Friday, February 26, 2010

The Tailoring Conundrum

I came home this weekend to work on applications (I just don't understand why everyone doesn't want to transfer for the pure thrill of filling out the Common App again) and, more importantly eat awesome food.

Each time I return to my room, I can't help but try on everything in my closet for hours. As a vintage lover and collector, I have accumulated a small museum, and always ask myself, "Why don't you wear this all the time?" I soon realize there are details in the pieces that deter me from wearing these pieces regularly, such as hemlines or sleeve length. Here is my issue:

Do I take these items to a tailor to edit them into pieces I would wear all the time or do I not touch them because by changing them they lose the integrity of vintage and the details that capture their time?

I find this problem in current clothing as well. For example, the dress I wore to prom last year. I found an incredible Escada gown from S/S '08, but the train was too long for the event. It pained me to chop off a good 5 inches so I could dance and not get stepped on, and when I try it on now, I feel like a part of it is missing that once complimented the draping in the back so beautifully.

Here is a really small picture of my dress, unfortunately my camera is back at school.
Escada Draped Bodice Gown

Your thoughts?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

why pay for college...

...when you could have an entire closet of Burberry Prorsum F/W '10 jackets?

All Images:

Mom and Dad, just think about it, okay?

In your opinion, not mine

In short, my art history class is kick-ass. Every time I leave that class room my brain is going 1000 mph trying to a) figure out what the hell I just learned and b) realizing what I just learned relates to everything. Right now we are studying Neo-Dadaism, i.e. Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Mimmo, and Jacques Villegle, which completely twists everything from Abstract Expressionism.

Rue de la Biche, Saint Dennis (1963)
Jacques Villegle

Photo: Artnet
Target with Plaster Casts (1955)
Jasper Johns

Photo: The Public Interest
Rebus (1955)
Robert Rauschenberg

Don't worry, this isn't an art history lesson, but I do want to look at the motives behind Nouveau Realisme/Neo-Dada. The art is about the viewer and their journey disecting the crypticism in the works. In an Jasper Johns interview I read, he made it clear that it wasn't important what meaning he found in his works, he was more interested in the meaning the people looking at his work discovered.

So, after class, because this is just how my brain works, I immediately started to think about fashion and trying to figure out if this related to the industry or not. Do designers reserve their relationships with a collection for the intrigue in what the audience has to say? Or is it a melding of the two? With fashion I find that a designer is presenting the products of their creativity with the notion they will recieve feedback, and with the intent of explaining their vision, as well. Does the removal of explaination of the designers narrative nullify their creative process? Could this work in the fashion industry?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When in the Empire State (of mind)

I really really don't want to do work...

My friend and fellow blogger, Megan, asked me to compile a list of stores for her to visit during her spring break trip to NYC. I figured that I wouldn't keep this list to myself and should share some of my favorites. I should probably preface this with the fact when I am in NYC I go for the vintage and small stores and stray from designer flagships, but there are definitely some worth visiting for design purposes. Here it goes:

So I sort of collect business cards...

For rare concert tees, suede vests, cutoffs and basically anything else you need to look like a complete rock-star head over to Star Struck. I got my favorite pair of Levi's cutoffs here, and for only $12 (I warn you that not everything is that cheap there). (Vintage)

Star Struck Vintage Clothing
47 Greenwich Ave
New York, Ny 10014

Small and fairly inexpensive, but be prepared to scour the racks. Don't overlook their $1.00 rack, I found a great blazer among the icky turtlenecks and oversized shirts. (Vintage)

175 MacDougal St.
New York, NY 10010

One of the best organized vintage stores I have been to. Fantastic assortment of Levi's in every color of the rainbow and any other item you could ever think of. My scores: 2 plaid flannels that fit like a dream. (Vintage)

Andy's Chee-Pees
16 W. 8th St (Also have a store @ 691 Broadway)
New York, NY 10010

Go here for the owner. She is wonderfully entertaining and has a huge wall of amazing shoes. (Vintage)

314 East 9th Street
New York, NY

Screaming Mimi's was my introduction to the world of vintage in NYC, I got two of my favorite pieces from there in 8th grade and wear them to this day, so I might be a little biased, but definitely check it out. (Vintage)

Screaming Mimi's
382 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10003

I warn you, the prices here are inflated, but its worth taking a peek for their line of clothes that incorporate vintage textiles. The staff has always been friendly and they generally have things on sale. (Vintage/New)

