Showing posts with label Fashion Features. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fashion Features. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Seeing Double

Having a déjà vu moment
In many cases, imitation is the best form of flattery. This is often true in fashion: how nice it must feel to be the mind behind a trend that launched lookalikes (or, in simpler words, a trendsetter). Surely the Olivia Palermos, Mary Kate and Ashley Oslens and Karl Lagerfelds of the world take at least some pride in their sartorial creations that spread like wildfire. 

Although as far as product creation and design goes, while copying an idea might be flattering, it also infringes on certain creative rights. Intellectual property, copyrights, patents–it's all about protecting what's yours. Is it fair that another piggybacks off your success? I recently listened to a This American Life podcast about the inner workings of patents. It's an interesting institution, to say the least, although I'm not going to venture into that realm of discussion because a. it hurts my head, b. it has little to do with fashion and more to do with business and tech and c. because there is entirely too much legal jargon involved (hence head-hurting). 

It's not a secret that trends move from the runways down to mainstream stores. How would us mere mortals be able to take part in the graphic black and white, peplum, pointed-shoe trends without that? In part, I think that's one of the functions of high fashion: to inspire mass-produced brands to follow suit.

Often, there are cases that go past this norm, which leads to what appears to be utterly complete imitation. 

I think I was first affected by this phenomenon with J.Crew's bubble necklaces. A few years ago, they were, as I've heard from a friend, brought back on the market by the company, and became a huge hit. They were everywhere, and everyone wanted them. Despite that J.Crew is known for affordability, the necklace rang in at about $150–a price I thought was a little steep for a necklace made of metal and plastic, even if it was gold-plated. 

Naturally, some clever product designer came up with the idea to create a similar necklace– so similar as to not solicit a difference from its original "designer" necklace– at a price the general people could afford. What does that sound like? A lot of business. 

I know this isn't a new idea. In the food and drug industries (for clarity: not the illegal kinds of drugs), cheaper generic brands are the norm. I almost always buy the generic brand of Claritin, but that's because it's chemically exactly the same as the real thing. When it comes to potato chips, though, I'll never buy the generic, because, in my opinion, it's simply not as good. (Food is very important to me.) 

I've done a bit of research, and have found three non-J.Crew necklaces (pictured on the right side) that have an eerily similar appearance to those from J.Crew (pictured on the left side). Am I defending J.Crew because I have an unabashed love for the Blythe blouse and everything Jenna Lyons does? Well, maybe. At the end of the day, discounting competitiveness, it must feel good to be a J.Crew jewelry designer. 

The blatant copying of things really creates a catch-22 type situation. On one hand, as I've said above, I'm all for brands staying true to their creative integrity, and only creating things that stem from original designs. On the other hand, my snarky inner self wouldn't mind paying less for something that looks exactly the same. If I'm being dramatic, I'd say it's a battle of my  conscience vs. bank account. 

With the Internet, particularly Pinterest, it's easy to be "inspired" by something. People throw the world "inspiration" around all the time, but what does it really mean? It could mean "I like this," "I want to do something like this," "This idea brings me to a new idea" or "I want to do something exactly like this." It's a slippery, slippery slope,  being inspired by something versus duplicating it.

Everyone is guilty of copying (or at least really, really wanting to) a good idea. I know I am. What the heart of this piece is getting at principally comes down to this: where has creativity gone?

"Believe in who you are, and do what you love. Do not try to copycat people. You can be influenced by people, but do not do a photocopy of someone else's work. There is no limit to imagination, you just have to let it grow. That's the important thing—that's what people see at the end of the day, when you're true to yourself. If you're just a big copy, you can please [when it comes to] marketing and money and blah blah blah, but you can't stay for a long time when you're not being dictated by what you love deeply."
-Christian Louboutin on the Coveteur

Image credits: Top, John Rawlings for Vogue in March 1956; jewelry images on left from J.Crew 

Thursday, June 6, 2013


What goes around, comes around

Fast fashion is great in that it allows for a quick succession of trends to parade by in a given season. It's (often) cheap, easily replaced and, just a few years later, perhaps regretted by its previous owner. Don't lie – you know you've stalked yourself on Facebook pre-2010 and wondered: "What, of all things, was I thinking? Wearing?

