You wouldn’t expect George Orwell to have written about fashion magazines. Yet, brilliant as he was, he did. The following article originally appeared in The New Republic on December 2, 1946 and it is republished as one of the most memorable and “wackiest” articles of the newspaper’s 100 years of history. Taking in mind that we are talking about George Orwell, I wouldn’t name his article “wacky”, but rather the writer found a connotation behind American fashion imagery and literature. It’s simply the american “fashion”, the american “way” reflected in the magazine that landed on his hands.
Someone has just sent me a copy of an American fashion magazine which shall be nameless. It consists of 325 large quarto pages, of which no less than 15 are given up to articles on world politics, literature, etc. The rest consists entirely of pictures with a little letterpress creeping round their edges: pictures of ball dresses, mink coats, step-ins, panties, brassières, silk stockings, slippers, perfumes, lipsticks, nail polish—and, of course, of the women, unrelievedly beautiful, who wear them or make use of them.
One striking thing when one looks at these pictures is the overbred, exhausted, even decadent style of beauty that now seems to be striven after. Nearly all of these women are immensely elongated. A thin-boned, ancient-Egyptian type of face seems to predominate: narrow hips are general, and slender, non-prehensile hands like those of a lizard are quite universal. Evidently it is a real physical type, for it occurs as much in the photographs as in the drawings. Another striking thing is the prose style of the advertisements, an extraordinary mixture of sheer lushness with clipped and sometimes very expensive technical jargon. Words like suave-mannered, custom-finished, contour-conforming, mitt-back, inner-sole, backdip, midriff, swoosh, swash, curvaceous, slenderize and pet-smooth are flung about with evident full expectation that the reader will understand them at a glance. Here are a few sample sentences taken at random:
“A new Shimmer Sheen color that sets your hands and his head in a whirl.” “Bared and beautifully bosomy.” “Feathery-light Milliken Fleece to keep her kitten-snug!” “Others see you through a veil of sheer beauty, and they wonder why!” “An exclamation point of a dress that depends on fluid fabric for much of its drama.” “The miracle of figure flattery!” “Molds your bosom into proud feminine lines.” “Isn’t it wonderful to know that Corsets wash and wear and whittle you down… even though they weigh only four ounces!” “The distilled witchery of one woman who was forever desirable… forever beloved… Forever Amber.” And so on and so on and so on.
A fairly diligent search through the magazine reveals two discreet allusions to gray hair, but if there is anywhere a direct mention of fatness or middle-age I have not found it. Birth and death are not mentioned either: nor is work, except that a few recipes for breakfast dishes are given. The male sex enters directly or indirectly into perhaps one advertisement in twenty, and photographs of dogs or kittens appear here and there. In only two pictures, out of about three hundred, is a child represented.
On the front cover there is a colored photograph of the usual elegant female, standing on a chair while a gray-haired, spectacled, crushed-looking man in shirtsleeves kneels at her feet, doing something to the edge of her skirt. If one looks closely one finds that actually he is about to take a measurement with a yardstick. But to a casual glance he looks as though he were kissing the hem of the woman’s garment—not a bad symbolical picture of American civilization, or at least of one important side of it.
I hear a lot of women opposing the idea of wearing high heels especially when they have a long day ahead filled with work, chores, driving or running after the kids… But none of them argues the fact that high heels are the ultra elegant accessory that gives you a magical – on the spot – feminine posture and movement, elongates the legs, tones your figure and tops up your fashion stakes and confidence.
It surely takes some practice to walk on them confidently and some women have certainly mastered the art of tip-toe walking more than others, however for those who by just looking at a pair of high heels feel that comfort is sacrificed over gracefulness, fashion made it easy for them this year and provided the perfect solution:
Wedges provide a much better support so you can practice your “catwalk”, they come in all heights so you can wear them from morning to night, plus you won’t have to be afraid of destroying your perfect high heels while walking on a bad maintained road.
This summer’s top trends:
Espadrilles, the casual staple is back (actually never left the scene for some summers now). Cork wedges in patent leather preferably in nude color, snake skin and python details, canvas pumps in mute and bold colors, luxe sneakers and METALLICS all over! And let me not forget the color of the season which is no other than bright orange!
We have few suggestions for you on the spot, from left to right: Jimmy Choo nude cork wedges, Christian Louboutin, Tory Burch snakeskin embossed wedges, Tory Burch orange low wedges, Prada metallic silk wedges, Jimmy Choo metallic wedges, Giuseppe Zanotti metallic wedge sneakers, Michael Kors canvas wedges and you can find them all at Saks Fifth Avenue or the respective boutiques.
