Tuesday, 6 March 2012
As I'm writing this post, I'm still trying to digest how I feel about these videos.This is the blurb from SHOWstudio:
In La Femme à Paris the author Octave Uzanne dubbed a woman's clothing 'her offensive armour' - but, in reality, fashion seldom offers protection from the violence of the modern world. The clothing adopted when a woman is at her most vulnerable to attack - the heels, furs and jewels of evening attire - actively works against the idea of self-preservation.
Nick Knight sought to challenge this: born from a desire to protect his own two teenage daughters and inspired by the 'Slutwalk' movement of women reclaiming the right to dress as they wish without being seen to invite attack, Knight decided to address the notion of self-defence through a fashion shoot. For this, he chose to collaborate with two much-celebrated and empowered female fashion figures - model Lara Stone, and stylist Carine Roitfeld - to redefine the notion of 'Power Dressing' for the twenty-first century.
Specially trained for this shoot in the techniques of Krav Maga, a self-defence system developed by the Israeli Defence Forces, Stone defends herself in a series of scenarios whilst modelling a selection of Spring/Summer 2012's finest fashions, selected by Roitfeld and captured by Knight in stills for V magazine and on fashion film for SHOWstudio. These films serve two functions - showcasing next season's key styles, and offering instruction to women, a high-fashion 'how to' of self-defence.
Pushing the boundaries of fashion editorial beyond aesthetic, and countering the 'Brutal Chic' of violent fashion imagery that dominated in the seventies, Knight, Roitfeld and Stone offer a true vision of 'Power Dressing' for a modern and truly powerful woman.
Obviously, I am all for more representation of women, particularly in the fashion industry, as independent and powerful rather than weak and vulnerable. I also genuinely think these sort of basic self defence skills should be taught to ALL women. Is there any woman reading this who hasn't felt threatened by a man at some point in their life? It always amazes me how much stronger men are than us- even my boyfriend who is super skinny and has never set foot in a gym can pin me down almost effortlessly. Only ever with my consent, I should make clear! Ahem..moving on...
So- yes, these are great videos for changing the image of women in fashion as weak, submissive and passive, and yes, we should be teaching women how to defend themselves; there's just something about these videos that leaves me feeling like they're not going to be taken as seriously as the issue should be? Referencing the designer Lara is wearing just seems like a bit of a cheap publicity stunt when the subject is actually quite a serious one. Don't get me wrong, I'm ALL for fashion making fun of itself and not taking things too seriously- see Marcus Lupfer's video which I adored- but this seems to be a bit of a confusing one because of the subject matter being a real issue.
Having said that, maybe I wouldn't have actually sat through all these videos if the clothes weren't so gorgeous, and if the slow-mo shots of Lara kicking ass weren't so beautifully shot. So maybe it's doing just what it's set out to do, even if it had to wrap it up in a pretty Balenciaga bow for us to pay attention. It's a shame that was necessary, but if it educates any young women out there on how to defend themselves, then it's done good work.
What else can I say? Other than, of course, poor Dave.
What do you think of the videos?