Archive | 2011

Harvey Nichols “Walk of Shame” Video or as we see it “Insulting your customers to sell to them”

Harvey Nichols are currently running an advert on YouTube called the “Walk of Shame”. On the immediate surface it appears to be aimed at helping Harvey Nichols sell more party wear for Christmas and New Year parties. An innocent enough desire on the part of any business you might think.

It goes much deeper than that. The advert is called “The walk of shame” and depicts various young women making their way home in the early hours after a party or a night out, all wearing party wear consisting of generally short and skimpy dresses.

The end of the advert blatantly implies that A) these young women are badly dressed B) They are not capable of making a good fashion choice and need it spelt out in a patronising manner and C) they can avoid “The Walk of Shame” by shopping for a more appropriate party frock at Harvey Nicks! Maybe this is supposed to be tongue in cheek but this strong message has had 535,000+ viewings on YouTube at the time of writing, (we are deliberately not publishing a link to it)

All this advert does is insult women for their fashion choices, their right to dress how they want and their right to have a good time. Worse still Harvey Nichols are running a competition for the best “Walk of Shame Story”, 5 winners will receive a “Stride of Pride kit” (if you read Facebook) or 10 winners will receive a “Walk of Shame Kit” if you read the terms and conditions of the competition. So does that mean there is a choice? Dress well (courtesy of Harvey Nichols) for your after party walk home or dress really badly, but with style! (again courtesy of Harvey Nichols).. confusing to say the least.

The advert also plays on the topic of beauty and size. The subtle message being that if you buy your party frock at Harvey Nichols you’ll be beautiful and slim with goddess like hair and a spring in your step. Oh, and a glamourous smile that will knock early morning postmen clean off their feet. Dressing in this manner may also allow you to live in beautiful flat in a classic city building. The actresses all enduring “The Walk of Shame” were no less beautiful than “Miss Glamourous Pride” at the end of the advert but they nearly all appeared to be wearing dresses that were too small for them thus portraying larger women as being less attractive and perhaps even more prone to “The Walk of Shame”.

If you read the comments on YouTube you’ll see this is exactly the image picked up by viewers. In truth there is nothing wrong with the way any of the women dressed in the video and while we are used to the Fashion and Retail industries portraying the “Glamourous Sylph” image it is insulting to rubbish one’s customers in the same breath.

This advert sparked a short online debate between two of my friends a couple of days ago. They had very different views of the advert, one was horrified by the hypocrisy of advert and the other didn’t really see much below the surface of the advert until it was pointed out to them. The interesting thing about my friends reactions is that both of these individuals are different ages and genders, both are informed by their obviously different life experiences. One is very mindful of the hard won achievements for equality and respect for women while the other perhaps takes them for granted.

The advert is very clearly targeted at a certain demographic, namely young women in party mode with some money to spend. Visually, from a technical point of view the advert is well made and it is a clever but dangerous play on a theme. I’d bet the advert is made by people from a younger generation who didn’t think twice about the deeply negative message they are giving about young women enjoying themselves. They also haven’t considered the responsibility they carry with respect to the audience engagement they can generate. Even more sadly there are plenty of people who will not even see the negative message, and will flock, patronised and sheep like to Harvey Nichols to buy that all important party frock.

Joanna Davis | Vida Moda Designer Fashion for Curvy Women | Create your style and walk with your head held high.

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Dawn French

“The Ones Who Like Chocolate”

Shane Watson’s article in the Sunday Times Style Magazine last Sunday “Wise to the size lies” certainly gave me plenty of food for thought. I agreed with some of what she says – like Dawn French letting down the side having lost weight after years of presenting large women as having a big appetite for life. A newly  slim Dawn French I’m sure Ms French has her reasons for seriously losing weight after all these years and I’ve no doubt it was not easy for her.

The media reports her having lost 4 stone, to be honest I’d say she has lost a lot more than 4 stone. But that does not necessarily mean that all large ladies who decry the media’s obsession with skin and bone are hypocrites or liars.

Ms Watson describes Nigella’s as one size over voluptuous. (sounds a little bitchy!) Can she mean the same Nigella Lawson whom men desire and women admire? I have to disagree with Ms Watson. There are many women who are really happy with their size and shape, oblivious to the media, illusion and the cheap condescending articles in fashion magazines.

A slimmer Nigella Lawson

Larger people do get treated differently and probably much less positively than skinny people. People always state the obvious about size, we all have lots of reasons why we might try to lose weight so it is dangerous to make assumptions about why people are driven to lose weight. There is huge pressure from the media and fashion world about what looks good.

These industries glorify and parade waif like teenagers modelling and selling a look to women buyers a lot older and with vastly different body shapes to the models.