Now, don’t go to the other side of the fence where you wouldn’t take them off even if you’d go on a safari in the desert, unless your name is Carrie Bradshaw…
*Fashion – Safety Tip: Always have a pair of flats in your car !! Simply store them under the passenger’s seat and wear them for driving, this way you won’t have to sacrifice your style or damage your precious high heels while stepping on the accelerator. And you drive safely too!
Still not sure what is best for you or need tips on where to find amazing deals? Contact us and arrange for your appointment with a Personal Shopper! It will save you time and money.
Families lined up in front of the check-in counters, waiting – not so patiently – for their tickets; it seems that the flight will be full… of kids. “Here are your boarding passes sir” says the lady behind the desk, in the Emirates uniform; “you may now proceed to the security control”. -“Dad, can I hold mine?” a little boy asks… Yes, we are on our way for a trip unlike any others; a trip to a place where children’s creativity is about to unfold and tested in real life situations.
I admit it, I was really nervous before getting on board and not because I have aerophobia, my “fear” had to do with our destination. Being a mother of two who loves her kids and enjoys spending time with them but at the same time hates in-door kids’ play parks where children shout and make a fuss, I thought that entering this kids’ paradise and staying with them for a couple of hours, would be living my hell… Well this time it wasn’t the case.
Kidzania, a kids’ indoor role-playing park, situated in Dubai mall is a two-storey micrograph of a town, a city designed and built on a small scale, which has nothing to envy from a grown-ups town. Its residents, the Kidzanians, have their own government, their own facilities, their own shopping outlets and of course their own currency.
Passing the security control off we get in. Our first stop: HSBC bank where kids can cash in their cheques in the town’s official currency: the kidzos. Adults can escort the younger children but are not supposed to enter the little shops and organizations, which left me and my husband like many other parents drooling outside the glass windows of the toy-size premises trying to sneak on the kids’ facial expressions to feel the same level of excitement that they did while they were engaged in the activities.
Since we got our money (or was it their money?), it was time for some earning or spending! Whereas boys are putting up their sleeves to get their hands busy on their first jobs (for which they are paid for), the girls are much more prone into spending their money in the Beauty Salon, buying groceries from Waitrose or making their own bracelets in the Jewellery Shop (typical women’s behavior a man could admit).
Being dragged by my kids towards the Flight Simulator Center we stop and stand aside on the pavement hearing the sound of sirens: the fire truck full of fire(little)men are on their mission to put off a fire close to town’s main square. Next to us a little fellow holding a TNT package is looking at his watch worrying he might be late for the package delivery.
After successfully completing his flight simulator course and being assigned his first flight, my son moves on to his new adventure: He wants to participate in a car race at Kidzania’s racing track, but to do so, first he needs to go to the Ministry of Transportation to issue his driving license and complete his driving skills’ test.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the town, my daughter is hired as a fashion model and after all the dress and make up she’s ready to strike a pose on camera. As for the fashion show that is scheduled for later in the day, she will have to learn how to walk as a model on the catwalk.
The clock strikes twelve and happy songs are heard from the Theater’s auditorium – balcony: Young performers freshly graduated from the Acting Academy are singing and dancing in front of the Kidzania’s Eternal Spirit Monument. The show is broadcasted live on the Kidzania television station and reporters are after the spectators for a statement on their impressions. The show was the lead story on Kidzania’s newspaper too as a major event.
Up and down, in and out we spent more than four hours in the amazing little town until the kids started feeling exhausted. Eventually they worked really hard: in these four hours they became pilots, television presenters, radio broadcasters, doctors, policemen, firemen, fashion models, construction workers, teachers, shoppers, cooks and still they hadn’t visited all of the places in the town. But the best part was that even we, their parents, despite the fact that we weren’t actively participating, we had an amazing time with our kids so that we didn’t feel the time fly by.
With the no-kids-zone movement on the rise in many parts of the world, Kidzania might the answer to all those who encourage the “brat ban”. Malaysia Airlines has banned babies from many of their first class cabins urging other major airlines to do the same. Restaurants, hotel resorts, movie theaters, and even outdoor areas in compounds are turning into child-free zones. Whereas I don’t believe kids should necessarily follow their parents everywhere, this new type of racism towards the Lilliputian citizens of the world if given bigger dimensions, could actually point straight to their parents isolating them and classifying them as lower class citizens.
