high fashion

Cheap Designer Label Clothes: What’s not to Like?

Opening February 9th is Target’s newest collaboration: Peter Pillotto for Target. I’ve said before that Peter Pilotto is the future, but this is a groundbreaking collection from a business perspective (for several reasons besides team designers. Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos’, genius). This marks the first time the Peter Pillotto label offers both swimwear and accessories. To celebrate, Target has taken a step in the global direction and is making the collaboration accessible by featuring it Net-a-Porter.

The designs look great — almost like a cross between scuba gear, Jackson Pollock, and the office. No doubt come February, I will find myself perusing Target’s aisles, silently salivating as the sweet smell of design meets affordability.

lookbook-carousel-5lookbook-carousel-12 lookbook-carousel-17

But before I get overwhelmed by the ever-beckoning lure of the label, I have to ask myself and my readers. Why do we like these collaborations? Do we actually like them? Every so often with mixed success, Target, H&M, or Kohl’s tantalizes us with these  oh-so classy looking displays; you get to the store, pulse racing, thinking, “Ah! The joy of having nice clothes made by someone who understands!” Then you touch the fabric, and in a moment of dizzy realization and confusion, it’s just glorified polyester with more thought exerted on it. But I go. every. time. And every time, I ask myself, why would I pay $40 for a white shirt from Target?

Am I being too snobby? Looking back at past Target collaborations, they are undoubtedly cool. Even celebrities wear them!

Jason Wu:

Jason_Wu_Target_LookBook[1]

In real life:012712-jason-wu-target-launch-600

And Philip Lim:

31_phillip_lim_target_collagephillip-lim-target-jessica-alba_154725734796.jpg_carousel_parties

So essentially, by buying the collaborated label, you sacrifice fabric and tailoring, leaving yourself with design. Is that a worthwhile trade, or am I better off to save up my money and thrift like mad? Then again, maybe my expectations are too high. No one is walking out of Target, fanning their fingers together saying, “YES! Runway gold!” Still, if we know that we aren’t really getting designer, why are we buying for designer? The Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine posited in her article Pilotto for the People that the reason to shop these collaborations is to cash in on the prints (making Pilotto the perfect designer). Now we get Peter Pilotto prints without the Peter Pilotto price tag… I don’t know, but that bathing suit is sure calling my name.

It’s Not Betty White?

I have to confess. As a blogger, I’m an absolutely terrible news outlet. When I come across a new, exciting piece of information, ripe for posting, I immediately make sure to do nothing about it. I nod to myself, “Wow, that’s great. People need to know about this.” I spend a week thinking about it, arguing that I’m trying to organize the information, and wade through all my homework before I take the time to blog. For these reasons, it may come as no surprise to some of you that a few weeks ago, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s fashion line, The Row, published their Fall 2014 lookbook. Ordinarily at this time of year, that would be no surprise and merely signal that the company hadn’t gone under in the past three months. However, this time, making a statement beyond its delicious fabrics and utilitarian designs, The Row stunned fashion followers when they employed the modeling talents a famous 60-something: Linda Rodin. Ursula Wallis, 39, and Esther de Jong (whose agency wouldn’t release her age) also modeled for the collection. None of these ladies are strangers to the fashion scene, let alone the runway (Wallis was in Prada’s 2013 Fall show). Linda Rodin, in particular, has a resume that begins with her modeling alongside Twiggy in the 1960s, going on to edit Harper’s Bazaar, and spans to her skincare and perfume line, Rodin Olio Lusso, today.

Ursula Wallis:

The_Row_005_1366.450x675684E822B-34CE-4A39-BED1-A80E6A297D97

Esther de Jong Comparison:

83691-12The_Row_013_1366.450x675

Now, I don’t know about you, but however fabulous each of these ladies may be, until seeing The Row’s lookbook, I had never heard of any of them. Maybe I’m just too young, but I don’t think that’s the answer. To be honest, when it comes to older women in the limelight, few come to mind. Except one. How could anyone overlook Betty White?

Betty White Visits Fuse's "No. 1 Countdown"

Admittedly, I am also partial to the Dames Julie and Maggie.

