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Sunday 26 January 2014

Ode to Lena Dunham

Such a brou-ha-ha-ha. Vogue put Lena Dunham, writer and star of the wildly popular TV series Girls, on its cover with a Photoshopped image. Gasp! As if Vogue doesn't tweak every featured celebrity in its pages. Put me in Vogue and you can airbrush, squinch, and boobize me all you want. The inestimable fun of seeing me for realsie is really only the domain of friends and family. Even then, the degree of realsie-ness is dictated by the heavy-handedness of the intelligence-boosting eye shadow smeared across my eyelids or shape of vexing brow I drew on that particular morning or even perhaps the miraculous qualities of a Mighty Foundation Garment.

This photo I took, called importantly "Cat Head 1" (completely unretouched in one of my other dimensions of existence), addresses a photo of Ms. Dunham balancing a bird on her head, wearing an incredible feather-featured dress. The photo's location, Ms. Dunham's body parts, and even the bird have all been shuffled to create a striking final image. I don't care HOW they did it; I enjoy looking at the final result. And importantly, Ms. Dunham enjoys the final result as well. (I've included links for them below)

Look at my heeled runners! Bwa-ha-ha.

  • thrifted vintage pink and gold lurex brocade mini shift, I fixed the zipper last night. There are two invisble pockets in the front. Dreamy!
  • black jeggings
  • thrifted rubber-soled high-heel running-type shoes with metallic gold & black patterned canvas upper
  • thrifted black long-sleeved top under the dress
  • shaggy coat made from the rare green swamp-dwelling mountain goat of Iceland
  • performance-enhancing bright pink lipstick
  • magic loupe and magic bracelet, latter seen below, hardly, made for me by O

That's another photo of me, again, unretouched in another dimension. This photo shows that the dress is sleeveless - that's all. I am certain it will spark a furious debate in that existence as well. 

There are many SERIOUS issues in this discussion about Ms. Dunham, which I am joyfully sidestepping so I could bring you "Cat Head 1" guilt-free. Maybe if I drank tea for breakfast instead of coffee, I would argue in the opposite direction, but I had coffee. I learned about this media panic from Sally's Lovely Links on Jan. 24 on her blog Already Pretty (she always has the best links). Her link took me to the blog Feministe which summarized what was going on and linked to the Vogue photos, and, circuitously, to Ms. Dunham's unretouched photos. Sheesh!!

I'm linking to Patti's marvelous Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. I've been working, taking breaks only long enough to stuff food in my face, skip to the loo, and sleep. The momentum has slowed but my mind hasn't adjusted yet. I'm hoping for a soft landing.

So how about you, tea or coffee? Lurex, curiously, has the sustaining qualities of caffeine.

I'll spare you my singing. Below are the new lyrics to that tired famous song. You can watch Barbra Streisand sing it on YouTube (can't stand to put the video here with the real lyrics).

He Retouched Me

He retouched me, he put his mouse on me
And he retouched me
I felt a sudden squinch when he retouched me
A sparkle, a glow

He KNEW it,
He smiled but didn't tell me so all through it
He knew it - I KNOW

He's unreal and the world is online and thriving
I feel such a wonderful drive to advertisin'

He retouched me
I simply have to face the fact
He retouched me
Control myself and try to act
as if I remember my name

But he retouched me, he retouched me
And suddenly nothing is the same
Because he retouched me, he retouched me
And suddenly nothing, nothing, nothing is the same!

(You'd be surprised how few changes I made to these lyrics)


  1. Methinks your kitty cat ate the bird! Retouch me! Please retouch me. It would be my dream come true. Spanx me. I don't care. I want it. I NEEED it. You, on the other hand, dear Mel, look super duper gorgeous the closer and closer we get. Love this post.

  2. Love your lyrics much more than the original! Photomanipulation rocks and your cat head is a blast and I never post a photo of myself without retouching. You my dear, do not need it.

  3. Oh my god, you're getting all serious on us! And I've spent my time trying to decide how I feel about Edward Snowden's glasses instead of focusing on what's really important.

