Tuesday, April 30, 2013

READing Your Style: Vogue Fashion (Part 2)

What decade do you favor most? In my fashion, it fascinates me how different women looked in each decade. In the past century the rate at which the general look of women have changed has been the speediest process of any era in the past. In America fashion changes have mostly been the result of a stance women were taking at the time, each decade more empowering than the next. In the past, the way a women dressed often dictated how that women was treated by others. In the past 100 years women and fashion have taken stances that have freed women from a misogynistic past, where the women of today are able to be more creative than ever, free to explore who they are and what they want to be.

I love thinking about clothes and where they came from; where a certain look originated; what that look stood for. In my fashion, using history as inspiration is the basis for a solid look. Vogue Fashion by Linda Watson is one of the books I had started studying in March. I chose to look at how Vogue saw how women saw themselves, highlighting social movements and more importantly - what was worn during these movements. I was so inspired by how women dressed, I choose to do some sketching myself to illustrate the type of women Vogue highlighted in the magazine, images which shaped the image of a women with style for each decade. In my fashion sketching helps one to understand how a women would feel in a garment. You understand why a women would feel beautiful in a particular look, and why they wear what they wore. I drew twenty sketches, two for each decade from 1900 - 2000. Next to the sketch describes what were the changes in fashion reported by Vogue. Hopefully my sketches burn into your memory so you can use it as inspiration one day when you are getting dressed.

1950-1959: “This is the new figure,” declared Vogue, as it defined the 1950’s bodyline. “You see an exaggerated bosom, a concave middle, a close hip-line, a seemingly long leg. See it in the flesh—and in the fabric. If you weren't born with this figure, you can achieve it.”
  • There were new ways to obtain perfect undulations: diet, exercise, massage, posture, brassiere, corset, and finally, “there is the cut of the new fashions themselves, with bulk placed one way or another.”
  • Instead of whalebone, there was elastication; propriety had been replaced by poise. Tiny waists and visible curves returned. The elusive beauty was back…Fashion was once more about illusion.
  • Women no longer aspired to be 30 years old. ‘Young as you Are’ started in March 1950, the 1st time a series of Vogue fashion items had been aimed specifically at the younger reader.
  • The approach to beauty became other worldly.
  • March 1952 Vogue reported the launch of Givenchy. Actress Aubrey Hepburn—who later became his muse—was heralded as a combination of “ultra fashion plate and a ballet dancer.”
  • September 1952 Vogue noted, “The little black dress, deceptively simple, is the core of every collection.”
  • Photographer Irving Penn was to play key role in creating the illusion of absolute assurance. Haughty and unsmiling, hands on hips, and one foot in front of the other. Penn’s visionary woman was in control.
  • February 1954 Coco Chanel reopened her salon at 31 rue Cambon, Paris and her 1st post war collection.
  • A glossary of new man-made fibers—each with its own special virtues and designed not as a substitute, but to play a particular role in the textile world.’—included the specific properties of new mixtures of nylon, Terylene, and Orion.
  • 1956 Dior passes and Yves Saint Laurent replaces his reign in March 1957.
  • Space travel began, and The Futuristic movement was born.
  • ‘The Teenager Thing’ in December 1959 asked, “What does fashion represent? Decoration? Armor? Disguise? A mood of society? For millions of working teenagers now, clothes like these are the biggest past time in life: a symbol of independence and the fraternity mark of an age-group. Not—repeat not—the sign of a delinquent.
  • DEFINING PIECES: trumpet skirt, ‘oblique’ overskirt, little black dress, slopped shoulders, cowl neckline, small hair concealing hats

