Sunday, February 28, 2010

LFW, IMO - A Pinch Of This And A Dash Of That

My last post was filled to the brim with negativity...sorry about that.  I haven't seen most of the fall 2010 collections but from the New York collections I actually looked through, I wasn't too impressed.  Thank goodness we have those designers across the pond.  Is it just me, or do London designers really bring it every season?

I was amazed by Mary Kantrantzou's spring collection and when I saw the first look from her fall collection, I thought okay more printed dresses...  The graphics held that signature Kantrantzou froth but all the metallic details really made for an ornate rococo-styled collection.  As if these prints didn't already do the trick, the addition of poofy frills and geometric metal accents added even more dimension to each dress.

OH MY GOSH, Christopher Kane combined everything I love with such aplomb, creating my favorite collection so far! (Note that I've yet to see any of the Milan collections) Should I have been reading my textbook instead of perusing this collection in the library?  Probably...those students who were hard at work from a distance probably took it that I was ogling a bunch of 6-foot-tall models in jealousy.  The silhouette of each ensemble was so chic and the black leather was so badass.  When was the last time you've seen a designer mashing together leather, embroidery, florals, studs, and lace?  Mark this in your fashion history books...

You can't ignore those shoes, by the way.

1. Woke up at 8AM to watch the live stream of the Burberry Prorsum show! If that doesn't seem early, I was working on homework until 2AM!  Oh the things I do for fashion...  Though everyone's lusting for those awesome aviator jackets (with some hitting the web immediately after the show to make orders), I found this fuzzy coat more intriguing. Watch out for teddy bear costumes next Halloween.

2. Erdem once again featured some dreamy prints, but I love these lace dresses the most.  The layers of lace edges resembled a pretty pile of autumn leaves, a signature motif in this collection.

3. With a review that mentions digitized liberty florals and paisley prints, wouldn't it make sense for the website to include detail shots of the Peter Pilotto collection?  All we have is are these full ensemble shots...which are still pretty good. Love how that red fabric was woven (can't think of the right word?) around the metallic leather.

4. Mark Fast introduced a plus-sized line-up for his last collection but this season, his show featured models of all sizes, with recognizable faces such as Hyoni Kang, Anouck Lepere, and Crystal Renn.  Consequently, working out the sizes of each ensemble was probably a bitch, and at times, it showed.  But overall, this was another impressive collection of body-conscious dresses.  Lady Gaga better take it easy.

Trends observed: Untamed fur (not pictured above), lace, asymmetry, leather, shiny/metallic accents

Images: T Magazine Blog,, Coutorture

Thursday, February 25, 2010

NYFW, IMO: Stick With What You Know

So...look who's back.  Hell week did in fact ensue!  Then Hell Half-Week followed.  Life is interesting when you feel the need to do something more important than reading blogs...with the exception of checking Tumblr, of course.  Now that I'm back in the blogosphere with some time to spare, I'm finally going to look at how my New York Fashion Week predictions fared this season.  I suppose I'm way behind since I checked Twitter just yesterday and saw that an exhausted Joe Zee was setting for Milan!  Guess I have tons of catching up to do...STARTING NOW.

!  SO PRETTY!  Did anyone watch the show's live stream?  Honestly, while I watching the video (post-live stream) I wasn't too impressed.  The looks seemed like same old Rodarte (twisted fabrics, crochet, patchwork, etc.).  This is why watching a fashion show online is incomparable to watching a fashion show miss all the details.  Didn't see the beautiful variety of floral and plaid patterns, the embellished white mesh leggings, the mohair cuffs, the crochet flowers, the hair pieces...  You need to pay attention to the details to truly appreciate a collection.  I guess I was thinking of spring 2009 when I predicted pastel gradients for this "dreamy" collection.  I was only right in predicting the material (chiffon).
And woah...Jason Reitman was at the show?  He spoke at my school about Up In The Air, which I saw about a month or two before it hit theaters thanks to my media professor.  Didn't get to see his lecture even though my professor told my TA to let our class out early for it grrr. 

Alexander Wang, oh how you confuse me.  Before I get into that, let me just say that...yes my predictions were totally off.  Alexander focused on the business side of Wall Street while all I could think of that pertained to the business mecca were those sad, frustrated, and sometimes broke stock traders.  The designer deconstructed the standard business suit to give it that signature Wang sex appeal and at the same time, added fur, lace, leather, and velvet into the mix.  My head's spinning. My little cousin (Tavi's age, just about) was watching the live stream of the show with me and in reaction to seeing those tuxedo tail coats that looked more like randomly sewn-on ribbons, she screamed "WHY ARE THEY THERE??"  I don't know.  It's always nice to experiment but I just cannot grasp what Alexander Wang originally envisioned for this collection.  The velvet and chenille (UGH) were just so cheap and tacky, like something I'd find at a Macy's clearance rack. But the ruched mesh cocktail dresses were actually pretty cool, setting the velvet aside at least.

