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

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Perfume Bottles

Can we talk about perfume bottles for a moment? 

While I'm fully aware that it's not polite to judge a book by its cover, it's impossible to say that packaging doesn't play a role in my perfume-buying practices. Yes, it's ultimately about the scent. But I can't have a hideous bottle marring my vintage mirror-and-gold vanity tray, especially since (as you may have noticed) aesthetics are a big thing for me. 

In such a competitive market, perfume packaging, along with that of other cosmetics, is of utmost importance. We've all been there: at the perfume counter, smelling samples, being helped by a pushy saleswoman (or man). After a half-dozen sniffs, they all start to smell the same. And then you sniff the coffee beans to clear your sniffer, and sniff some more, and it's all sort of just a miserable process. 

Not to suggest that we all throw our hands up and go with the prettiest bottle. Because we don't, or not entirely. For those of us whose olfactory senses are not well-attuned to the minute differences in similar perfumes, a lovely bottle sure is an easy way out. Shall we examine the good, the bad and the ugly?

Chanel No. 5 by ChanelIt was the fifth sample scent Mlle. Coco Chanel smelled on sampling for the house's first fragrance. In my opinion, it's more for the grandmotherly set, but you can't deny the classic icon that the bottle has become. And if perfume bottles could talk, not many of them could say they've been silk-screened by Andy Warhol.

Daisy by Marc Jacobs: I'm undeniably under the impression (or spell?) that Marc Jacobs can do little wrong. Starting with his namesake high-end line, to his more affordable, yet still pricey, Marc by Marc Jacobs line, to his fragrance-bottle designs. He's good. He's just too good. 

Girlfriend by Justin Bieber: I don't even like, follow, or obsess over Justin Bieber, but if I had to guess the future name of his fragrance, it would be Girlfriend. This bottle's get-up reminds me of a fashionable yet fragile bowling pin that's trying too hard.

Couture Couture by Juicy Couture: The name in itself is a mouthful. The pink-lined zipper, the crest-like topper, it's all an information overload. While an over-the-top pink princess is definitely the epitome of a "Juicy girl," this bottle might be a little too much, even for the juiciest.

Fantasy Twist by Britney Spears: To start, I will admit that my inner 90s girl loves Britney. I'm not going to lie or be ashamed about listening to the album "Oops I Did It Again" within the last month. I know that once you're a mainstream celebrity, or if you've appeared on the cover of People enough times, having a personal fragrance is essentially a rite of passage. This is bad though. Like a tacky-glamorous-Pokemon-ball bad.  A message to Brit: ditch your product designer!

Pink Friday by Nicki MinajIt was a good thought. It really was. And it's so Nicki, as in it's pink, looks like a robot and is startlingly attention-grabbing. I stared at it for a good couple minutes in the store, and came to the conclusion that if a small child all but glanced at it, there's a good chance they would run away crying.

Image sources: Chanel No. 5, Daisy by Marc Jacobs, Girlfriend by Justin Bieber, Couture Couture by Juicy Couture, Pink Friday by Nicki Minaj, Fantasy Twist by Britney Spears