The Daily Caller James Poulos Defends ‘What Are Women For?’ On Up With Chris Hayes.
Earlier in the week, the Daily Caller‘s James Poulos penned a piece on modern feminism entitled “What are Women For?,” arguing that the idea that the left is united on the feminism front was problematic and, in turn, that the liberal tendency to tell people what to do naturally challenges the feminist idea that women shouldn’t need to do anything in general. Naturally, this didn’t go over too well with, well, almost anyone, but Poulos found arguably the least hospitable venue to go an defend his work: Up with Chris Hayes, where the panel tried to deconstruct every element of his argument and explain why it was received so coldly by readers.

The column ventures all over the place as far as the point of feminism– save the divides in Republican feminism, a point panelist Victoria DeFrancesco Soto argued. Poulos begins arguing that the birth control issue is still evolving from the positions of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, but pivots from the courts to the culture wars and hits on Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon telling, “The New York Times Sunday Magazine exactly what establishment liberals don’t want to hear when it comes to the sexual politics of women — ‘you don’t get to define my gayness for me.’” While many have argued that the key line of the piece is either the title or the colorfully alliterative phrase “the purpose of lifting the left’s Potemkin skirts is not to score tits for tats,” the bigger issue raised in the piece seems more aptly summarized in this line: “The left’s culture of celebration is hamstrung by the very assertions of should and shouldn’t that contemporary women have inevitably come to make — as the ongoing debate over the advisability of marriage reveals.” In other words, the rejection of “live and let live” philosophy on the left necessarily clashes with what Poulos describes as a “culture of celebration” of diversity in thought and objective.

The title of the piece took up much of the beginning of the chat, however, as host Chris Hayes explained his problems with the presentation of the work, particularly the title: “It seems, I think, an odd question to ask about human beings. who are presumably for whatever their own ends are for.” He noted that many readers perceived it as a natural slippery slope decline from asking whether women can control their sexuality to, ultimately, “the essential humanity of women.”

Poulos explained that the questions he posed revolved around the culture battles regarding reproductive rights and why they persisted. He explained that his answer to this question was “because there is a deep argument in this country about sort of what the relationship is between our biological bodies as men and as women and how that biology relates to what it is we do in society, and what our different roles are.” Hayes was comfortable with that answer, save for the fact that “it doesn’t seem that the ‘as men’ part gets as much attention,” to which Poulos replied there simply “isn’t as much disagreement” as to what men are supposed to do.

Michelle Goldberg vehemently disagreed with this premise. “When you say ‘what are women for?’ you’re necessarily implying, ‘in relation to who?’” She added that a similarly posed question about minorities would be met with scorn, to which Hayes joked, “I wrote a column the other day, ‘What Are Jews For?’, it didn’t seem to get much controversy.” Goldberg saw his piece as symptomatic of something bigger on the right, as the perception of feminism (and civil rights) “as a once worthy movement that has attained all of its goals and has become superfluous.” As mentioned before, DeFrancesco Soto argued that the piece was too one-sided, that as far as it discussed feminism, it ignored the debate on the right between Sarah Palin and Phyllis Schlafly feminism. Poulos ceded the point as “insightful” but noted later that the bigger issue was where this led the culture wars, that it was “a deep-seeded political difficulty” and “we’re going to be stuck in this cultural situation regardless of the respective merits of the issue.”


Extreme internet dating: Man creates website and video inviting women to meet him in person on February 29.

Internet dating has become an entirely acceptable way to find a partner. But there is nothing like meeting someone in person to see if you have chemistry.
So one imaginative 35-year-old is combining the two – by making a Youtube video inviting Ukrainian Brides to come and meet him on February 29 in Spitalfields Market in East London.
Andrew (who has wisely withheld his surname) doesn’t do things by halves.
As well as making a carefully edited video with more than 25 outfit changes, he has created a website, , and set up a twitter feed, so that he can keep ladies interested by divulging new facts about himself every day.

The twitter feed already has more than 320 followers – and Andrew has admitted to being recognised in the street.
‘So far I have only had one negative reaction,’ Andrew told MailOnline. ‘Lots of women have even told me they wished that they were single, and one asked if I prefer coffee or tea so she could bring me a drink.’

But don’t worry if you are coming to the Andrew 29th party a little late, he promises to hang out in Spitalfields (under the monument of the goat, if you are interested) from 8am to 8pm so there will be plenty of time for everyone to have a chat.

More than 130 women have already said that they would be there, so the self-confessed romantic moved his meeting place from Liverpool Street to the market across the road.

Andrew also assures potential love-matches he will be wearing something to ensure that he stands out from the crowd.

