Kate Upton is, as rumored, on the cover of American Vogue. That honor is normally reserved for whichever white, skinny, female celebrity has a movie out, Kate Moss, and Gisele. Upton, a swimsuit model and a relative outsider to the world of high fashion, doesn't really fit that mold.
(As Vogue puts it, "Descriptions of her figure tend to involve euphemisms for a single word: breasts.") The ladymag got New Yorker writer Lizzie Widdicombe to profile its cover star. She reports:
The fact that Upton has become our Girl of the Moment is all the more remarkable given that she’s done it in her own digital-age way. She wasn’t championed, early on, by a photographer like Steven Meisel or David Sims. Riccardo Tisci didn’t put her on the runway at Givenchy à la Joan Smalls. She even bypassed the Victoria’s Secret runway show—which has proved to be a launching pad for the likes of Candice Swanepoel and Miranda Kerr. Instead, Upton has accumulated Sports Illustrated covers and buzzy television ads and—above all—has made canny use of social media.
The Upton legend begins on YouTube. She broke out in 2011, dancing to Cali Swag District’s “Teach Me How to Dougie” in footage shot by a friend at a Clippers game—her appeal a mix of blonde bombshell and homespun girl next door. (The video has two million views and counting.) A subsequent clip was more risqué: Upton dancing the Cat Daddy in a skimpy bikini for Terry Richardson—and yet here, too, she’s goofy, disarming, improbably wholesome (that video has nearly sixteen million hits). Meanwhile she’s a regular on Twitter (more than 900,000 followers), and was an early adopter of the video-sharing app Vine. “It’s just me sharing my life,” she says about tweeting. “I like it if it’s authentic and in the moment and happening.” Growing up, she adds, “I didn’t buy the magazines that had models on the covers, because I didn’t know them. So I think this kind of gives me, as a model, a personality that people can connect with.” It seems to be working. In 2012, she was the fourth-most-popular search on Yahoo—just behind Election, iPhone5, and Kim Kardashian.
Oh my G-d, yes, you do want to read an article about Orthodox Jewish women who work within religious laws of modesty to come up with amazing outfits, and the infrastructure of fashion blogs, indie designers, and clothing swaps that fosters their expression. [Fashionista]
• Four industrial disasters in Bangladesh in the last six months, including the notorious collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building and the fire at the Tazreen factory, have killed 1,076 people and counting. Labor rights groups are pushing for brands to sign on to the fire safety agreement currently under consideration, which would allow for independent safety inspections at factories. PVH is among the companies that have signed; Gap Inc. and Wal-Mart, which was a Tazreen client, have not. If not enough companies sign on by May 15, the agreement will not go into effect. The labor organization IndustriALL says, "an average of U.S. 2 cents of profit on a T-shirt would double the salary of the Bangladeshi that made it. An average of U.S. 10 cents of profit on each garment would pay for a transformation of safety standards across the entire industry in Bangladesh." [WWD]
• Gwyneth Paltrow did not enjoy the Met Ball. At all. "I'm never going again," says the actress. "It was so un-fun. It was boiling. It was too crowded. I did not enjoy it at all." [USAToday]
• Hedi Slimane did Keith Richards' wardrobe for his latest tour. [Grazia]
• Khroma Beauty, the Kardashian cosmetics brand that was no sooner announced than it was sued by an older cosmetics company named Kroma that had trademarked the name, is changing its name to Kardashian Beauty. [WWD]
• Online luxury giant Net-A-Porter is launching a children's wear site called Petite-A-Porter. [Mashable]
• Vanity Fair nabbed John Galliano's first major interview since the scandal that cost him his job at Dior. [WWD]
• Nail polish sales are booming, reports Women's Wear Daily:
[M]ass-market nail sales were up 10 percent in 2010, 19 percent in 2011, 18 percent in 2012 and more than 15 percent in the last 52 weeks, with an approximate volume of $1.2 billion, not including Wal-Mart. In the prestige category, sales rose 42 percent in 2012, for a volume of about $37 million. The top five mass-market brands are Sally Hansen, Kiss, Essie, Revlon and Sinful Colors; in the prestige market, the leaders are Chanel, Dior, Deborah Lippmann, Butter London and MAC.
In fact, notes the trade paper, "not since lip gloss in 2004 has the market seen such rapid, exponential growth." If you just pictured a bunch of beauty industry analysts, monocles a-popping, remembering the Great Lip Gloss Boom Tyme of '04, welcome to the club. [WWD]
• MAC is expanding into Africa, opening stores in Nigeria, Botswana, and Zambia, and has plans to hit 10-15 total stores within five years. The brand has added a half-dozen additional shades to its concealer and foundation product lines specifically for the emerging market. [WWD]