This creates far more peer pressure to “conform” than the odd whimsical reference to chocolate by Dawn French or the enthusiastic beating of something glorious in a mixing bowl and raiding the fridge at midnight by Nigella Lawson. Perhaps you could take this fact into your reasoning next time Ms Watson.

Who am I to comment? I’m not a celebrity, just an ordinary person with a business selling designer fashion for larger women. Like everyone I like to buy clothes that fit me and that I can look good in and that’s the service I’m trying to give to my customers.

Joanna

Vida Moda | Designer Fashion For Curvy Women

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“It’s Martine… With Extra Curves”

The Daily Mail had an article last Thursday pointing out that Martine McCutcheon is currently more curvy than in her TV advert for Activia. Does it matter, it is really worth writing about? Those ads were probably made months ago. The article also quotes Miss McCutcheon as not wanting to fly a flag for being unhealthy and overweight or being too thin either.

It is sad that the Mail used Miss McCutcheon’s curves as a basis for the article which goes on to provide some publicity about her career. Why does it discuss her curves first (in a negative tone) and career second? Do we not enjoy her presence on our screens for her acting talent or do we all rush to watch her on screen because she has extra curves? It is equally baffling as on the same day the paper had quite a feature on “regular people” a set of 5 couples (all over 30) finding out what they thought of each others bodies after a number of years together. This article had a relatively positive tone about body image.
Curvy Marine McCutchoen looking Fabulous
So it was ok to talk about about body perception and weight with non celebrities in a positive fashion but then to subtly criticise Miss McCutcheon for her “extra curves”? Martine McCutcheon is a beautiful woman with a successful acting career and her weight fluctuates like a lot of other people and she looks fabulous regardless. There is no perfect weight and is sad that people automatically associate that being overweight means you are unhealthy. Being skinny can be also be bad for your health and I’m not simply referring to very thin people.

It is perfectly possible to be healthy and be over or under an accepted bodyweight for your height. And it is possible to look good too. Curvy is just as good and as beautiful as skinny, so if you are a curvy bird then hold your head up high and use your curves to express your personal style. Celebrate your talents, skills and achievements and don’t measure yourself on the basis of how other people think you look because of your weight.

Joanna

Image ©DFS

Joanna Davis | Vida Moda | Designer Fashion for Curvy Women Size 14 to 24

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The Artist, a self portrait in oils.

“Drawing Inspiration” an exhibition of Art by Diana Probost at the Cambridge Art Salon

Diana Probst, a Cambridge artist, opens her first show, Drawing Inspiration, on Friday, at the Cambridge Art Salon. This post is about her experience of setting up the show. Diana is a talented artist and we are pleased to provide her with a guest post on our blog. Everybody gets to see the the finished work of artists but few see the effort or trials and tribulations that people go through to achieve that end product. The piece below, in Diana’s own words reflects the challenges we all face in “making something happen”, often these challenges are where we get pushed out of our comfort zone and dealing with them, while stressful does help build our experience. So read on to find out what it is like to go through setting up your own art exhibition for the first time. If you are in Cambridge between the 11th and 16th of November do come and view Diana’s work and look out for the invitation to the private viewing at the end of this post.

“I have been a professional artist for a little over a year now. In oil paint terms, that means that things I started last year are now framed and ready to sell. Oil painting is slow, and gives you plenty of time for thought. By contrast, the show date has come crashing in on me, with the speed and unblinkingness of headlights on a rabbit. If it were not for the support around me, I would be facing an empty room on opening night.

Bottles on a Blue Cloth in Oil by Diana Probost

Bottles on a Blue Cloth

The first thing I did was make a blog post and ask my friends to comment. Artists I did not know I knew dropped by. There were plenty of advice sites on the net, and I added things I had skimmed to a huge spidery brain-dump. With my husband’s help, and a donated ten minutes by a friend who advised on software, I got everything onto my computer and scheduled from there.

It cut down the mountain into smaller bits that were hardly rocky at all, and I was able to separate my painting time from my preparations. I went back to the suggestion lists again and again, for moral support as much as for the ideas.

The last couple of weeks were surreal. I did not have any more painting I could do for the show itself, and I found myself worrying about my lack of expertise in marketing. That was where my friends shone through. There was a lot of support and just knowing it was there got me through the tough parts. Today I will be walking around Cambridge distributing postcards advertising the show. It’s all coming together, and I’m really chuffed.”

The Artist, a self portrait in oils.

The artist, a self portrait

For your invitation to the private view please click HERE.

