“The human body is always the starting point” (Sandra Backlund)

 

“My work is very personal to me. I improvise and allow myself to loose control and see what happens if I do not think to much about practical things. The human body is always the starting point. I am really fascinated by all the ways you can highlight, distort and transform the natural silhouette with clothes and accessories. I build my garments from a couple of basic bricks which I multiply and attach in differnt ways to discover the shape that I want. It was of course a big step for me to go from working alone in my studio, inventing pieces while doing them myself by hand, to suddenly be working with a team of experts within a field of knitwear that I never before have had the chance to get to know. I was overwhelmed by all the possibilities I saw and even though I will never give up doing my hand knitted pieces, I now see how to develop my collections in ways that I never thought was possible.”

Sandra Backlund

 

Originally from Umea in the North of Sweden, designer Sandra Backlund now lives in Stockholm after attending Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm. She learned how to knit from her grandmother when she was a child. She has since turned that skill into an art form all her own. She starts every design with the human body, and from there she thinks of ways in which she can highlight, distort and transform the body’s natural silhouette with clothing. Her approach to her garments has a more sculptural root in that everything stems from a few basic bricks that are then multiplied and attached to one another in order to achieve the desired shape.

 She prides herself in the handicraft process and the handmade feeling of her pieces. After having experimented with a variety of materials and techniques, she found her ideal form of self-expression in the heavy wool collage knitting that has captivated the fashion industry. Now 33, the designer stared her own label in 2004 and has won the 2008 Swedish Elle Award, the 2005 FutureDesignDays award for up-and-coming talent, and worked with Louis Vuitton on several knitwear pieces of the label’s fall/winter 2007-08 collection.


Whether you covet one of Backlund’s amazing creations for your own personal wardrobe or simply admire the sheer genius of them, Sandra Backlund is a designer’s designer whose passion lies in the creation and not the commercialism.

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…the same provocation!!!

Look at this photo:

The mini was a big provocation…! Simultaneously condemned and loved, the miniskirt exploded into the political landscape and had women (and men) suddenly paying attention to what had been hidden years before, a woman’s legs.

Now look at this spot:

It’s the same kind of provocation, isn’t it?  Obviously it’s another place, time and intention. But the same provocation. In addition we can observe that the use of celebrities in advertising has increased in recent years. According to Hamish Pringle, author of the book “Celebrity Sells”, the proportion of UK ads featuring a celebrity stands at one in five, an increase of almost 100 percent over the past 10 years. Research practitioners in Australia have cited a comparable figure for that country, while it is estimated that one in four ads draws on celebrity star power in the United States. Based on these trends, one might conclude that celebrity ads must be more effective than others; otherwise, why would they be so popular? However, the simple addition of a celebrity to an ad does not, in and of itself, increase the odds of success. This is not to say that there are not some real success stories among celebrity campaigns, but simply that percentage-wise, there are as many mediocre ads with celebrities as without. Does it really make sense, then, for advertisers to pursue celebrity strategies when they carry additional costs and risks?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But…

Every day millions of bone thin models are plastered upon magazines, in television and within movies for the average public to idolize. Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Calista Flockhardt are just a few extreme cases of caving in not only their bodies but to the pressure of the media to be thin. There are very few jobs for the overweight, and an abundance of modeling and acting jobs for the severely thin. Then the question arises, for what impact do these images have on the millions of women and young girls viewing these images? The very simplified answer is the media’s influence results in a very poor self image for millions of women and young girls.

In the eyes of society, women like Megan Fox , Tyra Banks and Carmen Electra are the epitome of perfection. What girl would not want to be just like them? Every year, millions of people are hurting themselves trying to be carbon copies of these sex symbols.

The media presents society with unrealistic body types promoting people, especially women, to look like them. Through TV shows, commercials, magazines or any form of advertising, the media enforces a certain body type which women emulate. The so-called perfect body type causes many negative effects on women. Women who focus on unrealistic body images tend to have lower self-esteem and are more likely to fall prey to eating disorders. The media has a dangerous influence on women’s health. The media is a primary factor in the development and maintenance of women’s body image problems. Women start to feel insecure about their bodies by looking at media images daily. This provokes women to diet more because they feel more pressure to be slim.

All this can happen from just seeing a billboard or a couple of commercials. Advertisers are the voice of society projected on a billboard or a TV screen. The media should give us a more realistic body type for girls and women to look up to. In Ally McBeal, a young, tall and extremely thin actress portrays a successful lawyer. Body image has certainly changed over the decades.

 People are not born with negative opinions of themselves, for that comes after interaction with society, trends, pop culture, and all of these are determined by the media. A new trend comes to light and suddenly it has an immense following such as the recent trend to be thin. Smoking certain cigarettes such as “Karelia Slims” gives the consumer a sense that this product will keep them thin and in turn desirable.

 There are activist groups out there that aim to bring reality back into advertisements. Airbrushing model’s bodies has become not only a means of “cleaning up” the body, but distorting it completely. What do we have to thank for all of this? The invasion of the airbrush. The top news channels have beautiful female anchors. The problem with this is women aim to achieve the bodies they see. Girls were asked about their frequency of reading women’s fashion magazines reported that 69% felt that the appearance of models in magazines influenced their image of a perfect female body. Many corporations have argued that they are depicting beauty and the public is buying their products therefore they will continue to do so.

 But…look at this photo. Is it real?

And what do you think about the spot?

The mini today…!

