DOES Fashion Maketh Woman? Join In Paula's Debate!

21 June 2010

After hours spent writing her opening speech (as well as much soul searching about what to wear), Paula's appearance at Intelligence Squared's debate: 'Fashion Maketh Woman' finally took place in Westminster last week, and Grazia Daily was there, cheering her on, heckling the opposition and generally feeling very proud/nervous on her behalf.

Intelligence Squared provided this introduction to the debate "Woman is born free, but everywhere is fashion's slave. Her choices are an illusion: the fashion companies and magazines dictate her purchases to her. She feels compelled to own the latest must-have handbag, believes the key to happiness is the new bondage boot; they've told her she's worth it and without her fashion fix she feels worthless. This, at least, is the story told by those who scoff at fashion. But isn't that just sour drapes? Isn't it rather the case that the world of fashion defines the spirit and mood of the age? That the brilliant designers in the fashion houses bring vim and vigour to an otherwise pedestrian world? And that those who somehow think they¹re above it all just end up looking drab and dull?"

So what did our Style Director choose to wear to support the motion? Well, dear reader, Paula went with the Oscar de la Renta she'd previously asked your opinion on in her blog -  only in black rather than the original pink, "because someone went in and bought the last one the day after I wrote about it!".  

Paula, and her two Swedish team mates, hedgefunder/fashion designer/mother Britt Lintner; and  Madelaine Levy, Editor in Chief of Swedish fashion and arts magazine Bon International; held their own against some pretty fierce opposition from artist Grayson Perry, design expert Stephen Bayley and feminist icon Susie Orbach, author of Fat is a Feminist issue.

Our favourite Paula line? In response to an accusation of fashion being transient, Paula replied "and technology isn't? I've got dresses older than my iphone..."

While discussing wastefulness and recycling, we particularly liked the moment when Paula confirmed that she regularly gives her old clothes to Oxfam, and some wag shouted from the back of the hall "which one?"

And we even loved the woman who requested that the entire audience oppose the motion because Paula's team would still be fabulous even without their great outfits (we could only agree).

So here are the results. Paula's team won the pre-debate vote by a whisker, but criminally, lost the post-debate vote (we was robbed). But the good news? They won the online vote!

So, in the same way that the Americans reported on that football match against England last week, we're going to say: Paula Won: 1-1!

You can watch highlights from the debate, below...



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