The Sunday Times column: Fashion has finally embraced equality – what a terrible look!


Luckily, I have never harboured a desire to be a model. So while other girls cried about spots and pinched their hips for fat, I spent my teenage years happily munching chocolate digestives, smug in the knowledge that none of my dreams depended on how I looked. Quite the opposite. If anything, my heroes — Bukowski, Basquiat, David Foster Wallace, Courtney Love — took pride in looking bad.

Perhaps I had such unsuperficial aspirations because I grew-up in the supermodel-obsessed 1990s, when fashion was dominated by Kate, Naomi, Christy, Claudia, Cindy et al. Their beauty was so unattainable, it was obvious that I would never belong among them. So I could admire them — leggy, glossy, ethereal, marching down catwalks — and celebrate their hotness without ever worrying that I had to emulate them.

But fashion finally seems open to everyone, dammit! Its wardrobe doors, which once only skinny white teenagers squeezed through, have swung open. Fashion has become inclusive. Watch out! The nightmare has begun. Its latest mantra, “not supermodels but role models”, means it’s coming for all of us.

Catwalks claim to champion difference: celebrating women of colour, curves and age. So Rick Owens put stomping black women in his collection; Jean Paul Gaultier made a catwalk star of the plus-size model Crystal Renn, and now the 80-year-old writer Joan Didion is the face of Celine.

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