Lifestyle Barometer: Your guide to what's hot and what's not this week – from New York Fashion Week to Liam Neeson

Going up:

Iris Apfel 

Iris Apfel has been signed to modelling agency IMG (Getty)

This week Iris Apfel made headlines after revealing she has been signed to one of the world’s most prominent modelling agencies, IMG, at the age of 97.

Apfel, who is famed for her short white hair and oversized spectacles, joins supermodels such as Gigi Hadid, Gisele Bundchen and Lily Aldridge.

Speaking to Women’s Wear Daily, the fashion icon said: “I never expected my life would take this turn.

“Who would think I would be a 97-year-old cover girl?”

While the move is surprising, it’s not entirely unexpected as Apfel has had a number of deals with some big clients in recent years, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Netflix, Vogue and Dazed & Confused.

The mutli-talented woman hopes her success in the fashion industry will inspire other older women to follow their dreams.  

“I don’t think a number should make any difference and make you stop working,” she said. 

Emojis

More than 200 new emojis will be arriving this year (Emojipedia)

The Unicode Consortium revealed that 230 new emojis will be arriving to smartphones this year.

Following a proposal from Apple in 2018 calling for more emojis to represent people with disabilities, the update will include people in manual and motorised wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, service dogs and a gender-inclusive “deaf person”.

An emoji to represent periods is also part of the launch, and comes after a campaign led by global women’s rights charity Plan International UK received support from more than 55,000 people.

Other new additions include animals like the sloth, otter and flamingo, and food symbols for waffles, butter and garlic.

There will also be 70 new combinations for the “couple holding hands” emoji, ensuring all couples can be represented in every skin tone.

New York Fashion Week

Gigi Hadid walked the runway at Tom Ford (AFP/Getty)

One of the most eagerly anticipated sartorial events of the year, New York Fashion Week (NYFW), started on Monday 4 February, marking the official start of Fashion Month.

Aside from the usual names, like Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren, a number of exciting up-and-coming designers have been taking to the runway, including the first transgender designer to show at NYFW, Pierre Davis. 

The young designer’s brand, NO SESSO, already has a strong following in Los Angeles, where she is based, and boasts a number of A-list fans including Erykah Badu and Kelela. 

After her debit show at NYFW, Davis revealed she hopes her work will be recognised for its merit.

“I always ride very hard for my community, I always have. But I think it’s really important, maybe even more important now, that this fashion week I’m just focused as a designer first,” she told Paper Magazine

From Tom Ford’s anti-Trump message to Laverne Cox’s appearance on the runway, you can catch up on all the best moments from NYFW here.

Kind thoughts

Kind thoughts about yourself and others is better for your wellbeing (Getty)

Thinking kind thoughts can improve your overall wellbeing, new research has revealed.

A study, conducted by researchers from the universities of Oxford and Exeter, looked into the correlation between having kind thoughts and a person’s psychological state.

For the study, 135 participants were separated into five groups which were each assigned a different set of audio instructions, some of which encouraged them to think kindly about themselves and others which persuaded them to think in a self-critical manner.

As participants answered a number of questions, the researchers noted their heart rate and found that those who were instructed to think kindly about themselves exhibited bodily responses associated with being relaxed.

Meanwhile, those who listened to the critical tapes displayed higher heart rates, indicating “feelings of threat and distress”.

The researchers suggested the findings could be particularly beneficial for people who have been diagnosed with depression.

Crocs

The new Croc x Pizzaslime bag is available in two shades – yellow and black (Pizzaslime/Crocs)

That’s right, the spray-clean rubber clog which has become the go-to footwear choice for hospital workers and avid gardeners is now available in bag form.

The brainchild of Crocs and LA-based brand Pizzaslime, the crossbody bag is actually made from the divisive shoe, replacing the area where a person’s foot would usually live with a pouch and zipper.

It even features seven custom detachable Jibbitz – the charms – and is available in two colours, yellow and black. 

The $300 (£230) shoe-cum-bag has divided opinion online. While some have called it the “best product of 2019 already”, others are less convinced. 

“This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen”, someone wrote on Instagram.

