Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Royal Wardrobe Malfunction

Poor Kate Middleton aka HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, it’s been discovered that she is a fashion rebel, or at least an unco-operative one. How dare she behave like every woman in the world and have favourite dresses that she wears more than once. It’s also damned outrageous to see a daughter borrowing clothes from her mother, this means that she has a normal relationship with the woman who raised her. I suspect that when the whole story comes out, we will find that her mother may not have even realised the dress in question was missing from her walk-in robe and that Kate will get an earful about respect for others, dry cleaning bills and asking permission first.

Kate obviously needs to understand that she is rightly being criticised by the press and fashion mavens because they demand a new outfit in every single photograph because otherwise they will have a huge file room of images of the Duchess in the same dress and the photo editor and papparazzi will be out of a job. Besides, Catherine should be behaving like a model who only borrows highly uncomfortable and anorexic fascist designed clothes worth thousands of dollars, and has nothing in her wardrobe except bikinis and jeans. The Duchess should know by now that over the top spending, feeding feelings of insecurity by becoming a clotheshorse on high fashion rotation, and giving up colours that she adores and outfits that have memories and make her happy, is forbidden, now she has to please the publishers of magazines and tabloids. For shame on her.

We must start an online petition demanding that she never wear any piece of clothing twice, including her underwear. And don’t even get me started on shoes! While we’re at it, damn austerity and personal preference, she doesn’t have the right to please herself and actually have a fondness for her clothes as old friends. She must understand that we demand out of control insecurity and psychological depression spending from her, and Kate must really work at destroying her relationship with her mother, and whilst she’s at it, her sister too. Her wardrobe alternatives must be cut off and denied to her. Afterall, who does she think she is? Anyone would think she is a middle class woman of thirty with a style of her own and clothes to match. Spend, spend, spend should be her new mantra, otherwise, how are the tabloids to create a thrilling backlash against her and her husband for their profligate ways?
You can follow me on Twitter: @Pascarl
or read my new weekly column in the Sunday Life Magazine in the Sun Herald or Sunday Age.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Code of the Sisterhood

When was the last time you faced abject humiliation? Have you ever had a wardrobe malfunction, or smiled blithely at all and sundry, oblivious to the spinach stuck between your teeth or the fact that your skirt was tucked into your tights? Did you wonder how many people had been aware of this mortifying situation during the past three hours but hadn't said a thing?

Which brings me to International Woman's Day, - whoo hoo, big deal most of us might say. A single space of twenty four hours meant to focus on who and what we are as women, our achievements, the inequality issues that still plague females globally, and the grinding poverty & lack of education that many of our gender still face. The same old media stories are rolled out infinitum - just rehashed snapshot vignettes that are put away until next year. All worthy stories, but hardly illustrative of how we function as a global sisterhood.

Now at the risk of sounding 'naff', many of you will be aware that there is an unspoken code, sometimes (hopefully) taught by mothers to their daughters about decency to another girl. It's the Code of the Sisterhood, where we females should be duty bound to come to the aid of another female should the need arise. It's not about life threatening situations, but it is about saving someone else from public embarrassment.

I've instilled it in my two girls, but never really had it come into play towards myself with anyone other than close friends, until International Women's Day last week. It had already been a hell of a day. After a dawn wakeup, and a morning so crammed with multi-tasking I must have resembled a demented octopus as I packed school lunches, combed out my wet hair, shaved my legs, answered four emails from another time zone, dressed, checked in online, cajoled sleeping children out of bed and into school uniforms, made breakfast, located shin guards for the youngest, applied makeup and medicated the dog, before scrambling into a taxi and tumbling onto a plane which had brought me north through turbulent air pockets and thunderstorms for what was meant to be a big career day for me. Capital C, capital D.

Standing next to the baggage carousel at Sydney Airport awaiting my suitcase full of the accoutrements needed for a major photo-shoot (shoes, magic knickers, jewellery, makeup, clothing) to mark my elevation to weekly columnist for a national magazine – (Sunday Life Magazine – Sun Herald/ Sunday Age newspapers from March 25th – sorry for the promo, but I have to get my readership up somehow), and running screamingly late, I felt a tugging on my hem.

I spun round to find a fellow passenger, an elegantly dressed Japanese woman accompanied by her adult daughter, and with a chauffeur hovering close by, attempting to remove what they had believed to be a price tag from the bottom of my attire. Sadly, and for what I took to be my would be rescuers horror, it was not an errant swing tag, but the actual label of my skirt, for in in my rush, I had managed to wear this garment upside down AND inside out. What I had viewed as a cunningly put together outfit, consisting of long pencil skirt, low cut camisole and waspish waisted jacket that would cut the mustard with the venerated Fashion Editor and Art Director I was due to meet in five minutes, was in fact, an unmitigated disaster. To make matters worse, I’d even sashayed a little through the terminal as I was pretty confident that the double pair of Spanx I was wearing had worked wonders.

But therein lies the lesson and the saving grace – my new found Japanese sisters had activated the ‘Code’ and attempted a ‘dignity salvage’ undaunted by language barriers or lack of formal introductions – they had ploughed in to pluck me from the jaws of ridicule with generosity and delicacy. Much pantomiming resulted, accompanied by discrete giggles and bowing as my rushed morning was explained. I left the terminal with my inside out skirt un-righted, but my shoulders back, my head held high and a huge smile on my face because we women can be truly international in our empathy and kindness towards each other – no matter the day.

Have you passed on the Code of the Sisterhood lately?

Twitter: @Pascarl

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kony 2012... But Africa will still wait until....

Forced child slavery & abduction, murder, the recruiting of child soldiers & the rape of young girls has been endemic in unstable parts of Africa for many years. Having worked there, I know that Kony 2012 is but ONE example of how local warlords behave. Minerals, specifically the alloys used in mobile phones,and the diamonds that are shown off in engagement rings, make terrorising local populations a profitable business and make children a cheap labour/soldiering force. How else do you think weapons are paid for? Ask more questions, research your purchases - are they 'clean', manufacturers & jewellers have certificates of origin. Look more broadly at aid projects and how, why and what an organisation does to help the local populace. Knowledge is power. View this film for background, www.kony2012.com but continue to make enquiries of you own. J