Fast fashion is fun, but the classic article will always reign supreme in my mind. I'm not sure why, but I've always had a thought of my future children and grandchildren rummaging through my old clothes, shoes and accessories, pulling out pieces that were, and still are, remarkably wearable. Maybe it's that I'm hoping to be a cool mom or grandma. Maybe it's a secret incentive for me to buy nice things that will last forever. Or maybe, it's the notion that there's something special about things that never go out of style. 

And here we are: Jean Shrimpton in a '60s Vogue UK shoot, wearing a lushly printed floral shirt, simple white skirt and low-slung pointed heels. Recalling recent runway shows, in comparison, sparks a reverse deja vu. Pointed shoes are boldly back – in flats, low heels and higher (Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton). Florals, while not presently new, are nonetheless here again. And a white skirt – whether pencil or mini – will never be gone. 

Photo: Jean Shrimpton in Vogue UK, April 1965 by David Bailey

Floral print top, Clover Canyon (on sale!); Quilted skirt, Topshop; Mary Jane mid heels, Marc Jacobs

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Diet Coke and Fashion

When I think of Diet Coke and fashion at the same time, which I often do not, the first commonality that comes to mind is, unsurprisingly, dieting. Conceivably an entirely different taste than its full-calorie counterpart, Coca-Cola, if Diet Coke is your preferred drink, you can essentially have your cake and eat it too. All of the love, all of the flavor, without the calories. 

Reportedly, Karl Lagerfeld drinks nothing but the beverage, a habit I can't seem to wrap my head around.

Collaborations among fashion houses and accessible brands seem to debut every other week: Prabal Gurung for Target, Karl Lagerfeld for Fossil, Maison Martin Margiela for H&M, Kate Spade for Keds. Although collaboration lines are arguably much more affordable in comparison to their namesake house, some pieces still too heavily bear the costly weight of the designer's name. 

Enter Diet Coke. The company has routinely selected "celebrity" designer creative directors who sign on temporarily to design cans or bottles to the tune of their characteristic style. Big hitters like Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier, Diane Von Furstenberg and most recently Marc Jacobs have all applied their signature designs to the already iconic can. 

But what's the point of having a Diet Coke can with some high-end designer's latest interpretation on it? 

Rob Bayne, senior brand manager for Diet Coke in North West Europe and Nordics, answers with, "Fashion is a top interest of our fans so we started designer collaborations to create something new and exciting to our drinkers."

Yes, high-low designer collaborations are a fad, but a good one. People love their designer goods, no matter if they're from Bergdorf Goodman or H&M. Aside from the Neiman Marcus for Target collection earlier this winter (in which most merchandise ended up at 75 percent off), every collaboration with Target has been a success. 

It's ultimately about combining novelty with accessibility. Think about designer perfumes. A 1.6-ounce bottle of Dolce & Gabbana's Light Blue is $69, a price that is downright affordable when comparing to their $1,025 cotton-blend lace T-shirt. The Diet Coke collaborations are similar, yet on a much less expensive and more quickly consumed level. 

Where will fashion exert its influence next?

Photo sources: top, Marc Jacobs for Diet Coke campaign; middle, Karl Lagerfeld for Diet Coke launch; bottom: Jean Paul Gaultier for Diet Coke bottles, Karl Lagerfeld for Diet Coke bottles, Diane von Furstenberg for Diet Coke bottles, Marc Jacobs for Diet Coke cans

Saturday, February 23, 2013

On Unwearables

Years ago, before I really had any artistic appreciation for fashion, I had a love-hate relationship with magazines. I've always been a reader, so I loved the articles, the interviews, the photography. What I didn't understand were the editorial shoots. Impossibly skinny models with a hair style that likely took hours and expertise, garish makeup–but that wasn't the most puzzling. It was the clothes. A shirt with a sweater and a jacket and a coat and tights and socks with a mismatched skirt and an armful of jewelry? Would anyone in their right mind ever wear that?

With a few exceptions, the answer is no, and for a number of reasons. The first is the impracticality of dressing like a fabulous, fabulous clown. So few can pull off an over embellished and strikingly on-trend ensemble. The second deals with budget. It's not rational for any given person's everyday outfits to add up to a ballpark total of $10,000. (This would exclude jewelry.) I think there are very few people in this world that can wear head-to-toe Chanel, Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton on a daily basis. 

