Saturday, April 24, 2010

What to Wear Out (of This World).

Well, hello there Mr. Cute Astronaut. Is that a onesie you are wearing?

Been to Google today? Then, you know today is no ordinary Saturday. It's a certain space telescope's B-day. Not quite old enough to get drunk legally, but well into it's smoking and porn days, The Hubble Telescope is a marvel of twenty year old modern technology. What makes it special? Um, well, besides for the fact that it's a giant telescope orbiting in the great ethereal unknown whilst sending us supersonic visual imagery of the heavens, it is the first of its kind that was built to be serviced by human missions. Other space scopes before it were simply one-shot deals. They were sent up and then out, but not Hubble. Hubble gets visits from astronauts for maintenance and repairs. Of course, this got me thinking about what the astronauts wear (are you surprised?) when they head out to service the shuttle. We've all seen the hulking suits and the bulbous headgear, but what's in a shuttle fixer's wardrobe when they're just loungin'?

That's his multi-functioning leisure suit.

Astronauts have to choose their clothing many months in advance. In fact, most of their stuff is custom made. They have uniforms and official space clothes embroidered with their mission's logo. In an effort to keep things corporate casual, the clothing is standard issue. No 2-Pac t-shirts make it to the moon, although some pre-approved personal t-s (like the 'naut's Auburn shirt in the picture below) are allowed on official missions.

See the velcro strips? See 'em?

In order to compensate for the lack of gravity on board, everyday space wear has useful flare. It's striped with strips of velcro and many pockets for stashing stuff that if not properly anchored or stowed, would wind up floating away and getting caught in the shuttle's air filtration screen. You don't want too much of that happening.

Rockin' the LES.

During take off and landing the crew wears orange jumpsuits known as Launch and Entry Suits (LES if you're nasty). Unlike the kind of orange jumpsuits we are used to here on solid ground, they would never hand these things out to prisoners. The jumpsuits are pimped. They have a special capacity to withstand wonky air pressure circumstances in the case of air leaks and malfunctions. They also come equipped with "an emergency oxygen system; parachute harness; parachute pack with automatic opener, pilot chute, drogue chute and main canopy; a life raft; two liters of emergency drinking water; flotation devices; and survival vest pockets containing a radio/beacon, signal mirror, shroud cutter, pen gun flare kit, sea dye marker, smoke flare and beacon. " And that's just what the NASA site tells you they have. I'm sure there are some top-secret accessories that can't be discussed.

Cool, but not loungewear.

The time inbetween launch and entry is spent working and exercising and eating. Even though there's no gravity to hold sweat and spaghetti sauce in place, the stuff still gets caught up in the clothing. But, without a washing machine astronauts have had to improvise laundry techniques if they want to re-wear their duds and keep their friends. How do they do it? Here, watch space Commander Ken Bowersox suds up his shorts without gravity. He also makes a few sexist jokes while he's at it, but that's besides the point.

Space travelers also have special socks that they wear for ten days at a time. Apparently it's too expensive to bring excess clothing into the upper reaches of the universe. Unlike smoke detectors and cordless drills, ten day socks are a space invention that can stay there.

NASA fashion: "Designed for comfort and utility, and are made of flame-retardant fabrics."

Those blue suits, however? Those can come home to mama. I need a place to velcro my keys to. Thanks, Space! Now sing the birthday song for Hubble.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Common Goods: Senior Year, 1988.

In the old days, when people actually developed photos and picked them up from the store in paper envelopes and flipped through them in the halls of school or on a bus or anywhere public, I was the one craning my neck to see their shots. Rude as it may have been, sneaking peeks of peoples' captured moments was a favorite past time. Now, I don't have to crane, I can just click. Flickr is overflowing with candids from peoples' collections of old snapshots. Here's a selection of shots labeled Senior Year 1988. Hello hairspray.

Pre-digital photos were the definition of candid. Closed eyes, gum chewing, awkward poses, someone's not looking. That would never happen now. Not in the instant view era. Something is lost and something is gained, I guess. I just have a soft spot for the old ones. I miss the feel of glossy photo paper on my fingertips, but I love the glow of a screen.

What Can She Give You?

British photographer Glen Luchford captures the ever-after muse of fashion, Ms. Tilda Swinton, in a pensive piece about love and wigs styled by Katy England.

via Dazed Digital.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Beautiful Lee.

I've written of Lee Miller here before, of her fantastic photography that was captured both with the artistic eye of a surrealist, and as an entrenched woman at war. The mere existence of her images is a testament to the magnetism of her presence, which defied the repressive gender norms of her time. In a day where the Mrs. was supposed to be home tending the chores and awaiting the arrival of her battle weary man--bullets whizzed by and tanks drove through and Lee got her shot.