But for whatever reason in my mind, Betty White seems like the sole vocal representative of older women in entertainment (yes, I know she’s not in fashion). While I know this is an exaggeration, I would be interested to see what others think of when they think of older women in entertainment/ fashion. I’m fascinated by The Row’s step in this direction, and only want to know why aren’t others already diversifying the ages of their models? I can think of three reasons (let me know your thoughts!):

1. I would think that the main concern of using older models is that you might lose a younger consumer audience (do they even have money anyway?).

Graduate-Holding-Empty-Piggy-Bank

2. Advertising 101: Sex sells. While we aren’t selling sex to women per se when they are looking at others, the people we see modeling on any other runway are what we WANT to look like. There’s the lust to look sexy like them and so we buy the product. While I am not proposing that 60-year-olds are not or cannot be sexy, I just think that fewer 20-year-olds think “sexy” when they see an older woman.

Whether or not those are apt reasons, I’ll be interested to see how The Row does financially this Fall. Furthermore, I think it’s refreshing to see a high fashion line channel a look other than an exotic infanta, rolling in newfound libido (which explains why none of them have grown breasts yet — now I’m just ranting irrationally). The point is, old women are fabulous, and I think that we forget that because we don’t see them in that station. Men get their leather libraries and persian slippers, but where are our grandmothers? I only see Betty.

Quite Right.

Quite Right.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love Ari Seth Cohen’s blog, Advanced Style because he photos breathtaking women who aren’t juggling college, a fixie, and a skinny vanilla latte. I like women with businesses, grandchildren, and the perm you never thought to try. It’s not that I don’t like the first group, rather, it’s like someone’s put too much water in my apple juice, the media has diluted their poignance. Why does high fashion, the most creative industry in the market, pander to the same tired age group? I love Karlie Kloss just as much as the next girl, but I’d like to see more marketing where in this direction.

photo

I’ll help the practice along with one of the most beautiful women I know.

For more information on other older models still working out there, check out this Huffington Post article.

Sunglasses Wear and Care

chloe_tilia_cl2181-230x300

  • Sunglasses

I stalk Ebay like a lion on an antelope. When the odd deal comes along, you better believe I am crouched in the shady brush just out of the periphery ready to pounce. This story is no exception. This is a story about pouncing too fast in the face of Chloe sunglasses (I believe they call it leaping before you look). But it turns out okay, and I’m here to tell you how.

  • Wear

I have never spent over $5.00 on sunglasses. I always lose or break my sunglasses so I have been afraid to invest, but after borrowing a pair of my friend’s Ray Bans for a day, I decided that I might do better if I actually valued the sunglasses. Since I pretty love everything that is the French Design house Chloé, I started watching the market, determined not to pay anymore than $20.00 total on glasses (yes, I realize it wasn’t much more of an investment but baby steps :P). Before long I found my opportunity. A pair of glasses with all the fixings (except a missing screw) was listed at 25.00 buy-it-now price.  It also offered the “Best offer” option. This allows potential buyers to submit an offer which the they commit to pay should the seller accept the offer. I whimsically submitted like 16.00 that with shipping, would put me just under $20.00. Before I had time to refresh the page, the seller accepted.

P14220783

They looked so good…

There was only one hitch upon receiving them. I hadn’t bothered to figure out where the missing screw was, and it was kind of important. Not to mention, the “screw” that was missing looks more like a stylish, non-functioning gold peg.

IMG_5990

Pretty visible if you are’t taking a picture from 5 feet away.

  • Care

I did the only thing I could do in this situation. I called my Mimi. Together we came up with a list of home solutions. First, I went to Joanne’s fabrics, thinking I could use the top of a stick pin to put in the empty hole and smooth down in the back.

$T2eC16V,!)UE9s3wCPQLBQKBr3Cz3!~~60_35

Like looking for hay in a stack of needles.

Turns out, Joanne’s has EVERY type of needle you could ever imagine, as long as it’s silver. From there, Mimi suggested that we go to the jewelry store. They said they didn’t have anything like it, but Mimi got her bracelet fixed for free.

When we got back in the car, she sat thinking for a second before announcing, “You just sit tight,” and we were off… to her ophthalmologist. When we walked in, it was about a quarter to five. We had no appointment, and I knew no one in the building, but Mimi just waltzed up to the counter and asked if they had the stuff to fix “her granddaughter’s favorite glasses.” A tall man with stern lips and ominous eyebrows, signaled us to walk back into the hallway with a casual hand motion. The complicit receptionist, opened the door for us.

