I may be alone here, but the whole Emma-Watson-as-a-fashion-icon thing is making me very upset.
Emma in the Burberry ads: older than her years, thinner than she has any right to be – it’s all about the raincoat and nothing about the girl.
Emma on the cover of Elle: more provocative than one ever wanted Hermione to be, not half as attractive as she is in any of the films or publicity shots, and dressed in an outfit that bears no resemblance to anything she wears on red carpets or in real life. And I know ‘that’s the whole point’. I can just hear the photographer and stylist saying they wanted to jazz things up a bit, play with the image, make it all sexy and dangerous, take the goody two shoes out of the girl and give it some edge, but the problem is, SHE WAS BETTER BEFORE.
Emma in the Half Blood Prince: stunning. In the greyest of cardigans, the baggiest of jeans, the hoodiest of hoodies, the brownest of backgrounds, that girl has finally morphed into an absolute screen goddess. It’s embarrassing how beautiful she is. Poor Daniel Radcliffe isn’t supposed to really notice or care, and nor’s Rupert Grint for most of it, but it’s painfully obvious. It’s screaming to be noticed. The screen just wraps itself around her fabulous face and hair whenever she’s on and goes ‘aah’. And she can act. I know she’s acting Hermione and any of us can do that. We’re all Hermione. It’s not acting, it’s just being our inner clever girl, but nevertheless she does it brilliantly, cardi and all.
The thing is, she does Hermione looking a bit Grace Kelly, a bit Kim Basinger, a tad Michell Pfeiffer, a smidgeon her own self in five years time, by which time we’ll all have acknowledged that Harry Potter was a great start in life, but basically, she was born to be the next Audrey Hepburn, but in a blonde, frizzy hair way, and Hogwarts was just marking time until her moment.
And THAT’s interesting. That girl, growing into that woman, wearing whatever it is she chooses to wear (e.g. vintage Ossie Clark – YES YES YES!), or Agnes B (as she says she does in Elle), is fascinating. But we don’t get to see that, except in photo galleries at premieres. Because the fashion pack have got their hands on her and they’re turning her into a product as fast as they can.
Which means not telling us about Emma Watson, but telling us about Chanel, or Burberry, or Elle’s stylist. It means airbrushing, ironing out the personality quirks, ageing her, and generally ignoring what’s unique about her. They’re bigging up general prettiness/coming of age/riches, which frankly are two-a-penny in London nowadays, and losing youth/down-to-earthness/experimentation, which is what I’d pay money to see and read about.
Maybe I’m the only one, but I actually like teenagers. They interest me. I have two in the family, and they’re fascinating, lovely creatures. I love what teenagers do, what they think, what they wear. I love their inherent anarchy and occasional waywardness. I don’t want them looking the way elderly Park Avenue matrons wished they still looked. I want to see them in their own clothes, making the occasional mistake, pushing the envelope in their own way.
Charlotte Casiraghi is another example (I read far too many celebrity magazines). Charlotte watching her boyfriend at some sporting match, or just generally hanging – fantastically beautiful. Charlotte in her best Chanel, looking about 45 – wasted. (I mean wasted opportunity, obviously, not wasted ‘wasted‘. I doubt la Casiraghi does binge drinking.)
Emma looked great soaking, in a torn vintage dress, on the worst summer day in London (and I should know – I was there, dodging the umbrellas). She looked rubbish in the Temperley dress she wore to the Baftas (was it?) and admits that the Harry Potter costume guru disapproved, but I love the fact that Emma doesn’t care: she was doing her thing and trying out a new look. I’d love to see what she’s like, makeup free, in a scrumbled up mixture of Topshop and Agnes B.
But she looked derivative in Elle. She looks miserable in Burberry, and in need of a decent meal. I have no interest in seeing her in Chanel – she’s got decades ahead of her to experiment with grown-up couture.
I pointed out the Burberry ad to a friend, gearing myself up for a good rant. The ad was on a billboard in Knighstbridge – huge and moody.
‘Doesn’t she look wonderful?’ my friend sighed. ‘I love those ads.’
‘Yes,’ I lied, defeated. And of course, she looks good. But I bet she looked better in whatever she showed up in for the shoot. She’s not going to be a teenager forever. I hope she gets to enjoy being one, sartorially, for a little longer, before the moment’s gone, and she’s just another movie star.
But maybe it’s only me. I bet Burberry have sold lots of lovely raincoats this season. I’d save up for one myself if Emma didn’t make me feel about seventy-three.