Girl Trouble

‘Mademoiselle’ Buried; ‘Bazaar’ Resurrected

There's still plenty of retrograde stuff: do's and don'ts makeup columns, endorsements of quack diets, articles about events like a "plastic surgery party," where gals get together for nips and tucks. But these reactionary vestiges are undercut by a number of features about women who couldn't care less what kind of hand cream Madonna uses, and here, one senses, is where Ms. Bailey's heart really lies. An interview by David Bowie with the highly unorthodox British artist Tracey Emin discusses matter-of-factly the artist's life in 1990, when she had an abortion and destroyed all her work. The text that accompanies a fashion spread designed to help the reader look like Mexican painter Frida Kahlo ($3800 Marc Jacobs skirts, $925 Dolce & Gabbana blouses) has anecdotes that make it clear that Kahlo, a highly original, nutty dresser, wasn't the sort of woman seduced by designer clothes sold in department stores. Little kids would yell "Where's the circus?" as Kahlo swept through town in authentic peasant skirts, ruffled blouses, embroidered aprons, and clanking jewelry. "It's so horrible, it's beautiful!" she would crow as she swooped down on a market stall full of kitschy treats. Kahlo was notoriously difficult, but she wasn't trivial: It's hard to imagine her at a botox party.

Even women you wouldn't expect to break the mold reveal themselves in unexpected ways. Though an article about Gwyneth Paltrow, Bazaar's November cover girl, regurgitates the predictable movie star fodder—she eats whatever she wants; she hates her butt; she loves sex—it's not entirely without surprises. Asked who she'd like to trade places with, the actress picked a woman who can be seen nightly wearing a khaki jacket and hanging out a few miles from the Afghanistan border in Pakistan. "Christiane Amanpour," confesses Paltrow. "I just think she's totally punk rock."

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