Monday, 18 October 2021

The Cruel Paradox of Linda Evangelista’s Fate


For those who remember her feline stare as she stalked the runways of the 1990s, Linda Evangelista epitomized the era’s omnivorous glamour.Credit...Thierry Orban/Sygma, via Getty Images


The Cruel Paradox of Linda Evangelista’s Fate


A world obsessed with women’s hyper-visibility can dispatch them so swiftly to invisibility.


By Rhonda Garelick

Oct. 16, 2021, 5:00 a.m. ET


Earlier this month, the former supermodel Linda Evangelista took to Instagram to announce that she was suing the company behind the cosmetic procedure known as CoolSculpting for tens of millions of dollars because, she said, she had been “brutally disfigured.”


Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit against Zeltiq Aesthetics, it’s hard not to feel sympathy for Ms. Evangelista in the midst of her saga. While there are known risks associated with all cosmetic procedures, and Ms. Evangelista must still prove her case, no one deserves to enter a doctor’s office seeking treatment, only to emerge disfigured.


There is a mythic component to the sobering and revealing mirror her circumstances now hold up to our culture. Ms. Evangelista’s story invites us to consider it in a broader context.


For those who remember her feline stare as she stalked the runways of the 1990s, Linda Evangelista epitomized the era’s omnivorous glamour. Like the other top models of that time, she was tall and lithe, but it was her astonishing face that made her fortune. At the height of her career she notoriously claimed she wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000.


Hers was a ferocious beauty: dark, intense blue eyes tilting cattishly upward at the corners, brows arching dramatically like Sophia Loren’s, the perfectly carved mouth of a classical statue and an arresting nose no plastic surgeon could ever approximate. It was a photographer’s dream — a hypnotizing play of light, bone and angles.


That a mere mortal was tasked with reshaping her, trying, that is, to wrest the chisel away from the hand of Nature herself, makes for Greek levels of tragedy.


CoolSculpting, which promises to freeze away fat cells without surgery or pain, has been around for years, with ads on television, social media and in many dermatologists’ offices. My own dermatologist has one of the big white machines in her office and has suggested the pricey treatments to me as a quick way to slim midriff or bra-line areas for swimsuit season. I resisted out of a combination of frugality (it costs thousands) and mild suspicion. But I am a mere civilian, a bystander on the sidelines of beauty warfare. Linda is a warrior-goddess.


And so, like Athena, into battle she went — the battle, that is, waged incessantly against age, and flesh, and “bulges,” and any other perceived deviation from bodily perfection. For women’s bodies, that is. And who can blame her? Though 56, Ms. Evangelista apparently still had modeling options, an exceptional longevity shared by only a few of her age peers. (Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Kate Moss and Amber Valletta still find work.)


But CoolSculpting, according to the lawsuit, left Ms. Evangelista with the purportedly rare side effect known as paradoxical adipose hyperplasia (PAH). The “paradox” of this term refers to the fact that, instead of shrinking away, the fat cells actually rebound and accumulate, causing fatty deposits to multiply and swell in the treated areas. According to Ms. Evangelista, the many areas she had treated between 2015 and 2016 — chin, thighs, abdomen, flanks — now appear heavier than before.


Even stranger, this new fat results from the treatment itself, not from any weight gain. Weight loss, therefore, cannot help or reverse it. Even full-body liposuction (which Ms. Evangelista said she tried) did not fix the issue. According to her lawsuit, this has deprived her of her livelihood and plunged her into deep depression and self-loathing, leading her to become a recluse.


Her body has done the precise opposite of what it was supposed, or expected, to do — on several levels. On the most obvious one, it has resisted the “sculpting,” the lawsuit says, and apparently grown less shapely. But on a deeper level, her body seems to have resisted something else: It somehow refused to conceal the trauma inflicted upon it.


Let’s face it, however “mild” or “noninvasive” a treatment like CoolSculpting claims to be, the concept of freezing your fat cells to death with a giant machine suggests a certain, inherent violence at work. And while it is reputed to be painless and require no downtime, anecdotes online from former patients are starting to pile up, detailing side effects such as severe pain and reduced mobility, lasting for weeks.