Thakoon's collection was PETA's nightmare.  Fur was pretty much in every other look, whether it was in the form of a jacket or an ankle warmer.  So I guess the fuzzy-wuzziness of this whole collection was what Thakoon was referring to as "softcore".  The overall color palette was dark though I predicted mild colors. 

I suppose the last white dresses which were my absolute FAVORITE looks could fit the description of mildly colored.  I love the knotted belts and the imperfect ruching. So unfussy and pleasant and REALLY nice to see after viewing Alexander Wang's collection.  I'm surprised that these looks can be categorized under winter clothing, though.  Perhaps fit for a winter in Southern California.  We'll save you some fur, East Coasters.

I swear that when I first saw Phillip Lim's inspiration word, "cut", I thought it was referring to the cut of a garment.  Then I thought, no, no, that's too boring, what would be a literal interpretation of cut...PEEK-A-BOO SLITS, YES, THAT'S IT.  Maybe making these quick predictions while ogling the boys in a second viewing of Help! was not a good idea.  I liked this collection slightly more than Phillip's spring collection mainly because of the disco theme (not that I listen to disco) and those flowy asymmetrical dresses.  They seem very fit for a sensual perfume ad (lending some ideas to Phillip!).  But overall, I was a bit disappointed in the lack of innovation.  At one point, I actually had to check that I wasn't mistakenly looking at a Spring 2010 image.

What else can I say, though?  We're always seeing carbon copies in fashion.  It's not always a bad thing but it definitely doesn't satisfy my thirst for a sartorial surprise.  One big thing I must commend Phillip for is that his show featured a diverse cast of models, at least a LOT more diverse than the usual.  It's nice to know that at least one designer out there recognizes the broad spectrum of fashion lovers.  More on this later.

Erin Fetherston's collection was really boring and none of my predictions fared well.  Okay, next time I WILL be catching up!

Trends Observed: LOTS OF FUR, unfussy classics

Image sources: Eddie Newton,

Monday, February 15, 2010

Links à la Mode

links a la mode

The Anti-Fashion Week

Edited by Dramatis Personae

That isn’t to say that I’m against Fashion Week… but more that this week’s Links á la Mode just really isn’t focused on it. With amazing interviews from kaKofoniesOfsi(gh)lens, Fashion in My Eyes, and Eternal Masquerade to great features on vintage clothing from Retro Chick and Unfunded, there’s as much fabulousness on off the catwalk as on.

Maybe it’s bitterness that I’ll be missing out on NYFW for the 3rd season in a row or maybe it’s my gentle heart preventing you all from Fashion Week burnout too soon…which it is, I’ll never tell.

Note from Editor : Please be sure to check out the IFB Conference at NYFW : Evolving Influence

Links à la Mode: February 11th

  • – How Designers Really View Their Customers
  • A Typical Atypical: – I chat about how hard it must be to love fashion and be blind, and I question whether there ought to be a charity dedicated to helping people feel good about how they look even if they can’t see it in the mirror.
  • Cafe Fashionista: – Style Secrets: Symbol of Style. A how-to on creating your very own trademark/signature look.
  • dramatis personae – How to Pack for Mardi Gras!
  • Eternal Masquerade: – Interview with young designer, and Teen Vogue/CFDA/Target scholarship winner, Jennifer Huang.
  • Fab Blab: – Even after all these years, we continue to differentiate between dark and fair. How does this affect the fashion industry adversely?
  • Fashion Cents: – Seven Style Basics that EVERYONE should know! Make sure you are not committing these style “sins.”
  • fashion in my eyes: – Fashion is supposed to be fun! Interview with designer Arina Varga
  • Haute World: – A Mad Tea Party? An exclusive look at how 9 luxury designers interpret Alice in Wonderland for French department store Printemps.
  • Instant Vintage: – Blood, Sweat & T-Shirts: Learning the true cost of that cheap and chic outfit you just scored.
  • kaKofonie Of si(gh)lenS: – Interview with Anna Osterlund of Ravishing Mad
  • Model Max: – Are ‘respectable’ fashion writers insecure with ‘upstart amateur’ fashion bloggers?
  • Oranges and Apples: – Is fashion oppressive or fun? some belated thoughts on Tanya Gold hating fashion
  • Rags to Reverie: – Vivienne Westwood showed that fashion forwardness could be inspired by the past
  • Retro Chick: – Top tips to on the spot dating of Vintage Clothes
  • THE COVETED: – Devil’s Advocate : blogging and corporate seeding
  • The Fashion Planner: – DIY: How to Make Naughty Granny Panties for Valentine’s Day!
  • the musings of ondo lady: – Back in 2006 Slave to Fashion, a three part documentary was aired on Channel 4 which took a really good look at the fashion industry.The aim was to make sense of the multi billion industry which everyone from the media to consumers seemed to be obsessed w
  • The Recessionista: – an hour ago Rebecca Taylor & Milly: Fashion Week Inspiration
  • Unfunded: – Photos and thoughts from the Vintage Fashion Expo in Santa Monica, CA.The

