Article courtesy of the AP News.
Fashion critic and illustrator Michael Roberts pokes fun at the industry in a new book that he says is as much a satire as it is an homage.
"Fashion Victims" features 26 poems with accompanying illustrations based on the letters of the alphabet, ranging from Auctions to Zips. The letter "B," for example, is given to the word "Bimbo" and illustrated by a silhouette of women stabbing each other in the back.
"There’s a huge amount of folly, yes, in the fashion business, but it’s not as though it causes wars or people go around killing each other," Roberts told The Associated Press on the sidelines of Paris Fashion Week.
Now the fashion director of Vanity Fair magazine, Roberts has been compared to French artist Jean Cocteau for his prolific output, which ranges from cut paper collages to photography, poetry and painting. His illustrations have frequently been used on the cover of The New Yorker magazine.
It is clear from Roberts’ work that the elegant British critic enjoys observing the foibles of an industry often targeted as superficial.
"I started off God knows how many years ago as the fashion critic for The London Sunday Times, and I was much more critical then," he said.
"Now I’m a little bit milder, I’m a little bit more indulgent with the fashion scene, because you know, you can’t crack a nut with a mallet," he said with a laugh.
Roberts said he was not afraid of offending his colleagues with the new book, in which the poems are written in the first person, each adopting the tone of a different character. Only two, however, were based entirely on actual people–though he would not say which ones.
"That’s for me to know, and you to find out!" he said.
Roberts was promoting the new book during the international round of ready-to-wear collections, with a signing party in Paris this week. The 112-page book–published by Collins Design, a subsidiary of HarperCollins–was published in Britain this month and in the United States in August.