1960-1969: The 1960s instigated the catsuit, the topless swimsuit and the supermodels with 'The Shrimp' at the beginning, Twiggy in the middle and a startling creature called Penelope Tree at the end.
  • Vogue said in 1960, "Charm and an ingenue look are in tune with 1960s fashion." Vogue also asked, "Couture Clothes: are they Worth the Money?"
  • The teenager began to have options and pulling power.
  • Make-up turned from haughty to baby doll looks.
  • Models played gauche, boutiques mixed genders and unisex made an entrance.
  • Thrifting, once associated with charity and poverty, were chic and eclectic.
  • America's First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, who had won American Vogue's Prix de Paris in 1951, instinctively understood the power of clothes as political weapons, working with designer Oleg Cassini to create a style that wouldn't upset the moral majority but had youth and vitality on its side.
  • Fashion direction came from a new angle. Men started dressing up and discovered color. 
  • The mini-skirt was one of the first fashions to filter through from the streets. It was a Zeitgeist of mammoth proportions, worn by Mancunian art students, Andy Warhol protégé Edie Sedgewick in New York and pushed to new limits by the mods. Mary Quant marketed the mini for the masses and produced a collection of clothes called 'The Ginger Group'.
  • Men were turning Wildean, imitating Edwardian and Victorian eras by wearing frills and furbelows  and allowing their hair to grow below the collar.
  • Couture was becoming passe and irrelevant.
  • Class barriers broke down. Pre-1960s models were aristocratic decorations with elongated family trees.
  • Rise of 'Black is Beautiful'. Whites wore Afro hair for the first time. 
  • Dresses were made from every conceivable material - from paper to plastic discs, leather to PVC - all cut along baby doll lines.
  • DEFINING PIECES: Hats became helmets, mini-skirts, secondhand clothing, baby doll looks, berets, trench coats, catsuits, Le Smoking jacket, shift dresses, tights
1970-1979: Anarchy arrived after a process of wild experimentation, the shock of glam rock, the rise of platforms, the plummeting of skirts and the ultimate role reversal: men wearing make-up. The 1970s opened with a celebration of decoration and ended in a sinuous bodyline. 
  • The fusion between fashion and rock music, which started in the 1960s, was cemented in the 1970s.
  • Orientalism was the new preoccupation. Kansai Yamamoto showed his first collection in 1971 with Vogue raving about his theatrical powers. In February 1972, Vogue's spotlight was on China.
  • Ethnic bending was everywhere.
  • Ralph Lauren learnt his trade in retail and was one of the first fashion designers to understand the importance of sartorial storytelling, building a brand around an image. 
  • The lifestyle concept arose. 
  • Manhatten was the center of social activity with club Studio 54, the celebrity magnet. 
  • 1975, Vogue noted: "Seventy-five, the hinge of the decade, when we start to realize what we look like. Oh, those loon-pants and smocks! Clothes that looked best with a high wind blowing through them, free-form clothes hinting only vaguely and almost deprecatingly at the earthly reality of limbs beneath them."
  • 1977: Britain celebrated the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, punk ran riot and Vogue assessed the importance of royal fashion. Vogue noted: “Queen Elizabeth II, her dressmakers and milliners agree, regards fashion as a duty.”
  • Punk was a product of disaffected youth, whose bondage trousers, ripped t-shirts and upstanding fluorescent hair were a rude salute to conformity.
  • Propriety and subversiveness could and would exist side-by-side: “1977, the year hair stood on end with fluorescent dyes, the year war paint…Punks deliberately seek to create a style that looks cheap, scruffy, and trashy.”
  • 1978 became the year of cults and computers. Vogue analyzed the former and was fascinated with the latter.
  • Punk made uniformity redundant. Style—an obsession that peaked in the 1980s—was the elusive quality that everyone wanted. The question was how to acquire it without looking contrived.
  • The body, no longer hidden beneath the voluminous shapes of the 1970s, was fashionable—a supple body became the ultimate accessory.
  • DEFINING PIECES: Long skirts, Jean Muir’s midi, superfit leotard, roller disco beading, the Lycra revolution, onion dressing

