Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Two Thoughts.

The Grammys are just about the trainwreckiest fashion spectacle in the world, bested only by maybe the VMAs? The CMAs? The Soap Opera Awards? I only have two thoughts worth sharing tonight:

1) Pink, stop hanging yourself from the ceiling.

I've seen you do this a lot. It's lost its impact, even if you were soaking wet this time. As a friend of my new roommate said, "People didn't come to the Grammy's all dressed up for you to drip on them."

2) Gaga! I can see your lips. And I'm not talking about the ones on your face! Holy cow.

Give me just, like, a quarter inch more fabric on each side and I won't be utterly distracted by your Lady parts. Plus, I'm concerned. Your minty green getup looks like it's cutting off circulation. You need circulation there. It's really important, especially for you as I believe that your magical powers emanate from your hooha.

Thanks. That's all.

PS: I moved today and am deliriously overtired. I blame this post on that. Don't judge me.

3 Minutes and 6 Seconds in Heaven.

This clip is as seductive as curling smoke; as gorgeous as Dietrich herself.

The wealth of the internet still amazes me. I sound ancient saying that, like the nearly 30-year-old that I am, but can you imagine how long you would have had to wait to see footage like this before? How the stars would have had to align? Perhaps a museum would have decided to do an exhibit on Le Dame Dietrich, perhaps they would have included this clip on a reel of her best scenes, perhaps the exhibit was traveling and came to your city, perhaps you could make it there. Or, maybe a television special would have aired about her, about this film. Maybe you would have caught this scene on the classic movie channel, or maybe you would have been lucky enough to live in NYC near The Museum of Television and Radio and you had a free afternoon to head on over and rent the clip. Then you would have had to know it existed, to know it by name, to write it down on paper and hand your slip over to the museum employee and wait your turn for a television and a set of headphones to free up. Now? Now, on a whim you type Marlene Dietrich into the search bar of Youtube and you click her tiny thumbnail pic and you watch this beautiful footage. Just like that. And then you watch it again. And then, you watch snippets of her other work because damn, the dame looks good in a suit.

And then maybe your eyelids finally feel heavy at 1:50 AM and typing takes too long between dozes and you drift off to sleep with a French lullaby courtesy of Marlene fresh in your mind.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

One/One-Thousand: Jean-Baptiste Mondino.

A portrait of the artist: Mondino and his work.

Jean-Baptiste Mondino began his career designing album covers in the '80s. His initial ambitions were musically inclined even beyond his subject matter. He released two singles that charted in Europe with different collaborators before he found his way into photography. But, his musical leanings never left him. He's shot tons of pop stars for iconic album covers, editorials, and has directed some of their best videos. His shots have a stark intensity to them, whether they are black-and-white, soft hues, or his signature bright colors, the mood is always emotionally afecting.

His still work is so great, but some of his videos are simply classic. Here are a few clips of his work in motion:

Daddy and Daughter.

Yvan Rodic, the photog behind Facehunter, is a phenomenal talent. His personal photo diary is full of the most beautiful snapshots of places, parties, pretty girls, streetscapes, and some of life's less cool but more precious moments, like this adorable portrait of a dad and his little girl:

Awww, right? She's wearing his coat and carrying flowers as big as she is, and they are holding hands, and it's, well, it's just kind of perfect. You can call me sentimental, you can even say I'm cheesy; I don't care. I am. And, I often find myself wishing more people were. Consider this your daily encouragement to take note of the oh-so-sweetness all around you.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Karl (l) and Armani (r) in cahoots.

I'm always a little suspect when more than one designer at a time is suddenly struck with a concurrent aesthetic revelation. This couture season has seen both Armani and Kaiser Karl take pretty drastic turns toward looks that aren't usually part of their output. The two showed collections based on silver tones; Armani stated the moon as inspiration and Lagerfeld abandoned his usual palette of black, white, and Chanel Gold for silver embellished pastels. Now, to be fair this could all be truth, but part of me wishes to expose to my audience a little known aspect of the fashion business: Trend forecasting firms.

Trendspotting: shimmering legs at Armani and Chanel.

