Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Models: Genetic Lottery Winners

I've always been fascinated with supermodels. Growing up in the 90's, my generation was exposed to the era of the "Supermodel" where out of this world, almost mutant-like women started to dominate ads and magazines. In the early 90's these women became famous for being beautiful and took the world by storm. Eventually the look from 90's evolved into heroin chic (my least fave era) and fashion designers opted to go for the anorexic-just-overdosed-half-alive look.

Lately, I've been asking myself what really defines a model? Does she have to be over 5'9" to make it in the industry and does she have to be super skinny? The answers can be very ambiguous and discussing this topic with a few friends, I've come to the conclusion that everyone has their own perception of what is beautiful. Therefore, I've decided to compile my own short list of models that I've admired over the years. Here goes:

Cindy Crawford

When Cindy came on the scene in the late 80's and was one of the first women to establish herself as a brand, the world couldn't get enough of her, and neither could I. She was smart and sexy. She never dominated the catwalks but was more famous for her naked photos and her signature mole on her upper lip.

Claudia Schiffer

Spitting image of 1950's French movie start Bridget Bardot, Claudia Schiffer started out as a model for Guess clothing company. Discovered in a nightclub in her native Germany, she instantly became a recognizable face during the Supermodel era.

Gisele Bundchen

As an adolescent girl, I remember flipping through the latest issue of Vogue and stumbling upon a Ralph Lauren ad of a new face that I've never seen before -- it was Gisele Bundchen. I instantly became obsessed with her. I thought she was incredible. Her body was voluptuous, her legs seemed to go on forever, and her face was perfectly chiseled. I instantly wanted to be her.

Natalia Vodianova

Lastly, another fascinating model came on the scene a few years ago- Natalia Vodianova. Although she's not as famous as the rest of these models. I found her rags-to-riches story very endearing as well as her doll-like features.

Although some might not agree with my choice of models, I believe that they all have important attributes of what (I think) is beautiful, and that is height, great physical shape, legs, and face. In my opinion, a model has to have a sense of style, but essentially her role is to make clothes look great. And to make clothes look great everyone knows that it must start with a great body.

Models are not supposed to look like the average woman walking down the street. They are paid millions of dollars by virtue of having been blessed with inheriting the creme of the gene pool. These models (at least for me) epitomize what a model is, and should be, because they are far beyond average- they are simply gorgeous human beings.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sole man: Bettanin & Venturi

I know that lust is one of the 7 deadly sins. I also know that women are famously guilty of this sin when it comes to shoes. I have to come clean myself: there is a particular shoe brand that I lust after, Bettanin & Venturi. 

Not surprisingly, the brand comes from a small workshop in Italy. B & V is best known for their very distinctive welt, known as the "Norvegese", which is the cooler-sounding  Italian word for  "Norwegian".

I am guessing that the Norvegese welt is based upon some boot-style associated with Norway.

The appearance of the welt is so striking by virtue of the thick lace stitching and the fact that the sole juts out by at least a half inch. You are absolutely guaranteed to get noticed if you wear these badboys. 

The company does offer other styles of shoes (and welts), but they are primarily known for the Norvegese. 

Some of the styles are more subdued and classic. I like these styles the best, since there is no need to overdo it, given the striking appearance of the welt. 

The craftsmanship on the soles is amazing. That's something you just won't see with "Made in China".

There also a lot shoes dyed with unconventional colours. 

The company  manufactures a lot of custom-made pieces that are so downright tacky and gaudy that even your neighborhood pimp would blush.  

But to me, that is the quintessential nature of  grandiose Italian style, namely, beauty straddling ostentatiousness (just think  Lamborghini). You just have to find the right balance. 

I have seen the shoes for sale in Toronto at V Hazelton (in the Yorkville district). I also routinely see them being sold at Barney's in New York.  According to the company's website , they are available in Montreal at Maison 1455.  They're not cheap--they start at around $1,500 USD.

-The Scandal