Archive | November, 2010

Beautiful. Really?

22 Nov

Proven marketing princess fashion marketing adelaide Just As Beautiful magazine for curvy women

I came across a magazine from the UK the other day. It’s called Just As Beautiful and touts itself as “The UK’s No1 lifestyle magazine for curvy women”. I could be wrong, but I’m guessing it’s the UK’s only lifestyle magazine dedicated to curvy women. And trust me, with a publication like this, being the only one is the only way to be number one.

That might sound harsh, but feel free to spend 5 minutes looking through the site before you pass judgement on my harsh judgement.

Now you see what I mean. And the prize for worst graphic designer 1993 goes to….the guy they employed to do their layout! Even the colours on their first printed edition are putrid. Pale blue and light pink, the sort of palette I would have loved when I was 12 (yes, back when it actually was 1993).

From what I can see of the fashion shoots, they’re badly staged and the styling is heinous. Honestly it’s so bad I can’t even be bothered to criticise it any more.

By now you might be thinking, “What is this bitch’s problem? Skipped her carrot stick for lunch today?” My problem is not the curvy women, who I’m sure are beautiful, healthy and sexy in the flesh. It’s the publishers that irk me. How is any woman supposed to look stunning in her grandmother’s hand-me down pre-war knickers with her hair piled up like princess Leia and a hideous matching choker?

But more irksome than the tatty styling and design is the idea that the crème de la crème of curvy women can only be “just” as beautiful as their skinny sisters. Not “More Beautiful”, not just “Beautiful”, but “Just As Beautiful”. It’s so transparent that this mob is playing on the insecurities of curvy women to sell their magazine. It’s like telling them they’re too fat to read Vogue so they’d better embrace this patronising big girls’ mag. And while I know a lot of curvy women would not fit into the pin-thin designer duds in Vogue, very few “average” readers can actually afford them either. But that’s what beautiful magazines are about – fantasy and inspiration. Imagining yourself in the amazing outfits and then getting real and using the ideas in a way that translates into your life and budget.

I can’t think of one woman I know who aspires to wearing a cream polkadot twinset with a black polkadot skirt. Just as beautiful? I don’t think so.


Front Page Possey

10 Nov


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I have to brag again – Felix & Mabel made the front page of Melbourne’s Moreland Leader newspaper.

Another great photo and a good article to boot. Looks like Kim Spirdonoff is becoming the go-to expert for all things sustainable fashion.

The article talks about Kim’s role as mentor to a group of fashion students at RMIT. The students were asked to imagine themselves as Felix & Mabel’s creative director and design a Spring Summer range. This included idea development and sourcing sustainable fabrics to create their collection.

“It’s harder than it may look” said designer Kim. “Sourcing sustainable fabrics in Australia is difficult but consumers are beginning to demand it so we do a lot of research into our processes and suppliers.”

Felix & Mabel is designed with the environment in mind, using only natural and sustainable fabrics. Everything is produced locally to reduce their carbon footprint.

Even some prints used by the label are screen printed by hand in a carbon neutral process using eco-friendly inks onto sustainable fabrics (like the Lotus dress).

“The students did a great job researching  their  fabric suppliers and also gave a lot of thought to designing for longevity to make the garments more sustainable. This is so important as our customers demand a garment that is classic enough to become a wardrobe staple for seasons to come. They just don’t want fast fashion” said Kim.

 The students ideas are up for grabs by Felix & Mabel and will be paid a fee if Kim decides to use any of their ideas in the future.

“One girl had a fantastic idea for using waste fabric to make pretty embellishments. That is something we would definitely consider as it benefits our eco-credentials and the design of our garments.” Kim said.

Even Felix & Mabel have difficulty sometimes making the brand entirely sustainable. So when sustainable fabrics are not available, Felix & Mabel uses luxurious silk as it has a lower environmental impact than most fabrics and is biodegradable.

Kim pays attention to details that make the brand environmentally responsible by printing swing tickets on recycled paper using low impact inks.

 “For next season (Autumn Winter 2011) we have actually designed a fabric of our own that will be digitally printed as this uses less dye and energy than traditional printing and no dye ends up in our waterways” said Kim.

Game Face

1 Nov

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Napoleon Perdis. If you haven’t heard of the Greek god of make-up you must’ve been living under a stone for the past 10 years.

Back in the late 90s Napoleon was the king of teen make-up in Australia, picture garish colours and new wave glitter. Napoleon is where I went to have my make-up done for my year 11 formal. I rocked a combination of turquoise eyes and hot pink lips like only a fresh faced 17 year old can.

But at some indefinable point along the way he went from cringe worthy to cult status. 4,500 counters around the world and Napoleon himself now lives in the capital of glam, Hollywood. His luxurious home features regularly in the pages of fashion & lifestyle magazines and he even has his own reality TV show, Get Your Face On with Napoleon Perdis.

So there’s no denying it, Napoleon is now a major worldwide brand; a big Australian success story. The most interesting development for me is the launch of NP Set, a cheaper, entry level version of Napoleon.

A trio of eye shadows retails for around $20 versus $49 for the Napoleon brand. Sure the packaging is plainer and the range isn’t as big but the prices sure are better and the product innovation is still there…something Napoleon became famous for after its Autopilot face primer became a beauty best seller.

While there are similarities and some consumers will choose NP Set over Napoleon, I would suggest there are is a distinct target market for each brand that will not cannibalise the other’s share. NP targets a younger, fast fashion consumer who probably relies on a part time job or allowance to get her beauty budget.

And NP Set is available through Target, something that really opens Napoleon up to a whole new mass market. In marketing speak this is called a “diffusion line” – a range by a recognised designer, in their signature style, but designed for and sold through a high street retailer at high street prices. Target is the best in Australia at these collaborations, with Stella McCartney another huge label to design a range for Target.

Diffusion lines give access to people who would not otherwise be able to afford the brand. They work for designers as a way of growing their profile and brand awareness plus obviously providing a great income stream separate from their main line.

I can’t think of another make-up brand that has done a diffusion or a cheaper brand entry line. There are many brand families in the make-up industry, the L’Oreal Group behemoth being the first to spring to mind with Maybelline for the kids, L’Oreal for the masses and Lancôme for the older, wealthier ladies. But each of these ranges is a separate brand with different images, values and products.

Though he hasn’t as yet collaborated on a diffusion range, Giorgio Armani is a master of brand entry points. The Armani brand houses a number of sub-brands including, Armani Exchange, Emporio Armani, Armani and Armani Prive. Each of these brands targets a different consumer or occasion at a different price point, but all with a unifying Armani aesthetic.

On the other end of the spectrum is Pierre Cardin who was once at the cutting edge of 60s mod fashion. Over the years he has diluted, confused and bastardised his brand by licensing his name to the crappiest bathrobes and the tackiest luggage.

These different paths by two influential fashion sirs should serve as a warning for Mr Perdis, not that I think he needs it!

 xx PMP

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