A tiny-big revolution, a scandal turned into a trend, celebrates its past by re-measuring its minimal proportions. We have never seen it this short, radically modern, sexy yet strict, no concessions given. Legs are tightly dressed in high-boots, in your face, taking up centre stage. The miniskirts attracted the critical eye of conservative thinkers in their first colourful version, then in a slightly more transparent one at the end of the 60s. The 80s saw it surrendering to micro-leather and synthetics. Madonna took it to another level: tiny-shorts, very street style, an explosion of leggings, leotards, up to today’s new heights – more couture than ever before. Blumarine’s sequins, Moschino’s embossed version, Scervino’s knits, are daily rendezvous with the spectacle of humour.

The original Twiggy is playing with herself as a doll, i.e. Mattel Twiggy, a 1967 doll issued to celebrate the British fashion icon. 

Twiggy was the first Mattel doll fashioned after a real person and four outfits were created exclusively for Twiggy and released in 1968. Her face paint is very nice and she has all her eyelashes. Her hair is very pretty blond and shiney. She has a twist waist and her legs click as they should. She is wearing her original tagged green, yellow and blue dress and original yellow boots.

This is not the first celebrity doll ever, but one of the most loved and best edited vintage pieces of that kind. Many many other portrait dolls existed and will exist. This phenomenon was a sort of real popularity index for celebrities and Co: “have you got a portrait doll? Ok, you are someone”.

Twiggy: yesterday and today. What does Twiggy actually look like?

From the Ralf Lauren model who was photoshopped to an alarmingly small size (she was actually fired before the advertisement even came out. This was because she was “too fat”), to many photoshop and airbrush scandals, the fashion industry seems to be making their models skinnier, younger, tanner, and sexier with the depleting economy. Twiggy, the well known 60’s model, has decided that 2009 would be a year of comeback and stardom, as you can see by her latest add and website pictures. 

A British beauty campaign featuring modeling Twiggy has been banned by an advertising watchdog group after it was proven that the she appeared heavily airbrushed in the ad photo. The 60 year old starred in ads for Olay Definity eye cream looking years younger, she claimed the “secret to brighter-looking eyes” was her use of the product.

The picture on the left, shows what Twiggy actually looks like in real life – a sad reality where botox and facelifts only go so far. Now, this COMPLETELY contradicts what her Olay add depicts. It’s a bit shocking at first, who are the two ladies side by side? They’re almost two different people. One possess the graceful features of a young 50 year-old, and the other, an aging, outdated model. 

  

The only similarity between the two photos, is that both Twiggy’s are wearing the same necklace. The only similarity BY FAR that these two pictures posses. 

The Advertising Standards Authority received two complaints that the ad was misleading because the image of Twiggy had been digitally retouched. In addition Swinson forwarded more than 700 complaints, gathered via her anti-airbrushing web campaign, that the ad had was not only misleading but also socially irresponsible, because it could have a “negative impact on people’s perceptions of their own body image”.

“We considered that the post-production re-touching of this ad, specifically in the eye area, could give consumers a misleading impression of the effect the product could achieve,” officials at the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said in a statement.

A combination of the retouching and the language of the ad was likely to mislead consumers, it ruled. However, the ASA rejected the complaints that the ad was socially irresponsible, saying: “We considered that consumers were likely to expect a degree of glamour in images for beauty products and would therefore expect Twiggy to have been professionally styled and made-up for the photo shoot, and to have been photographed professionally.We concluded that, in the context of an ad that featured a mature model likely to appeal to women of an older age group, the image was unlikely to have a negative impact on perceptions of body image among the target audience and was not socially irresponsible.”

P&G said that there would “always be differences between uncomplimentary paparazzi shots and professional beauty photographs”.

P&G added that it was “routine practice to use post-production techniques to correct for lighting and other minor photographic deficiencies before publishing the final shots as part of an advertising campaign”.

The company said that there had been some “minor retouching” around Twiggy’s eyes, which was inconsistent with its own policies; this had already prompted it to withdraw the original ad and replace with one in which there was no post-production work around the eyes.

From Twiggy to Kate Moss: a revolutionary example for today’s top models

Twiggy’s popularity not only influenced many people to try and imitate her look, but also drastically influenced the rise in power of models in the fashion industry. She was a role model and revolutionary for today’s top models, but her popularity also brought along with it the irrational image of the ideal woman. Twiggy was a major trendsetter in America during the sixties, even though she hailed from England. In the sixties, the thought of a model taking advantage of her success to start a fruitful business was completely revolutionary. ” Her influence is still seen on runways and television today among models like the figure of Kate Moss.

If these models exemplify ideal beauty, then the message is sent that today’s average woman just doesn’t measure up. She’s exactly the right look at the right time, and the right look is seventeen and starved. Twiggy is the pivotal woman who paved the way for the top models of today, and changed the image of the ideal woman as well as the face and body of fashion models. She reflects neither the cool good looks of Anita Colby in the 1930’s, nor the ‘tennis anyone’ freshness of Jinx Falkenburg in the 1950’s.

Anita Colby

Jinx Falkenburg

 She may have positively affected the power of the supermodel, but her success became one of the underlying factors behind society’s obsession with ultra-thin bodies and the increase in women resorting to eating disorders.

By doing exactly that, Twiggy paved the way for models like Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, and Naomi Campbell, all of whom opened highly successful restaurants and endorsed exercise tapes, clothes, calendars, posters, and many other products.

Cindy Crawford

Claudia Schiffer

 

Naomi Campbell

From Twiggy to Kate Moss, the industry has been idealizing such extreme slenderness, placing an immediately negative effect on a “normal” woman’s self-esteem and encouraging them to hate their bodies, which eventually leads to dangerous methods of losing weight. Over three-fourths of professional models have body weights below normal  and about one-fourth of them meet the criteria for anorexia nervosa, a life-threatening disease. When Twiggy was a child, her mother worried about her weight, and even took her to numerous doctors, who concluded that the thinness was simply a result of her body type.