Saturday, February 13, 2010

NYFW SS2010 - Give Me A Hint!

I promised myself that I would get this done before Saturday...and I did!  Sort of.  It's 12:30AM right now.  This is the last post before hell week begins.  Another one might follow after BUT ANYWAY.  Another season, another round of predictions!  With The Cut's seasonal One Word Inspiration post, I've made some educated guesses of what New York Fashion Week shall bring us for Fall 2010.

Excluding that awesome machine washable blazer, Phillip Lim's last collection wasn't the most innovative.  I just had to feature his label in my predictions again, as his Spring 2007 collection is partly why I started getting into fashion in the first place.  With cut as his inspiration word, my best guess is that Phillip slashed his fall collection with peek-a-boo slits.  Also, I don't think the designer is done experimenting with unusual fabrics so there's a chance that Phillip's collage inspiration for spring will find its way into the fall collection.

Thakoon's inspiration simply brings light nudes to mind, but there was plenty of that in his spring collection.  The clothes included the perfect mix of hues, so maybe the designer is further exploring color combinations.  Softcore suggests that the colors will be mild, but that doesn't mean they're not capable of stunning onlookers.

I'm only including Erin Fetherston in my predictions because poetess is 1. so typical for Erin  2. can be replaced by a clever made-up word like poette.  So much cuter than poetess, right??  Also, I kind of liked Erin's spring collection.  It was expectedly girly, but it carried a dash of elegance.  So for fall, can we expect clothes that are slightly literary?  Words embroidered on skirts?  How exactly does a poetess dress?  In nineteenth century gowns à la Emily Dickinson?  Or a slim black leotard topped off with a beret?  I'd actually like to see Erin's interpretation of that.

Not to flatter myself or anything, but my predictions for Rodarte's Spring 2010 collection were pretty much spot-on, though I still didn't know what I was in for.  Let's see if I can do well this time around...dreams.  The word associated with Rodarte gets me all giddy!  Each of their collections are already so dreamy so I wonder how it can get anymore dream-like.  Pastels melting into gradients?  I can imagine that they might use plenty of light material.  Tulle?  Chiffon?  Silk?  Oh, the anticipation...

Alexander Wang's inspiration really leaves me guessing...  Perv was a pretty shocking word for his last collection but the fact that it was Alexander's inspiration was not at all surprising.  I know nothing of Wall Street, though my great uncle has made quite a lot from trading stocks (in China).  Also, I've never been to the East Coast and my studies of the Great Depression (and American history in general) tell me nothing.  What I can associate with Wall Street?  Concrete...people yelling...occasional tears...which gets me thinking that Alexander's collection might be symbolic of THE R WORD.  That's right...recession.  We can look for short hems (very typical for the label, but also to "save money" on material), intentionally soiled fabrics, and maybe the old newspaper boy caps.  I know, I'm just throwing things out there, aren't I?

Image sources: Backstage at Jason Wu via The Moment,  Extra design-ey stuff added by meeeeee.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

RIP Alexander McQueen

A few weeks ago, I fumbled with a hairnet I was supposed to wear at my workplace.  I stretched the web of thread over my head and the elastic fell over my face such that my hair stuck to my forehead and cheeks. It was a strangely familiar look that originated at a fashion show. But which one? Just yesterday, I saw a picture of Alyona Osmanova wearing a draped fringe dress that shined in dark silver tones. She also wore that same hairnet style I thought of not too long ago. Where did all this come from?

