This is a pretty revealing book about the fashion world... is there anything in particular that shocked you?
What shocked me was how dirty the models are. They are young girls living out of suitcases, travelling all over the world, they stay out late, get up early and when the arrive at a shoot everything is done for them, so they don't wash perhaps as much as they should or might otherwise. The worst story I found was how they pass on itches, scratches and lice onto each other when sharing couture dresses. The same dress goes from girl, to girl, to girl to be photographed, as do the lice.
Is there anything that didn't shock you... something you had a preconceived notion about and it was absolutely true?
The thing that shocked me the least was the cocaine. I always knew there were a lot of drugs in the fashion industry and it was true. It was the least interesting thing that I found.
Do you think there is any other business that is as cut-throat as the fashion industry?
I am sure the music industry is pretty similar, all the same factors are in place. Lots of people want to be a part of it -- there is a lot of money to be made at the top but very little on the way up.
You seem to be on a role with exposes, with your other book Hotel Babylon doing so well and you used anonymous sources in both. What's the appeal for you as a writer to do these kinds of books?
I enjoy being taken into a world that I think I know a bit about and having my prejudices shattered. It's also exciting to learn something new and be privy to some very good gossip.
Was the anonymous source willing to participate, or did you have coax them?
Fashion was difficult to research because it is such a large subject. There was more than one anonymous source and as a result it was very difficult to pin all the people down. I spent a lot of time backstage waiting for my moment. I propped up in a lot of bars and a lot of nightclubs and restaurants. In terms of coaxing, I always found a glass of champagne or vodka, lime and soda were very useful.
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Fashion Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones Copyright (c) 2007 by Imogen Edwards-Jones. What do you think about the fashion industry? Chat with other ELLE Canada readers in our forums!
If you had to describe on trait you must have to be in the fashion world, what would it be?
Passion -- Otherwise you wouldn't be able to cope with the long hours and terrible pay.
Is the fashion industry someplace where you can see yourself working and being successful?
God no! Why? I am not interested enough in skirts and I refer you to the above question!
What was the biggest perk about writing an expose on the fashion industry?
I went to the shows and got the goodie bags!
Can you weigh in on the recent debates about skinny models and lack of ethnicity?
The fashion industry is just that, and industry, and they are only providing what the customer wants. If we don't want our models to be too thin and mainly white then we should stop buying the clothes or change the brand of stuff we buy. If larger girls sold clothes than the designers would certainly use them. Fashion is also cynical, super skinny is a passing fad much like the heroin chick was about ten years ago. We will soon get bored of looking at ribs and sexier, more shapely girls will come back into fashion.
Can you give thoughts on the hype of celebrities these days? Do you think the fashion industry plays a part in determining who is "hot" and who isn't?
I think a celebrity's choice in fashion can determine whether they are hot or not. If they get it consistently wrong or blow it at the Oscars they can find themselves slipping down the cool stakes.
Describe your sense of style.
Umm, just woken up, harassed mother of one?
What is your idea of beauty? Style?
Relaxed elegance. Anyone who looks like they have thrown something on and just happens to look fabulous. I am much in favour of "what, this old thing?" look than the try-hard stiffness of say, Victoria Beckham.
Do you have a favourite designer?
Alexander McQueen -- because his clothes are so well tailored they take ten pounds off you.
If there was one fashion item you could not live without, what would it be? One beauty product you couldn't live without?
My LBD. It's a black wool Diane Von Furstenberg and the most useful thing that I have ever owned. For beauty -- Clarins face cream -- I don't feel like I have woken up until I have shoved it on!
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Fashion Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones Copyright (c) 2007 by Imogen Edwards-Jones.