As I've matured, I've come to understand fashion, magazines and the general ways for the world much more. Fashion is a fantastical, ever-changing world full of unpredictable and innovative creatives. It's wearable art. And just like art, you can make of it what you want. It can be everything, it can be nothing. 

So these editorials, they are works of art. They're not meant to be taken literally. Yes, if you wear that exact outfit on the street, people will stare at you and take your picture. (Yet, if you want to, you certainly can.) They're a launching point for an outfit, for a purchase. 

The same can be said of runway shows. The looks aren't necessarily meant to be worn all together, at the same time. 

Joe Zee, the creative director at Elle magazine, is frank about the disconnect. “Is every single look that you see going to be accessible and wearable? No, but that’s not the point. I would like to think that our readers are smarter than that. We’re the thinking woman’s fashion magazine. No one is going to rip out that page and re-create the outfit exactly as shown. Instead, the image will provide a point of reference.” 

Photos: All courtesy of Women's Wear Daily

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Kate Spade Meets Pop Art

How happy I was to see that Kate Spade's theme for the month of January was "a pop of color," kicking off their overarching 2013 mantra of "things we love." I'm all about Kate Spade and all about color, so those two things alone were enough to get my heart racing. But what's more is that yet again, Deborah Lloyd, Brad Goreski and crew continue to amaze.

They take the idea of "pop" to a deeper cultural level, not only using the word to express the bold use of color, but to reference American pop art.

Pop art, short for–you guessed it– "popular art," was dominant in the United States in the 1960s. Subject matter featured primarily common household products and other products of mass consumption (example: Andy Warhol's Campbell's soup can). The overall movement was about creating art by using objects that were recognizable to the masses and through commercial techniques like silk-screening. These tactics of familiarity bluntly rejected the historical and classical subjects of traditional art.

The most particular influence in a number of accessories comes from Roy Lichtenstein, an American pop artist who lived from 1923-1997. His most recognizable works are his paintings that resemble comic strips from newspapers. Both his subject matter and technique mimic the iconic comic style: he creates cartoon-like figures and characters, uses a basic color palette and constructs his pictures from Ben-Day dots. 

His use of found, mass-produced subjects serves to make a bold statement to and about society. Ideas and methods that were downright taboo in previous art circles were accepted and exhibited in the finest of galleries. He managed to bring a newfound youthful and ironic feel to the art world by introducing commercial sources as fine art,  perhaps to say that we need not take ourselves too seriously.

Which brings us, full circle, back to Kate Spade, where "crisp color, graphic prints and playful sophistication are hallmarks." Surely our pal Roy would approve, right?

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Carrie Bradshaw Tulle Skirt

When I think of a tulle skirt, a number of things comes to mind. Whimsical ballerinas en pointe to Tchaikovsky, giddy toddlers at a costume party, horrifyingly tacky cotton-candy colored prom dresses, and Carrie Bradshaw. As a former ballerina (very former, meaning kindergarten through fifth grade), wedding dress lover (Vera, Reem Acra, Amsale, Christos...) and overall connoisseur of anything rather feminine, I love the fabric, if done right. Like most things in this world, it has its wonderful moments, it has its terrifying moments (see prom dresses above). 

Let's consider the most culturally and fashionably relevant at the moment. Miss Bradshaw, an icon in her own right (although, purely fictional), donned a creamy and layered tulle skirt in Sex and the City's opening credits. If you're a regular watcher of SATC or flip to E! more than once a week, you've no doubt seen the classic scene: Carrie smugly sauntering the streets of NYC, only to be splashed by a passing bus with an advertisement of her column and picture on it. In my mind, and I hope in yours, the skirt is synonymous with her name and character. For such an iconic look, the story on how the skirt was discovered is quite diamond-in-the-rough. 

Patricia Field served as Sex and the City's costume designer for all six seasons and both movies, earning her two Emmy awards in costuming. While searching for outfits for the opening, Field found a tulle tutu in a bargain bin on the floor. On a whim, she bought it for $5. SJP, unsurprisingly, loved it, but it took some convincing to get the show's producer on board. Such a leap of courage certainly paid off, and continued to carry Bradshaw's style to the forefront of trends throughout the show's seasons. 

