This is a discussion landscape regarding the au courant in fashion, including all accessories (jewellery, hats, shoes, handbags, et al.) paired with its art and historical origins, placing an academic slant on the usual "hollywoodesque" fashion blog. I am obliged to answer any questions, comments or suggestions one may have regarding today's fashion, its history, museum or runway news, or perhaps questions on what and what not to wear. In posting a subject everyday, I will comment on contemporary fashion news and critique a particular ensemble, pairing it with a historical element. Everyone who wants to learn about fashion is welcome. From questions and comments regarding bridalwear to fashion icons, such as the Graces (Kelly & Mirabella), as well as general questions regarding taste and trends, let's discuss! Remember, we are all students of fashion.

About Me

New York, NY, United States

Anglica Theatrum, W. Hollar (c. 1640)

Anglica Theatrum, W. Hollar (c. 1640)
Hollar was the 1st Fashion Journalist

Monday, February 4, 2008

Pamella Roland

If you have recently pitched items from your closet to take to Good Will and you are finding your fall duds a little sparse, good news. My advice is to empty your 401k (just kidding) and buy every piece from Pamella Roland's collection and as long as you never change your size, you have made your last Good Will donation of your fall closet. Roshumba Willims reported for American Express that this is a collection for the "high-end, jet-setting woman." Ok, who doesn't want to dress like monied-set with style and grace? If you read my first article on this blog, you have a sense of my style or what I aspire it to be. From Grace Kelley to Angelica Houston, this collection fits them all. I wish to have every piece. I guess, if I could only pick one, no two, I would pick her black jersey low-cut evening dress and the black suit with a ruffle detail and no lapel. Rolland is a purist and this collection is a true state of brilliant manipulation of the fabric through tailoring and detail. I would buy every piece of this collection, as nothing is off-kilter or disproportionate. Williams also reported that she has a business degree from Michigan State. In the article by James Covert in New York Post's Business section, "OUT OF FASHION
Labels Play it Very Safe Amid Economic Slowdown," David Wolfe, creative director of the Doneger Group, which forecasts fashion and retail trends, states that designers are inclined to "play it safe and also make it exciting" as retailers need to focus more on their bottom line. In reflecting what Ms. Roland must have had on her mind when designing for next fall, he also exclaims that "the idea is to produce very luxurious versions of ordinary clothes." Kathy Deane, President of Tobe, a global fashion consultanting business agreed, stating that "that's partly because consumers are looking for clothes that will last." Pamella Roland's certainly will. Applause to you, Ms. Roland, you are not only a fabulous designer, but also a fabulous business woman. What is your ticker symbol, because I want to be long your collection?

So Many Shows, So Little Time

I need to do some serious catching-up from Sat, Sun and still view everything from today. I am seeing LOTS of narrow belts and strapless or assymetrical evening dresses with draping pulled to one hip. 60s/80s inspired color-blocking seems to also be popular. One thing I can say is that Peter Som did not dissapoint, starting the day off brilliantly. His pieces are gorgeous and then their is the every classic, Carolina Herrera. I am posed to watch Pamella Roland at 4pm, then Max Azria, again (his own line this time), and one of my favorites, Ports 1961 this evening. The sky may be gray in New York today, but these collections have put my mood in a sea of blue! Please tune back in after for my critical analysis and please comment!!!! Cheers!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

NY Fashion Week FA 08 Friday Feb 1

Let us begin with BCBG Max Azria. Usually a designer whose work I admire and have quite a few of his items. His fall 08 collection, however, is another story. Subdued colors; brown suede narrow belts knotted at center front with symmetrically hanging ends flopping about; bubble skirts with hem just underneath the round of one's bottom (perfectly highlighting any bit of cellulite a woman may have); and bodices covered with wide flounced pleates and ruffles hanging from deep necklines, creating too much fussiness, as well as assymetrical bodices, one shoulder necklines with sheer draped and pleated cape-like overlays from shoulder and necklines. In my humble opinion, Max was trying to create volume on the top and bottom, off-setting an odd length and silhouette. Dresses with length were about an inch below the knee and ended up looking sloppy and ill-fitted on the models, especially with pleated elbow-length pleated sleaves. Paired with dreary colors and belts used as an accessory that did not flatter a silk dress (what were the stylists thinking?), these oddly-shaped garments of beautiful italian fabrics came together to create an overall underwhelming collection, though he did throw in a gorgeous coat and a classic wear-forever pantsuit.

Onto Perry Ellis. Gorgeous menswear. I can't wait to shop next fall for my darling husband! These men look like men, the ones you want to snuggle up next to beside a fire. The clothes are wearable and women will love their men in them.

