I’m a big prude,” Beth Ditto said on Sunday.
That would be Beth Ditto, the lead singer of the Gossip, the Beth Ditto who not long ago took off her underpants during a performance and tossed them into the crowd, the same Beth Ditto who once mooned the paparazzi on the red carpet going into an awards show, the very Beth Ditto who appears naked on the cover of the new Condé Nast start-up, Love.
Ms. Ditto was sitting in a gilt-ornamented hotel suite. There were views of the Louvre from the living room. Through the windows drifted the tinny music of the children’s carousel in the Tuileries.
“In fashion, in a way, everything is permitted,” Ms. Fendi said Monday night at the Hemingway Bar of the Ritz, a favorite watering hole of people like Kate Moss, Ms. Ditto’s recently acquired best friend. “We wanted to have Beth Ditto not to sell the ultimate new handbag, but because it’s a pleasure to take a little risk and to show that fashion is the one discipline that, because it is about change, is the most open to others.”
Fashion may be frivolous and superficial and often cruel. (When she met Karl Lagerfeld, Ms. Ditto explained, he uttered a lot of “fat-phobic” remarks.) But, whether you are a soulful, rambunctious, alternately foulmouthed and soft-spoken tattooed lesbian feminist with a big career in front of you or a designer hopeful with a pincushion and a portfolio of sketches, fashion can open up worlds you did not know existed.
Anyway, that is what Beth Ditto concluded once she decided to let fashion reel her in.