I will never forget my experience at Tilly’s (not a pub, not a first class restaurant, but a simple coffee-shop in the Jawad Dome Bahrain) one very hot summer noon few years ago, when having to wait in the area for an hour with my then two and a half years old, I stopped by for us to get a refreshment. Even if the coffee shop was completely empty and my daughter is a sweet well-behaved little girl, we were kicked out by the waitress who claimed their no-kids-zone policy. Needless to say I never visited the shop ever since as a matter of principle. But I admit, it was a huge relief for me when, as a retaliation, I threw a coin in the Kidzania’s Independence Fountain….
Written on the Kidzania’s (a children’s role-play park in Dubai Mall) map and leaflet, this simple question “What do you want to be today?” reflecting hospitality could be asked not only to the minor guests of the specific kids’ place but to all who visit Dubai. Well, Dubai is actually a big play park for adults.
Every time, in every visit, Dubai looks and feels different, the result of an allegro paced growth that seems untouched by the financial crisis that hit the Emirate not that long ago. They might have appeared losers in the short run and they might have been accused by their adversaries for being foolishly pride or taking hasty steps; but it seems that they are now cashing in their well developed plans: tourists from all over the world pour in to experience this blend of European cosmopolitan air with Middle Eastern exotic scent; a man-made paradise which smells like the interior of a brand new luxury car. Visitors can find literally everything and “play” according to their moods or tastes changing from one day to the other, as Dubai offers a variety of activities that satisfy even the most demanding guests.
Turning a “dry” land into a touristic “oasis”
Glazing Dubai from high above, while the airplane is about to land, it is amazing how beautiful it looks, with the imposing Burj Khalifa, the world’ s tallest building in its center, so tall one might fear the aircraft’s belly will scratch its top during descend. This unique panoramic view is the result of a simple vision.
Dubai’s ruler had a vision and a vision is just a bet. Actually it is even worse than a bet, as quite often visions are against winning odds, something which in the eyes of the common mortal makes the visionary look like a big gambler. So where did this gamble lead the once upon a time dry place? To the creation of not just a superficial show-off city but to the foundation and settlement of an infrastructure to support the glowing image, thus the amazing airport (one of the busiest in the world), the introduction of a complete scheme of public transportation including the new metro rail, road and water buses and taxis, the establishment of Media City, amazing hotels and huge shopping malls (among them the world’s 7th biggest Dubai Mall), all making the experience of visiting Dubai very pleasant. It is not called “Paris of the Middle East” for nothing.
On the other side, the elevated Jumeirah Palm monorail, reportedly the first of its kind in the Middle East, connect Dubai’s Gate towers to Atlantis hotel resort and Aquaventure Park, another architectural wonderland for adults and kids. With guestrooms literally submerged in the huge aquarium situated in the center, and a reception hall where people are delighted in the view of a simulation of the ocean, the resort is an example of a great antithesis: the serenity of the deep sea contrary to the excitement offered in the aqua-park.
But the aquatic experience doesn’t stop in Atlantis. One of the world’s largest aquarium tanks is situated in the heart of Dubai Mall featuring the world’s largest viewing panel. The visitors line up to get tickets in between their shopping frenzy breaks to see up close more than 85 species in the underwater zoo.
Dubai’s marvels include the first in-door ski resort in the Middle East: Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates is yet another proof that nothing is impossible for a visionary: a snow park in the heart of a desert.
Opposed to such up growth of a “futuristic” nature goes the speculation that Emirati nationals might lose their identity. With more foreigners visiting and living in Dubai the mixing of cultures might threat the core elements that synthesize the Emirati’s values and beliefs system. The initiative by Ali Alsaloom, an Emirati entrepreneur and communicator tends to bridge the gap between the Middle East and the wider world. His website www.askali.com is a valuable source of information both for visitors and expats living in the UAE.
Ali had realized there was not sufficient or accurate information on the web about Emirati culture when he envisioned his now successful website. He initially drew on a piece of paper his action plan. Today he’s thought to act as a cultural ambassador; he’s celebrity starring in a television series, hosting radio shows, publishing his Ask-Ali Guide books that disappear from the bookstore shelves, with the only aim to educate people of the customs and ethics of the UAE tradition.
Ali’s vision came into light the same way that Dubai’s vision did: with strategic planning and years of hard work to achieve and complete the picture that only started as an idea in a visionary’s mind. Dubai conception for the future might have been a one night’s dream but turning this dream into a reality was nor easy or quick, even if since the 1990’s I was hearing stories of family and friends who had visited the all sandy place that would turn into miles of concrete by the very next morning, to their amazement.
“Hellooo! Bahrain, wake-up, I’m calling you, What do you want to be tomorrow?”