Thursday, January 31, 2008

rimmel, finally

So I have been waiting to put in my two cents on the new (not so new anymore!) Rimmel Underground Light Beam After Dark lip gloss. Phew...try saying that 10 times really fast. I wanted to wait and see how long the battery would last until I wrote to you. Well, I have had two tubes for about 6 months now. One is still going strong, the other, after I left it in my car in below freezing temperature, has fallen by the wayside along with my Ipod. I have been getting so many excited girls coming up to me and asking about my lip gloss when I whip it out and shine the flash that I thought it was finally time to squeal about it to all of you. Yes, it is very exciting indeed. It does not really add color, so I don't know what the hoopla about the different colored tubes is. But they all smell subtly of flower petals or chocolate confections--great for something you put on your lips.

My hair is growing out. I wanted bangs, did I tell you that yet? I guess I've succeeded. I am wearing a Marc Jacobs shirt from the sale, the wonderful silk wool blend in the most amazing fabric I have seen in a long time only cost $96 at 90% off. Anyway, judge for yourselves how much color the lip gloss adds. No color, really. But I like how the sheen isn't overpowering. I don't have very many make up products (most of my purchases come in the form of cleansers and lotions) and what I like, I stick to. I will always keep a tube of Rimmel in my bag, if only for the WOW factor.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

revolution in the air

from the sartorialist and the facehunter.

As an amateur fashion anthropologist, I like to reflect on seasons of years past. Street fashion has traditionally remained uninspired. If you trace the history of fashion design, you will find some designers, like Paul Poiret, who were surprisingly ahead of their time. He predicted avant-garde Japanese designers like Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamato while women were still stuffing themselves into corsets. Nowadays, with information traveling quickly through blogs, podcasts and the like, this is no longer true. Street fashion is on top of it's game, which is why blogs like The Sartorialist are ranked one of the "top 100 design influencers" by mainstream news outlets like Time Magazine. To me, outerwear gives a lot of information on the mood of the season and is therefore a very important piece of fashion history. Because a coat is something you are stuck wearing every day, it is less privy to moods and role playing. You may be feeling pure crap and stay in sweats, but your coat will typically remain standard for at least one year. I have noticed a big change in how people are dressing this winter compared to last, when everyone was military coat crazy. With the war on full force I was not surprised. This time around, there are many more deconstructed, sculptural pieces which evoke a mood of hushed rebellion. Listening to Bush's plummeting approval ratings has me wondering if this change is a national, nay, mutinational, expression of rebellion. Only time will tell. But fashion sure is a good litmus test of social mood, ain't it?

Monday, January 28, 2008

lee miller: le premier muse

Georges Lepape for Vogue 1927

Her strong bone structure, broad cheek bones and disarmingly wide set eyes have ingrained Lee Miller into the unfaltering image bank that is my memory. Every once in a while, I see something that feels so familiar that I know I have seen it before. Such was the case when I opened up a January issue of The New Yorker to a page with a bare chested woman wearing a net mask. That woman was Lee Miller and I knew I had seen her before. Years ago I saw a Man Ray exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I gazed fervently at all of the photos of Lee Miller. I couldn't take my eyes off the candidness and perfection of her figure in the pictures. There I was staring at a naked Miller, marble-like, akin to the statues lining the hall of Grecian art. We were so different, Miller and I, that I could have sworn we were different species. She human, and I, full of adolescent awkwardness, perhaps a gibbon. It was one of my first tastes of this sort of iconography. I was dazzled by the power that an image can hold over someone. I proffered myself at the altar of beauty, and I don't know if it was seeing Lee Miller that night that spurred me, but it sure didn't help. Sure, there would be countless others. For my 14th or 15th birthday, my mother took me to an Andy Warhol exhibit and I was enamoured with Edie Sedgwick. I was religious about working out to a Claudia Schiffer aerobics tape after those early 90's Guess ads. Hell, I have pictures of Charlotte Gainsbourg taped to my closet as I type this. But if my memory serves me well, I can say that Miller was perhaps the first woman who sold me a fantasy. You know the one I'm talking about--the fantasy that beauty can transform our rinse, lather and repeat existences into something mythical.

