Anna Dello Russo x H&M

The collaboration between Anna Dello Russo and H&M is no news to anyone. The news here are the video teaser released last week.

In the video, Dello Russo – professional fashionista, street style bloggers’ sweet-child and editor-at-large for Vogue Japan – dances and sings to her own record track “Fashion Shower”, released last May.
In the song she shares some pearls of wisdom and her own fashion rules or advices. And they none other than:
Lesson #1: Fashion is a declaration of your own freedom
Lesson # 2: Between style and fashion? Absolutely fashion.
Lesson # 3: Fashion is always uncomfortable, if you feel comfortable, you never get the look.
Lesson # 4: Fabulous at every age.
Lesson #5: Wearing night clothes in the daytime is unexpected.
Lesson #6: Somebody wearing your same outfit? Wonderful, you did the right choice.
Lesson #7: You must wear outfit once.
Lesson #8: Wear coat as a dress.
Lesson #9: It doesn’t matter the size of your body, fashion flatter everything.
Lesson #10: Fashion jewels personalize your style.She also proclaims herself as the “guardian of fashion” and states “Fashion is my alphabet”. If you are still not on the same page as Anna, the solution is simple – “You need a fashion shower”.

Although I agree with her on some points, others just seem totally ridiculous. As I watched the video, I couldn’t help to feel a little shocked and almost embarrassed — although I have to say, it seems like she’s having fun.
Just as a fait divers: advice number 2 goes in direct contradiction to Coco Chanel’s quote: “Fashion fades, only style remains the same”. Just some food for thought, would you rather listen to Coco Chanel or to Anna Dello Russo?

Like I said before, personalities such as Anna’s, only became famous because of street style blogs such as The Sartorialist, Garance Doré or Jak and Jil. In fact, she has mentioned in several interviews that she owes all her celebrity to street style bloggers, since before them she was just another fashion stylist.


This made me think about the current state of the fashion blogosphere, and particularly of street style blogs. I have been reading street style blogs for about seven years now and started reading blogs like The Sartorialist and Garance Doré long before they were high-profile personalities in the fashion industry.

So, why did I become interested in street style blogs in the first place? Because they gave me a sense of reality. I could relate to the people portrayed, that is, it could me or a friend, or someone I know, instead of a 1,80m, size 0, 16 years old Russian model in a Vogue fashion editorial. (There is a big difference between me and that Russian model, I can guarantee you.)


But, as street style blogs became more and more popular, so did people become more eager to be portrayed, and as a consequence, their looks became more and more extravagant. Soon, we started hearing about people who dressed up to wait outside fashion shows, just so they could be photographed for some fashion blog.

In some cases, the clothes photographed are not compatible with simple activities like going to work, catching the bus or going to the supermarket. I mean, you can wear them, but it will be a lot more difficult to perform the aforementioned tasks.

Initially, I too found women like Anna Dello Russo inspiring, in the sense that they are fearless, extravagant and have such an eccentric taste. However, in recent times I am becoming very bored and fed up with the proportion things are taking. I am sorry Anna, but in the real world, it is not possible to abide to lesson #7. There is nothing wrong with repeating an outfit as many times as you want, and there is nothing wrong in wearing jeans and t-shirts… everyday.

I am afraid that as amazing and inspiring the looks and fashion choices of ladies like Anna Dello Russo or Daphne Guiness, they are not possible to reproduce in real life. That is, I don’t think they work, at least not like common people. This idea of wearing extravagant, unpractical clothes as a way to express a message about your wealth or social status relates directly to Thorstein Veblen’s “Theory of the Leisure Class”. Veblen, a 19th century sociologist introduced the concept of “conspicuous consumption” and believed that fashion and clothing were often used as evidence of the wearer’s wealth. Thus, “Elaborately elegant, neat, spotless garments imply leisure. The less practical and functional a garment is, the more it is a symbol of high class.” (Kawamura, Fashion-ology: an introduction to fashion studies 2005). In conclusion, the clothes and fashion principles listed by Anna Dello Russo in the video are in most cases, impossible to live by.

Plus, the idea of promoting uncomfortness (vide lesson #3) as a principle to fashion design just seems to go in direct contradiction to what design should be and doesn’t seem very healthy.

In the video, Anna also states that “Nothing succeeds like excess.”. Again, in a time where everyone is so concerned with sustainability, conscious consumption, and the economy is so shaky, engaging in conspicuous consumption just seem out of reach for 99% of the population, not to mention a little unethical.

I question what H&M thinks of Dello Russo’s fashion lessons and if they want to associate themselves to those principles. Or maybe, as a fast fashion brand, they want exactly to give their customers this sense of exclusivity, haute couture and luxury.

The truth is, I am growing tired of this moment in street style and fashion blogs, blogs that reduce their content to posts like “What I wore today”, “Look du jour”, “My recently bought items”, etc. I believe the fashion blogosphere in general is reaching a tipping poin and those real people Scott Schumann photographs are to me more inspiring than fashion people in general.

In any case, if you are still interested in Anna Dello Russo’s collection for H&M, it will hit the stores on October 4.

** Photos from Refinery29.com and The Sartorialist.com

UPDATE: Some interesting articles I found on Fashionista.com related to the subject: one that speaks about the loss of authenticity in the street style blogs and another one about the unattainableness of street style looks for common women.

by Silvia

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