myself. In an ironic twist, I was then invited to the opening of the revamped New York Chanel store – by the New York press office. But one thing’s for sure, confessing means that there’s no chance ever of seeing those double C clad walls again! We’re not supposed to discuss the inner workings, the quietly-nudged-off-the-guest-list shame….but we’re sure as heck supposed to shout it from the roof tops when they bring out a new lipstick. Bitter, much?! It’s genuinely more sadness than bitterness – I remember the day I got my very first invitation – I phoned my mum and literally SCREAMED down the phone! Then I phoned one of my best friends, Krista, and she SCREAMED for me! An extra jab was when, on the day of the sale, my twitter timeline was full of people heading off to said sale. Double ouch.
When I’m editor of Vogue, I’ll definitely be favouring Prada ;-).
All products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.
I’m not on the list either. *sad face*
Im sorry you weren’t on the list…. perhaps it was an accident? Your post did make a really enjoyable read 🙂
Great post. I remember Liz leaving Marie Claire very well. I have to say I hugely enjoyed both her books and read the You column when I remember.
I am on the list but I don’t actually earn enough to buy anything, even at the sample sale, so I don’t go, it’s safer. Hope you’re having a good weekend xx
Ha ha. Kudos to you for actually telling.
Really, really interesting post. I loved reading it and I’m glad you spoke up and told the truth.x
That would hurt.
While I know you’ve expressed disapproval of such things in the past before, all I can say is that if you really want and can afford a Chanel sample bag, keep a judicious eye on Ebay for the next month or so because I am sure some of them will suddenly appear there – I’ve picked up one in the past that way.
Oh and I should add, for balance, that the most exciting press freebie I’ve ever received was a set of binoculars from the Belgian payments cards association.
I have to say one more thing. I’m not in the beauty business or -media at all, but in an industry with a certain resemblance, were rubbing shoulders and scratching backs means a great deal more than most people would care to admit.
I really enjoy your writing about what happens behind the scenes. I sincerely hope a future employer will see it for what it’s worth, give you a good chance for it and pay you accordingly.
Great post – I really identify with a great deal of what you said in your piece. The world of fashion is fascinating and fickle, all at the same time. I have always tried to stay away from the pomp and ceremony that surrounds the fashion industry, but it can be difficult to do it, especially when you are trying to establish yourself. Hopefully one day, it will be all about the fashion, nothing more, nothing less.
What a fabulous read, one that I am personally part of, indirectly (you know what I mean!). The scrambling over each other is just so boring, aren’t we all meant to just get along in an industry that is, really, quite a trivial one in the grand scheme of things?? (I know, I know, the fashion and beauty industry is a multi-billion pound one, just making a point). Anyway, you’ve ranted enough for the both of us so I must say – Thank You!
A post that tells fashion like it is. Utterly desirable, heartbreaking and felling in a single blow. We all need to speak of the good, the bad and the ugly more often. As BBB has done here.
I don’t think beauty and fashion people are any more flawed than other human beings when it comes to ego. I can remember being highly put out being knocked down the billing at a science conference when a better speaker agreed to appear.
They might be a bit louder about it though.
Oww.. I’m so sorry to hear that! I had a REALLY bad experience with the Chanel press office once when I was working on a fashion product page for an Asian bridal magazine.
I contacted one of the press officers for an IMAGE of a Chanel handbag… and after providing media packs/circ figures etc they replied back saying they didn’t want to be featured!
Not only were they turning down free publicity, they were alienating Asian customers and brides. It seemed like we weren’t good enough and that was really disheartening because I love Chanel :-O
To be fair the woman I was emailing was very apologetic and it was clear that someone more senior was telling her not to send me anything.
But it still makes me angry!!
It was great to read such an honest account rather than the normal sycophantic praise for everything that these brands put out on the market. More please!
Straight forward and honest, telling it like it is. More please.
I have been doing laser for years and hair growth is linked to hormones. I can say that so far it has been costly but well worth it. For those like myself who was shaving every other day, doing facial hair removal weekly or at least bi weekly I can now go weeks and at times months. I no longer have a shadow on my legs when I do shave and i even have patches where no hair grows at all. I have spent quite a bit of money so if this tria works it will save quite a bit and be well worth it!