Fashion Week Internationale Is Back, Back, Back!
These past few days, everyone in the office has been fussing over the new season of Fashion Week Internationale, the trailer for which you can see above. The premiere episode is set to hit your screens tomorrow, and I am so excited about it I almost peed myself on a couple of occasions. I grabbed the series' host Charlet Duboc during a coffee break and asked her for some spoilers. She didn't give away too much, but they should keep you going until tomorrow.
VICE: Hey Charlet, how long have you been filming this series?
Charlet Duboc: It's been almost two years now. It's ruined my life. There's only so much you can plan before getting there and if there's one Fashion Week happening at the same time as another, then you just have to choose. Which is sort of a risk.
Which Fashion Weeks did you visit for this season?
We went to Rio, Jamaica and then South Korea, to Seoul.
Wow. Okay, let's start with Rio. Wanna tell me a little about your experience there?
Before we went, everyone had told us that Sao Paulo is the New York of Brazil, and Rio de Janeiro is its California. So we were expecting people to be more laid-back. I'd never been to Brazil, but people say the nature of the people is really reflected in the catwalk so I was expecting all thonged beach bottoms and everything. Turns out the Fashion Week was nothing like that, it was all just skinny, white models, because they want to sell clothes to an international audience.
Charlet hanging out with a couple of transsexual prostitutes in a sex hotel in Rio.
I hear transsexuals working as models is much more acceptable in Rio that in other parts of the world.
It's true, Rio also promotes transsexuals as female models, so we hung out with some transgender models. They were much more fun than the female ones. Prostitution’s legal there so the city also makes for a massive prostitution holiday destination, and the mayor has a diversity secretary who really pushes Rio as a gay and experimental sex destination. Apparently, lots of local straight men go to see these transsexual prostitutes because they want to be fucked by a woman with a penis.
Did you make any friends?
I picked up some prostitutes, which was pretty fun. We managed to get an interview with them against the clock, for like 50 real an hour, and then at the end they agreed to hang out with us. They took us to a sex hotel, where I learned about all sorts of nasty things that you’ll have to wait to find out from the show. It was kind of gross but not that scary. I sort of felt like I was in a David Lynch film, but maybe that was just how I process everything that's uncomfortable. Maybe it was really bad, but I just made it nice in my head.
Whatever works, I guess. How was Jamaica?
We flew to Jamaica, straight after Rio for Caribbean Fashion Week. That coincided with Jamaica’s 50th year of independence which was very fun, but Jamaica obviously still feels like a Third World country. We didn’t see any violence but there are major problems, and it’s so, so poor. Apparently, the economy there is putting the Greek crisis to shame.
They still manage to hold a Fashion Week, though.
Yes, everywhere in the world there’s an elite and so somebody puts on a Fashion Week for that elite. The Caribbean one, as you might have guessed, has very little relevance to what actual Jamaica is like. As you step outside, you only have to walk for five minutes to find yourself in the ghetto, and there will be people who have a completely different idea of what fashion is. Fashion to those people is bleaching their skin, because everybody seems to want to look like Nicki Minaj. They also take chicken growth hormones to try to grow their bottoms.
Charlet hanging out with a couple of chickens in Jamaica.
So if the actual Fashion Week wasn't like that, what was it like?
That style didn’t filter through into the Fashion Week at all. Although it is definitely generally seen that the lighter your skin is, the more attractive you are. And obviously Jamaica looks a lot to America for fashion influences, which is sort of like comparing Liverpool style to that of London.
How about comparing what you've seen to South Korea?
South Korea was mad! I'd never been before; the only place I'd been to in that part of the world was Japan. It was bonkers, really tech-y. Even in the subway they have placed interactive computers on the outer doors of the trains, so people can style themselves while waiting for the train. It puts your head on top of the outfit and everything.
Charlet styling herself while waiting for the train in Seoul.
What about the catwalk fashion?
The style of the clothes was quite similar to those you'd see in Tokyo, which I guess everyone would recognise, but with a more feminine edge. And then a lot of the Japanese beauty standards have dripped through as well. K-pop's definitely becoming the look du jour, but the way that lots of Korean girls are having double eye surgery to make their eyes bigger is still a very Japanese-inspired doll style. In Korea, virtually every girl I asked would be getting the surgery as a graduation present because it would help them with college. The wider your eyes are the more Western you look, which is deemed more attractive.
Who's hotter? Koreans, Japanese or Chinese girls?
I think the girls in Seoul. They're leggier than Japanese girls; they're tall, they're a bit curvy. Somebody said they're the French to the Japanese English.
How long did you spend in each place?
Each time we just go for a week to ten days. Then we have to try to make a film as if we know the culture inside out.
I don't suppose that's a walk in the park.
We don’t sleep and we shoot 15 hours a day. When I was in Jamaica, we’d been shooting for a month straight. I got stomach ulcers at the end because I was just fucked. We hadn’t had one day off since Brazil. I had to go to a ghetto hospital, but it was quite funny; they put an injection in my bum.
Sounds like a party. Thanks, Charlet!
Season Two of Fashion Week Internationale premieres tomorrow on VICE.com with Rio Fashion Week. Do yourselves a favour and watch it.
In the mean time, you can brush up on fabulosity by watching Season One.
And, if you're the kind of person that likes constant updates you can also, always, follow the Fashion Week Internationale team on Twitter: @FashionWeekInt
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