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Corset's not true
Lisa O'Carroll and Michael Robson
It qualifies as possibly the daftest story of the year so far but, as we all know, one should never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
And let's face it, nobody was hurt. But at what point did Fleet Street hacks lose their collective marbles and fail to question reports that Kylie Minogue had a waist the size of a swollen ankle?
There will be a touch of schadenfreude among women when they realise that Kylie's waist is not, we repeat not, 16 inches - even with the help of a pearl-encrusted John Galliano corset.
It didn't matter that Murray Chalmers, Director of PR at Parlophone, has also denied the 16-inch claim, saying that the original statement he gave to the Daily Star about the "tiny" corset that Kylie would be wearing on her current tour did not give specific measurements. But let's face it. He's a PR for a showbusiness star and his protests weren't too heartfelt. Free publicity, for an ageing pop star, has got to be worth its weight in gold.
"Tightly Minogue, Design's corset will squeeze star's waist to just 16 inches," revealed the Star in its "exclusive" featuring he corset's creator, a man who is apparently huge in the corset industry - for shrinking women's waists - and goes only by the name Mr Pearl.
The Mail thought it was such a good story, it followed it up on Friday with "Sweet Sixteen: That's the number of inches in Kylie's waist with the help of a very tight corset."
And for good measure, it used her tiny waistline to twist the knife into another popstar - Posh Spice has also been given the Mr Pearl treatment, in the form of an 18-inch corset that she wore at her wedding. Got that? 18 inches. Very Daily Mail.
But there was more to come. The News of the World piled in on Sunday, as did the Sunday Mirror. "What a corr-set!" said the Screws, while the Mirror buried the detail of her 16-inch waist deep into its story as if it were, well, fact.
But shouldn't alarm bells have been raised by Monday, when the Daily Mail graphics department illustrated as MediaGuardian.co.uk does today, what the "actual size" of Kylie's tiny waist was on page 9?
In a just-in-case-you-missed-it story by the Mail yesterday, the text of the article is delivered within a tape measure showing that you can only just comfortably sit your coffee mug into the circumference of corseted Kylie.
Or a swollen ankle, as Vanessa Feltz says in her Daily Express column today.
Food for thought is provided by a small piece about Nigella Lawson, thrown into the bottom of the Mail analysis about how she feels liberated by her decision not to be thin. "But you know what it is?" says Nigella. "Long ago I decided that I didn't want to be very thin."
Thank goodness for that. But it's not quite over. The Guardian even got in on the act with a feature today asking if it was possible to achieve said measurement with the aid of a good tight corset.
So the last word in this flight of fantasy must go to Kylie herself:
"A 16-inch waist, wow! Even I would be amazed by that.Of course that is an exaggeration, but a showgirl should never reveal her actual measurements."
As stunts go, it was magnificent - everyone was a winner. The PRs have got publicity for her tour, the newspapers were able to run sexy pictures of one of the nation's favourite pop divas in a revealing outfit and an even better bonus - the story sprogged spin-offs keeping us all entertained for nearly a week .
Copyright : The Guardian
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