‘The reason I am doing this,’ he says, ‘is I’m just not very good at going up and talking to the ladies.’
This way he is inviting women to come up and talk to him, and the date is significant as January 29 is traditionally the day when women can propose to their partners.

The eligible gentleman, who has had ‘three or four girlfriends over the past 10 years,’ describes himself as a Welshman who lives in London and works in the creative industry for a marketing firm.
‘I’m really into fashion and I’m a massive Welsh Rugby fan.’
Andrew also cheekily adds: ‘Surprise me, because if you do, I might have a surprise for you.’


Making a real difference to women health.

The occasion is a lunch organised by the Cambridge branch of Wellbeing of Women, a charity set up in 1964 and dedicated to improving the health of women and babies worldwide, via medical research and better information.

The statistics they are working to improve are shocking.

In the UK alone 145 women a week will die of a gynaecological cancer, one in every two will suffer from some kind of reproductive or gynaecological health problems, 17 babies a day a will be stillborn or die soon after birth, and one 
in five pregnancies will end 
in miscarriage.

The charity raises funds to invest in medical research and the development of specialist doctors and nurses, and has been involved in many developments that are now commonplace – including cervical cancer screening, ultrasound scans, IVF and vitamin 
supplements in pregnancy.

The Cambridge branch was founded in 2000 by accountant Rosalind Wythe-Morgan, after she watched her mother die of ovarian cancer and then discovered that it affects more than 6,000 women every year. Last year it raised £10,000, with events including 
a lunch and a health 

Current branch chairman is former Cambridge Chief Constable Julie Spence, who said she has supported the charity for many years.

“They played a key role in helping women in policing to further understand the issues that affected their health, and it is great to be able to continue my association with the charity.

“I welcome to our lunch, and to future events, anyone who shares our passion and wants to join us in raising money for this important and worthwhile cause.

“Wellbeing of Women unites women of all ages, together with their families, in the quest to support research into the broad spectrum of ailments that affect only women. It is a double win for women in Cambridge, as the charity also supports some of our scientists in undertaking groundbreaking work to improve the lives of women worldwide.”

This year’s guest speaker also has Cambridge links. Professor Lesley Regan, consultant and senior lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology at St Mary’s Hospital, London and director of the internationally recognised Recurrent Miscarriage Service, held posts at Addenbrooke’s Hospital earlier in her career and was also director of medical studies at Girton College.

She will be speaking on the Baby Bio Bank she has helped to found, a research project creating a 
pregnancy tissue archive which will be available to researchers into pregnancy complications, and also on “how to look after your health as a woman”.

She said: “Wellbeing of Women is the only charity dedicated to improving the health of women and babies at all ages of life, from cradle to grave.

“As a junior researcher at Addenbrooke’s in the late 1980s I was interested in how miscarriages occurred – the most common problem in pregnancy – and the charity funded some of my research.

“Since then I’ve been one of their ambassadors and am now a trustee.

“Nowadays I’m doing more work to promote women’s health and am trying to get women more proactive.”

The lunch will be held at the Crowne Plaza hotel on Monday, 5 March and will benefit research projects supported by Wellbeing of Women as well as an Addenbrooke’s Abroad project, based at the National Maternity Hospital in El Salvador.

Last year, the chairman of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Dr Mary Archer and consultant in materno-fetal medicine and obstetrics at the Rosie Hospital Dr Hannah Missfelder-Lobos, travelled to the 
Central American country to spend time at the maternity hospital.


Tonight, at every pub, bar and nightclub across the city, there will be men cracking on to women who are way out of their league.

Full of beer, bluster and self-belief, they will choose women much more attractive than they are.

The women will waste half the night trying to convince these Loser Lotharios that they’re really not interested.

But lack of success doesn’t deter these men.

Deluded and sometimes drunk, they’ll try their luck with stunner after stunner, who they will mistakenly judge to be their equal.

Astonishingly, researchers have scientifically proven that men think women are more interested in them than they actually are.

And the more attractive the woman is, the more interested the man thinks she is in him, according to a study by psychologist Carin Perilloux, from Williams College in the United States.

Conversely, the more attractive the man, the more likely he is to underestimate a woman’s interest in him.

And women consistently under-estimate how interested men are in them.

Ms Perilloux took 200 undergraduates speed-dating, asking them to rate how attractive they think they are, and how interested they think their dating partner is.

As she soon discovered, men operate according to a concept known as the error-management theory.

Men believe the costs of a missed sexual opportunity are greater than the costs of a false alarm.

This is what gave craggy crooner Lyle Lovett the guts to make a move on the winsome Julia Roberts, or rough rocker Benji Madden a chance with the lovely Nicole Richie.