    I have heard a few tidbits about this controversy, but like you said, of course they retouched it. I think the bigger dumlemma is that celebrities now have to be cover girls (Emma Thompson pointed this out to me, and it's so true. Actresses who want publicity are so much cheaper than real models.).

    Darling, pink and green are going to be THE spring colors, I can just tell, and you are so on trend. And as for pussies on your head, that's never gone out of vogue in some places, behind closed doors. All kidding aside, I love that photo!

  4. I'm in love with your sweet and pink pretty little shift dress.
    Definitely coffee for me.

  5. Living under a rock as I am, I had heard/read nothing about this.

    Paisley and a cat on your head, suits you dahling! You look fabulous!

  6. I must try putting Vizzini on my head, but I'm afraid the ensuing blood might ruin my clothes. Love seeing the Muppet jacket again - fab with that brocade dress!

  7. Your photos are amazing and your words are as sharp and witty as ever. Never heard of Jezebel until I read this. Or Lena Durham. I do like that polka dot blouse she is wearing on the cover, but my real burning question is how many goats died to make that coat?

  8. You are a true original Melanie and you blow me away with your photos, critiques and creativity. I look forward to seeing al more of that in 2014! I also love this outfit on you.

  9. If it's not a shoe on your head, it's a cat. Miz Bagg has been creatively directing your photo shoots again, hasn't she? The bonkers old harridan!
    Oh, Vogue and the crazed sorority of fashion magazines... why does anyone even look at those images and imagine for a second that they are portray women as they really are? I guess if you accept the gig of cover girl, you pretty much know they are going to turn you into a hyper-smooth and doe-eyed lollipop on a stick (or just do a head shot if you are the owner of a body with - ahem - "curves"... Cos heaven forbid we should admire any of those.)

    Gorgeous little 60s frock there, Melanie, and wow, look at those heels! Always a joy to see the shaggy goat coat, and now I know it's rare and Icelandic, it seems all the more desirable...
    Right, off to find a cat to wear. xxxx

  10. Oh, the cat #1 - I adore. And I love what you wrote about how so few people see the "unretouched" us. You look dreamy, love the coat. Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday, too, my cat-headed friend.

  11. Allo Mélanie,

    I didn't hear about the controversy but i have seen the photo on Vogue the other day and told myself, what the friggin hell is going on? this girl is not your typical covergirl or pretty, she is plain but nonetheless kind of cute, but my God so much like you said photoshop!

    You on the other end are gorgeous, and the cat on your head is so brilliant! You are my idol!


  12. Vogue is a useful tool for conversations with my daughters, normally me wide-eyed and pointy fingered explaining what photo-shop does and my daughters being rather un-interested and over it 'yeah Mum, we know etc etc' anyhoo I love your images, I really like the cat on the head as I don't have the foggiest idea how to create these images, I would like my cats to co-operate but they tend to look down on my shennanigans - your dress and coat are wonderful x x x

  13. I think that YOU should be on the cover of Vogue magazine! That first shot is brilliant and glamorous in every way...the kitty as your chapeau, your spot- on style, the setting...perfect! And that's without Photo Shop, no?
    I like a little reality and a touch of fantasy in my just needs to be able to discern the difference!

  14. Thanks so much for the shout-out, Melanie! I love your response to this fascinating kerfluffle.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. I understand that fashion mags do a lot of photographic trompe l'oeil to make us think everyone is a dreamy goddess. While I think you should look your best I think retouching and airbrushing are cheating - unless it's done in a very tongue-in-cheek way, like you're doing here.
    PS - You don't need retouching. You're fab just the way you are ;-)


  17. I frigging LOVE your lurid lurex frock!!!
    Ooo, I'm sure I could do with some retouching, to recapture my glow!
    They've been doing it for years, who cares?! that Lena lady sounds interesting, and talented. I've never seen eh show, but have been led to believe it's very good. I have, however, seen the pix, and they're awesome! There's always a fuss to be made about SOMETHING.
    Rock on, you babacious thing you!

  18. I have missed your posts! Winter can be SO BORING!
    First; just love that collage; how did you do that?
    2. Will go to yhe links for the brou-ha-ha
    3. I drink tea xoxo

  19. That shift is to die for!

    Now everyone will be wearing a cat on their head come Spring.

