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Vogue's newly installed international editor, Suzy Menkes, has some pretty clear opinions about fashion and the internet. In a recent interview with Style.com's EIC Dirk Standen, Menkes gave her two cents about everything from malicious online commenters to the rise of fast fashion.
"You know, I do appreciate that a lot of people are using a tremendously loud voice—mean comments—in order to get noticed," Menkes told Standen. "It's one thing when you're working for Condé Nast and quite another when you're a blogger at home trying just to get out there, so I sort of understand why it's done."
She too used to envy those million-dollar bloggers just like everybody else. "At the beginning, I rather envied a lot of the bloggers who I felt had such fantastic freedom which nobody else who's been in the business for a while can possibly have," Menkes said. "[...] They're flown in from wherever and put in the front row and I won't say "bought," although considering that a lot of them were boasting about how many things they've been sent…"
Although she was a little salty towards some of their methods, she remained staunchly for them in the end. Taking the moment to set the record straight, she told Standen that she was never against bloggers, even after her piece on the tiring circus of fashion was published. They just (maybe) take the focus off of the core of what the fashion industry is all about.
Suzy Menkes covering the Louis Vuitton F/W14 menswear show alongside Will Smith.
In her view, "the idea that everybody has the right to make a judgment and also that everybody has a right to parade around in their clothes in order to be photographed sort of has moved fashion away from being something where the focus was on the few who were tremendously interested and involved in fashion or had tremendous personal style to the great, big world of the Internet."
A better solution is to find a happy medium where these bloggers and fashion critics can coexist peacefully in the front row. "If you invite a celebrity to sit and show their legs off and their latest suit and frockette in the front row, my suspicion would be that they're not going to say anything even faintly critical, which is great for the designer," said Menkes. " [...] I would have thought you'd like a bit of both—the celebrity wearing the dress and looking fabulous, and at the same time somebody making a measured judgment on how your work is developing."
Suzy Menkes backstage with Marc Jacobs after the F/W14 show.
When it comes to New York designers, she's a little bored by the current selection. "I'd like to see a little bit more daring, a little bit more shock waves going through me," Menkes told Standen. "[...] And you know, in a way designers need to be wild and full of crazy, manic energy, and then they start to be tamed. If they start off tame, I'm not sure whether that's quite as strong."
But that's mild compared to her thoughts on the rise of fast fashion. "I think fashion is far, far too cheap. I am disgusted about people running in to buy dresses that cost the same as a cappuccino and a croissant," said Menkes. "People have got into a state of mind that the cheaper it is, the better it is, and they don't want to think beyond that."