Pamela Church Gibson is Reader in Cultural and Historical Studies at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. She has published extensively on film, fashion, fandom, history and heritage; recent books include Fashion Cultures Revisited: Theories, Explorations, Analysis (with Stella Bruzzi, Routledge, 2013) and Fashion and Celebrity Culture (Bloomsbury, 2012). She is the Principal Editor of the journal Film, Fashion & Consumption (Intellect, Bristol), which she founded in 2012. In the same year she hosted the first conference of the European Popular Culture Association (EPCA) and became its first President.
 

Abstract

Fashion’s New Times. Celebrity and Pornostyle

Some fashion critics may perhaps deny that the fashion industry is in crisis, even in its death throes; they may argue that we have not yet arrived at a moment when 'fashion’- -as it has traditionally been understood - could be said to be at an end. Such cynics should look only at the photographic records of this year's Metropolitan Museum of Art’s ‘Met Ball' in New York, an event described by the press as 'the Oscars of fashion'.  Amongst those singled out this year for particular praise was Kim Kardashian and her partner hip-hop recording artist Kanye West. Three years ago Anna Wintour was grudgingly persuaded to include Kardashian in the list of guests, even cropping her image out of the Vogue slideshow, which traditionally follows the event. West was acceptable to Wintour; with a 'celebrity' status predicted almost entirely on the display of her voluptuous body Kardashian was an anathema to her. At the time it seemed that there were two very divergent modes of self-presentation for young women, one being the 'celebrity look’ which I have defined elsewhere as 'pornostyle', and the other being the traditional look of the 'fashionista’. This second look may involve the dressing of a slim body not unlike that of the traditional 'runway model’. Or it may involve a selection of clothes that are highly 'fashionable’, defined by internet blogger Leandra Medine as 'man-repelling’. Recently there has been telling shifts and changes; Kardashian is now dressed for public occasions (as she was at the Met Ball) by couturier Riccardo Tisci creative director of Givenchy. Tisci has dressed Kardashian since 2015 and often adapts his designs to accommodate and display her voluptuous body. She has been photographed by Juergen Teller and was on the guest list for the private viewing of Mario Testino’s Alta Moda exhibition in New York. Meanwhile, there is a conflict within images of fashionable masculinity that are also based around the 'celebrity' image and notions of ideal beauty. It does seem as if 'celebrity style ' has somehow staged a coup - and this is perhaps more irrefutable proof of the 'end of fashion.'

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