Zachary's Smile
9 Greenwich Avenue
New York, NY

For a small store with a concise selection of independent labels head to Duo. They also have some vintage, but I liked their modern clothes more. (Vintage/New)

337 East 9th Street
New York, NY 10003

Amazing selection of designer clothes on the cheap(er). Tokio 7 has a ton of last seasons must haves, I remember seeing a Proenza vest from S/S 08 I coveted, unfortunately I didn't have the funds.(Designer Consignment)

Tokio 7
64 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10003

Smaller than Tokio 7, but another fantastic designer consignment shop. Last time I was there I was thisclose to buying a shearling Miu Miu bomber jacket because the price was so damn good, but realized it had no place in my closet. (Designer Consignment)

101 Thompson St
New York, NY

If you want cute and comfortable shoes at fairly affordable prices, it's worth the trip to the UWS to Tani. My friend Gabby introduced me, and I am forever in debt to her. I always find it hard to find sandals that wont make my arches fall yet don't look like orthopedic sneakers, but with brands like Corso Como, Jeffery Campbell, and F Troupe I always find myself drooling and without foot pain. (Shoes)

131 W. 73 Street or 2020 Broadway
New York, NY

When in NYC I want to shop at places where I can't get the clothes anywhere else, but I make an exception with A.P.C. I love the simplicity of these clothes and the layout of the store, the prices...not so much.(Designer)

131 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012

Go to Miu Miu. Shoes. Pink. Sequins. Pink. Dresses. Pink. Bags. I don't think I can really say much more. Its for the girly girl you might have forgotten. (Designer)

Miu Miu
100 Prince Street
New York, NY 10012
Don't bother looking for the prices, the clothes don't have tags, but to relive the SATC episode where Carrie buys Burger the shirt go here, oh and its architecturally amazing. (Designer)

575 Broadway
New York, NY

When you need to wind down and eat something, get a really good lunch at Westville. I love their mac & cheese. They also make a mean turkey burger. (Food)

210 West 10th Street
New York, NY 10014

Awesome omlettes. (Food)

Elephant & Castle
68 Greenwich Avenue
New York, NY 10011

So New York is the land of cupcakes, but until this January I felt like Goldilocks. No matter where I went I couldn't find the perfect cupcake, but then there was Sweet Revenge. Perfect. Vanilla. Cupcake. (Food)

Sweet Revenge
62 Carmine Street
NYC, NY 10014

I love carbs. So usually after I've stuffed my face at Sweet Revenge, I head over to Amy's Breads for the best scones and muffins, or just get an entire loaf for myself. (Food)
Amy's Breads
250 Bleecker Street OR 75 9th Avenue
New York, NY


Were the Fashion Gods Listening?

Okay, so in making up for my mission to not post any reviews, I am going to articulate how elated I was with New York Fashion Week. To be honest, I sort of hold my judgments for fashion week until Milan and Paris have happened because NYFW hasn't been so strong, but this was one of the best seasons yet.
Phoebe Philo deserves the credit. Her S/S '10 collection for Celine captured the idea of "slow-fashion." Her reinstated designing presence in the industry definitely has caused a ripple effect that I'm excited to see unfold in the upcoming weeks.

Celine S/S '10

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about an article in the Wall Street Journal regarding the death of trends, and how there is a void of focused and concise collections, well NYFW F/W '10, you did it. There is a definite shift this season-- designers strayed from tired trends such as body conscious dresses, jumpsuits, sky high hemlines, and athletic chic, and went back to classics and true creativity. I found the collections that were less effective this season were ones that were popular in seasons past due to the fact they were heavily trend driven rather than consisting of well made and executed pieces.

I hate to say it but, Alexander Wang was an example this season. In the past seasons, he has nailed down the athletic-grunge look and has made great impact on how people dress (those slouchy mens cutoffs you covet at Urban, thank Alex), but it was getting tired. His collections have been incredibly concept driven, which is not bad, but this season I find it's not about the trend or a look, rather finding pieces that can be timeless additions to one's closet. I'm not sure where chenille leg-warmers stand in that, but I know it's not a staple for me.

I also noticed a shift in attention from the celebrity of fashion week to the desire for well executed collections. Maybe it's just me, and that I don't pay attention to who is sitting in the front row, but I think the level of sophistication and effectiveness seen in the collections overshadowed our attention paid to celebrities.

I look forward to seeing how/if other designers will approach their collections with the same focus as NY's did, and if so, maybe I was onto something.

Monday, February 22, 2010

didn't think the day would come.

