Archives for posts with tag: fashion

The term Haute Couture is often thrown around in conversation, but unless you have taken a fashion class ( where the teacher practically engraves the terms true meaning into your brain) you probably don’t realize how elite and specific the term is.  In honor of the recent Couture showing for fall 2013 in Paris earlier in July, I attached a wiki link to give all sorts of details. Basically the term is very selective: items must be made for specific people, a certain percentage must be hand made, and a special governing board is in charge of deciding who can be listed as Haute Couture. Every season the number of designers/houses changes but usually it is between 8 and 16. All this to say, your Juicy Couture track suit from middle school probably doesn’t technically qualify as Couture.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haute_couture

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Loose shirt, Cynthia rowley, Shirt top, H M short sleeve shirt, Topshop lightweight jacket, Rag & Bone mid-rise jeans, A Wear long chiffon maxi skirt, Sam Edelman leather sandals, Ipanema, Yves saint laurent purse, Tory burch, Kendra scott jewelry, Kendra scott earrings

Who:  Condé Nast International (Vogue Magazine in particular)

What: This is a ban on underage and too skinny models apart of the” Vogue Health Initiative”. Models that are under the age of 16 or who are deemed too skinny will not be allowed to appear in the publication, fashion shows, or ad campaigns featured in their magazine.                                                                            Vogue is only putting models to work if they promote a healthy body image. This initiative is supported by Anne Wintour , the editor at large for American Vogue.

When: May 3, 2012; Editions of Vogue published for June 2012 and onward. It stems from a 2007 voluntary campaign to use models over the age of 16.

Where: all Condé Nast publications in 19 countries such as: US, UK, France, Italy, Australia, Russia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, India, and Turkey. Thailand and Ukraine will both be a part of this when they start publication in 2013. The stand is enforced in photo shoots, ad campaigns, and fashion shows.

Why: The most dramatic reason stems from the 2007 initial voluntary ban that came about after two models died in 2006 due to eating disorders.  The other reasons are a little less concrete. Sample sizes have been shrinking to unrealistic sizes for decades; the anorexic models have been sending a bad message to the public, that women with malnutrition are healthy women; bad working conditions for models; financial exploitation of underage models, school and academic breaks result in less education, and “overall lack of empowerment in the workplace”. Americans have recently been on a trend to get healthier over the past several years and I think this stems from that.

How: They will enforce the ban by checking photo IDs before photo shoots ect. They have already had to pull an ad campaign in the Japanese vogue. In September 2012 a new step was added- model agencies were required to show documented proof of models age.  This happened after a 15 year old girl was featured in an article in Vogue China. They will do this by strict enforcement of guidelines established. The judgment on “too skinny” is very objective and criteria could vary from person to person making it hard to keep a consistent standard across all 19 publications.

My Reaction: This ban is a positive statement to the public especially the American public which two thirds of the population is obese. Getting healthy is an important goal for Americans and for the largest fashion publication to make a statement like this and actually stick to it makes a big impact on the culture. Baylor has a very high level of anorexia and other eating disorders on campus and I think that a major fashion magazine such as this will hit the demographic and hopefully make a few people aware of the problem.  Anorexia has the highest fatality rate of any mental illness and that is a problem for the future of our country. We have people dying from being overweight and from people being underweight, we need to get healthy fast!

Fashion magazines have often been criticized for portraying unachievable body images and for airbrushing people to look skinnier and more malnourished than they actually are. I understand that Vogue will not be putting a full figured models or heaven forbid a plus size model at size 10 in their fashion spreads, but small steps is better than none. I do not think this ban will end anorexia or eating disorders, but I do think this is a good first step. Vogue is looked up too in the industry and for them to make this stand makes an influential statement

. Everyone knows that these too skinny models that have eating disorders are sick, but for some reason we still want to emulate them. I hope that this stand will be reflected in the fashion industry for a call for more healthy normal size women. Even a size two on someone naturally skinny would portray the clothing in a desirable light, and still portray a healthier look for our future generations to emulate. Lena Dunham has made the news for appearing on TV nude, in her hit TV show Girls, with non-airbrushed body clear for the audience. Some reacted in discus and some say it is groundbreaking showing her “normal body” on screen. The fact that an “average” woman appearing on screen nude instead of being airbrushed and tiny has caused so much publicity shows that people have opinions and feel deeply on the subject even if they don’t all agree. I think the fashion industry could see a demand from consumers to show more “average” looking girls, I do not think that the skinny look will ever truly go out of style, but I thing that a healthy woman walking down he runway with toned muscle instead of no muscle could be in the future. Clothing in fashion shows and sample sizes for editorials are all in TINY sizes and built for women with NO curves, I can see a trend toward making some of these items fit a healthier body type if more women are featured and older girls are featured.