But, even before she was a trailblazer, Miller was a stark beauty. Her gorgeousness is an impressive thing, almost an object to be studied all on its own. A friend of mine who's style sense mirrors that of a certain superhero's Spidey Sense, mentioned Lee as a recent muse, and I can only take that to mean that we will all be worshiping the idol of Miller in a matter of time. Here, behold the gorgeous creature and her work.

Surreal. Beautiful.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Your Feet Look Good In Flowers.

Spring is so fickle--here in glorious, warm bloom one minute, then retreating to cooler climes, or lambasting us with summer's sear before we are ready. But, for all of this we forgive Spring because,'s magic. It makes birds chirp, babies squeal on playground swings, and it raises flowers from the cold, dead ground. It's simply magic. This year I'm seeing florals everywhere and I've decided I want them on my feet. I'm going to leave the prairie print, babydoll dresses to the waify, hipster chicks who look ethereal in them, and rock some floral Huipile Booties from Osborn paired with my uniform of black bottoms and white tops instead.

Osborn Shoes are crafted by skilled artisans and textile makers in Guatemala City and sold via the Osborn Design Studios run by Carla Venticinque-Osborn & Aaron Osborn in sunny, tropical...Brooklyn. The Huipile Booties are embroidered, and each pair is one of a kind--like all of the company's footwear. Produced sustainably and with respect to their makers, the shoes are just as magic as Springtime itself. Don't believe me? Here, watch them dance!

*Special thanks to the chic, Osborn-clad therapist/fashion fan I met on the 1 train for the tip. Always talk to strangers, kids. Always.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Truly Smashing.

Standing Here, 2010. Click for video.

My recent obsession with hitting things (see below for how I do this constructively) was sparked by a viewing of Ms. Kate Gilmore's work at the currently showing Whitney Biennial. The performance artist has this habit of putting herself in some seriously punishing predicaments that she has to smash, strain, and struggle her way out of. Her piece in the Biennial (a clip of it is linked above) knuckle punched and stole my heart. It features her demolition dance with a 12 foot high, four-walled column enclosing just enough empty space for her move around in. Once she crashes her way in, Kate kicks, punches, and elbows her way through the walls to the top of the structure. She does this in a pretty red polka-dot number with black dress shoes and a thin pair of leather gloves. Her ensemble does little to protect her from the torturous fight, and much to emphasize the hard hits she is give/taking. The piece is a phenomenal, in-your-face play of feminine anger, and Gilmore's oeuvre of clever ways to punish herself is stunning, or shall I say smashing.

Wallflower, 2006/2007, Video. Click for video.

From being pelted with tomatoes, to encasing her foot in a bucket of plaster, to having to claw her way out of a homemade, fenced-in dirt ditch. It's all so gruntingly gruff, and yet--and this is why it's more than just punishment to watch--she seems so normal, so lovely, so unassuming. Her girl next door demeanor makes you spend less time worrying about her sanity and more time rooting for her victory. When I saw the piece at the Biennial I saw female anger clear and present. The repetitive thud of her fist against drywall made me wince in sympathetic pain, but also made me jealous. She tore that mother up. I can't even tell you how refreshing it was to see a woman just go to it and get herself out. What a release, what a show of strength. And, Ms. Gilmore puts care into choosing her clothing.

The performance wouldn't be the same without her co-star, that red dress. She hikes it up every now and then so that she can kick holes in the walls, and maybe show you some leg. The glory cry of tough chicks everywhere: "You want this, boy? How about still want it?" I want to be it.

Hit This.

Box with charm. $8.00 at Charms4You.

I just got back from my first boxing class and I'm...wiped out! This was no joke, no spa lady, glisten gleefully while the hot male instructor lets you check out his ass. This was a punch fest. A hit the ground, give me 20, now get up and punch fest. Unbelievable. Best release of aggression ever. Go, girls! Get your grrr on. Punch does wonders for your everything!

One/One-Thousand: Mario Sorrenti

If you like naked women, you'll love Mario Sorrenti.

The Napels-born photographer made his way to New York at the age of ten. His career has been building on itself for years and has overshadowed early tragedy. His younger brother, Davide, was a inspiration for and a victim of fashion's darker Heroin Chic days. Mario's oeuvre includes photographic tributes to his departed brother, as well as a serious stash of important editorial work. Among his first assignments was to document a trip with then girlfriend Kate Moss for the now infamous Calvin Klein Obsession ads featuring Ms. Skin-n-Bones in her barely salad days. Those images became symbols of a time since gone (remember the rebel girls scrawling "feed me" across CK billboards of Moss?) but Sorrenti hasn't gone anywhere. In fact, his work has become staple among top mags like Harper's Bazaar, W, V, and Vogue. His images are often hazed shots of dewy bodies barely dressed...just the way fashion mags like 'em. But his style is versatile, lately entering a territory of bolder colors and more clothes.

He ain't goin' no where.