I guess I should stop plucking now.

photo: fashioncopious
Topshop Unique F/W 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Please sir, may I have some more?

It's Sunday.
I have not been outside yet thanks to Leo Steinberg and John Cage.
I have not been outside yet AND it's 40 degrees, which is basically summer in Massachusetts.
To cope with this, I am doing a purely food related post.
Let the food porn commence.

Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes
 Sesame Seed Encrusted Ahi Tuna Over Thai Noodle Salad
 Grilled Chicken with Homemade Rub 

 Panko and Pesto Encrusted Salmon (Uncooked)
Mushroom Risotto

Here are some awful cell-phone pictures of an absolutely incredible meal at Otto in NYC.
My friend Shauna and I thought we may have ordered too much, well we were wrong...we ate it all.
Shrimp and Chickpea Salad, Beets, and the best Black Olives I have ever encountered.
Shallot and Balsamic Pizza with Goat Cheese
Olive Oil, Salted Caramel, and Chocolate Gelato

All food featured in these photographs were captured and consumed by me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year

LONGPOSTLONGPOSTLONGPOST! Take it in little bites if you must.

Let's be honest, Christmahanukwanzikah was great, but Fashion Week is the gift that keeps on giving. 

I mean this kid is no where near up to par with my excitement, but I guess this will suffice:

At this point, I don't think there is a website I visit that doesn't acknowledge the fact that it is fashion week. There are two parts to this. I love that designers are getting the recognition they deserve, but it brings up the larger issue of quality of content. I'm not talking about if Alexander Wang's collection is good or not, I'm talking about who is saying if it's good or not. How credible are the people writing reviews for shows? An even bigger issue is that we are at a point, thanks to the internet, where anyone can have a say and make their opinion known, so does credibility even matter anymore? For this very reason, I will not be reviewing the shows.

With looking at opinions comes an conscious or unconscious alteration of our ability to view things in their purest form. Of course I have my opinions of what I like or loathe, but I don't need to impair other peoples thoughts. I try my hardest not to read reviews before looking at a collection so I can form my own opinions and make my own connections without the words of someone else conflicting with mine.

In other news!:

Minus the fact I sound like a chain-smoking 13 year old boy right now due to an unexpected cold, this past weekend was great. On Thursday, I took advantage of my massive chunk of free time and went to Providence to the RISD museum. At my school, unfortunately, we do not have an on campus art museum, so getting to see fantastic art on a weekday was a great privilege. I have an art history assignment on a specific Rothko piece at the museum, so I needed to check it out anyway. My assigned Rothko (which I learned was featured on Mad Men!):
RISD Museum

This reproduction does not do the painting justice, but it was great to see one of my favorites in person. Although museum is small, they have an incredibly concise and well curated collection. Along with a Warhol, Kelly, Reinhardt, and Twombly there were some of my favorite pieces of furniture.

Let me just say, I probably got more excited about a chair as an 11 year-old than most people do...ever. My mom is an interior designer, so along with family vacations that revolved around visiting many famous homes, I developed a minor obsession with furniture, specifically chairs. I remember begging my mom to save a set of Herman Miller chairs from being thrown away in our old synagogue with the same passion as a kid begging to keep a kitten. After a book about Charles and Ray Eames was given to me, it was really downhill from there. Without a doubt, I admire their work more than any other designer (furniture/textile that is). 

I guess you can imagine my excitement when I spotted their molded plywood leg splint and an original DCW chair.

click image to make larger

One last thing..

I colored my hair! Okay, so as a 19 year-old its not a huge deal to change the color of your hair, but as a girl who only dabbled with blonde highlights as a 7th grader, I was sort of freaking out. Naturally, I'm a brunette, but for a couple of months I have wanted to go a little redder. I wanted to keep the same tone but just liven up the hue, so I settled with a dark auburn, and I'm very pleased:

Ignore my stupid expression and my friend about to attack me. 
I have more to say! But this post is even getting too long for me, so I will update soon!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rest in Peace Lee Alexander

The months of September and February are where my grades plummet, my friends hate me, and I talk about nothing but fashion. Oh hey fashion week!...I mean...month. Each day trends unfold, careers are made (or broken), and designers are treated like gods. It's beautiful. There are certain shows that I mark down in my calender so I know exactly when I can start obsessively checking

One show in particular I always save my emotional energy for is McQueen, but this season will be different. I got the news via WWD in the middle of class and started to choke up. Alexander McQueen was a rare talent; an extraordinary designer and always with a focused aesthetic. As bloggers, editors, and fashion contributors have been saying all day, he was an inspiration and influence that not only touched the industry he belonged, but other media as well. He will be greatly missed.

