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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Fashion It-Girls.

In case you haven't heard, New York socialite and fashionista of her generation, Olivia Palermo, married her long-time boyfriend over the weekend. Palermo is put on a pedestal when it comes to fashion inspiration - she has countless blogs charting her everyday outfits and is always the one to watch at big events. So naturally we all were waiting with baited breath to see what gown she would choose. She didn't disappoint... but she did surprise us. Instead of opting for the traditional dress, Palermo donned a white jumper, shorts, and a maxi skirt over the top. Perhaps her blue Manolo Blahnik heels were a nod to the fictional NYC fashion heroine, Carrie Bradshaw. I admire the fact that she knew the world was watching and did the complete opposite of what was expected.
Olivia Palermo has been on the fashion radar for as long as I can remember. But what really put her on the map, and introduced her to a new kind of audience, was her stint as the classic 'office bitch' on MTV 's 'The City' - a spin-off of 'The Hills' without the same success (it was cancelled after only two seasons). The show followed Whitney Port's move to New York and her trials and tribulations in her professional and personal life. Port had to decide which social group she wanted to become a part of: Palermo's wealthy socialite circle or her Aussie boyfriend's faux-indie underground vibe. Safe to say the latter won. Even though viewers of reality shows are normally aware of it's artificial nature, Palermo was presented in an extremely negative light. She was the wealthy Upper East Side girl who was set on sabotaging Whitney and didn't appear to work for all her success. Whether or not this is actually true, Palermo did not benefit from this exposure - people recognised her name but who wants to be known as an unlikeable reality TV star? What's interesting about Palermo, however, is that she has been able to salvage her reputation by continuing to dress impeccably. She is spotted in all the right places wearing all the right things. Despite her little MTV blip, Palermo is at the height of her fashion popularity. She's achieved the Kate Middleton status in the US. We were all curious about her choice of gown and her High Street fashion picks also fly off shelves - she's America's equivalent to a fashion princess.
When it comes to fashion's 'it' girl, we don't seem to really care about who they are personally. Almost like a 'fashion-with-benefits' relationship - we enjoy all the perks of their closets without the commitment and feelings. Unlike the other celebrities that dominate the covers of female-targeted magazines, we don't seem all that interested in the details of 'it' girl's private lives. When Palermo announced her engagement, all the public wanted to see was her choice of dress - she understands that we don't need the details of her relationship nor do I suspect that she wants to offer them. Other celebrities offer their personal lives on a silver platter for public consumption. Think about every interview you've ever read with a female singer, actress, or other public figure - it's very rare that they only ever speak about their professional lives. These women are no longer simply defined by their work, they also have to be accepted and liked by the public. They become brands rather than people. Fashion 'it' girls, however, remain mysterious and cool. Although the press delve hard into Alexa Chung's personal business, she's never interacted much with them in this sense. Personally, I'm more interested in her incredible wardrobe than her potential relationship with Chris Martin. Undeniably, Chung's style status has turned her image into a brand, but she's somehow managed to protect her personal life in the process. As has Olivia Palermo - her website remains religiously focussed on fashion thus further securing her position as one of the most stylish NYC socialites.
Fashion 'it' girls such as Palermo, Chung, the Olsens, Suki Waterhouse, Leandre Medine and many many more maintain incredible status in today's industry. It could be argued that they are reduced to mannequins in the way they are presented in the media. However, although they don't reveal much of their personal lives to the public, their characters underline their every outfit. After all, fashion can be used to reflect our personalities and natural flair. In which case, it becomes impossible to separate the two. Personally, I admire these women and that's not just because they're splashed all over magazines and the blogosphere. I find myself inspired by their style... and isn't that what lies behind their success? Emulating an 'it' girl in your outfit isn't hero-worshipping. If anything it's a positive step towards finding your own style. To becoming your own personal 'it' girl.

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