Saturday, February 28, 2009

Is Love's Beth cover a Ditto of NME's? No



A couple of Arcatistes have drawn my attention to the claim that Love's recent debut Beth Ditto cover is a rip-off of NME's Ditto cover in 2007 (left). I think not.

Whereas NME's is done in vulgar readers' wives style, with the clear intention to fetishise Ditto's voluptuous curves for the purpose of male self-pleasuring (consider the magazine's core readership), Love's is an asexual aestheticising of her form (given that the title is high fashion/art, gay, guest cunt-cock-cocking [ie straight female gay friendly]).

NME has stained Ditto's body with a tan hue: a visual trope of soft porn imagery. Red coverlines subliminally comfort the viewer in a tabloid red-top ambience while the red kiss lips mark on her buttock cheek is both playful and defiant, a common attitude struck by glamour models: a fake frisson is enticing to those who require the simulacrum of will in a sex doll. Ditto bears a Victorian-style come-hither countenance, her lips parted for the fantasy possibility of a reader blow-job, her hair bottled brunette because blonde would not work against the yellowy-gold background, redolent of the sun/Sun - however, given the model's colouring, brunette is most unsuitable here which is paradoxical perfection: colour clash reassures she's human, lower class, not quite with alienating perfecting. At its most extreme this cover is a poster for the taste that finds expression in the movie Feed.

Love's cover is more suggestive of classless exclusion: you are invited merely to admire the thing on the canvas, not to auto-eroticise, not to take part. The light-bleaching of Ditto's body transmutes flesh to stone (white marble?), the deep purple of closed lips hints at sexual unavailability if not death in its advance stage. Ditto's eyes are closed; she is lost in her own world (or dead again?); the viewer's role in this exhibition is to stand back in awed respect, as an aspirant window shopper with nose pressed against Harvey Nicks glass. Fat folds are light minimised, one is not encouraged to be prurient: the red copper hair exists only for one purpose: to set off for complementary effect the mint green background. The squiggly cover-choral-lines both artfully accentuate Ditto's natural curves and script editorial unorthodoxy and personalisation. Ditto's pink, ruched fig-leaf connotes a stylish and witty portcullis to further inquiry.

On other matters, an Arcatiste has kindly referred me to the website of Terry Richardson - the Love photographer whom I described as "off my radar". I now realise why - this is his mother ...

Terry's website

17 comments:

Clair said...

Whatever, it's all balls. No NME reader is going to wank themselves stupid over Ditto, and no fashion house seen in Love makes clothes to fit even half of her form.

Token Very Fat Birdism.

Madame Arcati said...

I'd never underestimate the menu list for male wankery. As for fashion, we know from haute couture that physical inability to wear the latest designs is no bar to catwalk fantasy. What matters is the latest thing, and if fatness is the latest thing to be undemonised (ie paraded for the making of money) so be it.

Clair said...

Yup, and I suppose if your 20-stone form won't fit a frock, you can buy the shoes/scent/sunglasses instead. And the fashionistas will still laugh at you.

Madame Arcati said...

You know, the UK Vogue editor is not exactly of the Kate Moss template. Most fashion editors are basically freaky looking, raddled and drink too much - I may do a special pic gallery of them. In the case of Liz Smith, who used to edit UK Marie Claire, we're talking about a borderline psychiatric case. Meanwhile the Lagerfelds and their ilk design clothes for magazine fashion pages, not actuality, and for a few hundred rich cows who bankroll haute couture - the high street stores pinch the ideas and convert them into clothes for all shapes and sizes. As for being laughed at, you don't have to be fat - just ask Donatella Versace. I think the Love Ditto cover proves a point - anyone can be made the subject of fashion.

forgotten ones fund/stephmastini said...

When I was in Maui the Sharaton lobby was adorned with humongous Botero statues..When I saw these mag covers, I was inclined to think that Botero might have had a hand in their vision..as a graphic artist I am very enchanted by the use of color and the celebration of the beauty of the true Renaissance art era..A revival of sorts..good for them!
steph!

The late Dr Mengele said...

Those unfamilar with the demonic Arcati may not realise she's being satirical. She does these things once in a while to harden her tits.

forgotten ones fund/stephmastini said...

I do agree that Love's cover is much more tasteful and should have included that in my blog..I am just happy to see models that are not anorexic...
steph~

Anonymous said...