A spokeswoman for Zeltiq’s parent company, Allergan, declined to comment for this article, on either the lawsuit or the reports from former patients of the procedure’s side effects.


Many people might find those reported side effects unsurprising. How could anything powerful enough to blast away your very flesh not also inflict some other, attendant damage? How could there not be hidden consequences (even if Ms. Evangelista’s situation is more rare)? Why had we not heard tell of any of this before?


The answer lies in how much our society invests in disappearing the violence of beauty culture. We gloss over the possible side effects, pain and distortions of cosmetic surgery. Despite talk of body positivity and diversity, we still do little to address our national obsession with thinness and dieting, with youth, with polishing our human skin to the smoothness of glass.


Five minutes at Sephora is all you need to grasp the ever-multiplying categories of things we can do to “improve” our bodies. There is no part too small to be monitored, controlled, embellished, augmented or removed entirely, from eyelashes (extend) to lips (inflate) to body hair (eliminate) to pores (reduce) to eyebrows (reduce, but also enhance) and so on, through nails, hair, teeth, ad infinitum.


Some of this body modification is, I admit, fun and interesting, and I do not claim to live apart from my own society: I both enjoy and feel obliged to practice certain beauty rituals, which have changed over time, as I age. It’s simply impossible not to internalize some part of these overpowering demands.


But this is precisely why Ms. Evangelista’s lawsuit is so startling and important: It actually reveals the processes we are meant to disappear or disavow. Not only did this mishap force her to acknowledge that, yes, a woman in her 50s would need “help” to appear as slim as a fashion model of 25, it also spectacularly demonstrated, even performed, the internalization of artificial beauty culture.


The “paradoxical” fat deposits she cites in her suit are not the crucial paradox here. The real paradox is middle-aged women expected to look 30 years younger than they are. The films and magazines filled with impossibly smooth-skinned 50- and even 60-somethings, Pilatified and Botoxed and wearing hair extensions. They are living paradoxes yet presented without comment or explanation. The paradox is that a world obsessed with women’s hyper-visibility can dispatch them so swiftly to invisibility, to exile, should they fail to adhere to certain diktats.


And then there’s this detail, again worthy of Greek myth: According to Ms. Evangelista’s lawsuit, and to other people who have suffered the side effect of PAH, those stubborn fat deposits that balloon beneath their skin do not look like normal flesh. Instead, they resemble longish, solid rectangular bars — which in fact, reproduce perfectly the shape of the hand-held CoolSculpting wand, the device that is passed over the flesh to “freeze” the fat.


In other words, in cases of PAH, the body permanently takes on the precise contours of the tool used to reshape it. The body has literally, visually, internalized the weapon that deformed it and conformed to that weapon. In Ms. Evangelista’s case, she says her body created a permanent, visible record of what it — and she — were supposed to conceal.


Face Forward is a column about self-presentation, beauty standards and bodies.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Fashion Industry Warns Of Severe Skills Shortages Because Of "Brexit Talent Drain"


Fashion Industry Warns Of Severe Skills Shortages Because Of "Brexit Talent Drain"

Alain Tolhurst



The fashion industry has warned it faces severe talent shortages after a government advisory body rejected its plea to offer more visas to foreign workers


Last year the majority of manufacturers already had vacancies and were “concerned about a potential talent shortage with their predominantly European workforce seeking the security of work at factories on mainland Europe”, according to think tank Fashion Roundtable.


This week Tamara Cincik, the group’s founder and CEO, told PoliticsHome that a year later, businesses “have more vacancies than ever”, with work moving abroad and companies relocating from a sector worth billions to the UK economy.


A spokesperson for menswear brands owned by Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant told PoliticsHome that amid a widespread labour shortage, they are unable to get the right candidates with specialist training post-Brexit.


Last summer Fashion Roundtable applied to put garment workers and fashion creatives on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), fearing that an exodus of workers post-Brexit would leave gaps in the largest of the creative industries, worth £35billion a year, but it was rejected by the government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).


A government source said they wanted employers to “make long-term investments in the UK domestic workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad”.


Last week Boris Johnson suggested the current workforce issues, which have caused chaos in the supply chain for a number of sectors, were a necessary part of plans to reshape the economy in favour of high-skilled, high-wage jobs for British workers.


