Saturday, December 22, 2012

The next generation?

The other day I was sitting at a desk accomplishing a mindless task while eaves dropping on the coworkers around me at my office job when an interesting conversation sparked my attention. A woman was telling her friend about how she cleverly replaced her wide-leg trousers with yoga pants while getting dressed that morning. Of course, this was intriguing to her friend since this workplace has a fairly strict "business casual" dress code. The woman was still as professional looking as ever since the only difference between a pair of black trousers and yoga pants are the absence of pockets and clearly, the fabric. The woman continued to converse with her friend about the huge difference in comfort. This got me thinking about comfort in our society and about how it has changed through time.

It wouldn't be a huge leap to say that throughout the evolution of humanity, we have come to gradually drift towards more comfortable clothing, considering women used to literally rope themselves into corsets. Is it because tradition is becoming decreasingly important? Perhaps it is a reflection on how functionality is becoming more and more valuable in today's society where nobody really seems to have time for anything anymore. If this is true, then what obscure shape will clothing of the future fall into? Perhaps the creators of Star Trek were not too far off with their sleek, minimalistic and form fitting onesies.

Star Trek: The Next Generation's cast

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Its starting to smell a lot like Christmas

 Well ladies and gentlemen, as of course no store has permitted us to forget, the holidays are very quickly approaching. Snowmen are being built (not where I live but I'm sure they are elsewhere), Christmas trees are being decorated, gingerbread houses are being made and holiday parties are definitely being held. These social gatherings are often very awkward since most people are being held there against their will and there's always that one person that drinks far too much and ends up embarrassing themselves or a few selected other people. Whether you're trying to decide how to have your boss or that cute boy to finally notice you, the forever impending question is: What am I going to wear? If you ask me (which maybe you shouldn't), you should take a risk at these kind of events. However, taking a chance doesn't necessarily mean that you have to expose every ounce of flesh on your body; stay classy, stay confident and most importantly, stay stylish. 

This is an outfit that I wore to a new year's eve party a couple years ago (that I am also considering recycling this year). I like it because its different and its a little Christmassy without being covered in reindeer and candy canes. I wore this shirt dress with lace details from Urban Outfitters with a back bandeau to keep the girls covered and black liquid leggings setting off the contrast between the hardness of the leggings and the softness of the lace. Some may find liquid leggings to be a bit tacky but I think that you should just go for it if you feel as if you can pull them off (literally and figuratively). It is very important to take into consideration the durability of an outfit throughout the evening. For example, this dress zips from top to bottom at the back and somebody at the party somehow accidentally unzipped the entire thing.

 I accessorized very simply with a vintage watch and black patten-leather peep-toe pumps. You could also switch up the shoes for some wedge booties that are very on trend this season. It is always interesting to mix vintage with new and high end with low end.

This is a representation of the zombie I will become if I keep thinking and writing about Christmas. Remember your sense of adventure this holiday season and have fun with your clothes.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is old the new young?

Last month, a 72-year-old man in China, Liu Xianping, went viral after agreeing to model for his granddaughter's clothing line for young girls. It all started when he offered advice about putting a certain a look together. This eventually lead to his granddaughter and business partners photographing him in the clothes. In an interview, he mentioned that he has nothing to be ashamed of and is very pleased to be able to lend a hand. Liu's hand has proven to be very helpful as the company's sales have increased to five times the original amount since the images were posted. Fans have proven to be very jealous of Liu's ideal model-esque figure and to be impressed by his great modeling skills.

Personally, I love how open the world's mind has been to this. I love how people can admire someone's creativity and ability to turn one thing into something completely different. Most of all, I love how this demonstrates that some people are not afraid of how people perceive them, that they will do a lot in order to help someone and that they are open to new ideas. However, does this mark the end of the youth-obsessed era? Will we once again be attracted to the wisdom of one's soul, rather the to perfect firmness of young skin? Are we now starting to look beyond what is superficial or are these simply eye catching photos? If this is true, then what will this mean for the fashion industry?

Liu modeling the collection

Friday, December 7, 2012

Street Style: Because in kindergarden they taught us to ask questions

Street style blogging is a phenomenon that has emerged in the fashion industry in the past few years. It started out as something super accessible because anyone could take their camera and their style eye out on the street and capture interesting people wearing interesting clothes. People loved them because it was much easier to look at a blog online than to pay hundreds of dollars to go to a fashion show and you got to see many different perspectives. Does this however mean that true fashion shows are becoming a thing of the past? Will the industry eventually grow tired of street style? Because it is so popular and is so often being mimicked, is it losing it's authenticity and becoming commercialized?