But without star power (and millions in the bank), the average Aussie male is never going to reach such lofty heights.

It’s hard to know why such stark differences between men and women continue to exist.

But go to any pub on a Saturday night and the moment you walk in and inhale that sickly mixture of stale sweat, cigarette smoke and sodden beer mats, you have travelled back 50 years in time.

My single friends tell me that women want a man to sweep them off their feet and be a real gentleman.

Men just want to sleep with a supermodel and will do whatever they think they need to in order to trick one into the sack.

Ultimately, though, this research offers a cautionary tale of unrequited love and wasted opportunities.

Ms Perilloux concludes that she hopes her research may “help to reduce conflict produced by errors in perception between the sexes”.

Let’s hope it does. It will save a lot of women the hassle of making up new excuses, and encourage Mr Average to be happy with Ms Average rather than a Page 3 girl.


Gallery: Celebrities who achieved radical weight loss — or gain

Canucks anthem singer Mark Donnelly has lost 172 pounds using a controversail diet. Here are other celebrities who shed or put on pounds in a big way.

combination file photo shows Jennifer Hudson at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, December 5, 2010 and at the 40th annual Friends of the Los Angeles Free Clinic in Beverly Hills, November 20, 2006. She won’t say how much weight she lost, but the singer/actress will say that in the nine months she’s been a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers, she has never felt better. Hudson is even singing about it in a tune, Feeling Good”, which is part of an ad campaign the dieting firm launched to coincide with its new nutritional PointsPlus program.


Man sent to jail for using Internet to lure girls

Calgarian urged U.S. girls to send him nude photos.

A 20-year-old Calgary man is off to prison for manipulating two girls in the United States over the Internet to touch themselves sexually and supply him with pornographic pictures.

Provincial court Judge Allan Fradsham said Friday in sentencing Evan Shepherdson to 5½ years that even though he was not sophisticated and lacked many life experiences for his age, his offences were deliberate and planned.

“He achieved some success as he skilfully manipulated the girls to comply with his requests as he committed these grave offences,” said the judge.

“I have to conclude that, regardless of his own psychological difficulties, the accused’s degree of responsibility in the commission of these offences was high,” Fradsham said.

Shepherdson pleaded guilty last September to two counts of Internet luring and invitation to sexual touching, between June and September 2010, and one count each of counselling to make child pornography, possession of child pornography and possession of child pornography for the purpose of publishing.

Crown prosecutor Nadine Nesbitt had argued for a six-year sentence. Defence lawyer George Sirois sought a two-year term.

Fradsham said the extreme youth of the victims – 12 and 13 – and the length of time over which the offences took place – three months – was aggravating.

He also said the man exploited the girls by grooming them for further sexual purposes, using their immature emotions by suggesting there was a romantic bond between him and them.

As well, the judge cited the graphic nature of the requests made of the victims by the accused, and the extreme content of the child pornography found on his computer.

According to an agreed statement of facts presented by Nesbitt, Shepherdson began chatting independently with the girls in June 2010 via instant messaging.

“The communications started out flirtatious, but quickly became sexual in nature,” said the admitted facts.

“Shepherdson repeatedly asked H.B. for pictures of her naked and sexually touching herself.

“Shepherdson directed H.B. in very graphic language how to touch herself sexually.

“He also told her very graphically about the sexual activities he wanted her to engage in and sent pictures of his (genitals).”

In later conversation, he told the 13-year-old girl to “find some random guy” and go to the washroom to have sex with him.”

The accused also enticed the 12-year-old girl, R.N., to send naked pictures of herself to him, as well as pictures in which she committed sexual acts on herself.

He also sent naked pictures of himself to her.

Shepherdson discussed travelling to the United States to visit her, rent a hotel room for two weeks and have sex.

American law enforcement officers who monitored chat sites contacted the southern Alberta Integrated Child Exploitation unit on July 7, 2010.

Police searched Shepherdson’s Calgary home, seized his computer and found several pictures of the two girls, as well as other child pornography that had been downloaded, viewed and later deleted.

The judge also ordered the offender to supply a DNA sample, be registered as a sex offender for life and not attend any parks, playgrounds, daycare centre or other places where children under 16 might be present for 10 years.


France’s – and the world’s best known dame of fashion, the legend behind the Chanel brand, Coco Chanel, once said one can grow accustomed to ugliness but never to carelessness. She should know – she rose from poverty herself to create a mega brand of fashion and beauty that has outlasted her lifetime, still recognized as a power brand when it comes to high end fashion.