1980-1989: The decade that worshiped status symbols and courted conspicuous dressing was rooted in romantic fantasy. Royalty and soap opera lived in parallel universes. In style and content, the line between television and tabloid newspaper became blurred.
  • Britain’s new ambassador for fashion, at 19 years old, Lady Diana Spenser possessed a shy smile and firm grip on the public imagination—key ingredients that made her the most photographed women in the world.
  • Photographer, Bruce Weber, pioneered the idea of a fashion shoot as stylish news reel, seducing the customer with a mix of nostalgia, beauty, and wide, open spaces.
  • Vogue pre-empted the royal engagement in its ‘Portrait Portfolio’ by Snowdon in February 1981 (Diana’s 1st official sitting). The royal romance coincided with the arrival of the New Romantics (aka ‘The New Elegant’ by Vogue in 1982).
  • The Princess of Wales was to be scrutinized from every angle; each minute detail—hat shape, heel height, color, cut—dissected and analyzed. The new wardrobe was British (designers: Bruce Oldfield, Victor Edelstein, Belville Sassoon, Zandra Rhodes, Catherine Walker, Bodymap)
  • Karl Lagerfeld becomes creative director for Chanel in 1983. Chanel kept a low profile since 1971.
  • Mid-way through the decade, American designers were talking concept, sensing the Zeigeist and formulating collections that were flexible in more ways than one. The working wardrobe required effective subliminal messages. The power suit, the short skirt, the heel—which said sexy, but could also walk the length and breadth of the boardroom—all required a dress code that wouldn’t cause alarm in the office, the bank, and the stock exchange.
  • Some designers looked to the past for inspiration (Romeo Gigli, John Galliano, Christian LaCroix), some looked forward in time (Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, and Geoffrey Beene), and some found middle ground (Calvin Klien, Donna Karan, Versace). Going into the 1990s, Geoffrey Beene predicted, “There will be a backlash against overdressing and ostentation. Economic conditions will change things, clothes will have to work for life.” Women were going from 80’s office clone, to the 90s woman of feeling.
  • DEFINING PIECES: shoulder pads, radical cutting, origami pattern cutting, glamour, pirate smocks, pantaloons, BLACK, wool jersey body suit, puffball skirt, soap opera style

1990-1999: The 1900s became the decade of the mixed message. In the space of 10 years, the power shoulder was exterminated, accessories escalated, the classic cardigan hit the office, big hair was cut to the quick, matt glamour disappeared, slip dresses came out of the closet and just when supermodels were hitting their stride, their fascination expired.
  • Just as the 1970s had resurrected the 1920s and 30s, so the 1990s reinvigorated the 1960s and 70s with flares and platform shoes.
  • 1992, Vogue noted, “Autumn 1992 is the season of the quite revolution. By unanimous international vote, long skirts and trousers are already faits accomplish. The change starts with a fixed idea of elegant, elongated line from which everything else flows.”
  • The 1990s fashion designer no longer created clothes with complementary cosmetics and scent; customers wanted to buy into a lifestyle.
  • November 1991, Calvin Klein said: “There’s going to be a big change in the 90s and its just beginning. The 80s were a very conservative period, sexually and in so many ways. There's a restructuring of priorities. Its less about flash and more about people in the streets, the environment. People are becoming more real."
  • Princess Diana divorces and free to dress as she pleased in lower necklines, shorter skirts, and higher heels
  • London was on the brink of a fashion renaissance not seen since the 1960s (i.e.Alexander McQueen, grunge)
  • November 1995, John Galliano makes history as 1st British designer to be appointed head of a French couture house when he wen to Givenchy. Two years later he joins Dior.
  • Belgium brings new designers, Dries Van Noten, Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester who were on par with the Japanese.
  • During the 1990s, style switched seasonally, from Prada's nylon bag to Fendi's baguette. Designers logos no longer shouted conspicuous consumption, but whispered subliminal messages. 
  • 1997, Death of Princess Diana.
  • Towards end of the decade, women began searching for something more meaningful than designer labels and desirable logos - antique clothes with a sense of history.
  • DEFINING PIECES: bootleg flares, platform shoes, stretch leggings, long skirts, bumster trousers, grunge

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Style Maven: Lee Bouvier Radziwill