Man Ray 'Lee Miller' ca. 1930

I forgot about Lee Miller. Her photographs held more substance, yet they were uninteresting to a teenybopper. Her gaze prevented her from being taken in, there was always a reserve that prevented the same kind of voyeuristic consumption that, say, an Andy Warhol photograph procured. The cold, calculating and sterilized photographs of Man Ray did not match my aesthetic sensibilities, so my affair with Lee Miller would remain short lived.

George Hoyningen Huene 'Lee Miller Wearing Yraide Sailcloth Overalls' 1930

She had an extraordinary personal history. Like Edie Sedgwick, she grew up in a relatively affluent family (although not old American aristocracy) and had a history of sexual abuse under the guise of her father, who took nude photos of her with a stereoscopic camera well into her twenties and another man who raped her when she was seven. Her siblings, like those of Sedgwick's, were extremely troubled: one committed suicide, another cross-dressed. And Miller, in the words of the New Yorker article, was "a promiscuous hellion." She catapaulted her career from a Voguette to a war time correspondent and photographer. Miller had truly amazing knack for seduction and her, ahem, capabilities took her to some amazing places.

Lee Miller 'Self Portrait'

I look at these photographs now and see how influential she was and still is. Miller is like a fashion thoroughbred--a creature who makes everything, for lack of a better word, fabulous.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

daily obsession: liberty of london prints

Liberty of London was founded by Arthur Lazenby Liberty in 1875 as an oriental import emporium. In the 20th century, Liberty fabrics were used by the best known designers of each decade, from Paul Poiret to Yves Saint Laurent, from Cacharel to Jean Muir. Whenever you see a bright flower or paisley print on a vintage dress, you can bet your bottom dollar that it is a Liberty print. After my winning bid for the scarf, I became a little bit Liberty print crazed. I know what I'll be looking for at thrift stores from now on. I am hoping that I can find a short flower print tank dress or skort.

style icon: faye dunaway in bonnie and clyde

I am madly in love with Faye Dunaway's wardrobe from Bonnie and Clyde. The beret and bandanna around the neck look, like the one found in the third picture, is everywhere right now. Still, with a good plastic gun as a prop, this could be a great halloween costume. I was thinking just that when I ran across the perfect thing on ebay. So deep is my obsession, dear reader, that the third photo is my computer background.

Hopefully in a little over 3 hours, this Liberty silk scarf will be all mine and I can go back to looking for the perfect plastic pistol.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

pretty polly

Emily Bullock is an artist and jeweler who uses feathers from road kill and dead pets to create contemporary wearable art. The death of her parakeets inspired her to make the Budgerigar Brassiere, which won the Mac's Bizarre Bra award at the WorldofWearableArt in 2002. She gives the boys of Proenza Schouler and the countless others who use feathers on the runway a run for their money.


Friday, January 25, 2008


If I could teleport myself anywhere it would be to the University of Pennsylvania's House of Design's opening reception. The collection of work from senior graduate students promises to be spectacular. It contains a dizzying array of experimental work that breaches disciplines and dives into issues of time and space.

I am awed by the connections between architecture and fashion, now and always. How similar the processes of creating a garment and a building are only begins to hint at their connections. Much philosophical gumption has been bestowed on thinking about how people transform space and how architecture is effected and affects. The same can be said for clothes--they both metamorphose and are privy to being molded by the wearer. Couture is especially a wonderful example of the connections between fashion and architecture. Even superficially, the fine and intricate details recall the gentle fold of paper, a beautiful play on light and shadow or natural algorithmically determined shapes.

fire bird

This will be the first pair for sale. I am very pleased with them and whatever desire I have to keep them is gone because they are too big.

shoe update

I wasn't thrilled with the color combination before, so here is an updated version which I think i am happier with:

chloe sevigny for opening ceremony

So the Chloe Sevigny collection will be unveiling in Opening Ceremony on February 4th, exactly 10 days from now.

Here is an interview with Chloe by Refinery29's Lesley Arfin:

"Lesley Arfin: Everyone thinks you're a style genius. What was one of your favorite outfits in high school?
Chloë Sevigny: Gosh, that's tough. Lets say freshmen year since that's what I was drawing on for the collection. It would have been 1989. [I wore] my steel-toe wingtip Doc Martens with thigh-high black tights, and a white smock dress I bought at an outdoor flea market in Manhattan. I had this crazy dragon patch that I sewed to the breast part. I'd wear that with an Alice band and an oversized jean jacket, and maybe a black mock turtleneck if it was cold.

