Friday, February 29, 2008
Sharen Turner, CEO of Victoria's Secret says that their company has gotten "too sexy" for its own good. She says that "We've...really forgotten [our heritage], the ultra-feminine," and it's hurting their bottom line. Profits have fallen 12% in the last year. Ms. Turner says that the hyper-sexed image of Victoria's Secret has "out-paced" that of their customers; their customers are not connecting as well to their brand as they used to.
After the success of their dormwear line, Pink, they've decided that better quality and an increased focus on femininity is the way to get their customers back. I tend to agree. While I like to get my bras there because they provide the best fit and last longer than average, I am definitely averse to their "eff me, stranger" ads and in-store posters. Even though I think their clothing can be cute at times, I don't buy it, largely because I'm afraid I'll come off too eff-tastic.
Supposedly, "Victoria" is an English woman who grew up in a manor. I look forward to what Victoria's Secret puts out (lol) with this new focus on a more buttoned-up femininity.
Get the whole story Yahoo!News.
Okay, I don't need to look at any more fashion shows, I've seen my favorite. Hussein Chalayan's show didn't feature the best frocks necessarily, but the show itself was perfectly executed for the designs featured.
A vocal choir stood in the wings while they beatboxed, wailed, honked, shushed and sounded all primordial. The clothes were predominantly black and grey, with some mossy green and rose pink thrown in for good measure towards the end... to symbolize the evolution of a stone planet into one with plants and flesh? Some dresses featured rocks-as-straps, and several cheekily-huge Pebbles Flintstone-style necklaces showed up as well.
The finale of the show featured two models wearing a frame of moving lights, walking slowly down the dimmed catwalk. Meant to represent the Big Bang, and it was striking moment.
The primal sounds of the vocal group were not only well-executed, but somehow funny in the same way that a child talking loudly about something we don't want to hear is. Teamed with the clothes, it was a moving sensation, very fun, and nearly every model was sporting a huge grin throughout the show (Style.com thought this was nice change of pace, too). It made me like Coco Rocha a lot more, too... somehow felt that this was fashion for "all of us", as a species.
Check out the video!
Combat boots? Check. Ditsy Florals? Check. Large Hat? Check. Air of dishevelitude? Check.
I, for one, am feeling challenged, yet psyched. A waist-cinching belt is easy, but hard to do much but look good in.
Grunge is, by it's attitude-based nature, more difficult, but easy to do everything but get a job in. Unless you work at Empire Records. I'm ready!!!!!
In what was a poorly received show, Viktor and Rolf showed a collection of grey separates, most notable big, drapey coats with three-dimensional captions sewn into them, larger than life. "No" was the theme of the show, they say, because they believe that the fashion merry-go-round is moving too fast and they just want to get off.
As much as fashion lives by charging forth, there is a lot to be said by bowing out of the rat race for a bit. For pause gives itself to play, and imagination, when our greatest ideas are born. By "bowing out" Viktor and Rolf have created a show that I thought was quite fun, indeed. If I had the means, this "No" coat would be mine, even if to show-stop for one day. And in more ways than one, show-stop was exactly what they did.
P.S.--- peep those boots!
[image from www.style.com]
Thursday, February 28, 2008
....Whew! It's 5 a.m. and I'm just passing the finish line on my Historicism project. It is probably the hottest piece I've done in awhile.
Now that I can let my brain spin its wheels here for a moment, I decided to tackle the hard questions. Can tights with shorts ever be cool? My thought is no, but I've been catching so many undeniably chic renditions on sites like Wardrobe Remix and Facehunter that I have to admit that its catching on and looking pretty good...
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
A lot of modern jewelry draws its inspiration from the Victorian era, 1837-1901. Lockets, jet, chandelier earrings and bird motifs were popular then, and are now. Pictured above, Victorian-era marcasite sparrows for sale at www.lulusvintage.com. Above that, a modern necklace for sale at www.modcloth.com.
[marcasite sparrow image at http://www.lulusvintage.com/
accessories/index.html, Modcloth image at http://www.modcloth.com
Before grunge really took hold and muddied fashion's palette for the next decade, the early nineties continued to embrace the bright colors of the decade before it. Colorful, often fluorescent t-shirts with high-energy graphics paired with Umbros shorts and scrunchies were the de rigeur styling of many the casual 90's man, woman and child. Above are 2 tshirts currently for sale at Delia's. Below, a still from the classic 90's TV show show and fashion inspiration, "Clarissa Explains It All", on air from 1991-1994.
