08th May2017

Report Card: 2017 Met Gala

by admin

Rei Kawakubo

This year’s Met Gala had one of the toughest dress codes for the attendees. Paying tribute to the avant-garde fashion designer, Rei Kawakubo, the Met Gala attendees had to bring their avant-garde/glamour A-game to the Oscars of fashion. Rihanna stole the show by wearing a Rei Kawakubo/Comme Des Garçons creation that defied definition. Considering that Kawakubo uses design to challenge conventional notions of beauty, Rihanna was arguably the best-dressed guest with a deconstructed Swan Lake number that was paired with a pair of red sandals that were laced all the way up her legs.

Rihanna

Co-host Pharrell William’s wife, Helen Lasichanh, wore a bright-red off-the-runway piece from the design house’s most recent show. The piece had no sleeves or armholes which demonstrated the designer’s avant-garde sensibility. Jaden Smith embraced the spirit of the dress codes whilst remaining loyal to Louis Vuitton by carrying a clutch of his recently shorn dreadlocks. Katy Perry, not to be outdone by Rihanna and company, wore a scarlet red costume by John Galliano for Maison Margiela that was elaborate. Priyanka Chopra wore a Ralph Lauren trenchcoat-dress that brought to mind Rihanna’s bright yellow train dress from the 2015 Met Gala. Met Gala favourite, Solange Knowles, did not disappoint with her Thom Browne shiny puffer jacket- that was complete with a train. Cara Delevingne, dressed by Chanel, painted her bald head with a feathered silver paint that was studded with crystals.

Katy PerryPriyanka Chopra

On the other hand, Kim Kardashian-West was resplendent in a white Vivienne Westwood gown. Her gown had remnants of the white gown that opened Comme Des Garçons show in March. The dress could be seen as part of a performance art project relating to fame, wealth, and femininity in the 21st century. Kardashian-West, in an Ellen DeGeneres interview, recently renounced materialism. The peasant stylings of the dress and lack of over-the-top jewellery was a fantastic accompaniment to her recent denunciation.

Kim Kardashian-West

When I first heard about this year’s theme for the Met Gala, I was really excited as it marks the beginning of Rei Kawakubo receiving the recognition she deserves. Kawakubo is a publicity-shy figure who never takes a bow at the finale of her Paris-set fashion shows. At the beginning of her career, Kawakubo’s work was dismissed as being post-atomic. Kawakubo has succeeded in radically challenging everyday ideas in a manner that has been commercially and creatively successful. Kawakubo’s work has evolved over the years. The brand has 230 storefronts and franchise outlets outside of Japan, 17 brands under the Comme Des Garçons brand, three flagship locations in New York, Paris and Tokyo, and an annual turnover of $250m. She has a loyal fanbase among customers and designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Nicolas Ghesquière, Phoebe Philo, and Marc Jacobs . She has demonstrated her genius through starting the pop-up shop trend, and collaborating with famed architects (Future Systems) to collaborate on the New York flagship store in 1998. All of her creative and commercial decisions prove that Kawakubo is a visionary who deserves credit for greatly influencing the modern fashion industry.

 

13th Mar2012

The impact of the entertainment industry on the youth

by admin

Should society or the older generation be concerned about the portrayal of “sex” with no after effects on television or new media platforms? Thato S N Legodi provides issues to think about when grappling with this question!

With artists constantly appearing half naked and performing raunchy dance routines in music videos and live performances, sex seems to be everywhere in the entertainment industry, including in movies, soapies, commercials, series and reality TV shows. Consequently, the older generation’s concerns about the impact of this on the young generation (both girls and boys) are not irrational. Despite arguments in the media which state that individuals are not directly influenced by the media as they have agency to choose what they consume and what they do not consume, the truth is that research has found that people (especially teenagers) are in actual fact influenced by what they see on television. Their actions and attitudes are swayed by the media as they get much of their information from television. The American Psychological Association estimates that youngsters are exposed to 14,000 sexual situations/mentions and suggestions in a year on television.

Instead of showing maturity, artists and people in the entertainment industry seem to be more concerned with selling sex which gives young audiences a fabricated perception of adulthood. This occurs more frequently in the music industry through music videos. More and more teenagers have easy access to the Internet (YouTube, Vevo etc) and watch cable channels like MTV, BET, Channel O and VH1 amongst other music channels which means that teenagers spend most of their time listening to music and watching music videos. In many music videos, artists highlight the joys of engaging in intercourse but they do not indicate the responsibilities that come with such acts or the dangers of having unsafe sex. Music videos rarely show self-denial/abstinence or the use of condoms when people have intercourse. They do not warn teens about the risk of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS. Music videos seem to suggest that it is okay to act on impulse and not think before you act, that is, one has to satisfy his/her immediate sexual needs. The coming together of two (or more) bodies are utilised to express emotions. Movies as well as commercials also operate in the same way. It has been shown that when young people see these acts and are made to assume that there are no consequences in engaging in coitus without protection, they are more likely to engage in unprotected sex. Just for clarity, an artist does not have to be with someone else to be seen as depicting sexual acts.

Moreover, the impact lyrics can have should also not be underestimated. More research about how teenagers interpret pop song lyrics should be conducted. Isn’t it worrying that more and more pop artists are overtly singing about the fun of having coitus? Take Rihanna’s Talk That Talk album for instance, try counting the times she sings about having intercourse; you’ll run out of fingers before you run out of time! With more than 13 million followers on Twitter (majority being youngsters), it goes to show how many people actually listen to Rihanna, not counting the ones not following her on Twitter but still listening to her music nonetheless. It’s not only Rihanna, there are plenty of artists who sing about sex, sex and more sex; remember Britney Spears’ If You Seek Amy?

Rihanna’s We Found Love in a Hopeless Place, Lady Gaga’s You and I, Ciara’s Ride It (barred from BET for being too racy), LMFAO’s I’m Sexy and I Know It and Kelly Rowland’s Motivation (the list is endless) are good examples of music videos in which sex is insinuated or explicitly showed. Our very own South African music video which caused some outrage amongst some members of society is Arthur Mafokate’s Sika Lekhekhe, meaning “Slice the Cake”. The music video had no cake but female dancers doing a certain “sexually suggestive” routine when the Sika Lekhekhe line was repeated over and over again. The society thought the song implied “to have sex” based on the lyrics and the dance routines (the fact that some shoots were taken in the bedroom just added more salt to the wound). These artists’ performances are so lewd; it even seems like the raunchier you are in your performances, the better you are! So South African artists are imitating these global icons, for instance singers like Chomee, Kelly Khumalo and so on.

Fragrance commercials are also loaded with erotic hints such as Dolce and Gabbana’s adverts and Beyoncé’s Heat fragrance advert (banned in 2010 from appearing on television before 19h30 as it was viewed to be “too sexually provocative” by the Advertising Standards Authority).  It is also very rare that soapies such as The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of Our Lives, Generations and Isidingo, amongst others, emphasise the importance of safe sex. Even series and sitcoms such as The Vampire Diaries and How I Met Your Mother hardly problematize coitus and its consequences when characters engage in such behaviour. To name movies that are blameworthy of these allegations would be a wearisome endeavour as there are literally thousands of movies that are guilty of depicting sex as a hugely satisfactory and enjoyable act with no penalties whatsoever.

Oh well, I guess what’s written here is an opinion piece (my opinion). What do you think? Should the older generation be worried about the impact the entertainment industry has on the their children (the younger generation) or is there no need to worry about “coitus” being “everywhere” as individuals are aware of this and are thus not easily influenced by it? Or do you think the saying “sex is everywhere” is just an exaggerated statement.

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