LA: What's the one article of clothing you absolutely can't live without?
CS: A gray cardigan. I like the oversized men's styles, slightly Mr. Rogers, preferably long enough to cover my ass, and with pockets I can shove my hands into when I get nervous in social situations, which is a constant. My close friend Bryce always says, 'What a surprise, you're wearing the ubiquitous cardigan.' I actually have seven.

LA: Is there anything you've coveted for a long time, fashion-wise, that you finally decided to splurge on?
CS: I've always been a frugal yank. Recently, though, I've decided to treat myself to the ultimate fashion splurge, an alligator handbag. I've been researching them and found a company in Texas called Alexander Knight who makes custom order bags with no hardware or labels, you can choose everything right down to the lining, then have your initials embossed or your name engraved on a silver plate and attached to the inside. Nice!

LA: Who are some of your fashion icons?
CS: Women who are outrageous yet effortless. Liz Goldwyn, Cecilia Dean, Angelica Houston, Marlene Dietrich, Debbie Harry, Poison Ivy, Slim Keith, Patti Smith—women who own their looks and themselves. Never looking uncomfortable in your outfit, or skin for that matter is a must.

LA: What is your favorite thing in your new line, Chloë Sevigny for Opening Ceremony?
CS: Probably the shoes. An ankle wedge can go so far—it's limitless.

LA: Who is your ideal customer?
CS: I hope there is something in the line that appeals to any and every kind of girl. Of course, a ripped-tight-wearing girl such as yourself would always hold more of an appeal to my eye.

LA: What music inspired your line?
CS: The Cramps, Johnny Thunders and Patti Palladin, Lizzie Mercier, The Slits, The Shangri La's.

LA: What movie character has the best style?
CS: Little Orphan Annie!!!!!! Christiane F., any character in a Fassbinber movie. Linda Manns in Out of the Blue, Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink, Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club, and Sally Bowles from Cabaret.

LA: What are some of your favorite clothing stores right now?
CS: I still mostly shop second hand. Tokyo 7 is always very reliable when in a bind. And I always like Resurrection, Cherry, Exquisite Costume, and Atomic Passion. As far as new retailers, I'd say Opening Ceremony and Barneys.

LA: If you had a pet kitten, what would you name it?
CS: Sabbath after the little girl in Flannery O'Conner's Wiseblood."

built by wendy

Built by Wendy is a NYC based line of women's and men's clothing and accessories. Their stuff reminds me of A.P.C.--good basics with a hipster twist. Well, any of you lucky enough to be in Chicago today have good news. The Chicago born Wendy is bringing her goods home...for a sample sale.
P.S.: The online store has lots of discounts too.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

pretty little things

I ran across the jewelry of Hannah-Clark while out shopping. I have my eye on the snake ring and hand necklaces. Her jewelry collections have been based on a range of inspirations, including Japanese Kimono fabrics, devotional art and the animal kingdom.

Hannah studied design with a focus in metals at Parsons School of Design in New York before going on to work for potter Jonathan Adler. She left there to focus full-time on her jewelry line, which started out in Fred Segal in Los Angeles and Collette in Paris. She's a really talented gal!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

klimt uncanny

I am getting so excited about the couture collections. Christian Dior's, in particular, is a walking picture.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

mcqueen, the divine

I know it's a little late to chime in and talk about how glorious McQueen's Spring 2008 collection was. So I won't talk.

Friday, January 18, 2008

one night in bangkok makes a hard man humble

On my 24th birthday at the end of December, I flew to Bangkok for a two-week tour of Thailand. I spent around four days in Bangkok and went south to experience some amazing beaches. I managed to go to the famed Khao Sok national park--the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world. In Bangkok I was stunned by the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, home to the giant 24k gold plated Buddha. Stepping inside the Grand Palace was like shrinking and walking into a jewelry box.

I am seeing some of this preciousness in Oscar de la Renta's and Dries Van Noten's Spring 2008 collections and I can't quite get over it...

You can see that the design influences of Oscar de la Renta and Dries Van Noten are different. Yet, there is this common thread of exotic primitivism and dainty exquisiteness that joins them together. It is much like the architecture in Bangkok, which gets in influences from eastern neighbors like China and western neighbors like India.
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