[Clarissa image sourced from http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Makeup/9155/MJH/CEIA.html
Delia's tshirts located at http://store.delias.com/browse.do?
Above, a fashion plate dated 1910-1913, featuring a fur trimmed cape. Below, a fur-trimmed cape from Vivienne Westwoods Fall '08 collection.
[Fashion plate from http://www.fashion-era.com/la_belle_epoque_1890-1914_fashion.htm. Vivienne Westwood photo from www.style.com.]
Fashion today, as evidenced by the onslaught of leggings, bangles, and slouchy boots is one big 80's redux. I narrowed the playing field down to blazers. Check out this still from the 1987 flick, "Working Girl". Both Sigourney and Melanie sported wide, padded shoulders with reverse-triangular (masculine) silhouettes ending in narrow, near hip-width hems. Usually paired with a straight, kneelength skirt, this is the look the launched 1,000 TPS Reports.
While other 1980's inspirations have been fleshed out to screaming success, the big-shoulder trend continues its campaign with little result. Vivienne Westwood trotted out quite a few heavily-padded blazers for her latest collection. I love 'em, but I never needed conversion.... Padded blazers, in their proper application are one of my favorite, all-time looks.
A girl came up to me at work and confessed that she had never worn skinny jeans, but now that she was used to seeing them, she thought that maybe she would try them and wanted to buy a pair. I told her that as soon as you're "used to" seeing something, it's no longer fashionable, and I steered her towards the wide-legged, trouser-style jeans that are capsizing skinny jeans' boat.
Here is a pic of one of Bill Blass' androgynous suits for Fall '08, drawing heavy on the Seventies in every way but the hair. The pants are what I'll focus on for this entry. Fitting a bit higher on the waist and with a long, lean line and in a gleaming, liquid fabric. The historical pic features a probable source of Mr. Blass' inspiration, however in this first incarnation, as a knit.
[70's pic from http://employees.oneonta.edu/angellkg/1970.html,
Bill Blass photo from www.style.com]
The invention of the mini skirt made stockings -- the type that were held up by garters -- obsolete. Enter tights. Tunics, jerkins and minis worn with brightly colored or patterned tights were the way to go. Pictured here, a pair of hand-screen printed tights by Darlene available from Posh Girl Vintage.
Also pictured, one of many styles of wildly patterned tights from Anna Sui's Fall '08 collection.
[Posh Girl Vintage image located at http://www.poshgirlvintage.com/accessories/
60TightsORANGE/60DarleneOrange.html. Anna Sui image located at www.style.com.]
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
On the left, a design by Yves St. Laurent for Dior in 1959. The bubble-skirt made a splash (is that a pun?) then, and has also been quite conspicuous today, although in slightly more deflated shapes of late. On the right, a bubble skirt by Rachel Pally available at Nordstrom.com.
[Dior image located at http://www.operagloves.com/Fashion/
1950sFashion/50sfashions12.html, Nordstrom image located
Spectators, oxfords and other iconic shoe styles of the 30's are back in full force. I, for one am loving the tailored look. Pictured are Steve Madden's "Notting" style shoe (I just bought the wine color, and on clearance for $35!).
On the right, a page from Sears' 1934 Catalog from the delightful www.costumes.org. Oh, for the days of shoes that cost $2.99!
[Sears image located at http://www.costumes.org/history/20thcent/
I have officially discovered Polyvore, a site whose function as far as I can tell is to create outfit sets and share them with other users. It's ridiculously simple to use and fun as hell. I better firewall it or I'll have no reason to leave my computer, ever. ;D My only suggestion is that one should be able to upload the clothes they want to, instead of pick from the already supplied images (although there are probably bazillions).
Behold! My creation!!!
Behold! My creation!!!
On the left, a beautiful beaded vintage dress for sale at Vintage Textile. On the right, Zac Posen's lovely and literal take on Flapper fashions; dropwaisted, sequinned, and fringed, and a little trompe l'oeil for good measure.
[image on left from www.vintagetextile.com/1920s_to_1930s.htm. Image on right from www.style.com]
Monday, February 25, 2008
One of my classes this quarter is about historic costume, and our final project involves finding clothing currently in collections or in stores that reflect clothing of previous decades. The challenge is to find 10 different items (you can't have 2 dresses!), from 10 different periods or decades (not a dress and shoes from the 1960's). My next few posts will be of the images I'm thinking of using for my project.
First up! The 1940's. In Urban Outfitters' online store, the pictured turban. Turbans were popular in the 40's, both as part of a classy, esoteric evening ensemble and for working around the house. The next picture is the cover of a 1940's-era Simplicity pattern. Found this at http://risingfeenix.com. There are hundreds of fantastic vintage patterns here that I would love to use/draw inspiration from!
