Saturday, January 28, 2012


Around 1970, a woman in a dress shop in Paris told my mother that she dressed very stylishly 'pour une Juive'. No one in my family ever shopped there again, although they probably didn't notice. This story is unimportant, except that it popped immediately into my mind when I saw that French ELLE ran an article, by Nathalie Dolivo, which claims that only now that Obama is president are African-Americans finally fashionable.

Yes, it is that crazy. Yahoo has the story.

If a fashion writer for French Elle is to be believed—and she is not—African-Americans weren't stylish until the Obama family came into office.

"For the first time, the chic has become a plausible option for a community so far pegged [only] to its street wear codes," writes Nathalie Dolivo in a post translated from the magazine's website titled 'Black Fashion Power.'

And if this sweeping stereotyping and flat-out ignorance weren't already off base, Dolivo goes on to explain why the so-called Obama renaissance of style is so "chic." According to her assessment, it embraces "white codes" while still making what she calls "a bourgeois ethnic reference (a batik-printed turban/robe, a shell necklace, a 'créole de rappeur') reminiscent [of] the roots."

It is almost beyond belief that this woman seriously thinks that African-Americans have not always been stylish. Think of the black women who have made such a splash in fashion over the years, or think of the black women you know, and how beautifully they dress. It's a shame that the kind of condescension my mother faced forty years ago as a young woman in Paris is apparently still considered appropriate at a top women's magazine.

I collect evil-eye charms of all kinds, and like to pair them with almost everything I wear. I think that from now on I shall tell people they are my 'bourgeois ethnic references'. Do you like it?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Golshifteh Farahani Banned From Iran For Beautiful Nude Photo Shoot

From the Telegraph: An Iranian actress has been told she is no longer welcome in her homeland after she posed naked in a French news magazine as a symbolic protest against strictures on women.

The nude photo of Golshifteh Farahani has been published by Madame Le Figaro magazine. The publication has attracted a wave of visitors to her Facebook page from Iran and the Middle East.

The Paris-based actress left Iran last year in protest against restrictive Islamic codes that the Iranian cinema industry has to follow under Ahmadinejad's conservative cultural policies.

Now she said the government has sent a communication telling her not to travel back to her homeland.

"I was told by a Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guide official that Iran does not need any actors or artists. You may offer your artistic services somewhere else", Farahani said.

Farahani appeared along Leonardo Di Caprio in the Hollywood film Body of Lies as a nurse who helps an injured American secret agent to recover to carry out his mission in a Muslim country.

The publication of the photo coincides with the Iranian film A Separation being awarded a Golden Globe as the Best Foreign Film of the Year and a government crackdown on the industry, which has seen the authorities shut the House of Cinema institute in Tehran.

Golshifteh has appeared in many of the films made by Asghar Farhadi, the director of A Separation, which has also been nominated for an Oscar this year.

In a few hours after the photo was published Farahani has received thousands of comments from her fans on her Facebook page, with some blaming her for "indecency" and many admiring her for "the courage to remove a taboo among the women in the Muslim countries".

"This is more discriminating to the women than the compulsory hijab. I am very much disappointed with Golshifteh, but she is free to do whatever she wants", a comment read.
Well, I disagree with the commenter. Mlle. Farahani is a grown-up woman, and she can do as she thinks best. The photographs are beautiful, and very tasteful.