But in their submission to MAC the fashion industry body said while it welcomed the government’s new “T Level” vocational qualifications to train British workers, there would still be a huge shortfall in skilled labour during the time it would take any new applicants to train. Because the programme launched in September 2020, the first graduates will not have finished their courses until September 2022.


“Why were these not speeded up to be rolled out before we leave the EU?” Cincik asked.


"The loss of UK domicile workers is impacted by the last decade's STEM education agenda, leading to a loss in the knowledge throughout school of basic sewing skills – as important for garment workers as surgeons.”


In the meantime companies are already moving their businesses. “They urgently need quick and simple access to the EU market, otherwise many will look at relocation, indeed they already are”, Cincik explained.


“John Horner, head of Models 1, told me of a £1million commercial shoot which moved to Paris due to the red tape.


“Farfetch [the online luxury fashion retail platform] have announced their new HQ will relocate from Old Street to Portugal, taking 7,000 jobs, primarily in fashion tech, creative and digital, where the UK has again enjoyed a leading reputation.”


Fashion is one of a number of industries calling for help recruiting workers, which so far have been rebuffed by government – except in the case of HGV drivers, where an estimated shortfall of 100,000 hauliers is affecting everything from fuel availability to food stocks.


“You cannot argue for on-shoring, levelling up and higher wages, if you have golden handshakes for HGV drivers and not for other sectors,” Cincik added.


"Some garment workers are now becoming HGV drivers, meaning since the Brexit talent drain, they have more vacancies than ever.”


Fashion designer Patrick Grant, a judge on the hit BBC programme The Great British Sewing Bee, owns Savile Row tailors Norton and Sons and menswear brand ETautz, who are struggling to hire people with industry experience.


His firm told PoliticsHome for entry level jobs, and those without specialist training they have had dozens of applicants get in touch within days, but just a handful have applied for sewing machinist roles which have been open for 10 weeks or more.


Their head of HR said: “Finding people with industry specific skills is incredibly hard, even at good wage rates (our pay scale is £9.50 to 14.50/hr for production staff). The talent pool is far too small.


“Beyond that, of the people who do apply, possibly because they have to, the majority are not work-ready.


“Attendance is poor, their willingness to be told what to do is low, boredom threshold is low. There are exceptions of course.


“If we are to build a successful post-Brexit UK labour market schools and colleges need to dramatically rethink what they do for those people who are not going to end up in white-collar jobs.”


Adam Mansell, CEO of the UK Fashion & Textile Association, said labour shortages are having a significant impact in various sectors.


“Many manufacturers have seen orders come back at a much greater level than they had expected and are having problems recruiting skilled staff in an increasingly competitive environment,” he told PoliticsHome.


“However this skills shortage has been a long term issue in our industry, which requires structural change and education at school level to entice new talent into the sector.”


A Home Office spokesperson defended their decision not to add textile workers to its shortage of occupation list.


The spokesperson said: “The independent Migration Advisory Committee considered evidence from the fashion industry in its September 2020 review, but concluded there was not a strong enough case to recommend adding jobs to the shortage of occupation list.”

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Queen ‘irritated’ by world leaders talking not doing on climate crisis


The Queen

Queen ‘irritated’ by world leaders talking not doing on climate crisis


Overheard comment suggests anger at possible no-shows at Cop26 by leaders of countries with worst CO2 emissions


Nadeem Badshah

Thu 14 Oct 2021 23.55 BST


The Queen has criticised world leaders’ inaction on addressing the climate crisis, admitting she is “irritated” by individuals who “talk but don’t do”.


She made the remarks, which were picked up on a livestream, at the opening of the Welsh parliament in Cardiff on Thursday.


During a conversation with the Duchess of Cornwall and Elin Jones, the parliament’s presiding officer, the Queen referred to the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow starting on 31 October, which she is scheduled to attend along with other members of the royal family.


She said: “Extraordinary isn’t it. I’ve been hearing all about Cop ... still don’t know who is coming. No idea.


“We only know about people who are not coming ... It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do.”