    I love how you changed that song. Now just to get Babs to sing it like that : )

    Girls is just hilarious. Plus Lena is totally raw and naked on the show. People know what she looks like.


  20. Fabulous Cat on Your Head has stolen my heart!, you're so talented and inspiring!
    I've watched those photos and I liked them, because they look evocative and surrealistic!, love that pigeon on her head! love that it's not real! a faux pigeon on a faux background! fabulous!
    besos & arte

  21. Ahhh I want to steal your coat! So gorgeous!!

  22. I still think the one where her arm looks like it's missing is just plan strange.

    PS: you got a cat on your head

  23. Tee hee I should retouch a pic of our cat Trouser on my head......then I would be wearing pants as a hat....snigger.
    Man I love that furry coat......if it were any other colour it just would not be the same.
    Paisley mini.....perfect. v

  24. Aw Melanie, your creativity and wit is a gem of genius! I admire this spirit and your eye for combining clothes in a fabulous manner.

    blue hue wonderland

  25. The brilliance of you! The cat on your head makes an outstanding statement. Photos speak a thousand words, but then your words are as profound as your photos.

  26. If anyone could grow a cat on her head its you:) This dress brings out a super high pitch squeal because I lure it!!!!!! It's totally mad with that jacket and those runners!

    I am guilty of a lil touch up now and then so what I say it's not like I shave inches off, can someone show me how to do that?

  27. I want a kitten on my head too, dear melanie, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  28. Ugh! The unreality of reality has infected the world. Except for you...the lyrics of your song is so fab. My daughter wants to put a pic of me on her Facebook so I emailed her one today taken at my work Xmas party. I told her to have my granddaughter photoshop it before she posts it. She said okay. I was kidding...she was serious. Now I feel like my real face is not good enough for Facebook. DANG!!!!! Love your pics and content!!!!

  29. I had heard a bit about the Lena Dunham cover, but I don't buy Vogue so I hadn't seen it. I would expect that they would Photoshop the hell of out of whomever was on the cover, so why would she be any different? Now, if you were on the cover, I would buy multiple copies and pass them out to all my friends.

    "Cat Head 1" - I sense a series is in the making. Shoes, cats, lampshades, Miz Baggs is making a list as I write this I'm sure.

    Nice work on the Streisand tune - you really didn't have to change very many of the words. I will confess to eliminating the odd blemish and dent on my face in some of my photos ;)

  30. "Cat Head 1" transcends.

  31. I looked at the thumb-thingy and I thought 'that looks awfully like Melanie with a cat on her head in a fine looking location'. And guess what? It was. Wow. Sometimes life is odd, and people say odd things about it. What a silly world.

  32. Why is anyone worrying about retouched sit-com stars when we can be considering you in multi-dimensional fashion! Best images! I love to wander through the images.
    I'm especially to see you with the little white cat on your head. One just can't see that enough, you know?
    Love you, Mel!

  33. You look absolutely stunning with that cat on your forehead! Truly!

  34. Applause applause! What an amusing post. I followed the whole drama and it was somewhat ridiculous... JEzebel really got it wrong this time.
    Love the dress!

  35. Oh my, those fuck-off heeled trainers and the dress have got me all of a tizzy. Never mind the cat as a hat. Wonder if I could get mine to do that? Save me the bother of touching up my roots.
    I haven't a clue about Lena wotsit, the programme she's in or Vogue for that matter. I don't even think our newsagent stocks it, the locals prefer those hideous chav mags highlighting C-listers crows feet and cellulite.

  36. Great adjustment to the lyrics. Fun post. I couldn

  37. My previous comment decided to live by itself and leave home... Too soon if you ask me.
    As I was about to say: your shoes are so nice and give a good balance for the pretty pink dress.
    As for retouching..l I couldn't care less. I don't do it myself (hence the wrinkles in my neck). Hmm, perhaps sometimes but then I write what I have done. Be fair, be square.

  38. I hope that top photo comes into play in my dreams tonight.

  39. I don't know anyone more creative and hilariously funny than you! You rock, seriously, you do.

    I love your fascinator LOL! Would be a nice getup to the Royal Ascot.


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