The show starts on Friday 11th, and runs until 16th, with the gallery closed on Monday. Opening hours 10-5

Cambridge Art Salon: 29 Cromwell Road, Cambridge, CB1 3EB
Diana’s URL: dianaprobst.com
Twitter Feed: @dianaprobst

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Crikey! What’s happened to Downton?

Crikey! What’s happened to Downton?

Downton Abbey Ladies

"Downton Abbey Ladies"


I enjoyed the first series of Downton Abbey but feel the second series has become somewhat of a parody of itself (maybe it is supposed to be like this). Why has it gone downhill? The actors playing the characters all seem reasonably well suited to the parts they play and the premise is there for a good yarn But this series is lacking. Perhaps it is the way in which we hop from scene to scene, there is too much going on, too many individual story lines being covered, and all of them without satisfactory endings.

In the last few episodes an injured solider turned up who could have been the legitimate heir to Downton but was physically unrecognisable due to his injuries. Now this story had potential for intrigue, drama and full blown confrontation. Instead the character wimped out and scuttled off (we didn’t even see him scuttling), presumably never to be heard of again.

What is the point of “Ethel’s” story? Yes it shows how difficult life was for single mothers with illegitimate children, but then why is there a new maid in residence who is also a single mother but who is a war widow. (we now know, she is likely to be naughty with Lord Downton) We’ve never seen her child and she puts a pained face on whenever it is mentioned. (I’m desperately seeking skullduggery of some kind in this small story)

Richard Carlisle From Downton Abbey

"Carlisle"

The only character with a hint of proper devilment is Mr Carlisle who issued a threat with some menace to Lady Mary who didn’t really bat any eyelids at all. Oh, and Matthew seems set to recover, his wheelchair went over a bump on Sunday night and low and behold he clearly feel something downstairs, and no it wasn’t a maid. Most of all I have felt some dismay for Lord Downton, Granville or whoever. He has had to strut about in a uniform at home for weeks and he didn’t even have anyone to have Luncheon with this week. He also appears to have lost any real story lines as does the whole programme.

What of the youngest daughter, Sybil (aka Lady Florence), what on earth is she doing with the Chauffeur? Nothing, absolutely nothing, for weeks, mind you he did put a hand on her waist this week. (shocking). Anytime there is potential for drama they snuff it out straight away, what about the tractor driving Edith kissing the farmer? Bang! Letter from the farmers wife telling her she is no longer required. Story over. Instantly, she was demoted to concerned librarian for the next two weeks.

Mr. Bates from Downton Abbey

"Bates"

What about BATES, and Anna. Anna seems ok and has the odd good line or two. But BATES seems to have overdone it with the Botox, he’s permanently canted over to the right with a look on his face that implies he has recently sat on a very large blunt thumb tack. Oh, and who the heck buys arsenic and leaves it lying about in the kitchen?

It is such a shame, this series is not a patch on the first and all it goes to show is that ITV cannot manage period drama in quite the same way as the BBC even though I’m pretty sure Julian Fellows is an excellent writer – he doesn’t seem to be allowed the freedom to develop story lines properly over the series. The costumes remain excellent (I don’t know how authentic they are to the period) but it all goes to show that window dressing is nothing without the story.

Update from last weeks episode!!

Did you see it? Matthew’s miraculous recovery, he sprang from his wheelchair to catch Lavinia to prevent her falling. He did this after months of not being able to move his legs and with no rehabilitation. Yes I know it’s television, but really some of it is so far fetched! It lacks the sense of space and time that would make it anywhere near credible and detracts from the reality.

Its the last episode of this series tonight, will there be a third? I fear it is too late to properly conclude any of the current story lines. Oh and there is a Christmas Special coming… maybe that will be better. Mind you I did like some of their jewellery!

Joanna

Joanna Davis | Vida Moda | Couture for Curvy Women

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Plus Size Clothing at Vida Moda | Beige Striped Tunic

Vida Moda Special Offers

Ladies we’ve got 4 special offers on Vida Moda for you this week.

We have a beautiful check jacket by Bitte Kai Rand that is perfect for work or slightly more formal casual occasions. This jacket is on special offer right now at 60% off it’s normal price and is available to fit size 16 to 18. We only have a few of these left so take advantage of the offer now.
Plus Size Clothing at Vida Moda | Bitte Kai Rand Jacket

We also have a pretty tunic by Bitte, it’s a lovely colour, a checkered blue and ash grey. This tunic is on offer at 70% off it’s normal price and is also available to fit size 16 to 18. Again we only have a few of these left, so take advantage now.
Plus Size Clothing at Vida Moda | Bitte Kai Rand Ash Blue Tunic