Lee Bouvier Radziwill
I find that one can learn the most interesting things about how to live life from our elders. These days the young put little faith in the wisdom of the old, but in my fashion, while older people may not have the most fascinating of stories to the naked eye, it’s the little things from those stories which teach us the most. When I watch a documentary or read a biography, I may be bored through certain lengthy banal parts, but it is such a glory when you stay tuned in, pay attention, and hear that bit of life advice that really hits home for you. When you hear that piece of wisdom, it’s like it was the one thing the universe wanted you to realize for you to get that epiphany that opens your eyes to so much more. Whether you needed a reassuring phrase to help you combat your fears, or a sound bit of advice that is tailor-made to the personal issues in your life, or maybe you learn something about yourself that helps you put your life in better context with the world around you. In my fashion some great shows for this type of inspiration are Oprah’s Master Class, Iconoclasts on the Sundance channel, and pretty much any other nostalgic type of interview I can find where I can voyeuristically feel through someone else recount of what life was like during a particular time (especially if it has to do with fashion). Below you can view a video of this month’s Style Maven, Lee Bouvier Radziwill. Watch Sophia Coppola interview this enchanting woman and feel the aura of her style. See what wisdom you can take away from what she has to offer about life.

After watching the above video and reading her interview by Nicky Haslam in The New York Times Style Magazine, T, I ended up learning a lot about the 60s and 70s and the certain social groups of fashionable society during that time. The younger sister of style icon, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Lee Radziwill was a style icon in her own right having made Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed list in 1996. During her lifetime she was Vanity Fair contributing editor, ex-wife of Prince Stanislaus Radziwill and of film director Herbert Ross. She was mostly associated with and encountered many legends in the world of the arts, her closest roles pertaining to her friendships to Bernard Berenson, Rudolf Nureyev, Peter Beard, and Andy Warhol. Peter Beard said of her, ”Lee was always the one with high taste, humor, and brains. We went on the Stones’ “Exile on Main St.” tour with our friend Truman Capote—and on some super side trips afterward. Back at Lee’s Fifth Avenue pied-à-terre, we had visits from Andy Warhol, Richard Lindner, Larry Rivers and Rudolf Nureyev. There were so many life-enchanting and extraordinary individuals. Lee was the key element.” A dear friend to Radziwill now is fashion designer, Giambattista Valli. He says, “It is a sense of synthesis in every aspect of her life that struck me when I met her at my very first fashion show eight years ago, and is still what I love most about her today: in the ways she presents herself to people, in her style, in her silhouette. There is a streamlined essence to her point of view. “Editing” could be the equivalent word in the world of fashion, my word. She is capable of capturing an art masterpiece or a person with a single adjective. Sharp to the point…She had a fortunate upbringing and has led an even more privileged adult life. And while she has lived luxury at its bygone best, her life has not been without great sadness and tragedy. With her sense of synthesis, she has streamlined those relationships to their essence: that of human being to human being. It is probably that idea of going straight to the point of something and having a profound sense of herself and of loneliness that has allowed Lee to survive tremendous sorrows.” Her video interviewer, Sophia Coppola, said, “Lee keeps everyone on their toes—you feel like you have to be your best with her. I remember having dinner with her. I remember having dinner with her, and she ordered a delicate plate of asparagus. I got a big bowl of spaghetti Bolognese, and looked horrified. I have a great memory of being on a boat in Corsica with Lee, and after the picnic of Corsican cheese and rosé and she dove into the turquoise water and swan to a little island. She always looks chic, whether just out of the ocean, hair back in a sleek one-piece or at dinner on vacation in white trousers.”

Page one photo spread of "The Real Lee Radziwill" in T Magazine

Listening to these types of documentaries and interviews, I go into them with the intention of listening for what the subject is feeling when they describe their encounters. In my fashion, the best part about watching a documentary is watching for body language, and when one develops a good sense of nonverbal communication one can tell a lot more about a person than simply based off what they are telling you. I love to recognize certain patterns in facial expressions and body gestures that code behavior for a particular individual (aside: Read the book “Blink.” to understand the science of coding behavior more in depth). Think about my Serious Style post, The Confidence Game, and think about the way Radziwill carries herself in the video. While she is so small and thin, her confidence is so obviously radiant that she seems greater than life, and so glamorous, while, in my fashion, she maintains a down-to-Earth vibe.  That’s why I stopped to pick up the magazine with her on the cover wearing a simple LBD by Giambattista Valli that wrapped around her small frame in a delicate manner. In my fashion, the photo was quite telling and seductive. During her T Magazine interview with Sophia Coppola, I was very impressed by her zeal for the life she has lived. In my fashion, her cover of the magazine really exuded that energy.