At both Rag and Bone and Nicole Miller, we saw leggings and sexy tight fitted dresses, 80s inspired. Palettes of charteruese, purple and black at both. Rag and Bone topped their leggings and dresses reminiscent of parachute pants with fitted military jackets. Their ensembles clearly had a Parisian or Berlin cabaret effect. Perhaps they were inspired by the band, Berlin with "99 Red Balloons?" They intermixed the school boy/girl look with ties, jackets and wool bermudas (I was sent home after wearing them to junior high school in 1984). Miller induced her tafetta dresses with stripes and 20s Orientalism in printed silk dresses--all very 80s. Have a great evening and party like the 80s tonight...its only the beginning of Fashion Week!!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hat Chat

Last February, I was pleased to see chic hats back on the runway for Fall 2007. They were the "headliners" at Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Max Azria and Abaete, completing their looks. Ann Klein also used some floppy knitted things that looked like dreadlocks on the model's heads and hats with brims that looked like visors are not even worth mentioning. With talk of Fall 2008 bound with cinched waists and stacked high with thicker heels, will designers give us that truly lady-like look for next fall? Perhaps in hommage to Valentino, red will pen the lips of many at the shows to go with luxurious cashmere suits. Gasp. As a milliner, I can only hope and be ready with some fur felts for blocking. I hope it will be a busy summer. At Proenza Schouler last fall, we saw gorgeous beaver fur cloches paired with strong red lips.

Kudos to Marc Jacobs for last Fall's collection as he used hats to top his clothes that otherwise, could have been a bit dowdy, but the hats made everyone want to look like his models. There was nothing more chic on the runways. I loved this looks so much I had to put in all of these images- I just couldn't help myself.

Unfortunately, hats did not bode as well in their Spr '08 collections. Proenza Schouler sported a military horseman's/British bobbie look, which looked like the designer was adding a tongue-in-cheek approach to their chapeaus. Marc Jacobs also added hats in his Spring '08 collection. They were cute little "mod" style hats, like they off of a Vogue cover from 1969 (Vogue Italia with Marissa Berenson, which I just viewed today at the Peroni/Vogue exhibition of Italian fashion photography at the Twelve 21 gallery space). However, they were often ill-proportioned and the way they were placed half-cocked on the model's heads with messy hair tucked underneath, the "hat" look failed to be a look for the street, which for milliner's is especially important. If designers choose to show hats as a comical and not a wearable accessory, they will never be an easy-to-wear trend again, no matter how easy-to-wear and flattering they can be. Well, at least they are still using them, which is better than most designers.

So please, please, Marc, please don't forget how great we make your clothes look and other designers, please take note!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thank you, Mr. Valentino

This week wraps-up the Paris Couture shows. What a week of glorious clothes. Too bad for film nominees who may not be able to wear a rented dress for a night. All of the collections take me back to a more glorious period in twentieth century fashion. In order to ready ourselves for the New York RTW week, I will write this weekend to give us a run-down on Paris, gearing us up for a full week of fashion. As my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Heater would say "don't forget your thinking cap." One must brush-off the glitter and stardust of the celebrities, others' comments and be ready for critiquing the collections!!!

I would like to thank Mr. Valentino for an enormously fabulous 45 year career as a gifted artist whom understands women, perhaps more than any other designer. He took his final bows on the runway last evening, showing an incredible collection. His clothes are overwhelmingly beautiful and impeccably draped and tailored. The photograph to the right is a young Mr. Valentino in his workshop in Via Gregoriana in the early 1960s.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fashion Journalists: please understand WGA strike

Photo moments at the Oscars are legendary. So many of us recall the gold Vera Wang dress that Best Supporting Actress Nominee, Michelle Williams, wore to the 2006 Oscars with co-star and fiance, Heath Ledger on her arm. As the death of Ledger is on our minds, this brings to light the possibility of a cancellation of the Academy affair this year. I hope that we can all understand why and why the artist's plight in the film industry is so very important. Unfortunately, from the fashion front, I ran across an article from December 3, 2007 for New York Magazine that Plum Sykes wrote regarding what to wear to the "Picket Party". Ms. Plum states the following:

I’m 50 percent on strike. Meaning, half of my career, as a Vogue writer, I am merrily continuing with. The other half, as a screenwriter adapting my novel, The Debutante DivorcĂ©e, for HBO, is kaput, for now. Amy Harris, a television writer who lives on my block in GreenwichVillage, reminds me
that “We gotta go picket!” In a way, I am excited at the prospect—I’ve never
protested before.What do you do? Blow whistles like the French? Throw eggs
like the Welsh miners? And what on earth does a Voguette wear to a picket?

The fact that she actually believes that her opinion should be taken
seriously on any level is appalling. Her naivete is so overt that she probably
has no idea the cause of the strike. Any idea of fashion connected to this cause
is absurd and she is a disgrace to both professions. As a member of both AFTRA and the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG), I am embarrassed that she was a must-join for a guild of which I am affiliated and as a professional and studied actress/artist and guild member, I wholly support. I am extremely offended by her comments and are grateful to those who condemned her comments on their website. Her ingenuousness as an artist/writer of any sort is glaring, making anyone not want to read her book or screenplay. Go back to lunching on your husband's dime, Ms. Sykes.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Bad: Spring 2008

As in Sergio Leone's film title, "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", I believe that I should mix it up a little and begin with the bad. Let's get this out of the way, shall we?