I logged onto the internet today and came upon a short but devastating paragraph.

I didn’t ponder over the identity of the mystery designer any longer. At this moment, Alexander McQueen and his legacy are in all of our minds.

Fall 2006

Spring 2007. Tim Blanks praises McQueen's individuality.

Make-shift memorial outside the Alexander McQueen store in New York City

Shalom Harlow and spray-painting robots in Alexander McQueen for Givenchy Spring 1999

Outside the Alexander McQueen store in New York City

Fall 1997

Fall 2006

"People always ask me why I don't stick around after the show, but stick around for what? I never go to my after-show party. I've been a rock kid. I've done all that madness. Things change. I know what kind of world I work in, and I find the social and political side of it incredibly stressful. I'm now in a position where I don't have to play the game, and I choose not to. I visit. I don't stay."
-Alexander McQueen

Image sources:,, Vogue Paris' Twitter, dior_courture1245 of tFS

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

'Tis the Season of the Spectator

Fashion Week starts preeeetty soon (for many, the festivities have already begun). I wanted to kick off Fashion Week in my own little way by writing a post for my NYFW predictions.  But until I read The Cut's seasonal One Word Inspiration post, chocked full of hints, I haven't a clue of what's in store for Fall 2010.  You never know what could happen in fashion!  HOWEVER, I do know that quite a few designers are taking their shows to the net!  A number of shows will be streamed live on the internet and you will be able to watch them from the comfort of your own home!  The surreal position of sitting amongst the fashion elite and being one of the first to watch next season's collection walk down the runway has become a reality!  Or at least a virtual reality.  Christopher Bailey of Burberry and Alexander McQueen both started this trend last season and hopefully the buffering rates won't be as frustrating this season.  Here are a few shows you've been invited to:

Ports 1961
Thursday, February 11 

Alexander Wang
Saturday, February 13
Marc Jacobs 
Monday, February 15 
8PM EST (very subject to change, as history has shown)

Tuesday, February 16

Proenza Schouler
Wednesday, February 17

Calvin Klein
 Thursday, February 18
3PM EST and Facebook

Central St. Martins MA
 Sunday, February 21
5:30PM EST

Burberry Prorsum
 Tuesday, February23

Stay tuned for more invites!

Get Fashion Week updates from the streets, the front row, and even backstage!  Follow the Fashion Weekers Twitter list!

Image: Vogue Italia January 2007 cover featuring Sasha Pivovarova and...I forget?!?!?, photographed by Steven Meisel with a bit of my own Photoshopping.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Watteau Meets Westwood

Initially, the title of this post was "Rococo Ready-To-Wear" but I thought that would be a bit deceiving, now that the name of Coco Rocha's clothing line is out.  Moving on...
I love learning about history's many art movements but I find that those significant artistic forms are often overshadowed by today's ostentatious creations (hello, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst).  Recently, I've noticed that many modern artists are digging into the past to unearth something that they can possibly remix and re-present to  the masses.  Vivienne Westwood proved that she perfected this technique with her famous Watteau gown that premiered at her Spring 1996 showcase.

I applied for an internship with an art museum a few weeks back and as a result, I thought of possible out-of-the-ordinary interview questions I might be asked.  Suddenly, I asked myself...what if they ask me to name my favorite artists?  So I frantically mouthed out every artist I admired, even at the slightest.  One of them was Jean-Antoine Watteau but I forgot which of his paintings I liked so much while I was studying the Rococo movement.  Upon Googling 'Watteau', the search results you see in the image above popped up — 18th century paintings bunched up aside half-blonde, half-brunette Linda Evangelista.  The green and burgundy colors of the voluminous gown she wore somehow reproduced Watteau's signature misty hues. But what did this dress have to do with the artist of interest? 

After I found the name of the painting I was thinking of (L'Enseigne de Gersaint, 1720) I clicked through the image and found Lauren Polmer's art blog (which has moved here).  She wrote a wonderful piece that sums up how the relationship of the garment to Watteau and Westwood's spring show entitled 'Les Femmes ne Connaissent pas toute leur Coquetterie' ('Women do not understand the full extent of their coquettishness').  Though the masses are often crying for innovation, looking at the past for inspiration really isn't all bad.  Maybe rococo isn't as attention-grabbing as massive balloon dogs and animatronic figures, but that's where a great innovator should come in and reveal the often-overlooked beauty in historical artwork.  Rococo missed the attention it used to get, and Westwood saw that.  Thus she made Watteau fit for high fashion in the '90s.