Coco Chanel’s words echo for every woman and perhaps even every man – but more so for women because there are women among us who do not care to take care of themselves. We are not talking of becoming fashionistas or plastic dolls who idle all day with nothing significant to do but keeping oneself neat and tidy, well taken care of. A woman who takes care of herself, is conscious of how she appears and makes it a point to look groomed at all times, will also be able to take care of her family and her children. She will be a source of pride for her children and her husband.


Stay healthy

It is easy for today’s busy women to let go of themselves. Most of us work, also engage in housework and take care of the kids. However, it does not take much effort or time to take care of yourself. It is a favour you owe to yourself and of course to your family. Taking care of yourself can start with a simple exercise – you can choose to walk. A long walk at the end of the day or before the day starts is a good way to stay in shape and also stay healthy. Hitting the gym would be an advantage but not everyone can afford the gym. Taking care of yourself also means taking good care of your skin, your hair and your body.

It also means spending time doing something you like doing. It is important to spend time with the children and the husband but there are those moments when you want to be alone and do the things that bring simple pleasures. Reading a good book is always a good way to refresh your memory and keep your brain cells ticking. Or gardening, which soothes your inner being. Some even find cooking a good way to let go of stress.


Beauty treatment

Find time for yourself can also include a visit to the salon. With so many salons coming up around the country and so much focus on looking good, a visit to the salon has today become an indulgence most women look forward to. Spending an hour getting a facial or getting beauty treatment can boost your self-confidence and also go a long way in making you the confident mother and wife your family will be proud of.

It is sad to see so many women neglect themselves. Some even see a visit to the salon as a waste of money. But the crux of the matter is that kind of an investment is something you invest in yourself – it offers you good value in making you feel and look good. When you neglect yourself, your hair, your skin, your hands and your feet, you tell a message loud and clear to the world – and it is not a positive one.


Basic necessities

Today’s children, the internet generation, are much different to what we were 30 years ago. They are in touch with the world and are deeply aware of trends and looks. Naturally, they feel good when they know their mother has taken the trouble, the initiative to look good and take care of herself. Simple beauty routines, such as, keeping well scrubbed clean feet and hands can go a long way – so does cleanliness, using a deodorant and some perfume. These are no longer considered luxuries – just as a fridge once was considered a luxury worthy enough to be displayed in the living room instead of the kitchen, today these aspects are considered basic necessities vital for clean and healthy living.

Yet there was a time, when almost all women who are mothers and wives today, took the trouble to look good. As young women, they followed the latest trend and found the time to take care of themselves. Now that they are no longer young and are mothers, they are being unfair to themselves by letting go – of themselves, their looks and their personality. You can always invite that young girl into your heart again - in fact, she has always been there. Some of us need to find her within us to put the zest back into our lives.

A clean, well-dressed mother is someone her children and her husband would be proud of. A mother who takes care of herself and is confident of her place is a source of inspiration to her children. It doesn’t mean you need to waste time or money to look good. It takes very little to look clean and smart – a worthwhile investment in yourself.

It is also sad that some women tell themselves they have aged and decayed long before they have. We do not need to look at Hollywood stars such as Joan Collins and Susan Sarandon who look very good despite the fact they are well over 50; but take a look at former Bollywood star Hema Malini who still looks better than her actress daughters. They say you are as old as you believe yourself to be. An alert mind, the right food and the right exercise regimen can put the glow back in your face and the style back in your appearance.

There are things we cannot change in the world which we must accept. But taking care of yourself, exercising, sticking to a healthy diet, dressing well and cleanly, is something you can change about yourself. It is never too late to start.


It’s that time of year again, when a 57-year-old sports magazine with a middle-aged male demographic firmly inserts itself into popular culture with an issue devoted to half-naked young women. The time when the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover is somehow considered revealing of fashion or women or the current American mood.

This year’s cover model, 19-year-old Kate Upton, has hijacked the conversation more than most. And in ways that make my skin crawl. Supposedly, with measurements cited as 36-25-34 and standing at 5 feet 11 inches, she represents a movement away from the boyishly thin runway models currently showing at Fashion Week and toward “real” women. The words used to describe her range from “curvy” and “voluptuous” to “wholesomely proportioned” and even “chubby.”

She is both applauded and denigrated for these proportions and her purported girl-next-door look. Fashion editor and stylist Sophia Neophitou equated her to tabloid trash and a “footballer’s wife.” (And yes, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, she meant it as an insult.) Upton graciously commented that she is “relatable.”

While I am squarely in the normal range on the body mass index, I can assure you I look nothing like Upton and few other “real” women in this country could. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American woman weighs 165 pounds, stands 5 feet 4 inches tall, and has a waist circumference of 37 inches.