While Mimi styled sample frames, I nervously watched the eyeglass man invent a makeshift screw for my glasses. My two favorite questions were: “Where did you get these?” and “how long have you had them.” Rest assured, “on ebay” and “three days” were NOT my responses.

Midway through the interview, Mimi saw her doctor. He stopped and talked to us for 15 minutes (during which Mimi managed to slip in my whole academic biography). I don’t know what did it exactly, but the repairman gave me back the frames for free.

IMG_5993

You’d never know the difference, unless of course you knew the difference.

  • Share
IMG_5991

Living Room Selfie Attempt #27

  • Lessons Learned:

— Get your sunglasses fixed at an eyewear place.

— Always bring Mimi.

Netflix Fashion Documentaries: Part 1- TOP PICKS

Image

Over the winter break, I’ve been filling my spare time brushing up on the fashion industry by watching fashion documentaries. I’m about 7/8 of the way through all of the ones offered by Netflix on instant watch. Before you read further, I have to admit: I used these documentaries as a learning tool. When I started watching, I had no idea who or what Anna Wintour, Bergdorf Goodman, Bill Cunningham, and Pierre Bergé were. While I caught on quickly, it is something you might want to keep in mind when assessing my opinions. Also, if you think these films are just crass advertising schemes, you may be right… but it can’t hurt to do a bit of investigating.

Image

1. Scatter My Ashes at the Bergdorf

This documentary is just as magical as Bergdorf’s windows. It manages to cover every activity that goes on in the building: designer’s dreams, buyer’s expectations, personal stylists (or clothing wingmen as I like to think), the business’ history, and the circus feats behind the windows. These subjects are portrayed like chapters in a coffee table book, and the pictures are just as vivid. Instead of being a line-up of back-to-back interviews, the film aptly uses a series of mixed artistic approaches for demonstrations. You’ll have to watch it to see what I mean! The tone of the film is a catching excitement, and with good reason, there is something Bergdorf Goodman that is just undeniably fabbbulous. A parting thought from David Hoey, the senior director of visual presentation:

“I’m not afraid of the term “window dresser.” Most window people will not say that. They’ll call themselves visual merchandisers or something grandiose like that. But I mean, why not use the more modest term and then go way overboard and with the windows?”

Image

  • Covers multiple facets of the Bergdorf, fully satisfying viewer’s curiosity
  • Visually pleasing, would almost say stunning
  • You get to peek into the basement where they keep all their stock of curiosities that they use in their Christmas windows!
  • 4F approval rating.

Image

2. Bill Cunningham: New York

Bill Cunningham is a refreshing enigma in the world of fashion. He eats at cheap cafes, wears the same iconic outfit every day, and tapes up his poncho to avoid spending a further dollar. But before I spoil all the delicious surprises of this documentary, I have to say that even after an hour and a half, I was still totally enthralled watching this man bike back and forth from event to event. Get some rest Bill Cunningham! Or better yet, come to Georgia, and get in my life! If you like character studies, this is the documentary for you.

Image

  • Bill Cunningham is charming.
  • Even Anna Wintour thinks so.
  • An insightful look into the New York Times Fashion page and the rise of Street Style
  • Favorite Fact: our boy is on bike 39, because the last 38 were stolen!?!?
  • 4F approval rating

Image

3. The Tents

This is a must-see for those interested in the emergence of the American fashion industry. It also is a great showcase into the mind of designers and the volatile nature of the game. Lots of good old footage is spliced alongside modern perspectives. It’s almost a celebration of hindsight.

  • Lots of great interviews.
  • Instrumental for those seeking to put designer names with their faces.

Image

  • Very informative about the New York/ American fashion scene and its growth into today’s industry.
  • Neg: over-steeped in nostalgia
  • 3F rating

Image

4. L’Amour Fou

I liked this documentary, but it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. More than focusing on YSL or his relationship with Pierre Bergé, its focal point was the auction surrounding their house after YSL’s death. It didn’t hurt that the house was full of stunning cultural artifacts. But rather than reminiscing on relics, I was hoping for a bit more insight into YSL the man. One you concede that expectation, the film makes for a pleasant viewing experience.

