Two Pairs Of Sisters: No Blood Ties But So Alike

Do the Hadid and Jenner sisters come from the same model-making womb?

The Hadid sistersThe Hadid sisters, Gigi and Bella, in Tommy Hilfiger and Alexander Wang respectively. Photos: vogue.comThe Jenner sistersThe Jenner sisters, Kylie and Kendall, in Versace and La Perla respectively. Photos: vogue.com

There are sisters, and there are sisters. As we know, sisters are not created equal, but some sisters, linked by fame, reality TV families, and the very public lives they lead, rather than blood, can be quite equal. Fashion’s most visible model-sisters, the Hadids and the Jenners, share commonalities of behavior and style that are rather uncommon in the age of fierce individualism. As the Hokkiens would say, they seem to come from the same ang koo kueh mould.

Just look at them at the Met Gala. They’re not your usual sisterhood, characterised by something mutual; this is kinship, characterised by sameness. Not only do they look alike, they dress alike. Swop one sister from one twosome for the other, can you tell them apart?

They sure have the same taste; one pair a mirror image of the other. Is Gigi the Kylie of the Jenner duo and vice versa, or Kendall the Bella, vice versa? Surely this is calculated when one pair of sisters is in the same colour coupling as the other? Even the silhouettes seem deliberate: Gigi and Kylie in sheer, flowy skirts; Bella and Kendal, both in lingerie fabrics that were so see-through and back/posterior-baring that you wonder why they even bothered with clothes.

Are they the present-day equivalent of the Bennet sisters, only just more lian? They like to attend galas (in the 19th century, they were balls, with the Netherfield ball being especially irresistible) and they like to dress up to attract the attention of camera lenses (in the 1800s, it was notice and interest of a potential husband). We do not know for certain if the Hadids and the Jenners like to dance (we can only assume they do—“every savage can dance”, noted by Mr Darcy), but unlike the era of the Bennets, we think the model-sisters totally dispense with propriety. Near-nakedness to express twentysomething muliebrity is the Hadid/Jenner lure.

Kendall Jenner IG PostGoing low: Instagram post of the BFFs in derriere-accentuating pose during the Met Gala. Screen grab: Kendall Jenner/Instagram

The deliberate display so thrilled the media that the Daily Mail ran in their headline, “fashion’s new darlings: Gigi and Bella and Kendall and Kylie were fawned over at Vogue‘s Met Ball” (now, who’s really fawning?). They may be fashion’s current favourite, but are they really anyone’s “darlings”? Sure, the number of IG followers of just one of them easily exceeds the population of our nation—with Kylie Jenner’s at a staggering 93 million (as of today)—but “fawn over”? The Queen of England has about 65.14 millions subjects in the UK (significantly less than the online adorers of Kylie Jenner), but are there people who actually “fawn over” her?

It seems that it is not enough to gauge young women’s success—professionally or socially—from her social-media following, you have to take note of those inclined to secure the former’s notice by servile behavior or by cringe-worthy flattery. The Jenners and Hadids may reign for now, but why do we have to fawn over them? Isn’t their individual omnipresence enough, the collective overbearing? Or do we need the excess, ostentation, dizziness, self-importance, self-promotion, tawdriness, predictability, visual disturbance… times four? And marvel at how not stiff, how not self-conscious, and how not sanctimonious they are as they stare back at you from your smartphone?

And who are these millions who supposedly derive pleasure from looking at them? It beggars belief that there are this many followers so utterly inadequate in their own being and their own style that they should follow every move, every dress (or no dress), every vapid utterance of this quartet to support the certainty that there are those who need to behave like a pet to enjoy dubious fashion taste. It does not require mature perspective to see that photos of youthful prettiness in glamourous settings offer, by way of returns, very little long-term satisfaction for the amount of time spent tracking and looking at them.

It’s probably tiring to read our having a go at these young women’s empty showiness. For many IG junkies, our criticism is almost certainly socially naff and not original. This is not hater’s rant, just something to get off our chest, while Kendall, Kylie, Gigi, and Bella walked down some pavement in Los Angeles, four-abreast, encouraging tabloid-press and social-media delight.

Advertisements

Able Models: They Shoot Too

If you don’t need to be able to sing and dance to star in a musical, and win an Oscar for the role, you don’t need to be a photographer to shoot an ad campaign

Versus SS 2017 ad

Fashion has always been about chums. The more sociable you are, the more likely you’ll get into everyone’s good books. You are not only a friend to designers, their friends, stylists, make-up artists, hairdressers, fellow models, and just about anyone who matters in the industry; you’re also a friend to the world. Social media makes sure of that.

Social media is also where you launch your career. Gigi Hadid and pal Kendall Jenner have exploited social media well. They have not only used it to kick-start, but advanced their profession. Now, Gigi Hadid has taken it one step further. Her Instagram posts have become the basis for an ad campaign. Or, if online Harper’s Bazaar is to be believed, “The model stepped behind the camera to shoot the Spring 2017 Versus Versace campaign.”

Model-turns-photographer: how refreshing! Ms Hadid is, of course, not the first Instagirl to lens fashion shoots. Her BFF Ms Jenner has already shot an editorial (including the cover) for Love magazine. The jury’s out on whether that’s any good, but one thing is clear: the pictures do not look any different from entries in the shooter’s IG page. And that, too, can be said of the Ms Hadid’s photos for Versus, which features boyfriend Zayn Malik (a Versace collaborator) and Adwoa Aboah. Like everything else you see on IG, they will be forgotten tomorrow.

You will forget because these are photos you’ve seen before: a couple of beautiful people bored out of their wits in a not particularly attractive room (here, celebrity-magnet Chateau Marmont). These are individuals behaving naturally in their natural habitat, but no, these do not Juergen Teller make.

Why does Versace need advertising that looks like Ms Hadid’s IG posts? Why can’t they just pay her to upload selfies of her and her gang in Versace in both their accounts? Is the iPhone camera to be blamed? Is traditional studio photography dead? Has Mario Testino become too expensive, or too overused? Is there a shortage of professional photographers?

And you thought immigrants are out to steal your job!

Photo: instagram/gigihadid