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Fashion Link Friday

10 February 2011

This New York Times article discusses the vintage reproduction industry.  As of late, wearing vintage has become popular but the author, Kate Murphy, mentions how reproduction styles provide flattering, tasteful silhouettes at a reasonable price without the mothball smell or the brittle condition. Wearers of reproduction clothes insist that these garments compliment womanly bodies of all sizes and elicit chivalrous responses.

Rodarte, a fashion label that gained popularity with their spiderweb knits and diaphanous gowns, helped design the costumes for Darren Aronofsky’s film, Black Swan and managed to incite controversy in the process when the Academy deemed them ineligible for an Oscar nod. Fashion blogs ’round the Internet cried foulplay. But Raquel Laneri, a fashion blogger for Forbes, counters the squabble when she breaks down the costumes and declares them as your run-of-the-mill frothy ballerina fare.

Speaking of ballet and warped body expectations, Isabel Wilkinson has receivedcriticism for her description of twelve-year old Elle Fanning’s “ballet-dancer dancer frame perfect for Rodarte and Valentino.” Fashion’s fetishization of dewy prepubescence keeps getting younger.

Also, I found Clothes on Film, a site that analyzes fashion within movies and TV from the past and present, listed at the end of Raquel Laneri’s article.  They have an extensive and eclectic group of articles ranging from Belle de Jour to Beetle Juice.

This video from 2007 noted a trend in high-fashion designers creating mass-market collections.  That practice since has exploded (Lanvin for H&MLagerfeld for Macy’s,Zac Posen for Target) and even carries over to bridal lines, like J.Crew and the upcoming BHLDN from Urban Outfitters Inc, which releases conveniently enough on Valentine’s Day. These collections provide a budget luxury that will make the average consumer more interested in shopping in the midst of a struggling economy.

Image Credit:

“Natalie Portman.” Photo. 15 January 2011. 10 February 2011. http://elletea.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/…

18 February 2011

While I was browsing the New York Times Magazine Page, I found a short article about a website called Boutiques.com, an online shop with a twist.  In place of straightforward shopping, the website allows users to create their personalized page where they include favorite times and to follow celebrity, blogger or stylist boutiques.  The website functions similarly to Polyvore.com where users are encouraged to assemble sets with products that link straight to the original page, ready for purchase. To open an account with Boutiques.com the website supposedly analyzes your style with pictures of celebrities, runway models, street fashion and even a lone set of two cocktails.  At the end of the quiz the website prompts you to create your username and boutique name before you can see your results and promises personal recommendations based on your choices This process gives the consumer a sense of individualized control without feeling like the website is forcing products upon them while also enlisting the consumers into the process of advertising for free, which, let’s face it, is the best price of all.

On Wednesday, I noticed a piece in the New York Times as well about a trend of willowy starlets who eat meals “that might satisfy a hungry dockworker.” Jeff Gordinier attributes the practice of spindly celebrities wolfing down stick-to-your-ribs vittles as a kind of fetishization by men’s magazines of women who eat and instances of sex and food side-by-side as a pornographic ideal.  However, as valid as Gordiner’s claim is, it additionally operates, which he briefly mentions, as a method for famous women to combat allegations of eating disorders and appear to the public as a down-to-earth and not caught up in the vapid trappings of the entertainment industry.

Image Credit:

“Heidi Klumi Double-Fisting MacDonald’s.” Photo. 17 February 2011. 17 February 2011. http://www.thedailyfemme.com/femme/2011/02/actresses-eating-in-interviews-dipe/

4 March 2011

John Galliano’s incendiary remarks unwittingly documented on a video that surfaced on the Internet have cost him his position at Dior and landed him in court.  Apparently, anti-semitic slurs are punishable by law in France.  Despite the media stir, Dior plans to show Galliano’s Winter/Fall 2011 collection.  Meanwhile, fashion insiders are already aflutter over who will succeed Galliano.

The Wall Street Journal reports that custom tailored clothing, particularly for men, is increasing in popularity in Europe.  Luigi Gallo, an Italian tailor, claims that consumers are finally recognizing that they’re investing in a logo rather than a quality, personally fitted garment.  Prices for such suits range from around 400 to a couple thousand euros whereas garments for women typically cost between 200 and 700 euros since they require forty plus hours of work and multiple fittings.  If pocketbooks allow, looks like the era of bespoke might be making a comeback.

Here’s a New York Times article chronicling the rise of juvenile fashion designers.  On one hand kids, and some parents, claim that even though their prepubescent progeny seem at an unlikely stage to launch fashion lines, if they have the vision and the talent they should go after their daydreams.  However, more skeptical adults worry that “‘Kiddie couturiers’ are perhaps the ultimate, inevitable result of a fashion culture that is obsessed with youth.”  Michael Fink, dean of Savannah College of Art and Design’s school of fashion design wonders if “‘tween designers” have the wrong and more glamorous idea of fashion in their heads.  He questions, “‘Where is the celebration of the art and the craft?  Where is the historical knowledge?'”

Image Credit:

“Savile Road Sign.” Photo. 21 October 2008. 4 March 2011. https://blogretailrefugees.wordpress.com/tag/savile-row/

13 March 2011

So this, is a technically a Fashion Link Sunday, but anyway…

This New York Times article about the Bumbys, a couple who assess personal appearance, proves how people thrive on judgement and social acceptance. In fact, they’ve gotten so popular that ‘Bumby’d’ has become a catchphrase verb in and of itself.  They’re frequently hired for fashion, art or other entertainment events as a party diversion, or sideshow act even.  Mr. Bumby insists that he is “not interested in tearing someone down” and he’s never given anyone a rating below 5 out of 10. However, the Bumbys themselves go by a pseudonym and mask their own appearance with blue wigs, hats and scarves.

