Saturday, February 17, 2007

A couple of years ago, mass-market uber-cheap clothing retailer H&M offered a special, limited-time collection designed by Karl Lagerfeld. (I went, I saw, I bought some silk pyjamas and called it a day.) Now, one of the reasons I love H&M is that the clothes actually fit me. If I need a pair of pants that will be long enough, or a skirt or dress that won't be tight to be point of indecency, I can usually find something. They stock U.S. women's sizes up to 16 in most styles (and they seem to understand, at least some of the time, that some of the people buying those bigger sizes are taller than average). Well, apparently Karl wasn't so pleased. He claims he designed his clothes for skinny people only, and was outraged that H&M dared to manufacture and sell them in sizes up to 16. That's a U.K 16 -- a U.S. 12, according to H&M's size chart.

A few points for Karl. First: not everyone who buys a size larger than he would like is actually overweight. Take me, for instance. I'm 5'11" tall, and I'm pretty average. I'm not huge, but I don't have a particularly slim body type either. Granted, I'm currently more out of shape than I would like, but even at my slimmest, I'm never going to be a 0 or a 2 or a 4 -- not even close. But I don't want to overemphasize this point, because it's really irrelevant -- slim or overweight, short or tall, everyone deserves to be able to shop in peace without being flagrantly insulted. Second: a partnership between a designer and a retailer is still a job for the designer, no matter how high-profile he or she may be. When a designer agrees to design a line for H&M, he or she agrees to create clothes that will embody the designer's style, be financially accessible to H&M's clientele, and appeal to that clientele. If Karl is right, then he failed to accomplish the third objective. It is his job to design clothes that will fit a variety of body types and personal styles; that is, after all, the whole point of H&M. If he can't do that, then he isn't as good of a designer as he thinks he is.

And finally: how much do we really trust a man who says he and other fashion designers "don't see" anorexic models??

Product Love

Some things I like these days:
-- Pinkberry. It's proliferating all over L.A. Yum!
-- My new curl products. I have odd curly hair -- quite fine, not thick like most curly girls -- so most curl products weigh my hair down too much and actually make the curls go away (but without product the curls either frizz up or go flat). Really liking the Matrix Curl.life Contouring Milk and All-Day Reactivator, silly names notwithstanding. (Aveda's Be Curly is not bad either.)
-- The "Big Ideas" podcast, available through iTunes. Smart people lecturing on random significant subjects for an hour, recorded for your benefit. Kind of like "shopping period" in college. Today, I learned about the history of the stethoscope.
-- My YMCA. Great views from the treadmills! Free classes! Massage!

© Paula Levy
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