  • An overview of YSL from his closest confidantes
  • Someone has excellent taste in decorating homes, whether France or Morocco.
  • it goes a little slow…
  • Neg: get ready for subtitles
  • 3F approval

(a few pictures more just for kicks)

Image

Image

Last Minute Dream Christmas List

If I had all the money, these would be my top 5 things right now.

1. Brooks Brothers Paisley and Fox Fur Cape (or Just Get Me to the Opera on Time)

Image

They call me Lord Byron for a reason.

2. What Katie Did Padded Bra and Knickers (or Madonna Still Inspires Us)

Image

Because my witticisms aren’t “sharp” enough alone.

If these aren’t your style and the Christmas haul is underwhelming, I’d highly recommend checking out pleasurements .com.

3. Dolce and Gabbana Cage Sandals (My Own Secret Garden)

Image

4. Chloé Bib Detailed Wool Sweater (Navy Sans Seasickness)

Screen Shot 2013-12-24 at 10.52.07 PMScreen Shot 2013-12-24 at 10.55.48 PM

5. Valentino Red Embroidered Lace Gown (What Did You Think I Was Wearing to the Opera?)

Screen Shot 2013-12-25 at 12.29.24 AM

So this is the reason they associated the color red with love….

A Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Home Remedies and Maintenance: Cleaning Patent Leather

Recently I caved and bought myself a nice pair of black shoes. I’d been wearing a supportless, second-hand pair for about as long as I could stand, so I decided I really wanted to invest in something nice. Now one of my pet peeves about people who claim to be into fashion is that they just pay a lot of money to look like everyone else— it kills me. I’ll try to side step that soapbox, but in doing so explain that I decided that I would get a pair of Lanvin flats.  Still Lanvin flats are like a rich man’s TOMS. All the same style in every heinous variety of color and fabric you wish you couldn’t think of. Still, no one can deny that they are quality shoes. So in light of my penchant for a bit of crossdress and the overwhelming number of interviews lying in store for my immediate future I chose these:

Image

If you would like to know how they make me feel, just click the picture. Anyway, so I brought them home and was showing them off to my Mimi when she laid down a peace of country-fied wisdom. We were talking about leather and patent leather, and she said “Now, you know that the best way to clean patent leather is with a biscuit?”

No Mimi, I decidedly did not know that. What on earth are you talking about? A biscuit? Like those rocks you get from Hardees? The answer is yes.

Image

Another reason to go to Chik-fil-a? Just what I needed!

But for real. Apparently the unique pre-butter biscuit grease is what really makes that patent leather shine… I really have no other explanation as to why it works, it just… does (it’s like that time I put a bar of soap at the bottom of my bed). You break a biscuit open and rub the inside on your surface than follow up with a dry washcloth or something. Would you ever have guessed? Hoping you are having a great holiday season and manage to get more lounging than cleaning in.

Image

1/6 of the law degree done… has anyone seen my soul?

 If you’re interested in these beauties, you can get the 2013 version on sale at Net-a-Porter here, although my ribbons are slightly different.

Fur Better or Fur Worse?

Last year Jacqueline Durran stunned the world with Kiera Knightley’s exquisite costumes in Joe Wright’s rendition of Anna Karenina. However, while absorbing the lush extravagance that was this fallen woman’s wardrobe, I was forced to ask myself: How many people actually still wear fur hats?

Image

We should examine this fur-ther.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I know this is Russia we were talking about. But, for real, how many people are out and about in fur hats? Have we as a society accepted use fur as inhumane more overall? Has global warming alleviated the need for these (the answer to that is NO in northern Indiana). Is fur just something few people can afford/ aren’t inclined to spend on? Does a fur hat just remind everyone of Julie Christie in Dr. Zhivago?

Image

Be sure to let me know your thoughts. Personally, I say the fur hat is alive and well, especially since I wore one to my last class this morning. I was pretty excited about it and so in a fit of procrastination, I made an homage to our tragic Russian aristocrat.

WAITING FOR VRONSKY
(or failure… an ambition only slightly better than Godot)

Image

For the occasion, I wore my mink hat, a black silk shirt, and a velvet jacket (that is probably my mother’s for nice occasions. Devon cream and a raison scone also went into the making of this photo set.)