Upton’s not normal. She’s a model. For that matter, I don’t see how she’s so strikingly different from any other models found in the annual Swimsuit Issue. SI isn’t in the business of high fashion or of representing the masses. At least once a year, it’s in the business of young, sexy models. Last year’s cover shot of Irina Shayk was similarly busty. Yet the most common descriptors of Shayk were “Russian,” “beauty” and “sexy.” Meanwhile, Upton can’t escape the word “curvy”—often used as a euphemism for “fat.”

Any implication that Upton represents real, normal women in America or that SI is at all progressive is absurd. She is a gorgeous young woman who is paid and posed to make adolescent men (in age or at heart) salivate. It’s not new, and it’s certainly not doing us average women any favors.


Generations: Classic white shirt worn three ways by women of three generations.

Ever since Coco Chanel blatantly liberated women from corsets and put them in a man’s style shirt, the crisp white dress shirt has taken on iconic fashion status.

Audrey Hepburn made it look effortless and chic with the sleeves rolled up in the 1953 movie Roman Holiday. Other screen sirens like Marlene Dietrich paired hers with trousers for a look that was elegant and powerful.

And Carrie Bradshaw took the stuffiness out of an oversized white shirt and gave it serious sex appeal when she wore one of Mr. Big’s dress shirts as a dress, cinched at the waist with an Hermès belt.

While a freshly starched white button-down is unmistakably the symbol of polished professionalism and pious authority, it is also a chameleon in nature that refuses to be hemmed in by age or style.

To illustrate the versatility of this workhorse, we took a classic white shirt from Joe Fresh, gave it to three generations of women ages 15 to 50, and asked them to put their spin on fashion’s classic shirt.



It all feels a little bit Topshop for me. Or Karl Lagerfeld for H&M, way back in 2004.

Designer Karl’s surname was Lagerfelt, but he changed it to Lagerfeld as ‘it sounds more commercial

But my main gripe, aside from the price tags and the fact he served foie gras, is that there is nothing new and fresh here at all. Not one new idea, simply some that have been recycled or reduced, like a particularly pungent chicken stock.

You might wonder how Lagerfeld, who was born in Hamburg in 1938, finds the energy to design yet another brand, given he not only helms Chanel, but also Fendi, and has an interiors line, too.

And herein lies the rub. Why produce such a large collection of more than 70 pieces? I would always prefer a few impeccable staples that have been done really, really well.

I feel Karl or, sorry, KARL, is railing at the constraints at Chanel, where he’s reigned since 1983.
At his couture shows, I have often gazed at the customers in the front row — all of whom have passports that say they are over 60 (showing a photo ID is a requisite as you file into the Palais), but faces that are curiously frozen in time — and wondered how they feel as they look upon the 16-year-olds parading the gamine and the mini and the sheer.

It is an odd, fantastical, delusional dance, and you won’t find that sentence written anywhere else.
My goodness, but then all the other journalists would be forced to return that lovely limited edition iPad!

‘It’s so slim!’ gasped one Parisienne as she was handed hers.

Which just about sums up this whole collection in one.


‘Following weeks of speculation,’ buzzed the press release (really?), ‘the hotly anticipated modern and accessible line KARL will be unveiled with a co-ordinated global launch —with pop-up shops, a KARL app, and a Find Karl maze game.’

The line is sold here exclusively by the online retailer net-a-porter.com. Now, I love Net-a-Porter and its sister site, The Outnet. I have given them reams of press, without being given so much as an old Walkman. But my request to see the collection in the flesh was turned down.

And so I had to buy a selection of clothes, try them on and send them back. Returns, as we all know, are the death knell for online sites but, and I apologise, it gave me no choice.

I went pale as I saw all the money disappearing from my bank account. This collection might be deemed accessible, but it is wildly expensive.

There are some really lovely, affordable pieces that are very Chanel, and wearable for those of us who are not 20 years old and in possession of a supermodel’s inside leg measurement. A black twill-trimmed crepe blazer, £225, and a stretch jersey black dress with signature white collar, £195, are good value (both have sold out).

I ordered a back shoulder bag (pictured right), which at £295 is half what you would pay for a Mulberry and a third what you’d pay for real Chanel: soft and super quality.

Super quality: The KARL shoulder bag

I absolutely love a biker dress, which has a curvaceous shape, and is £225 (less than something by Mary Portas).

I imagine every trustafarian in West London will snap up the myriad biker jackets: I ordered the cream biker (pictured below left), which I thought will be lovely for spring.

It is cut very short, sadly with a viscose lining, but otherwise is buttery soft, and would go over a long evening gown, jeans or a pencil skirt. But, at £685, it, too, will have to be returned (the cotton version, at £255, sold out over the weekend).