Perhaps taking a cue from Carrie, but more likely perhaps not, recent runway shows, too, display the ever-ethereal and statement-making tulle skirt. Starting on the left: Christian Siriano RTW spring 2012, Oscar de la Renta RTW spring 2013, and Tory Burch RTW spring 2013. Of course, tulle skirts will forever be a favorite at houses like Marchesa, Reem Acra and Vera Wang. 

On a more wearable, daytime scale, fashion bloggers have created their own perspective on the tulle skirt. Starting on the left: Jane Aldridge from Sea of Shoes, an unknown (yet well-dressed) blonde, and Blair Eadie of Atlantic-Pacfic. 

Even with Carrie Bradshaw and Patricia Field paving the way, would you wear a tulle skirt for a daytime look?

Sources: Carrie Bradshaw in cream, Carrie Bradshaw in green; Christian Siriano by George Chinsee, Oscar de la Renta by Giovanni Giannoni, Tory Burch by Robert Mitra; Sea of Shoes, Grey Tulle, Atlantic-Pacific

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall 2012 Ready-To-Wear // NYC

It's difficult to fully envision ourselves in the newly debuted spring 2013 collections when we are finally beginning to stock up on sweaters and dust off our riding boots for the next few (blessedly) cooler months. While I have been fully appreciating the colorful and breezy separates and dresses of the Spring/Summer Ready-To-Wear runways, I've found its got my seasonal fashion clock a bit confused.

Of course it's fortunate that the fashion (and thus publishing) world is so forward-thinking. They serve as our cooler-than-thou seemingly omniscient mentors who shape and direct trends for us to build on, copy and make our own.

For now, let's go back to last February when we were tempted once again with a faraway season, plush knits and meticulously crafted trench coats parading down the runway in their usual artful manner. Shall we begin at the first stop of the fashion week circuit, New York City?

Photo Credits: All courtesy of Women's Wear Daily; Alice + Olivia by Thomas Iannaccone; Calla by Robert Mitra; Chris Benz by Giovanni Giannoni; Christian Siriano by Giovanni Giannoni; J. Crew by Steve Eichner; Kate Spade by Pasha Antonov; Marc by Marc Jacobs by Thomas Iannaccone; Milly by Thomas Iannaccone; Oscar de la Renta by George Chinsee; Rachel Antanoff by Pasha Antonov; Tory Burch by John Aquino

Thursday, August 2, 2012

For the Love of // Tees

Does anyone else find it unbelievably difficult to find a decent cotton tee? It seems as if they're either mom-fit crew necks from Target or a perfect LNA dream costing a little less than $100. Ridiculous, yes?

If I had my choice, I would have a nice drawer full of loose and soft Splendid tees- the perfect piece to undermine a dressy blazer or throw on with a pair of jeans. Such a drawer, though, does not exist (at least not in my closet).

It's hot here in the South. I can hardly think about being outside without shivering (oddly enough) with disgust at the idea of my face melting off and my clothes sticking to me. Thus, I have been quite the t shirt aficionado this summer (note: not the XL sorority version).

My collection, though, is rather sparse. I have maybe two tees that I actually like to (and regularly) wear.

So here are two lessons for you: the usual cue from some of the best-dressed style bloggers on how to translate the tee look to your own daily wear, and a nice little compilation from myself on where to get them.

As essential as they may seem, the t shirt is, after all, just a t shirt. There's really no reason to break the bank, is there?

Top shirt: Madewell

The Pink Peonies//Wendy's Lookbook//Harper's Bazaar Australia//See Jane//Kendi Everyday//Hi I'm Anna//Penny Pincher Fashion//Gal Meets Glam
Quote: Vogue

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For the Love Of // Neon

I always tend to lean toward the more conservative side of trends and actually have not really picked up the neon movement yet. After doing a bit of research for this post, I'm not sure why. I have such "classic" dressing tendencies, always stocking up on J Crew, silk blouses and Tory flats. But what do you know- the 80's rave-like staple color can even be given a classic twist. So, let's turn to my favorite fashion bloggers for a little lesson in perfecting the pop of neon.

Yes, a lot of pink, J Crew, and Kate Spade. I can hardly apologize for that!

