It's all about the bottom line
Oh free market competition what hast thou wrought? At last we have come to know the tyranny of maximising shareholder value. In their endless pursuit of profit, even the high-end fashion houses have succumbed to cutting corners in dramatic ways. Well not so much corners but entire sections of clothing. Anne Hathaway was so mortified with her designer gown at the "Devil Wears Prada" premiere she was heard telling co-star Meryl Streep: "Oh my god, where is the rest of this dress? How am I going to push up my boobs properly? My acting career is dead now!"
Due to rising fabric prices and labour costs, designers have seen fit to do away with the entire front panelling of their dresses. This spells disaster for bra manufacturers and with necklines tipped to recede to pubic level by the end of the year, underwear companies are also feeling the pressure. It seems that only the makers of double sided tape have something to smile about these days.
Swimsuits, already small on fabric as they are, were early casualties of the profit squeeze. Industry experts explain that removing half of the swimsuit is necessary to ensure that tanlines are consistent with regular attire.
But are changing consumer habits to blame for this downsizing? Surveys have shown that women are more inclined to spend money on technology and gadgets these days than on a full dress. "Sure, I might need to squeeze the sides of my chest together to create artificial cleavage," says model Brittany Brower. "But now that I've got myself a new T-Mobile Sidekick people find me way more interesting and whenever I go out, I have heaps of guys wanting to give me their numbers."
Besides Anne Hathaway, several other well-endowed celebrities have professed their displeasure with the latest fashion developments. Jessica Simpson found out the hard way when her outfits arrived for her Maxim's cover shoot and there was 20% less than expected. The skimpy garments were inconsistent with the theme of the pictorial which promised "Jessica as you've never seen her!" and was meant to feature her in a variety of uncharacteristic situations including being engrossed in a book, engaging in intelligent discourse and lively debate with Stephen Hawking and opening her mouth in a non-suggestive way.
The original plans were scrapped in light of the wardrobe bungle and although the shoot eventually went ahead Simpson complained that it was difficult for her to look contemplative and serious while posing in a cost-saving version of the classic black turtleneck. A frustrated Simpson says: "I feel that my fans have been cheated because of these stupid new clothes. I just hope that they will pick up a copy of the magazine anyway and look beyond the pictures and read what I have to say." Until fashion executives give the greenlight to start designing again for the sake of style rather than profit, Simpson and her fans will just have to wait a little longer for her fully-clothed centrefold.
Next update: Friday June 23