We have the perfect waterfall cardigan by Heteroclite for Autumn, it is a lace textured and pattern bias cut cardigan which is perfect for everyday activity and looks wonderful. You’ll find it perfect for work or a home if you’re not quite ready for a full winter sweater! We still some of these in the following sizes, 16, 18, 20 and 22. Best of all they are on offer at 50% off the regular price.
Plus Size Clothing at Vida Moda | Waterfall Cardigan

If you are lucky enough to be heading off somewhere sunny for a short break then we also have a stunning little tunic by Heteroclite for you. This little beige and white striped tunic is unbelievably soft and very stylish. We still a few of these in Size 18, Size 20 and Size 22 and they are also on special offer at £27.50.
Plus Size Clothing at Vida Moda | Beige Striped Tunic

Don’t forget our Autumn / Winter collections are now online along with our jewellery collection. All our collections are quite exclusive so you can be assured of wearing high quality designer fashion that is quite rare when you buy from us. Joanna is committed to bringing you a choice of great quality designer clothes for curvy women.

Take advantage of our special offers today as they don’t last long!

Vida Moda | Designer Fashion For Curvy Women Size 14 to 24

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Bitte Kai Rand Winter Coat at Vida Moda 2011

Autumn / Winter Designer Fashion Collections at Vida Moda

Well, after some trials and tribulations we are gradually getting our collections for Autumn / Winter onto our site. We are stocking some truly beautiful clothes for you this season. We think we may have found a simply unbelievable skirt for curvy women, that looks wonderful on all shapes. It is very stylish, elegant and sexy too! but more on that later in the week in a further post!!

Bitte Kai Rand Winter Coat at Vida Moda 2011I’ve found some coats I really like, very different styles that will hopefully suit our customers varied tastes. I noticed the Sunday Times Style magazine has a coats feature today. They are “nice” (not one of my favourite words!) but as usual are being worn by a pretty twenty something.

I’m a forty something and curvy. I don’t associate myself with the young svelte models that grace the pages of the Sunday magazines. The coats featured in the Sunday Times Style Magazine appear a little ordinary to me and to be honest they aren’t cheap either. Our collections are of the finest quality and style which is reflected in the prices. I try to find and stock designer fashion suitable for 35 plus women who are curvy. You won’t find our collections scattered through chain stores on the High Street.

So I was pleased to be somewhat underwhelmed by the coats presented by the Sunday Times Style Magazine today. I think the coats and jackets I’ve selected for this season are special and we have one or two winter coats that certainly make a statement! All of them are displayed in our online store and are modeled by a size 16 model who is in her forties. Who says we can’t look great after forty when we’ve gone up a size or two? Don’t we deserve to have a choice of designer fashion suited to us?

Take a look at our coats and jackets for this Autumn and Winter, I hope you like them. Let me know what you think by adding a comment here.

Joanna

Vida Moda | Designer Fashion For Curvy Women

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Vida Moda Jewellery Collection

Vida Moda’s New Jewellery Collection

After much debate and evaluating suppliers I finally found the kind of jewellery I wanted for Vida Moda’s jewellery collection. I wanted something expressive, stylish and not too expensive. Jewellery that would look good on a special occasion but which could also worn on an everyday basis to make the wearer feel good. We also faced an additional challenge, that of size. (I had a similar challenge when sourcing our belts). Most jewellery manufacturers seem to assume that all women have long slender necks. This is not the case at all so we’ve carefully checked the length of the chain on every necklace to make sure they are long enough to be comfortable. We do have one or two items that are designed to be worn higher up the neck and in those cases we’ll point that out clearly in the description.

Colour is also a huge factor for me, I love greens and so I’ve chosen one or two pieces in shades of green! I love green jewellery I hope you like the choices I’ve made. We’ve hopefully got something to suit all tastes. In fact some of the comments I’ve seen on Twitter have made me go “Yes I can definitely see you wearing that”. Colour is such an important expression of personality and if we don’t always want to wear clothing with a strong colour then we can accessorise with some beautiful jewellery to add a splash of colour. I don’t know about you, but there are days when I wear a lot of black but I still like my jewellery and use it to offset the black.

I’ve also selected some earrings to complement the necklaces, they are often designed to go together but can be purchased separately.

We’ll be adding more pieces to the store and as we get feedback from you I’ll find additional suppliers and add more ranges over time. So I do hope you like what we are starting with. Take a look at the jewellery collection and add a comment here to let us know what you like or don’t like, or email me at joanna@vidamoda.co.uk to share your thoughts. Over the next few weeks we’ll feature a few of the pieces on a blog post or two.

Joanna

Vida Moda | The Online Designer European Clothing Store for Curvy Women

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