From left to right, Radziwill with Michael Kors, André Leon Talley, Mario Testino, Giambattista Valli

In my fashion, Sophia Coppola’s first question to Radziwill in the video was quite revealing of her attitude towards life: “What’s worst at a dinner party—a snob or a bore?” Radziwiill’s unapologetic and matter of fact answer—“Ohh, a snob; because at least you get a laugh.” I found this amusing, and I feel her answer is a sentiment of people who seek adventure and excitement, and have a firm grip of who they are. Reading Radziwill’s interview one gets a sense of her fabulous roller coaster of a life. In my fashion, we all live a roller coaster life to an extent: You can choose to be safe and not get on, watching everyone else have fun on the roller coaster from the ground; You can choose to get on the moderately thrilling rides and experience a relatively exciting ride; or you can get on the biggest ride where one endures loops and thrills. To me, creating an awesome memory for the day means to set your intentions for riding that mammoth coaster.  Think of when you are old and all the things you would like to be able to talk about to your grandchildren about—hopefully you won’t be a bore. What wisdom will you be able pass along from the experiences you had? This is a driving question in my everyday life because if you can create memories worth sharing with others that will excite and thrill people, others may be motivated to make the most of their own life experiences to bring value to their own life. With that in mind, to begin ones day, one should set the intention for a great day by dressing accordingly. That memory for the day will start out what you put on. In my fashion, the way one dresses for the day sets the tone for how the day will turn out. We are in control of where we go in our lives, and while each day might not turn out exactly how we want it to, using your clothes to set that intention for positivity will set you on a better course towards a great day of memories than allowing negativity to cramp our style.

Page two photo spread of "The Real Lee Radziwill" in T Magazine

Radziwill’s fortunate upbringing does not cloud the fact that she, like all of us, has had moments of heartache and struggle, but I think her present day aura suggests a women who has prevailed through life’s complexities. Navigating through life can tough for all of us, but the objective is to find out how we can lift ourselves back up each day to be able to create another day of memories—memories that are more grand and more vivid than the day before. I think the look we should strive to achieve in our old age is not one that says, “I can still hang with the young folk,” but one that says, “Through it all, I am a survivor, and I can show you some things.” In my fashion, there is a certain look and aura that one possesses when they have done what they wanted to do with their life and learned from their experiences. You don’t want to look back on your life and feel that you could have done so much more to create the type of memories you would want to experience in life.

Taken by Andy Warhol in 1972
According to Peter Beard, a piece of advice from Radziwill’s mentor, Bernard Berenson, that she lived with was to go for “whatever is life enchanting.” In my fashion, life doesn’t just happen; you have to look for it. One of the best quotes I took away from her interview is this: “Regrets? I think everyone has regrets, and people who say they haven’t are either liars…or narcissists. There have been many things in my life to have regrets about, in the sense I wish I could have changed them, or somehow made them not happen. What I don’t have is envy. I’m perfectly content at this time of my life. I’ve done so many fascinating things and the greatest and the greatest joy is that I continue to do interesting things and meet fascinating people.” Shouldn’t we all want to be able to say something to this extent when we are in our old future?