Fashion in this capitalist society is first and foremost a business. It is a big business, a huge business. A massive business that fulfills one of the human population's three basic needs (food, shelter, and clothing). As such, there is a major motivation to keep product moving. Now more than ever fashion's fickle, fleeting attention span pushes anyone who cares to be socially accepted to buy new things so that they are on trend. And, those trends don't come from just anywhere. Trends in fashion are forecasted by huge firms whose job it is to do nothing else. They analyze data, form theories, and present evidence for what will tingle the senses of the stylish next. Nearly every single fashion house of note and large clothing retailer subscribes to their services. That is how there are these waves of seemingly divined similarities between any given season's shows. If the big trend companies say wrap dresses are next, or sky-high stilettos, or, perhaps, silvery moon tones then you are bound to see them surface on nearly all of the catwalks.

Call Vogue and tell them it's silver this season! Wait, they probably already know...

It's fine. Trend forecasting on a certain level just takes the temperature of the stylish. But, I do get a little vexed when designers play it off as their own flashes of brilliance, their own sudden revelations. Karl, did you and Giorgio have a sleepover the night you woke up stunned by the thought of silver in your head? I didn't think so.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If You Were Doing This You'd Be Cool Already.

If Mr. Tommy Ton, fashion's photo blogger extraordinaire, snaps three photos of something at fashion week, I do believe it qualifies as a bonafide trend. In that case, you should definitely start wrapping the tail of your belt around itself. In fact, I think if you don't wrap your belt from this moment forward, I'm allowed--no obligated--to make fun of you.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Dollars and Sense.

Couture is a tricky sell amidst a climate of financial strain and humanitarian disaster; and not just in terms of dollars, but more in terms of sense. How much sense does it make to revere or celebrate a dress that could clothe a large village if you traded it for equal value at Target? That's the obvious question looming over the start of this particular season of couture shows in Paris; but isn't that always the question? Couture has been happening come snow, sleet, natural disaster, economic breakdown, feast, war, or famine for centuries now. It is a practice and a spectacle that exists largely in a bubble of wealth and comfort that few of us will ever know directly. But, thanks to the ever-increasing media coverage of high fashion, many of us will know it as the fantasy that it is. I won't apologize for reveling (and disappearing) in the beauty of it.

If I didn't have the escapism offered by the pretty people and things of fashion, I would have been gone or gonzo long, long ago. That sounds dramatic doesn't it? But in times of stress or emotional unrest, the sight of a perfectly formed Dior couture gown fresh from the hands of the undeniably haughty and theatrical Mr. John Galliano is enough to make my soul sigh in relief. I can't help it. Ethics aside, I have a visceral reaction to the pretty things of fashion. They make me happy. When I'm happy I can make others happy. Therefore, I'm going to watch a parade of sparkle and satin in jewel tones as The Telegraph's Hilary Alexander sings its praises. Won't you join me?

Le sigh.

Editor Overload.

For seasons now, the biggest story in fashion has been the rise of editor chic. The thin, monied, females whose job it is to present the trends have steadily become the biggest trend, and now seem to be the only trend. They are dutifully stalked outside of fashion shows by photobloggers, Japanese tourists, and fervent fans. Their outfits are dissected and subjected to a special sort of rabid taxonomy. But, there is something about the photo below that gives me a twinge of hope that we'll soon be on to the next big thing.

Carine Roitfeld and Giovanna Battaglia at the Armani Prive show.

Editors have become ultra revered for their sophisticated, cool-isn't-even-the-word style. And this makes sense since they always look like they've gotten dressed with divine guidance from the fashion gods; but then, why wouldn't they? Their decks are stacked. Many of the editors on the mastheads of magazines are the progeny of old wealth. Many of them have arrived at the Conde Nast buildings of the world on the shoulders of their thick-pocketed forefathers who have been specifically cultured to do, have, and appear the best. No, I'm not saying that their fortunate financial state is an immediate cause for disqualification in the contest for fair fashion idolatry--this isn't a matter of envy (well, not completely), but I want some underdogs. If you live, breathe, eat, sleep, trade and dress in nothing but high fashion, you are going to look highly fashionable. You may even look phenomenally fashionable (hello Carine, Giovanna, Anna Dello Russo) but anything less would be a gross misuse of given natural resources. I'm hungry again for folks who make their aesthetic out of scraps and heaps of ambition. Out of dollar finds and craft supplies. I just feel like the editor-as-ultimate stylecon is a bit self-referential and congratulatory. They make the trends, they see the styles in sketch form, they know what's next not because it's coming directly from their desirous creativity, but because it is their job to know. I guess I'm looking for something a little less French cuffed and a little more off the cuff; a little less perfect and a lot more passionate. I don't even know what that would look like, but I'll keep my eyes peeled and let you know when I see it. You do the same.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Oh, The Humanity.