Faith Cummings stated on the blog entitled Clutch that "The sidewalk has officially become the new runway." Does this mean that the catwalk has met it's demise? Will the fashion show of the future rely solely on your internet connection? It seems to be a popular opinion that street style is much more relevant than couture because it represents what real people are wearing, not what someone is trying to sell to you. We all agree that models are good at looking good but it is so much easier to compare yourself to someone who is much more similar to you; where the goal of looking like them is far more attainable. People say that fashion can be a cultural indicator, does this mean that our culture is being lazy or is it simply growing to become more realistic?

Others may, however, argue that street style is a representation of our modern world's thirst for authenticity. In a society where meat, bags and boobs are fake, have we become desperate for anything genuine? In Ted Polhemus' book, Street Style, he says: "If today more and more people use their dress style to assert: ‘I am authentic,’ it is simply evidence of our hunger for a genuine article in and age which seems to so many to be one of simulation and hype."

It is also being said that because street style has become such a huge phenomenon, it is loosing it's appeal. It is no longer interesting to look interesting if everyone is looking interesting. Because there are so many "wanna-bes" in the fashion industry that want their five minutes of fame, it is becoming harder for any kind of authenticity to shine through all the fakes. Michelle Marques once said that "Street style begins as an innovative until it 'bubbles-up into mainstream, becomes sanitized, and loses its subversive edge."

Fashion watchers also argue that street style has lost its indie edge and is turning into something completely commercialized. Blogger, Lauren Tracey, stated that, "...bloggers can be paid upwards of $2000 per appearance at events where they will be photographed, wearing the clothes and accessories that designers supply them with. It is here that a boundary has been surpassed." This, to me, completely defies the entire purpose of street style. It is supposed to be about what real people want to wear, let it be vintage or designer, it should represent a genuine perspective not a sum of money. 

Another popular opinion is that street style is as relevant as ever. Shannon Weissburg posted on the blog, The Quad, that; " In recent years, however, designers have become more and more inspired by street fashion, bringing that inspiration to the runways." If designers are being inspired by people on the street, and people on the street are being inspired by designers, then this creates massive, global network of creativity. I simply cannot begin to fathom anything more amazing. 

At the risk of sounding like a crotchety old man; the world is forever evolving. We must evolve along with it in order to be able to explore brand new ideas. However, we must always remember to remain true to ourselves and remain true to what is genuine.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Single Man

A Single Man has got to be one of my very favorite movies of all time. Brilliantly directed by designer, Tom Ford, the movie was set in Los Angeles in the 1960s and featured Collin Firth and Julianne Moore in the leading roles. The movie tells the story of a day in the life of George Falconer, a British professor, who plans on ending his life after tying up all the loose ends of his livelihood. George is filled with emptiness after having lost his long-time lover in a tragedy-ridden car accident and feels that there is simply nothing left to live for. Throughout the day, he admires every small moment, thinking that it will be the last time that he will experience them. The film is also beautifully framed with several flashbacks referring to memorable moments spent with his deceased partner, Jim. The movie is exquisitely filmed and is absolutely riddled with symbolism, metaphors and irony. Also, the costuming was very well done and fitted perfectly with the time period. Ford transformed a simple black and white suit into something amazing and managed to make Julianne Moore look even more stunning than she did already.

Colin Firth as George
One of the major themes in the movie is youth and George’s lack thereof. The viewers are constantly reminded of this in scenes where he refers to Charlie (Julianne Moore), an ex-lover and best friend, as “kiddo” and she always retorts by calling him “old man”. When George finally embraces what youth is left in him near the end of the film, he takes a racy skinny-dipping adventure with his student and admirer and ends up hitting his head when a violent wave over comes him, displaying his true emotional and physical fragility. This theme of youth and fragility is also mirrored in George’s relationship with Jim as well as in one of the opening scenes when he watches a little boy shred a monarch butterfly.

Julianne Moore as Charlie
The details that Ford snuck into the movie are simply remarkable. Whenever George notices something beautiful, we notice a boost in the colour saturation on screen that is then reflected onto him. Whether it be a pair of sweaty tennis players, a secretary’s eyes, a little girl’s smile or a gorgeous young Spanish man, we see the scene as well as George’s expression, illuminate. These short moments play a vital role in his decision to abstain from killing himself.  I found the clothing particularily interesting since it played very well on the character's personalities: George very maticulously wears his classic, tailored suit and Charlie looks gorgeous in a black and white fitted, floor length dress with a cape-like back. This dress reinforced the notion of Charlie having so much but so little at the same time. 

In A Single Man, viewers observe Ford’s intense attention to detail that he uses when designing, projected onto film in order to create something truly incredible and breathtaking that broke social homophobic barriers and inspired thousands of people.