I also think the ban on underage models can help, a lot of these girls are just those girls and it can be easy to overwork and over expose these children that are not legally making decisions of their own. They are being forced to make very adult decisions at an age where they should not have to. I also think the featuring of the underage girls promotes the same body image issues but targets a much younger audience. It is not just college age women (and men) that have these issues; they start young, VERY young.  By keeping the age limit higher, hopefully the youth will not feel as obligated to look just like the other 14 year old in the magazine.

 Peer pressure and media significantly influence teenage girls and underage models fit in both categories (peer pressure in the fact that they are the same age and are often idolized, sometimes making girls feel like they are friends with, these models) making the impact that much greater. A British labor union just worked with British Vogue to establish 10 guidelines that must be met when working with models. This was signed over a year after the Conde Nast decision which shows that some steps are being taken, but the effectiveness of the guidelines and public stand need to be evaluated thoroughly.

The 1940’s are a perfect example of Pendulum swing. The clothing went from functional and frugal to elaborate and over-the-top. It was a time of war and a time of peace. Woman in the work place went from almost nonexistent to a cultural norm. The economy went from a deep depression to an economic boom.

ImageEach of these swings was due in part to World War II Classics such as “A Wonderful Life” and “Casablanca” were released in the 1940’s and made an impact on the people of that day as well as current pop culture. “Casablanca” was the top grossing film for this decade. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard “Of all the gin joints in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine” or “I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship” uttered during my lifetime because of  this iconic film.

ImageSome famous cinema starts included Ingrid Bergman, Hedy Lamarr, Rita Hayworth, and Fred Astaire. The movie stars of this decade were glamorous and beautiful in every sense of the word. There was a lot of fear and paranoia during this time, but the cinema served as a short escape from these everyday worries.

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During the war, women had to take over factory jobs forcing women to leave the home for work for the first time. A famous poster from the era entitled “Rosie the Riveter” was displayed with the quote “We can do it” above a portrait of a women flexing her arm and wearing a work uniform once reserved for the boys. When the men returned, the women went back to being homemakers. This taste of freedom and work equality was just enough to change the way women viewed the workplace. It gave women their first chance to work outside the home, and was a precursor for many social movements.

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Coming out of the depression and rationing for war, Woman’s clothing was very plain and economical. The designs were simple, the colors were drab, and the fabrics were plain. After the war, with the help of Christian Dior, woman’s clothing became an exciting thing. Structure, corsets, small waists, full pleated skirts, draping, and fine fabrics were all the rage. Christian Dior displayed the “New Look” in 1947 and it changed the way women dressed for the rest of the decade. From hair to makeup, the new woman was well put together and more stylish after the war.

1940’s style has influenced us today from the not-so-subtle red lip trend, to resurgence of peplum style blouses and dresses. Peter Som revisited the structure of “New Look” style garments in his 2011 collection. Peplum, influenced by the “New Look”, has been very popular this year. It has been popping up across runways and on fashion blogs. In 2012 designers like Badgley Mischka, Tory Burch and Jason Wu all showed pieces featuring peplum. Other trends from the era we still see today are headscarves, pencil skirts, and floral dresses.

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Jim Stark, played by James Dean in the 1955 film “Rebel without a Cause”, is an angst filled teen that became a “role model” of sorts for generations.  He was cool, mysterious, and handsome. The film was nominated for academy awards but didn’t win, this is ironic because it later went on to be inducted into the U.S. National Film Registry and listed as one of the 100 Greatest American Movies by the American Film Institute.  The movie has stood the test of time because most of us can relate to the rebellious spirit held by James Dean, even if the most rebellious thing we have ever done is stay out 30 minutes past curfew.  The movie sadly features several deaths of young adults, and gained publicity for this fact when James Dean died in a car accident a month before the movie’s release.

The movie starts out in a police station where the three main characters cross paths, and it ends with a police standoff where one of those same characters dies. Jim is the new kid in town and has a way of getting into trouble without trying. He angers some sketchy characters that challenge him to a knife fight, stolen car chicken race, and a chain wielding altercation. 

