Dress Up, Lie Low

Princess Letizia of Spain and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

Princess Letizia of Spain and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

Oh, the schizophrenia of following fashion and celebrity stories.

Why do I feel so smug and indulgent reading about Princess Letizia’s 1-0 fashion knock-out against Carla Sarkosy last week, but almost physically sick watching Lindsay Lohan being hounded over her breakup by the very press who then accuse her of becoming anorexically thin?

There’s no totally justifiable answer. Somewhere, there’s a thin line between what’s appropriate and what’s prurient, and the papers and weekly magazines stray over it several times a day. I try and play hopscotch along the line and trip myself up endlessly.

It is, I know, wrong of me to be fascinated by Jennifer Aniston’s love life, for example. I can’t help it, because, like every right-thinking female, (including her best friends, according to ‘sources’) I want to grab her perfectly toned shoulders and shout “He’s a self-confessed cad, you silly girl. Of course he’s going to dump you on Twitter and write a song about it.”

We’ve all had friends like that, known men like that. Reading about her is like having a large glass of chardonnay with a bunch of girlfriends from school and righting the moral universe.

Similarly with Brad and Ange. Not my business, I absolutely agree, but nevertheless a part of me wants to sit down with that girl and tell her to stop dieting, take a few months off, de-stress and focus on her family. Do I know for a fact that she is dieting? Or that this is causing her stress? Or that the family needs more of her focus? Not at all, but ‘sources close to the family’ suggest it does. And while I’m flipping between Jennifer’s love life and the Top 10 Floral Summer Dresses, I can’t help skim-reading the main points and coming up with a theory. But would I be happier if the people they paid to work for them, or trusted in other ways, didn’t blab to the media and I didn’t have these stories to read? Yes, I would. Much.

I don’t buy the magazines for this reason. In fact, when they go too far (which, let’s face it, has to be way too far in this day and age), I deliberately don’t buy them at all and have to forego knowing what this week’s top 10 summer dresses are.

I don’t buy them when they feature super-thin Li-Lo on the cover, looking harrassed and hounded, and speculate about how she’s coping since her break-up. I can imagine how she’s coping. We’ve all been there. It doesn’t take ‘sources’ to speculate on that one. And we all wanted to be left well alone when we were there. Not photographed and asked for a sound-bite by some cable channel that will run with it as a headline story for the next five days. What schoolchild sits in class thinking ‘One day, I’m going to make my fortune out of upsetting famous strangers and driving them to prescription drug dependency’?

But oh, boy do I buy the magazines when they feature the matching, couture-clad bottoms of Princess Letizia of Spain and Carla Bruni-Sarkosy, and indulge in a bitch-fest (with which I agree on every point) about who came out on top. Oh, the shoes. On the shoes alone, the Princess scored 150 and Carla was minus a zillion.

My justification is this. These girls dress up for a living. They were doing it at a state occasion, in this case, in which tax-payers’ money was probably involved. So sort-of indirectly, I paid. They expected to be photographed, and possibly even hoped for it. They are both fundamentally gorgeous (although we now know that Princess Letizia is more so, heh heh heh), and the worst we have to say about either is that one of them (not the Princess) chose inappropriate tights and sleeve length and heel height (oh, and dress colour and fit) and did her hair funny. Their meeting in Madrid was the fashion equivalent of the Hatton/Pacquiao boxing match in Vegas, and if nobody had commented on that, a lot of people in sport would have been deeply disappointed.

Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s a justification as far as it goes, but it can really be summed up as ‘nobody got hurt’. Not the world’s most noble argument, but it will have to do.

Were either of them to be door-stopped in the days that followed, and asked for their opinions by paparazzi hoping for a public display of tears, I would be appalled. I wouldn’t buy the magazine that paid for the photo. It’s easy to imagine Carla looking in shocked horreur at the pictures of herself in Paris Match. I don’t need a re-run of it on E! channel.

Meanwhile, somebody wore sky-high pink platforms to go with her raspberry pink bandage dress and somebody wore black kitten-heel Louboutins, to underscore the monotony of her too-tight Dior. Pass me a glass of chardonnay, girls. I need to see those pictures of Jennifer Aniston and the Oscars again so I can re-run my mental ‘Stay Away From Him’ conversation and imagine she was listening.

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