I am not going to continue this post and write about my day--it would be inappropriate. We need to take the time to appreciate his contributions and mourn this loss.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

There might be 28 inches of snow at home but...

For some miraculous reason, I was not caught in New York this weekend due to the insane weather in Philly, which I thought for sure would make it up the the Empire State. Right now, I am not in a position where I can write a full fledged post, mostly because I have an 80 page Kirk Varnedoe article on Jackson Pollock waiting for me along with memorizing Medieval French poetry, but I read a quote this morning that was of interest. I posted a couple weeks ago in response to Christina Binkley's article on the death of the trend. I discussed how the industry is congested and needs a cleanse--Donna Karan seems to agree:

“We need fashion shows, but that’s industry, it’s not for the general public,” she continues. “All the communication has to stop. It doesn’t go out on the wire, it doesn’t go out on the Internet, it doesn’t get out for the manufacturers to copy the designs. I mean, we’re killing our own industry. There’s too much information going out there. We have to learn the word restriction.”


Thursday, February 4, 2010

holy beautiful music, batman

Since the summer of my Junior year I have had a minor, well not so minor actually, obsession with the Icelandic superband, Sigur Ros. My first listen, I believe it was Starálfur from their album Agaetis Byrjun, I was on the verge of tears. It's the combination of powerful strings and well planned vocals. It's truly emotion evoking music and would be, without a doubt the soundtrack to the movie of my life, don't pretend you didn't fill out the facebook survey.

When checking out Pitchfork today, I read that the lead of Sigur Ros, Jon Birgisson aka Jonsi, is putting out a solo album. I had my doubts at first, how could he recreate the magic that is Sigur Ros? Well, I am almost at a loss of words right now for how gorgeous his songs are. As of now, there are only two songs from his album (which will be released in April) on the interwebs, but please do take the time to listen to his work. <-- "Boy Lilikoi" <-- "Go Do"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Damn you Phil!!!

If only I were home right now. I would have made the trip to Punxsutawny, the weather capital of the world,  to visit everyone's favorite groundhog. Unfortunately we will have a long winter, THANKS PHIL, but who could hate that lovable guy? A couple years ago it became a tradition in my house to stick out watching the 4 hour long televised celebration, due to its absolute insanity (i.e. out of sync high school dance troupes and  interviews with the "Inner Circle" which includes members with the titles of "Stump Warden" and "Thunder Conductor"). Here is a glimpse into some of the festivities, specifically apparel:
I'm sure within the next couple months, hipsters everywhere will be sporting this.
Okay, I couldn't do much better than that aside from a rhinestone paw shirt, which I refuse to post.

Another order of business. Go buy new The Magnetic Fields album, Realism. Now (even if Pitchfork only gave it a 6). Favorite tracks include: "You Must Be Out of Your Mind" and "The Dada Polka"

This semester I am taking a Post-war and Contemporary Art History course, regardless if I've only had 2 classes, I feel it is going to be my favorite (Well, Human Sexuality does come close, it's your regular high school sex-ed class, but completely uncensored-- I'm usually bright red the entire time).

What attracts me to art history is not only is it a better version of any history class, but it puts something we see all the time, art, in a true cultural context. When you go to a museum, how long do you stand in front of a painting? What, maybe 30 seconds at most, if it's the Mona Lisa I'll give you 40. Every piece of work and artist has a story, and to have insight to them brings art appreciation to a whole new level. It's funny to think that people go to museums as a recreational activity, but rarely do they know what they are looking at. When people go to, say, a football game, they know exactly what's going on, but at an art museum, even those who have no background can enjoy it.

Fashion is the same, and at an even higher level. Not every day do we face a Fautrier or an Eagles game, but each morning we get dressed. We must face a history regardless if we know it or not. That safari dress you thought was cute at Bloomingdales? Someone didn't just think a khaki dress with buttons down the front would be cute, thank Yves. Everything in your wardrobe was created by someone, some thinker who had an idea and produced it. With our personal aesthetic, we represent someones thoughts. In order to reduce our excessive intake of trends and fast fashion, making an effort to understand the process behind what we wear will help the process to narrow down wardrobes.  Everyone can appreciate fashion, but like art, only until some familiarity with history is achieved can true appreciation occur.