Jones replied: “Exactly. It’s a time for doing ... and watching your grandson [Prince William] on the television this morning saying there’s no point going to space, we need to save the Earth.”


The Queen then smiled and said: “Yes, I read about it.”


Prince William had condemned billionaires such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos for pioneering space tourism instead of focusing on the environmental problems on Earth.


“We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”


The Duke of Cambridge also expressed his indignation at the inaction on tackling the climate crisis earlier this week and raised his concerns about the Cop26 climate conference.


He told the BBC: “I think for Cop to communicate very clearly and very honestly what the problems are and what the solutions are going to be is critical.


“We can’t have more clever speak, clever words but not enough action.”


Among the world leaders still not confirmed to attend the UN’s Cop26 conference are Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, Chinese president Xi Jinping, Russian leader Vladimir Putin, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, and Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro.


US president Joe Biden has confirmed that he will attend.


The Queen’s remarks mirror comments made by her son the Prince of Wales in an interview with the BBC earlier this week.


Prince Charles said he was worried that world leaders would “just talk” when they meet in Glasgow. “The problem is to get action on the ground,” he said.


The Prince of Wales also expressed surprise that Morrison had yet to confirm his attendance and believes that the summit in Glasgow is the “last chance saloon” for global action on the climate breakdown.


Prince William: Great minds should focus on saving Earth not space travel

Prince William criticises space race and tourism’s new frontier


Duke of Cambridge says world’s greatest minds need to focus on trying to fix the Earth instead


Prince William: great minds should focus on saving Earth not space travel – video

PA Media

Thu 14 Oct 2021 08.48 BST


The Duke of Cambridge has criticised the space race and space tourism, saying the world’s greatest minds need to focus on trying to fix the Earth instead.


Prince William’s comments, in an interview with Newscast on BBC Sounds, will be aired the day after William Shatner made history by becoming the oldest person in space.


The 90-year-old actor, known for his role as Captain James T Kirk in Star Trek, lifted off from the Texas desert on Wednesday in a rocket built by the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s space travel company Blue Origin.


The prince, who was interviewed about the climate crisis ahead of his inaugural Earthshot prize awards, said: “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”


'Most profound experience': William Shatner starstruck by encounter with space – video


'Most profound experience': William Shatner starstruck by encounter with space – video

He also warned the attendees of the Cop26 summit, where world leaders will gather in Glasgow at the end of the month, against “clever speak, clever words but not enough action”.


“I think for Cop to communicate very clearly and very honestly what the problems are and what the solutions are going to be, is critical,” he said. “We can’t have more clever speak, clever words but not enough action.”


William expressed his concerns about a rise in climate anxiety in young people, and said it would be an “absolute disaster” if his eldest son, Prince George, was having to talk about the same issue in 30 years when it would be too late.



“We are seeing a rise in climate anxiety. Young people now are growing up where their futures are basically threatened the whole time. It’s very unnerving and it’s very anxiety making,” he said.


He added that his father, the Prince of Wales, who is known for his longstanding commitment to green issues, had a “really rough ride” when he first started talking about the climate crisis.


William, who was interviewed by the Newscast presenter Adam Fleming, said his late grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh had started the royal interest in environmental issues.


He said of Charles: “It’s been a hard road for him. My grandfather started off helping out WWF a long time ago with its nature work and biodiversity, and I think that my father’s sort of progressed that on and talked about climate change a lot more, very early on, before anyone else thought it was a topic.


“So yes, he’s had a really rough ride on that, and I think he’s been proven to being well ahead of the curve. Well beyond his time in warning about some of these dangers.


“But it shouldn’t be that there’s a third generation now coming along having to ramp it up even more. And you know, for me, it would be an absolute disaster if George is sat here talking to you or your successor, Adam, you know in like 30 years’ time, whatever, still saying the same thing, because by then we will be too late.”


He added that his viewpoint had changed since he had children: “I want the things that I’ve enjoyed – the outdoor life, nature, the environment – I want that to be there for my children, and not just my children but everyone else’s children.


“If we’re not careful we’re robbing from our children’s future through what we do now. And I think that’s not fair.”


William discussed his Earthshot prize, saying it was about trying to create action.