Speaking of public approval, this article on Rachel Zoe states that she makes between $10,000 and $18,000 per job, which further corroborates the fanatical extent to which celebrities worry about their personal appearance, and the lavish sums they’re willing to commit to looking good.  The article also notes that Rachel Zoe is one of the few, if not the only, stylist that people know of by name.  Glenda Bailey, editor of Harper’s Bazaar identifies the Zoe look as “retro, glamourous, bohemian” yet she insists that Zoe “still makes her clients look like individuals,” a curious if not disputable claim,  if one woman is dressing Hollywood, then does she command a fashion tyranny?

Kate Middleton can’t escape public scrutiny for a second.  AP obsesses over her weight in the wake of her Royal Wedding and the Franklin Mint has created a Barbie version of Middleton for only $195.  The Franklin Mint declares that Kate is “living the dream every little girl holds dear…and every woman remembers with a smile…becoming a Princess.” Selling gender roles there, eh?

Additionally, The Fab Life notes the prevalence of pregnant female celebrities on the cover of fashion magazines.  While the website breaks the trend up between the Prudes and the Shameless, I think it’s more interesting that fashion magazines document and venerate pregnancy so openly, and in a way, I believe it shows the societal importance placed on maternity.

Are harnesses misogynistic? Suzy Menkes thinks so. She expresses disappointment at Sasha Burton’s collection for Alexander McQueen.  Menkes appraises collections from Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu as well.

Lastly, The Telegraph documents a new policy that allows transsexual prisoners to wear garments of the gender they identify with and to be addressed with the according gender pronouns.  These prisoners will gain access to items like “padded bras and make-up to cover beard growth,” as dictated by a special 20-page guidebook.  Transsexual prisoners will not be required to wear the uniform and the guidebook maintains that “allowing male to female transexual prisoners to wear their own clothes is not a privilege.” The handbook clearly delineates male to female transsexual guidelines, though nothing is mentioned on female to male transsexuals.

Image Credit:

“Kate Middleton Doll.” Photo. 10 March 2011. 13 March 2011. http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2011/03/kate-middleton-doll.html

26 March 2011

John Jannuzzi, on his fashion blog, Textbook, selects figures both actual and imaginary and pairs them with photoshopped images of models on the runway.

Here’s an piece concerning Elizabeth Taylor’s status as a fashion iconic, which the writer, Cathy Horyn, notes was at times idiosyncratic, if not questionable.  Although she was an unearthly beauty, Taylor had a penchant for the vulgar. Case in point: Taylor vaguely resembling Snooki in a pair of hot pants.  Anyway, Horyn observes that while Elizabeth wasn’t a natural style icon in comparison to some of the other Old Hollywood ladies, Taylor never let her outfits overshadow herself.  As Taylor’s friend, Joel Rosenthal puts it, “She transcended whatever else she was doing, be it a mediocre script or a dress that didn’t look right. You saw her.”  The page includes links to several slide shows and videos of Taylor.

Ruth La Ferla follows the evolution of the shirtwaist dress, which created literal and figurative mobility for women.  The style has survived thanks to its practicality and adaptability.  Shirtwaists freed women’s legs for sports, provided a helpful standardized ensemble for the workplace, managed to embody both utility and domesticity all while still suggesting a bit of sexual appeal.  However, the original shirtwaist was a blouse worn with a skirt; PBS has a brief article that distinguishes the early form of the shirtwaist from our present notion of the shirtwaist dress.

29 March 2011

Kicking off the weekend a little early…

Check out the vintage macaroni fashion on this blog featuring Mary Tyler Moore herself!

Scott Schuman, of The Sartorialist, was very recently caught in the crossfire when he referred to one of the subjects of his photographs as “a bigger, curvier girl than most of the other bloggers who you see in the press and tend to represent the genre.” The comments on his site imploded when readers were outraged over his entry.  His remarks, although accurate (most fashion bloggers are waify types) and complementary of the girl, prove that sensitivities are still high when it comes to weighty subjects.  Still, you have to respect Schuman for standing by his original statement rather than retracting it to shield himself from the vitriol spewing in the aftermath.  And, hey, the girl in the picture, wrote on her own blog that she didn’t mind Schuman’s description of her at all.

Image Credit:

“How to Get Shot by the Sartorialist.” Diagram.  17 October 2010. 5 April 2011. <http://ephemerette.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-to-get-shot-by-sartorialist.html>

15 April 2011

Here’s that J.Crew ad that’s caused outrage for it’s ‘gender-confusing’ message. I do find it problematic in the video above when psychologist Susan Bartell mentions that children’s genders will emerge natural.  Although I get her point, gender doesn’t develop on an instinctual level; we’ve created it and we reinforce it. But really, why can’t everybody just take a deep breath (especially you, Fox News) and take this ad for what it really is: a little boy having fun with his mom? After all, Beckham likes to paint his nails pink too…

And here’s an interview in The Wall Street Journal with fashion doyenne, Vivienne Westwood.

Speaking of fashion greats, check out this slideshow of garments that will be on display at the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition at the Met.  The show runs from May 4th to July 31st.

Image Credit:

“Kingston Rossdale.” Photo. 18 January 2011. 15 April 2011 <http://strawberryblunt.com/tag/nail-polish-on-a-four-year-old-boy/>

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