ImageJim decides to stand up for himself and face the gang in a dangerous challenge. This is where we see his iconic wardrobe change; he changes from slacks and button downs to Lee rider 101 blue jeans, a plain white t-shirt, boots, and a red nylon windbreaker (the windbreaker is often confused for a leather jacket). This is the look he is famous for and often related to the rebel image he portrays in the movie. In the movie it signified a choice to rebel and outside the movie it signified the rebellious spirit of a generation. The film is iconic for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is because of James Dean’s style. It was mimicked and became the uniform for cool teenagers. His windbreaker was created by Moss Mabry, and it is said that he made three of these jackets for the film. For years after the film Bob Dylan, John Belushi, and other celebrities decided they needed a jacket just like the one worn by Dean.

ImageImage“Rebel without a Cause” continues to be an inspiration through the decades. Michael Jackson’s famous red leather jacket in Thriller music video is said to be inspired by James Dean’s from the film. Joseph Abbound, at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2013, showed a collection of menswear that was inspired by Jim Stark and Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive. During spring 2012 collection Michael Bastian honored James Dean’s style by created a collection of menswear that was inspired by how James would dress now. This film also inspired art, an exhibit at MOCA in LA curated by James Franco and sponsored by Gucci and Seven went on display in May 2012. These show the generational transcendence of this film’s style.

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Liberty of London is a store located in the West End shopping district in London. It started in 1875 by Arthur Liberty who traveled the world looking for unique items to sell. It eventually became known for its luxury goods as well as its unique fabric patterns (over 40,000 vintage prints). To this day the department store creates new prints each season. The fabric is used for merchandise and is also sold for upholstery and home sewing. The flagship store was constructed in 1924 out of the wood of two ships-HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan. The wood gives the store a homey feel that makes the shopper feel like they are connected to past decades. I first visited the store in 2011 and fell in love with it- My mother had told me about the store after coming across the Liberty of London Target collection. I then saw the collaboration with Nike (and searched everywhere until I found a pair on Ebay) and knew I had to visit the store.

As an American my first impression of the store was through collaborations with American retailers. I then became fascinated with the store and its rich history. Here is a quick run through of my favorite collaborations with American designers/brands.

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1.)    Target- In February of 2010 Target launched the collection. Target has a history of collaborating with designers for a wide arrange of items and this was no different. Blouses, dresses, and bedding were all up for grabs. My favorite items were a Liberty of London printed beach cruiser bike and the tea set (for obvious reasons).

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2.)    Nike- I could go on for days about this collaboration. Simply put, it is brilliant. I love Nike and I was fascinated with Liberty of London but never would have thought to pair the two up. It is a match made for the sporty girly complex I face every day. The delicate florals, in contrast to the sporty and often masculine appearance of athletic shoes, perfectly offset the other. The shoes were once only available in limited quantities and would sell out within two months in the UK. I was on a mission to find a pair for myself but after some stealthy internet snooping I realized they were only available at two boutiques in the United States ( LA and NYC). This would not do! I scoured eBay and landed the perfect floral pair that I wore (literally) everywhere. They are now available stateside from stores like Nordstrom’s and other boutiques. The new collection comes out every spring.

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3.)    Sperry topsiders- classical boat shoes brought the liberty print to the masses with their collaboration of women’s footwear. The Liberty florals covered both the classic boat shoe and canvas ked like sneakers.

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4.)    J Crew- This happens to be one of my favorite retailers. I have been buying business professional shell tops from there since I was 15 (far in advance of when I would need them). The collaboration with Liberty brings an unexpected youthfulness to the brand. Classic button downs and floral print jeans liven up the basics. Jenny Lyons has always been one for mixing patterns tastefully and this collaboration feels like an extension of that.

Image5.)    Levi- The American classic teamed up with the UK classic to create some far-from-stuffy items. All the items can be purchased through the Liberty of London website/store in the UK or through Levi stores or website in the US. The collaboration came out this spring (2013) and features the cutest crop tops, skinny jeans, duffels, blouses, and shirt dresses. Each item incorporates classic inspiration from Levi denim with a made specifically for the collaboration liberty print.

Image6.)    Marc by Marc Jacobs- The most recent collaboration is available through Liberty of London and features Nylon backpacks, tablet cases, totes, and make up cases in two vintage Liberty of London prints. The cute backpacks make the sting of post-grad life that much sharper. Maybe I will take up camping just for an excuse to use the backpack and makeup bag ( hey! Even when I “rough it” I still need my mascara).

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7.)    Doc Marten- although not an American Brand I feel like I must mention the collaboration. Doc Marten thick soled boots have often been associated with tougher crowds. The Liberty print collection brings a freshness and newness that has me refreshing the freepeople.com homepage over and over again hoping the shoes magically go on sale.  I have always been a fan of Doc Martens; my awkward socks and sandal Dr. Marten phases as a 90’s child will prove it. It’s hard to believe but the updated version has me mesmerized 15 years later.