Other than this smattering of wearable garments, though, I found the collection to rely too heavily on the DVT-inducing super skinny pant in sequins. I bought his sequin leggings, at £245 (pictured below right), but found them nowhere near as flattering as the ones I already have: £40 silver slouchy pants by Kookai, and silver leggings by Les Chiffoniers at Browns, about £300.

There are really grungey, baggy vests with Karl’s profile etched, rather incongruously, I would have thought, on your breasts.

You can buy Chanel-esque stiff collars (£125), which I guess if you are 12, or Alexa Chung, and want to wear them with a T-shirt, might be amusing.

But high top sneakers? In silver? For £295? PVC shorts? And a pair of creepy cutaway leather gloves for £50?



Karl Lagerfeld had a bit of a fashion moment last week. His couture show was conducted in the enormous and freezing Grand Palais.

The setting was an intergalactic jet, with stars including Cameron Diaz, Diane Kruger and Vanessa Paradis, wearing a satin nightie, seated in Club Class (one wag joked he couldn’t find his sick bag).
The set was extravagant, but par for the course: in the past, we’ve been treated to a giant ice sculpture and a recreation of the boutique on Rue Cambon, along with a cobbled street.

The clothes felt very early Sixties and came in many shades of pale blue, with a neckline as wide as the models’ hips, which on second thoughts isn’t really saying that much.

The dresses were youthful, with a waist dropped so low, said the designer, that when the models put their hands in their pockets, ‘they look like boys whose jeans are slipping off’.  A typical Lagerfeld comment, hot on the heels of his observation of the Royal Wedding that most of the guests had ‘fat thighs’.

Now, Coco Chanel herself was androgynous, with her fondness for mannish tailoring and wide pants — but at least she aped men not boys. Her purpose in life was to liberate women from their corsets.

The Lagerfeld dresses are so skimpy and unstructured that the body has to be perfect, which was never Coco Chanel’s intention.

The couture collection for spring/summer 2012 was, of course, beautiful, with the final parade of long gowns bound to be fought over for the Oscars. The bell sleeves might make ordinary women feel bulky, but then, at £30,000-plus for an evening gown, these clothes are not meant for us.

No, Karl Lagerfeld has other plans for the great unwashed. Last week, he launched KARL, his more affordable collection of ready-to-wear clothes. In Paris, it is sold from a series of salons in an hotel on the Left Bank.

For the launch party, he served caviar, foie gras and lobster, with every guest given an iPad, engraved with his logo and loaded with the commercial for the new brand.

The launch in London was a little more low-key — we were invited to stand and gawp at a video in freezing Covent Garden, drinking lattes with tiny cardboard Karl collars — but the hype was enormous.


Julian Fellowes, the writer and creator of Downton Abbey, has described costume designer Susannah Buxton as a “sculptress-in-cloth.” During the show’s first season, set from 1912 until 1914, Buxton dreamed up dazzling Edwardian frocks — replete with corsets and elbow-length gloves — for the aristocratic Crawley family, and simpler dresses and aprons for their many maids. During the second season, which spans the horrors of World War I and ends in 1918, she demonstrated how the upper classes made austerity look elegant. Buxton recently spoke with TIME about the hit drama, why it’s easier to create flattering costumes for a scullery maid than for a countess, and the perils of working with vintage clothing.

Does a good costume have to stand out on screen?

No. Costumes are not always designed to be seen. They’re designed sometimes to be a complete part of that character, so you’re accepting what they’re wearing without thinking. I don’t want everyone looking at the frock. That’s the hardest thing. Some of the costumes I’m most proud of are the ones you wouldn’t necessarily think about because the clothes naturally belong to the character. They don’t look like actors in costumes. They look like real people.

What’s an example of that?

I’m very proud of the tweed suit Lady Mary wears during a hunting party during the Christmas Special. People would happily wear it now. It looks good, but it also fits comfortably in the era where it’s supposed to sit.


What percentage of costumes do you make from scratch?

About a third of the costumes are made entirely from new. I often try to use vintage beading and try to restore an original dress. The only completely original dress, which I bought from a collection, is the one that Daisy the scullery maid wears in the second series. It’s an original Edwardian dress. It had never been worn. It was just so right somehow that I bought it for the show. No production could ever afford to make all the costumes. Many are hired [rented] from different costume houses and then re-trimmed or re-dyed. For the first series I went to costume houses in Madrid as well as London. In the second series I went to Paris just to find some different looks and some particular hats.

Do real life people ever inspire costumes for the on-screen characters?