Aaaaak! Mommy! That should be a health code violation.

As an urbanite I've developed all sorts of fears that may seem irrational to an uninitiated suburban denizen. New York comes with hazards that those unfamiliar with the concrete jungle may not be aware of. For instance; I have a phobia of seeing people with one giant dreadlock. It is enough of a phobia to cause me nausea and the shakes if ever I'm in the radius of one. I had assumed that the existence of one giant dread was a city-centric horror. I thought there was something about the grime and grit of New york that provided the proper habitat for the hair on a person's head to cease up and clump into a giant, hardened mass of matted matter. I thought it was something that the rest of the country would be spared, but alas, a perusal through the archives of People of Walmart proved that my fear has no respect for the city limits.

Oh lord.

I will now be in fear anytime I take a roadtrip as well. This is to say nothing of the other atrocities that apparently await me at any Walmart that I may ever wander into. I have love and compassion for my fellow man, even those traipsing the aisles of a Supercenter with their bellies hanging out of their shirts, but I can't hide the truth of my aversions. See for yourself and tell me I'm in the wrong. Also--just a warning--this site contains more crack than Amy Winhouse.

God, thank you for blessing me and my family with at least outward signs of decency. I appreciate it.

Friday, January 22, 2010


German Fashion photos animated.

Charlotte With Instruments.

I love this photo.

John Baptiste Mondino shoots Charlotte Gainsbourg for The New York Times.

Gold Stars for Jersey Gaga!

She was born in Jersey! Gaga, I knew there was a reason I felt you on a soul level! Stefani Joanne Agelina Germanotta may have been born and bred in New York, but The Lady Gaga was born in Parsippany, New Jersey.

Stefani pre-Gaga with Jersey native and music producer Rob Fusari. Click the pic to read the article.

Labor and delivery for the Gaga persona was provided by music producer Rob Fusari, who even gave the Lady her name. This excites me for many reasons, but mainly because I'm so over people hearing I'm from Jersey and immediately beginning to call my Snooki (I love you Shnickizz, but I aint you). Maybe now they'll think of Gaga instead. I'd rather that.

Ms. Gaga got some serious gold star words of praise in the review for her live New York shows in the Times yesterday and they linked to a past photo feature of her year in fashion. The pics made me fall a little more in love with her yet again. Ever since I saw her cry on Oprah about how much she loves her Little Monsters, I've been heartwarmed by her image whenever it pops up in pop culture.

I love with all of my heart that she is celebrating the freak in all of us, and she's not doing it in a way that leverages the outcasts for shock value alone.

She has a heart, a brain, and an endless creative drive, and a hell of a work ethic (did you see that video up there?). Jersey done something right! Go Gaga, go!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bollywood Break.

When the going gets tough, the tough watch Bollywood. Well, at least I do. Something about the colors, the hypnotizing group dance moves, and the drum beats makes it almost damn near impossible for me to sustain a bad mood when a rousing Bollywood number is on. Here, you try it. Below is a clip of the Dola Re Dola dance number from Bollywood's biggest hit, Devdas. See if you can worry about anything at all when it's on:

It worked, didn't it? My friend Camilla's Dad played this on repeat nearly every time I was over her house--an Aishwarya a day keeps the blues away. Don't you love how decorated the women are? I want that. It's like they are pretty, human, musical instruments.If you want Indian Jewelry galore, here's your one-stop-shop. Jingle, jingle.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuck and Roll.

Boys, if there is one thing you are definitely doing come Fall 2010, it's tucking your pants inside of your boots. Apparently the fashion industry doesn't care if you are wearing sweats, slacks, formal tux pants, or a onesie. It's all getting tucked into some kind of boot.

Tuckage on so many runways this season, including Thom Browne, Dolce & Gabana, and Burberry.

Some of this tucking I stand behind; some of it I definitely don't. It shall be up to you, brave men, to decide how you will rock the trend. But, since it's on nearly every single, solitary runway this season, you don't get to decide whether to tuck and roll, just how. My advice? You have to be a special kind of crazy to tuck your tux into boarding boots. Just saying.