Pretty analysis aside, the question you should ask yourself is whether Love would have done naked Ditto if NME hadn't already. Of course it wouldn't have.

forgotten ones fund/stephmastini said...

why not...? do you have some inside information?..that's quite a blanket statement with no validity...Art has been imitated in many forms throughout history..could have been that the editors wanted to create some shock value...any art that travels outside "safe" borders is showing that they are not afraid to express themselves..and that is what art is about..
personal expression...
s!

lavinia said...

I'm sorry but obesity is a major health problem in the west. Social acceptance for these sacks of porridge does not help!

forgotten ones fund/stephmastini said...

...what does that have to do with an artist's perception of who they choose to use for their subject material? There are many very healthy "over-weight" women...they don't drink or do drugs..look at some of our role models for tweens (Amy Winehouse!)...most of them are in need of a bit of "porridge"...a perfect example of media and bloggers such as yourself, was when Jessica Simpson was bombarded with negative remarks about her size...she looked great and felt wonderful..so she likes to eat!..I feel that is much healthier both mentally and physically than starving oneself...I happen to be very petite and find it hard to put on the pounds...and I love food and life..these women are usually very happy..so, what? You could get on a plane tomorrow and crash...bottom line..enjoy your life...and the hell with others think about you...
steph!

Anonymous said...

"A fake frisson is enticing to those who require the simulacrum of will in a sex doll."

That's very good Madame, and I like your examinations of the two covers. You should do more of this, reviewing magazines and the like.

Anonymous said...

MA: “…NME's is done in vulgar readers' wives style, with the clear intention to fetishise Ditto's voluptuous curves…”

Me: Yes, darling MA. That was exactly my first impression when I saw the two covers side to side. Another thing that really bothered me was that John Brown exec. creative director’s comment: “Ditto had her moment a couple of years ago and, given the NME did it already…”

HAD her moment? (can’t wait to call her has been?) and NME did w h a t already? (Portray a personality naked? – what’s that about?) Is it just me that reads he is saying “enough with the fat woman that knows she is fat and she still loves herself, we get it”?

I have been fat in the past (hell, I’ve been obese) and I’m not going to duel on how fat people feel about themselves in terms of aesthetics, health and stamina. I think it is pretty obvious that those fools that tell themselves and others that they are gorgeous anyway are a deluded minority that has taken that road out of frustration over their inability to change their situation, but to say that appreciating an image like the Love cover encourages social acceptance (ooh Lavinia, – that is cold!) is a bit much. I don’t have any friend that will run, buy the magazine, show it to their friends and state: at last, justice! Now we roly-polies will be appreciated for the beauties we are. The Love cover is feminine, beautiful and artistic.

On the other hand I was pleased that Vince Frost, in defending the design happens to mention Demi Moore, because without coming out and saying it, he draw attention to the fact that NME’s design is actually nothing more than another tasteless rip-off of that Vanity Fair cover with pregnant Moore 18 years ago
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/26/Vanity_Fair_August_1991.JPG
now, who’s lacking originality?

Lastly:
MA: “the Love Ditto cover proves a point - anyone can be made the subject of fashion”

Me: couldn’t agree more. You put both images side to side and you can fairly say that one can take exactly the same subject and make it either trashy or classy.

Madame Arcati said...

Thank you for all this, I wouldn't expect much in the way of evolution from a John Brown exec.

As for you Lavinia - shame! How's Val? He must have signed on by now or has he a fat pension from Luxembourg?

Danny Boil said...

Is that hag at the bottom for real? She's brilliant. Wes Craven should hire immediately for one of his horror reboots. Yeah, baby.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully writen.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Val, I failed to point out LOVE launched in February and putti are supposed to be always male (hence MA’s initial analysis of the sexual ambiguity of the whole concept). Who knows, maybe trying to say love is universal and above gender… or something.

I’m thinking that, regardless of MA’s perception of Coleridge, he tried to defend his staff’s vision without stooping down to the detractors with a “don’t you get it”? You know that artists hate to tell you: heck, if I have to explain it, I’m not doing it right… and they have no other choice than to bite their lip and hope that people will catch up with their expression. Does cupid always have to appear like a little cherub with wings, a bow & arrow for people to recognize him?