Yes, they do. You’ve got so much photographic evidence from the period. I use photographic archives, costume history books, paintings, museum collections, and inevitably certain faces, particularly in the second series. Coco Chanel was one of the people I used. I didn’t use any specific look of Chanel for Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), but the simplicity of Chanel’s designs helped me with the direction for her. And Queen Mary for Maggie Smith (Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham). I build up a series of images for each character, which become my starting point and reference.


Why did Queen Mary come to mind for Maggie Smith’s acerbic character Violet Crawley?

Her shape. That queen always had a certain look and it was right because we wanted a really strong, positive look for Maggie Smith. She’s the dominant character in the series. You want to costume to help emphasize the character, to be part of who that person is. It’s almost totally different from fashion. Fashion is all about the clothes but not about the person. It’s about making them look thin and beautiful, whereas a costume is about helping that character develop.

Do your costumes help distinguish between the three sisters Lady Mary, Lady Sybil and Lady Edith?

I really tried to get the difference between the three girls. For Lady Sybil I tried to show she is more of a free spirit — slightly bohemian for her time, and not so interested in high-end fashion. Her style is slightly more individualist. Lady Mary is very much high-end fashion. The Crawley family has got money, so they go to London, which already has big department stores. And since her mother, the Countess of Grantham, is American, I tried to show both of them as very keen on the latest fashions.

As for Lady Edith, she tends to not get it quite right because she’s the more awkward girl. I didn’t want to make her frumpy, because that would be predicting her character. She wasn’t supposed to be frumpy, just the less beautiful girl. I tried to avoid cliché. Sometimes she looks stunning, but sometimes odd, so that Mary can make scathing remarks. They’ve got quite a bitchy relationship on-screen. I should say they’re best mates off-screen.


The first season takes place from 1912 until 1914, when World War I breaks out. The second season spans the war, and concludes in 1918 with the outbreak of the Spanish Flu. Did your designs change from one season to the next?

They did change because of the passage of time and the huge impact of the war. Fashion virtually came to a standstill. The skirts before the war for the fashionable women were quite restricting. All the clothes started to relax a bit. A lot of women had to help in war work, and Julian [Fellowes] emphasized that in the script. I think there was less focus on expensive fabrics and more on the silhouette. The shape changes slightly. It’s subtle. In the evening they’re still wearing their grand evening dresses because they would have lasted. They would have two or three and repeat in real life. It would have been very bad taste to be dressed up during the day. Colors were more somber. I had to try and reflect all that.

The costumes worn by the servants look much simpler than those worn by the aristocrats. Do the servants’ clothes present any challenges of their own?

I think the challenge is it needs to reflect the period and the status of each person. It couldn’t reflect the fashion of the masses. You have to select them in their time. But at the same time make each character look good in her uniform. For the women, each costume is made for them. You can do a lot of adjusting for a maid that you can’t do for a person upstairs. To make her neck more beautiful you can cut the neck of her dress slightly lower. There are lots of things you can do to make it look as good as possible.

What about the clothes for the Crawley family?

I think the difficulty for the upper classes was finding the weight of fabric that they would have used in those days, and the lusciousness and embroidery and beadings. Often my problem was that an evening dress — for Elizabeth McGovern, it was one that was heavily beaded with a silk panel that was original the dress — would deteriorate. We then had to take the panel and make another dress around it. That’s the problem of using vintage pieces.



Do you make the men’s clothes as well?

Most of the men’s clothes, apart from those worn by the principles Hugh Bonneville (the Earl of Grantham) and Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley) are rented and altered. It’s so expensive to make dinner jackets. Very few film or television budgets could afford to put that much money into a dinner jacket that no one would realize is made for the part. We had a dinner suit made for Hugh on Saville Row [which is famous for its men’s bespoke tailoring]. They were very keen to use their old patterns and to get the publicity. They reduced their price from £4,000 ($6,300) to £2,700 ($4,200). That shows what you’re dealing with. The patterns from Downton’s period never get used, and the tailors are not used to working in that way.

How far in advance of production do you read the scripts?

I probably read the script four or five times in advance because I have to break it down for what each character will require before the series. Every character has a wardrobe for morning, afternoon and night. We started filming in February, and I started working about eight weeks before. Although a lot of the groundwork will be done when the filming starts, you’re constantly making new costumes as new characters are introduced, and new situations arise. We’ll need new costumes as it moves from winter to spring and back to winter again.


Does anything ever go wrong on set?