Radziwill, today, in an Alaïa jacket

In her T Magazine interview, she says, “When I was young, I used to think that everyone should die at 70…but my closest friends like Rudolf and Andy [Warhol] and to an extent Capote, let alone most of my close family…didn’t even reach that age. There is something to be said for being older and memories.” She also believes that, “without memories there’s no life.” Haslam tells us about Radziwill’s lonely childhood memories, her bouts of depression and alcoholism which stemmed from her sister’s escalating ill health, their difficult relationship, and a certain amount of friction with her children. On top of dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, as well as the death of her nephew John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1999, to whom she was extremely close, she had to deal with the death of her son, Anthony, who passed from a rare form of cancer. If there is one thing I learned from Radziwill about life and memories is that in life we can create great memories, but whether we like it or not, bad memories manifest as well. It’s all a part of life; one must take the bad with the good. While every day one is confronted by words and visions of human misery, we must find a way to make life enchanting.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

READing Your Style: Vogue Fashion (Part 1)

What decade do you favor most? In my fashion, it fascinates me how different women looked in each decade. In the past century the rate at which the general look of women have changed has been the speediest process of any era in the past. In America fashion changes have mostly been the result of a stance women were taking at the time, each decade more empowering than the next. In the past, the way a women dressed often dictated how that women was treated by others. In the past 100 years women and fashion have taken stances that have freed women from a misogynistic past, where the women of today are able to be more creative than ever, free to explore who they are and what they want to be. 

I love thinking about clothes and where they came from; where a certain look originated; what that look stood for. In my fashion, using history as inspiration is the basis for a solid look. Vogue Fashion by Linda Watson is one of the books I had started studying in March. I chose to look at how Vogue saw how women saw themselves, highlighting social movements and more importantly - what was worn during these movements. I was so inspired by how women dressed, I choose to do some sketching myself to illustrate the type of women Vogue highlighted in the magazine, images which shaped the image of a women with style for each decade. In my fashion sketching helps one to understand how a women would feel in a garment. You understand why a women would feel beautiful in a particular look, and why they wear what they wore. I drew twenty sketches, two for each decade from 1900 - 2000. Next to the sketch describes what were the changes in fashion reported by Vogue. Hopefully my sketches burn into your memory so you can use it as inspiration one day when you are getting dressed.