We could start with the pairing of television and model scouting. Has Bravo/NBC heard of ratings? They will be at the bottom as "Make Me a Supermodel" is so bad and most of the models are so average and ill-suited for couture, my brain melted when I forced myself to watch half an episode. But let us stick to what is most important: the collections. As in every season and every collection, the already three mentioned adjectives usually apply and this season is no different. I cannot help but to be a little distracted with the bad when, "the online home of Vogue" is highlighting some of the very worst in their "trend report." I pray none of their highlighted pieces for Spring 2008 will become a trend, ever. The silhouettes are bad, as are the hated neon colors of the eighties.

Their focus on "Nice Stems" I found particularly horrifying ( ). What woman wants to wear this? His garments are always over sized, but is he trying to be so artistic that he has gone overboard? The Dries Van Noten "stem" pattern throughout the collection is sometimes lovely. Some of the items have an exotic, Southeast Asian beach-like appeal with flowing silks fluidly draped around the body like something from "South Pacific." However, overall the collection is sloppy. The silhouettes of the elastic waist-banded skirt or culottes paired with an over sized connecting blouse/bodice with a matching men's style tie is my vote for the bad. The sack-style dresses in this collection look like just that: a silk sack making even a size 0 model's hips look wide. This garment looks like something from the old ladies department at Penney's only the poly was traded in for silk. Fortunately, this concoction is so sad, the only historical reference I can think of is that it is for senior citizens gone blind.

To see more editorial picks from this collection, the cover of January 2008 cover of Vogue is an image of Kate Hudson wearing a bodice from the collection. The shoulders are extremely wide. The colors look great in print and on Ms. Hudson, though could the stylists not find anything else from Spring 2008 collections to photograph for their cover shot? An interesting comment from Harper Bazaar's February 2008 issue is from J.J. Martin, Fashion Features Editor. She chose a lavender and yellow unfitted a-line calf-length dress with voluminous 3/4 length sleeves bound by wide tapering cuffs and a scoop neck. Martin chose this for their section titled "Contributors' Choice," stating that "'Dries has placed these different patterns together on the same bolt of fabric, so I don't have to deal with a 'does this work or not' dressing quandary'" (p. 68). Hmmm. Should not the "quandary" be her job to sort and critique as a fashion editor. Does she have no opinion of her own, but merely chooses what her favorite designers have offered the market?

What about the ensemble from Thakoon highlighted in the "trend report." Overall, I like the collection, but this is one of the bad. This looks like a cheap knock-off of a Zandra Rhodes pattern and if anyone were to find it in one's closet, they would think that they paid too much money for something from the eighties they never wore (or never should have) and it should be thrown out. Please don't send this one to the Salvation Army. It is cruel to think that anyone should be wearing it. This clam-digger trend must stop!

The only trend I see in these two ensembles is a fascination with clowns.

Tomorrow, I will post the ugly. It is also from the "trend report." I just can't help myself.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Fashion Scholar

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is quickly approaching
The press is ready,
The models are not,
Designers are working around the clock.
I started this blog today in the name of dress.
And in the names of the historically fashionable,
Marie, Eugenie, Babe, Audrey, Grace, C.Z.,Nan, Lee and Jackie,
Surely, not to forget our Brits, Diana, Twiggy and Penelope,
We must march forth together into this journey
Seeking everlasting style and good taste throughout eternity.

As this is the first editorial of my blog, the following ladies are a few of my favorites. Their style is iconic as they are a constant measure for living and dressing gracefully. I hope you will agree and enjoy my site.

Here is Mrs. Paley as photographed by Horst P. Horst for Vanity Fair, 1946. Referring to Mrs. Paley, Bill Blass stated, “I never saw her not grab anyone’s attention, the hair, the makeup, the crispness. You were never conscious of what she was wearing; you noticed Babe and nothing else.” Her dear friend, Truman Capote complained that “ Babe Paley had only one fault, she was perfect. Otherwise, she was perfect.” I agree, she
did indeed dress perfectly.

Another photo that I could not resist to record in my blog, is that of Audrey in 1958 at a dress fitting with Hubert de Givenchy taken by Howell Conant standing in front of a Turner. He took some of her most famous photographs, as well as for Princess Grace. Simply "S'wonderful."

Princess Grace with Prince Rainier shopping in
London's West End, 4th December 1959

C.Z., chic, but not overstated, even at the
pool. This is why she is pictured in the Preppy Handbook.

Jackie and Lee walking the
streets of swinging London in Courreges.

Nan with one of her favorite designers, Yves Saint Laurent. He is also one of mine. Growing up in the 1970s and 80s, YSL, along with Mr. Valentino, best epitomized the glamour we remember from 1975-85 period.