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Had a most excellent thrift excursion today with ma boo... pictures to come but it's all gone to the laundromat for now. Most of what I came up with was housewares related; a vintage yellow colander, a creepy/cute Japanese bulldog statue from the 70's, a sweet, velvety textile with bears drinking water in the woods (I KNOW!), pictured.
The place was PACKED with beautiful, vintage aprons. That, and sassy, flat 80's boots (all in size 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 though, sigh) and vintage Adidas jackets. I know... I should start an Ebay store... well, if I find myself with a little more space and a little more time, it's on.
Here I am on the antiques portion of the afternoon, displaying a game of... um... a game of... oh, and my new, short (!) asymmetrical (if you can't tell) 'do, in my newly purchased coat, originally $380, paid $52. Oh, yahhh.....
Am I the only one that thinks that Kate Moss is irrelevant? The shoes in the spread (ha) she does in this month's W Mag are worth showcasing, Kate not so much.
Not to get all Jezebel-y on ya, but when it comes to anti-femme fashion, W seems to be one of the biggest offenders. Every fashion feature contains disembodied-looking, dead-eyed girls in lecherous/crumpled over poses. It's passe as hell and certainly not inspiring. If fashion is about selling a dream, why are so many editorials look like coked-out crime scenes?
Kate, get home to your kid.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
After spending the last few months getting my hair carefully cut to grow out gracefully, and having it now at near-shoulder length, I'm getting it cut back off tomorrow. It's not that I can't wait, it's that the corner of my brain reserved for musings on hair lengths has been a warzone of indecision. You see, I have a love/hate relationship with long hair.
I'm lucky enough that, when my hair is long, it's thick and shiny. When my hair is short, I have fantasies of being a girlish, long-haired bohemian lass, or saucy and Bardot-ish, that having long hair will somehow maximize my feminine potential. Also, it would unite me with the majority of chicks (on campus at least) with long, straight hair. But of course, long hair has its reality, which is split-ends, lack of volume, tangles, long styling time, and loose hairs in drains, on the bottom of your shoe, on a pillow.... finding long hairs is one of the things that grosses me out the most.
To me, short hair feels assertive, fun and fashionable; a proper match to how I regard myself. When my hair is longer, I don't feel that way. I feel heavy, like I'm covering myself up. Above is the inspiration pic I hand to my stylist. Circular layers, heavy texturizing, feminine, and nape-length in back.
[image from www.becauseimaddicted.blogspot.com]
Saturday, February 16, 2008
I just gleaned this article from the boingboing.net, about a newly invented garment called the "Charming Burqa". For Muslim women who wear a burqa, but long to transmit something about their appearance to the outside world, comes the Bluetooth-enabled Charming Burqa. The wearer can choose how an avatar to transmit to mobile phones, so that the viewer can "see" who they are (even though this avatar may not at all reflect the wearer's appearance), and all without breaking the laws of the Quran.
Check out the full story at http://www.digital.udk-berlin.de/en/projects/summer07/haupt/bodytech/charmburka.html
Thursday, February 14, 2008
So, I wanted to be all down-home for my love on Valentine's day, so I made him a card and a teddy bear. I envisioned one of those cute Japanese softies when I was making it, but he just kept getting skinnier and stranger the more I sewed. But I think he's still cute and funny, and we've just spent so much time together and all... I even stuffed a felt heart inside of him. Doesn't he remind you of how "The Simpsons" were drawn on the Tracy Ullman show?
The Clintons are in Ohio, campaigning on the Ohio State University campus. Here's Chelsea rockin' the blazer and skinny jeans combo, looking very much a student herself (bingo!). Here's me, getting into the spirit wearing red, yellow (and on my sweater which isn't showing up) and blue in honor of the Primaries.
[photo via www.thelantern.com, by Charlie Mars-Mahlau]
This year, I want to channel some 1930's glamour into my swim-related undertakings with a maillot without spending $100 on it... when paired with jeans and gold heels, an intrepid street combination.
A few of my faves:
Top Left: American Apparel, $45
Right: Victoria's Secret, $60
Bottom Left: Alloy, $42.50
Monday, February 11, 2008
There are those who insist that leggings are pants, and can be worn with a short shirt. I am not one of those.
However, using some of American Apparel's black lame leggings as stand-in for leather pants, when worn with heels and unstructured tops is a decided Yes-- sexy, easy... economical!
[pics via Facehunter.com and Fashiontoast.com]