Credits: Top; Atlantic-Pacific//The Pink Peonies//Viva Luxury//Brooklyn Blonde//quote//Atlantic-Pacific//The Blonde Salad//Atlantic-Pacific//Kendi Everyday

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Etsy Favorites: Playful Jewelry

One of my favorite things about Etsy is that you never know what you're going to happen across. It may take a lot of digging, but once you come across something unique and handmade, it becomes completely worth it. Most of these little baubles look like they came straight out of Anthropolgie. This month's picks from Etsy are my personal favorite, jewelry. Next month, I'm thinking paper goods!

Necklaces: 1//2//3//4
Bracelets: 1//2
Earrings: 1//2

For the Love Of//Rosie Huntington-Whitely

Let's just get it over with: She's gorgeous. Absolutely. Gorgeous. Those lips, those legs, that hair.

Alright, now let's talk about her style. Somehow, the 25 year-old British model and occasional (questionable) actress manages to have a California-cool meets high-fashion-model-off-duty look, and it  completely works. Very few of us can have a nice collection of Hermes and Alexander Wang bags or pull off leather pants with such finesse. Of course, very few of us can be Victoria's Secret Angels and star in Burberry ad campaigns, too.

Image Sources: Top; First row: 1//2//3; Second row: 1//2//3; Third row: 1//2//3//4

Monday, July 9, 2012

Designer Spotlight//Banana Republic

The store Banana Republic is a brand synonymous with high quality American leisure wear epitomizing classic and everyday cuts. Skirts, shirts, and pants with clean lines are signature pieces along with well-crafted accessories and jewelry. 

Something the brand is also synonymous with is the historical term "banana republic," which I hadn't heard of until I took a decent college history class. In history, the term refers to a small politically unstable country that depends on exporting goods to a larger wealthier country for their primary economic profits. 

Honduras and Guatemala are considered banana republics because they had very large pieces of land owned by American and European fruit corporations (this is where bananas come in)- huge monopolies for private profit. 

So what does this have to do with clothes? 

In 1978 husband and wife duo Mel and Patricia Zeigler started Banana Republic as a safari travel-themed clothing company. Thus, stemming from the term banana republic. They originally had only two stores and made the bulk of their profit from, once again, travel-themed illustrated catalogues featuring exotic locales. 

The Gap Inc., which now includes The Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime (a personal favorite), and Athleta, bought Banana Republic in 1983 and immediately began rebranding the store to create a more upscale version of The Gap as a mainstream luxury retailer- how we see BR today.

Recently, Banana Republic has had some rather exciting collaborations that have caught the attention of  high-fashion and everyday shoppers alike. On March 1 of this year, they launched a 40-piece country club-like collection designed by Janie Bryant, the costume designer of hit series Mad Men. If you've ever watched the show, you'll notice a strong nostalgia of longing for a period you were never alive for (well, maybe some of you were). The male model for the collection looks eerily like a young version of Don Draper (Jon Hamm for those of you who don't watch the show), which is always a plus.

This summer, they launched a Trina Turk for Banana Republic collection that features the signature colorful graphics and clean lines of the higher-end designer. Model Coco Rocha starred in the ad campaign- if you haven't checked our her wildly popular tumblr, go now! She's fun to follow along with, and it's hard not to be slightly envious of her jet-setting designer-wearing lifestyle.

Banana Republic also has a wonderful tumblr that chronicles new collections and the behind the scenes of shoots and runway shows.

Whew! I know that was a bit long-winded, but I feel like it's always interesting and fun to learn where your clothes are coming from and the ideas behind them. For Designer Spotlight, I'm going to try to alternate between high-end and everyday designers and companies, so for next week, look out for something a little more exclusive.

Image sources: old school//Mad Men//Trina Turk//runway

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Art to Inspiration: July

I've decided to join in for Chevrons & Eclairs' monthly Art to Inspiration series, which celebrates artists new and old as a source of inspiration and learning for the community. This month featured photographer Smita Jacob of Hogger & Co., with the below photograph called Healing Yoga with Arti. Join in for next month here

I loved the simplicity and colors of this photo, and the fact that it was taken on an ice-skating rink. The rooms I included are somehow both sparse and ornate with attention to detail. I love the crisp black and white bookshelf (honestly, I'm a sucker for books of any kind) and the pink far-east accoutrements in the second room. Of course, I had to include an outfit- something perfect for a day about town. And who can resist those lovely Carven flats with bows?

Image credits: 1//2