Most of the time you’ve got at least five upper class women on the set as characters. There is a lot that could go wrong. If Lady Mary is in a deep red, I have to be careful not to put beige next to that. I want the colors to compliment. The most scary thing that I can remember is that I designed a harem dress — with Turkish trousers — for Lady Sybil. That was considered very shocking at the time because no women wore trousers then. I used a panel of embroidery for the bodice that was very old and very beautiful. She came down for the first scene and after the third take the whole panel started to split at the back. Fortunately we did have another piece of it, but watching a dress part from itself in front of your eyes on camera is pretty scary. People’s heels are always going through the back of their evening dresses. You hear a rending sound and think “Oh no.”


Models are more than just pretty faces. They’re often overworked, underfed and underage independent contractors with little say when things go bad behind the scenes.

Many are just teenagers far from home, in some cases earning as much in a day as their poor families back in Russia and Eastern Europe do in a month. As a result, many fear speaking out about sexual harassment, unscrupulous booking agencies, demands to alter their bodies, lack of backstage privacy and punishing stretches with little sleep.

“Modeling is precarious freelance labor,” said model Sara Ziff, who was discovered at 14 walking home from her New York City school. “We have very little job security. It’s also a winner-takes-all market. There’s only one Gisele. Basically, it’s a labor force of children who are working in a very grown-up business.”

In hopes of changing things, Ziff has founded The Model Alliance, dedicated to improving the working conditions of models and persuading the industry to take better care of its young.

Among other things, Ziff has set up a confidential system for models to report inappropriate conduct or other abuses during New York Fashion Week, which opens Thursday. She is also working on a Models’ Bill of Rights.

Backed for now by anonymous donors, the Alliance was launched Monday and has a board of directors and an advisory board drawn from the worlds of law, labor and entertainment.


Ziff, who has more than a decade on the runway and has served as the face of Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic and Stella McCartney, has enlisted some of her famous model friends, including Shalom Harlow, Doutzen Kroes and Coco Rocha, one of the first to speak frankly about eating disorders in the trade.

Ziff, 29, also has the support of the powerful Council of Fashion Designers of America. The trade group gave her fledgling nonprofit a boost when it issued its annual pre-Fashion Week plea to designers and model wranglers to keep photographers at bay when models are changing backstage and to keep girls under 16 off the runways by checking identification.

It’s not the first attempt to improve the working conditions of models. A union, The Models Guild, was founded in 1995 along the lines of the Screen Actors Guild, but it faltered a few years later for lack of members.

Ziff’s alliance isn’t a union but an effort to persuade models to take control in an industry where they’re often treated as a commodity.


“One beautiful 13-year-old can be substituted for another beautiful 13-year-old,” added Susan Scafidi, who heads the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University in New York and is on the Alliance’s board of directors. A draft of the Models’ Bill of Rights includes demands that all jobs and castings involving nudity be subject to informed consent, and that no model under 17 be asked to pose nude or semi-nude. It also calls for booking agents not to lie about the ages of the models they represent and for agents to work with parents of school-age models to draw up an on-the-job education plan. The Alliance also wants changing areas that are off-limits to photographers and is asking for more transparency in the way money is handled. Elettra Wiedemann, the 28-year-old daughter of actress and model Isabella Rossellini, recalled her own start in the business at age 14. She took part in a panel discussion Tuesday hosted by the CFDA’s health initiative, begun in 2007 to address unhealthy eating and the debate over how thin is too thin for models. “I did experience when I first started modeling a lot of pressure from my agency in Italy. They asked me to get a breast reduction. They asked me to get a nose job. They constantly critiqued my weight,” she said. “You go through a period of sadness and anger and self-loathing, and then I just decided, ‘You know what, I’m much more than just a number on a scale.’ I chose to have a boundary for myself.”


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How do you know whether your partner is satisfied with (partner?) free dating site.   Your overall sex life? Direct questions better not to ask, because after all … you can hear the truth. And want to know something … Here’s an original technique to find this out by followers of Freud’s grandfather had used Century. It consists in the fact that gently and unobtrusively teaches that dream partner (partner). Then you already know the subconscious of his aspirations free dating online. The case for small – just Get into the habit of talking about what you both dreamed. Just do not jump to conclusions from one sleep. If he tells a dream in which his secretary comes in, kneels down, unbuttoned his pants, and there is a bouquet of roses – then maybe he just reviewed the porn? But most likely he / she have enough intelligence to conceal from you very “hot” dreams free dating online. He would tell those in which everything not explicitly. With this in mind, and construct a system of Freud and Karl: our subconscious mind at all rarely speaks directly, more metaphors, images and associations. And here is something to treat them is not difficult, it is necessary only to become skilled. When deciphering keep in mind two points. 1. Pay attention to the main part of sleep. In the dream, it is highlighted very clearly and specifically – the subject of sleep curled around it, or it occurs in various forms throughout the story, or is not in place. This detail and will be the main character.