CHARLOTTE OLYMPIA DELLAL can remember trying on her mother’s shoes when she was a little girl. “I think every girl likes high heels,” she says, “but I was obsessed.” Years later, when she was studying at the London College of Fashion, it clicked that footwear could be more than a fetish. “My tutor pointed out that what I’m most passionate about are the details. I would design a specific pair of shoes for every outfit.” Although she admits it sounds like a cliché, she swears by the motto “A shoe can make an outfit.” (Not that it’s all shoes all the time; Dellal is also a huge fan of hats and gloves.) Past her detail-oriented fashion obsession and childhood high-heel fantasy, Dellal, in her husky voice, jokes that there might be another reason for her fledgling footwear career: “I actually hate feet!” That’s why she makes shoes so nice; no one will want to take them off. Available online from Matches Fashion here , Net-a-porter here, and their own website here.
Read more: Charlotte Olympia Interview – Shoe Designer Charlotte Olympia Dellal Style – Harper’s BAZAAR
The most popular and sought after shoes at the moment, celebrities and fashionistas all over the world have taken notice of Olympia’s quirky and fun take on footwear and accessories.Our favourites include the Kitty Flats, Dolly island pumps and the perspex Pandora Clutch. The Domino Pandora clutch from the new collection as worn by Rachel Weisz is to die for too.
Paper Issue 8- Sanam Saeed wears gold Python Priscilla pumps
Mahirah Khan is extremely talented and undeniably beautiful. She is one of the most sought-after celebrities in Pakistan today, with a massive fan following. Every director wants to cast her. Every brand wants her to represent them. Why then do photographers think its ok to Photoshop her nose? She is not a model, not that we endorse over-photoshopping (yes that is now a word) models . She is a celebrity. And there in lies the distinction. No ones gets Sarah Jessica Parker for a shoot and then chops her nose off and if they have in the past (with other celebs in Hollywood) they have faced a public outcry. Louis Vuitton dare not reduce Angelina Jolie’s lips. If Cindy Crawford were a model in Pakistan we are certain her mole would have been airbrushed or the photographers she had signed on with would have had her remove it altogether. Madonna would have been sent to the dentist to “fix” the gap between her teeth and Kate Moss would have “needed” a boob job.
All over the world magazines and fashion photographers use Photoshop. But how much is too much? If you ask us we must all draw the line at NOT drastically altering a celebrities features to fit a narrow one-size-fits-all superficial idea of beauty. This issue of course if not limited to Mahirah and the scope is far greater than her nose. But we thought it was a perfect example of the dependence of Photoshop in the fashion industry and the use of it where it is NOT needed.
Below is a picture of Mahirah Khan without any makeup or Photoshop and she is stunning.
The photo below is a personality shoot (no Photoshop)
An example of Photoshopped glamourous, aspirational fashion photography
The photos below, in our opinion, are over-photoshopped. That is not Mahirah’s nose. That is not even a nice looking nose. Why? why? why?
and it goes on..
Disturbed by these images we got in touch with Mahirah to ask her views. This is what she had to say:
“Personally, for me, while I’m acting – I have no issues at all with how my face is shot or how much make up I wear, if any that is, as long as I am meeting the requirements of the character I’m portraying. However, I understand that the same principle cannot be applied to still shoots. They are meant to be glamorous. I also understand that Photoshop has become the need of the hour. The irony here, though, is that we are trying to sell an illusion of perfection, by falsely covering up or modifying the various imperfections. Personally, I myself cannot be bothered if someone tells me to get a nose job or Botox, however, neither do I judge those who feel the need to do it. I just hope girls looking at pictures of people they idolise or look up to are not made to feel that they must live up to this false illusion.”
Of course she is not just talking about photographers photoshopping her nose. She is talking about the unrealistic ideal of beauty that is perpetuated in the fashion industry and we are all (photographers, designers, magazines) part of the problem. We have a responsibility and need to play a part in taking the industry forward in a better way instead of following old trends blindly without questioning them or worse, regressing.
Feeha Jamshed said,” I grew up looking at Arif Mehmood’s work and love the fact that he still uses natural light and film. Like everything, Photoshop has its pros and cons. I’m against the idea of using Photoshop in a way to promote superficial beauty where you look like perfection as it causes a lot of mental issues like wanting to look like the girl in the photograph and never measuring up. Women end up with low self esteem and men always find them hot and the girls that they are with always feel inadequate because they compare themselves to an unattainable standard of beauty. Photoshop for me is only useful when someone air brushes a blemish on the face or to balance the color tone of the face, to bring abt the color of the shoot to accentuate the shoot further and giving it a neat look, not to change someones face or features so that the person doesnt look like herself. Anything that is used in extreme gets vicious.”
The problem is not the Photoshopping itself – the problem is that being bombarded with Photoshopped images has changed our standards of comparison and that results in low self esteem and body issues. Secondly people in the public eye, including models and actors, feel they must look the part and turn to cosmetic surgery.
Feeha says, “Amar my friend and a brilliant international stylist, who is now part of our company as a fashion consultant and head stylist, told me that all the girls you see on magazine covers are Photoshopped to death and one gets used to them being that way and they get used to it so much that they start resorting to plastic surgery to look like that in person.”
We hate how we look because of a fashion industry that has not adapted, access to the internet and media that over analyse women’s bodies and increasing accessibility of cosmetic surgery. Someone had to say it. We have. We hope that fashion photographers and publishers alike consider the adverse affects every shoot they over-photoshop is having on women, especially young girls and go easy of the damn Photoshopping.
This is not meant to offend anyone or be a preachy post. We shot Mahirah for our cover and struggled to make the photographers see our point of view. We begged for raw images but had no luck. We asked for the size of her nose to be increased (as it was chopped off as usual) but we were brushed off again and again,because photographers feel the pressure to produce good work which we mistake in this industry as perfect, flawless, UNREAL images of UNATTAINABLE beauty.
Behind the scene image of our cover with Mahirah (no Photoshop)
The Photoshopped image we received
What we printed (after trying to increase the size of her nose using Photoshop in-house)
We appreciate the hard work that goes into fashion photography and as a publication we do our best to support young talent and the veterans in the industry. But old and new we are all to blame. It would be unfair to blame A photographer or A publication ( the images used in this post are just to serve as examples, the photographers and publications all produce quality work) . This is just the direction we have all collectively taken as an industry and it is our responsibility to stop ourselves and each other. So stop getting offended and start getting the point. We all share the blame and we should all try to rectify our mistakes in the future.