Image

Pictures brought to you by photobooth (yes I’m sorry, but the only other option was iphone selfies. Scylla and Charybdes, I know.)

Image

This hat is mostly feathers.. but why stop good procrastination? Scone down.

Image

And this one I call Bridget Jones at Thanksgiving. Leave it to our girl to wear the turkey on her head.

I realize this photo set was mostly me looking sad (I will spare you a lengthy justification on why this would fit Anna’s character and the spoilers that I would be sure to provide.), but I hope you got a bit of a kick out of it, and let me know if you have any in-fur-mation on Winter hats today.

Fancy: 10

Function: 6 (they keep Russian heads really warm)

Funky: 5

Fashion: ?

Burberry: for the Unenlightened

Burberry: for the Unenlightened

So I came across this graph today explaining Burberry’s three brands: Prorsum (which means “forward” in Latin), London, and Brit. Now before you buy that “Burberry” jacket you’ve wanted since birth, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into.

Alexander McQueen’s “It” Hat: Inspiration 2014

ImageImage

Sarah Burton’s Spring 2014 collection for Alexander McQueen introduced something to put on your head. But what is it? Hat? Cap? Cloche? Skullcap?  Flashing down the runway in silver and gold, where did this innovation come from?

Image

“I wanted energy without froth.” Burton claims.

I posit 3 possible inspirations.

1. Blue collar power tool industry inspiration?

ImageImage

This seems like the most likely option to me based on last year’s beekeeping theme. Is Burton/ McQueen quietly paying homage to  different industries, making statements about there perception while transfusing high and low cultural conceptions?

Image

2. A modern take on a 1920s cloche? Is this update supposed to be an interpretation of a “new woman” and the more metallic streamlined look supposed to represent strength?

ImageImage

Burton agreed with this interpretation saying, “They’re sort of 1920s cloche hats.” While this may be true, contrasted with the tribal and militaristic influences of the collection, what started as a cloche seems like decidedly something else.

3. (my personal favorite) Tron?

Image

Image enough said.

Have any better ideas? Let me know what you think… Feel free to add whether you would ever wear this. I’m still on the fence.

Fashion: 7

Funky: 8

Fancy: 3

Function: 2

Trend on the Horizon: Carpetbags

Image

As exams grow ever nearer, I am regressing to all my favorite books and movies out of fear… but it’s hard not to celebrate when

On December 10th (just in time for Christmas y’all!) Mary Poppins will be released on Blue-Ray (and combo pack and digital HD) for the first time! And I’m wondering if she will usher in a new bag trend:

CARPETBAGS

Seriously, is it just me or am I starting to see needlepoint, jacquard, carpet-esk material everywhere? First it was these:

Image

For some reason all the men in my dreams are named Mr. Stubbs or Mr. Wootton.. probably because I can’t have themmmmm *sob*

Then Zara gave us this: (my pictures are from ebay and if you dare buy this out from under me… I will eat too much pizza crying and there will be no more fashion)

ImageImage

Mary Poppins, needlepoint shoes, Zara jacket? Coincidence you say. But you can’t argue with AGE!

If you have not seen the blog Advanced Style please leave now and go enlighten yourself (but come back now ya’ hear!). Really, it’s the most beautiful and charming collection of pictures taken by Ari Seth Cohen. There are only two stipulations: they subjects are all elderly people and  they all have fantastic or quirky or dynamic or intriguing style. So, as I was staring my future in the face the other evening: 

Image

This is Ari Seth Cohen’s photo!

That might not be quite a carpet bag… but it’s definitely in the carpet bag family… making it a welcome mat bag? They very next post you can’t deny.

This photo is property of Ari Seth Cohen.

This lovely lady even has her own vintage purse store WITH carpetbags here.

So what do you think? Are carpet bags the next big thing or did they go out with Reconstruction? Let me know what you think, and in the mean time have a jolly holiday!!

Image

Disney came out with copy a few years ago. Notice they don’t show you the bottom of the bag…

In case, you want to get in on them now, they are going for relatively little on Ebay… in the range of 20 to 50 for the cheaper ones.

Fashion: ?

Funky: 7

Fancy: 2

Function: 5