Going down:

Gucci

Gucci has been criticised for selling a jumper that ‘resembles blackface’

It might be the most popular brand in the world but it seems Gucci still has a lot to learn.

On Thursday, Gucci came under fire after shoppers complained one of its jumpers “resembled blackface”.

Images of the balaclava-style sweater, which costs $890 and features a cutout with red lips at the mouth, were promptly shared on social media where users heavily criticised the luxury brand. 

“Haute Couture Blackface for the millennials???” one person Tweeted.

Another added: “This is DISGUSTING. I don’t wanna see any of you with Gucci belts and slides after this.”

As a result of the controversy, Gucci issued a statement apologising for any offence caused. 

“We can confirm that the item has been immediately removed from our online store and all physical stores,” the statement read. 

“We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make. 

“We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organisation and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond.” 

Body hair insecurities 

Actor and model Jameela Jamil shared a photo on Twitter that showed body hair on her forearms (Getty)

Jameela Jamil has sparked a conversation surrounding body hair after sharing an unedited image of herself on Twitter.

The image, which is part of a campaign for underwear brand Aerie, shows the actor smiling at the camera with the hair on her forearm and upper arm clearly visible.

Alongside the photo, Jamil wrote: “Hello arm hairs. You used to always be Photoshopped out. Nice to see you again. Because you’re a normal and fine thing to have.”

The tweet has since received more than 47,000 likes, with hundreds of people sharing their own past experiences of having body hair insecurities. 

”I wish you’d been around doing this while I was a kid miserable about my body hair, weight and pretty much everything about the way I looked that didn’t fit in with the traditional concept of ‘pretty’,“ one person tweeted.

Weight loss adverts

Last year Kim Kardashian West was criticised for advertising appetite-suppressant lollipops (AFP/Getty)

This week the medical director for NHS England urged social media firms to impose bans on “irresponsible and unsafe” celebrity endorsed adverts for weight loss aids.

Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Professor Stephen Powis added that platforms like Instagram have a responsibility to protect its younger users, revealing that adverts for products like detox teas can have a damaging effect.

“The risks of quick-fix weight loss outweigh the benefits, and advertising these products without a health warning is damaging,” he said.

“Social media companies have a duty to stamp out the practice of individuals and companies using their platform to target young people with products known to risk ill health.”

Last year Kim Kardashian West was criticised for advertising appetite-suppressant lollipops, writing: “You guys… @flattummyco just dropped a new product. They’re Appetite Suppressant Lollipops and they’re literally unreal” in a now-deleted caption.

Ageism

A woman, 88, won her claim against the Royal Berkshire Hospital for unfair dismissal (AFP/Getty)

An 88-year-old woman has become the oldest person to win an age discrimination case.

Eileen Jolly was fired from her role as an NHS secretary at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading in January 2017 when she was 86 years old.

The dismissal came about after Ms Jolly allegedly failed to upload details of cancer patients into a new electronic database. Her employers claimed her poor performance was a result of her age. 

Ms Jolly said she felt “humiliated” and “degraded”, and proceeded to sue the Royal Berkshire NHS Trust on the basis of unfair dismissal.

On Wednesday, it was announced that she had won her claim and would be awarded compensation in October.

Judge Andrew Gumbiti-Zimuto, who ruled on the hearing, explained that Ms Jolly’s error might have been down to inadequate training.

Liam Neeson

The actor has been accused of racism for comments he made during an interview with The Independent (AP)

Liam Neeson faced accusations of racism this week over comments he made in an interview with The Independent.

The Taken star revealed he sought racially charged revenge after the rape of a loved on, admitting he tried to seek out a “black bastard” after learning the attacker was African American. 

“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody. I’m ashamed to say that, and I did it for maybe a week hoping some black bastard would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him,” he said.

Neeson’s story quickly went viral, with many people sharing their thoughts on social media. 

One user on Twitter asked: “Would Liam Neeson have that same energy if the attacker was white?” 

Following the controversy, Neeson appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America programme where he insisted: “I’m not a racist.” 

Some people came to the actor’s defence, including Whoopi Goldberg and former England football player John Barnes, who said Neeson should be “given a medal” for saying he had been ashamed of the incident.

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