By far the best "what recession?" fashion story of the week has to be the launch of Louis Vuitton's two new patented diamond cuts
Cuts and curves - a girl's best friends or worst enemies?
By far the best "what recession?" fashion story of the week has to be the launch of Louis Vuitton's two new patented diamond cuts. Previously with diamonds, all that mattered was size. Now it's shape. The latest "It" diamonds are actually cut to mirror the monogram flowers that appear on Vuitton bags and trunks. So you can choose from a round flower with curved petals or a pointed flower with sharp petals. How much, you ask? Well, the trophy piece in the Les Ardentes (which means literally "the blazing") range is a 108 carat faceted necklace with a whopping $4 million (Dh14m) price tag. Although we can't possibly expect to see many of these baubles flashing around, we are bound to see cubic zirconium versions selling alongside fake monogrammed bags.
On the subject of size and shape(this time the female body), did you hear Giorgio Armani has signed up Victoria Beckham (www.handbag.com/tags/victoria-beckham) to be the face of his Emporio women's underwear line? Her footballer husband, remember, models for the men's line and, if rumours are to be believed, will soon be joining AC Milan when his LA Galaxy contract runs out. So the Italian link ties in nicely. Pity the body size issue between hers and his doesn't.
Think about it. David is a healthy sportsman with a cute face and amazing body. As well as those twinkly blue eyes, he boasts a rippling six-pack and strapping thighs. Victoria, on the other hand, tops the list of women who make celebrity frock watching compulsive not because of the fabulous fashions she wears but because of her size zero frame. When gossip magazines aren't homing in on her knobbly knee caps - or bunions - it's her hollow clavicles or her bony rib cage. Statistically speaking, we know size zero women are freaks just as we know women on the whole are growing larger in the West. A fact explained by more protein in the diet and a sedentary lifestyle. And yet glancing at fashion magazines, catwalk models and Mrs Becks, it's odd how you and I, a normal size whatever, feel in the minority.
I pondered this as I flicked through the rails at Westfield, a vast shopping mall that opened in London last week, the largest in Europe, boasting a whopping 25,000 square metres of wall-to-wall designer boutiques. This season could have been a great opportunity for designers to consider scaling up a few sizes. It's not as if there isn't the demand (there is). Current styles would work wonders for girls with curves? all those ruffles disguise tummy rolls and excess bust acreage perfectly. I was amazed, particularly in all the cruise collections, which are aimed at a slightly older customer, to find virtually no designer fashion had anything larger than a size UK 14 (US 12/EU 46). This is slightly smaller than the average UK size.
I can forgive French and Italian designers whose womenfolk are smaller, but it would have been good to see the hip American label Rodarte, designed by the sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who are larger-than-life lasses themselves, come up with something they could wear. For anyone who hasn't yet seen the photos of Angelina Jolie photographed by Brad Pitt in the new American W magazine, look now. With the help of the Hollywood stylist Jennifer Rade and a wardrobe of Dior, Branjelina have done more for women's' shape issues than any catwalk show of the last decade. Even though we can assume Pitt was snapping away on his Littman 45 camera a few weeks after Jolie gave birth to her twins, and that she is now probably back to her svelte self, it was good to catch a glimpse of what a 21st century goddess might look like. Why didn't Armani choose the gorgeous 22-year-old plus size model Crystal Renn to be his underwear role model? She is the hottest face of the moment and her proportions have seen her appear recently in four international Vogue editions and grace the cover of Harper's Bazaar. But until women learn to love their curves, the men who design for them - like Mr Armani - certainly won't. I'll bet the ladies who will wear Louis Vuitton flower diamond rings have something in common. Too rich and too thin.
Twas ever thus.