1900-1909: Edwardian body (rotund breasts, a hand span waist, accentuated hips and a protruding posterior)
  • During the Belle Époque, fashion divided into two types of women: those who wore corsets and those who didn’t. Oscar Wilde was a principal advocate of eliminating corsets
  • Fashion industry in its infancy. Paris = undisputed instigator of every fashion revolution. Only 5 notable names: Callot Soeurs, Madeline Chéruit, Jacques Doucet, Jeanne Lanvin, Charles Worth
  • Fashion didn’t spring from shows, but from the French Race Courses – Longchamp, Auteuil. Smart fashions at the French races were the equivalent of the catwalk, where new looks were aired, analyzed, and then reported about. Majority of women had clothes made to measure. Only a small percent of Vogue’s readership had access to Paris.
  • Poise was an important consideration. “The manner in which women sit down in their present day gowns deserves to be an object of special study on the parts of all persons.” (Women were standing up by the end of the decade.)
  • Edwardian dressing was exhausting and confined to strict rules of propriety. Practicality started to creep into Vogue’s vocabulary.
  • 1909: Vogue became more concerned with highlighting movements than protecting readers from fashion faus pas.
  • DEFINING PIECES: boas, feathers, pneumatic dress form (inflated to appropriate size by using bicycle pump), hats were elaborate, hair expanded, orientalism crept in (i.e. turbans), Ballet Russes
1910-1919: In April 1911 Vogue started talking about trousers. With a new decade, designers were producing clothes that were kick-started by the new issues of practicality and necessity. In an age of static beauty, activity had been unthinkable.
  • Sportswear was gaining momentum with the decline of the horse.
  • Advertised the tango brassieres/ tango shoes
  • Paul Poiret’s hobble skirt
  • Impeccably bred dogs in exclusive varieties were the new fashion accessory. Pekingese, Boston bull, Maltese terrier, Yorkshire terrier, French Bull Terrier
  • Designers start to travel to customers
  • Fashion had always followed a single line; how it was careering in different directions. Radical changes occurred seasonally.
  • World War I (1914): October, Pairs under siege
  • Vogue’s focus switch emphasis from reporting and discussing to predicting and defining
  • DEFINING PIECES: new corset, ‘The Debutante Slouch’, lingerie (in daylight), clouche hat, use of jersey, androgynous dressing
1920-1929: Fashion was no longer the sum of the parts, but a Rubik cube with endless permutations.
  • Women were now borrowing cufflinks and brandishing cigarette holders, but still wondering whether to bare their arms in daylight.
  • No longer hesitant and monotone, editorial content was spiced with humor and comment, analysis and predictions … Style was defined with absolute precision.
  • “Modern” was the new word replacing “mode”. 1929: The Duchesse D’Ayen stated that “The modern ideal of loveliness is not a passive one. Statuesque beauty is out of date.”
  • Vogue 1st fashion shoot “A Group of Paris Frocks that Posed for Vogue”, November 1920. Fashion was now as much about the basic ingredients—fabrics and color, length and shape—as poise and attitude.
  • The freedom to sit and stand at whim was a novelty. Simplicity was a modern concept, and fashion was mesmerized by it.
  • Otto Weininger, psychologist, “Women do the same work as men and play the same games. And until they cease doing so the present tendency in their clothes is likely to continue.”
  • They were unsure about what to wear in front of a typewriter.
  • Hats echoed the shape of hair—simple bob—1923(shingle)
  • DEFINING PIECES: Straight lines, bobbed hair, flat breasts, boyish bodies, “Slip-on” frocks, chemise frocks, elegant accessories, trousers, pyjamas (Poiret)—sleeping, lounging, beach. Women were not simply adopting male attire; they had actively invaded their territory.
1930-1939: Film gave fashion an animated glamour that was impossible to stimulate on paper. Vogue juggled issues of innovations and ideas with Paris on the one hand and Hollywood on the other. Paris inspired by the technique and tradition. Hollywood by scripts/ screen beauties—both worked on the principals of illusion.
  • Surrealist movement - a circle of artists and writers who worked on Freudian principals. “A Surrealist is a man who likes to dress like a fencer, but does not fence; a Surrealist is also a man who likes to wear a diving suit, but does not dive.” Surrealist movement influenced fashion shoots.
  • Masculine influences filtered through Paris.
  • 1937: the word “sex appeal” is first used. Sequins are also developed.
  • No longer smart to be boyish. You must be the essence of romance at evening.
  • DEFINING PIECES: The exaggerated shoulder (Coat-hanger silhouette), Schiaparelli ‘buttons’, zip fastener (zipper), Hats, sequins
1940-1949: Before the outbreak of the war, fashion was elitist and escapist. Now, clothes were part of the rallying cry for unity. After decades of free reign and prolonged periods of decadence, the fashion industry had to be creative with the constraints of economic responsibility and social rules. The new words of the times—austerity, rational, and utility.
  • Women were in uniform
  • 1941: rationing of cloth, clothing, and footwear
  • 1942: “The New Look” as described in Vogue, Dressiness is démodé. It is wrong to look wealthy. Understatement has a chic denied to overemphasis.”
  • Necessity became the mother of invention.
  • NYLON is developed.
  • As the war progressed, Vogue’s tone became more urgent and dictatorial.
  • In October 1942 fashion and politics were firm allies. Austerity with a glamorous ingredient was called, “Fashionable Intelligence” by Vogue.
  • Because fabric had to be preserved at all costs, the emphasis was firmly on accessories.
  • The war signaled the beginning of an international attitude to fashion.
  • In January 1947, Vogue witnesses the most extreme shift in fashion since 1910. Christian Dior had become the new name in Paris. Vogue described the detail of his revolutionary New Look: His ‘wide waistband and, whittling the waist, the deeply, widely cut bodice.’ Launched in an atmosphere of austerity/oppression, the general consensus on Dior’s collection was one of absolute moral outrage. Vogue, however, voted it a feat of unparalleled perfection.
  • DEFINING PIECES: Hourglass silhouette, lots of fabric, back-dipping skirts, gamine haircut, deep décolletages, starched Eton collars on dinner suits, nylon pieces, wooden soled shoes, big bags, cocktail suits

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Style Watch Spring 2013

If you haven't got the memo, SPRING IS UPON US! I was thoroughly pleased to wake up this Saturday to trees decorated with fresh green leaves. After experiencing a few weeks of erratic weather and calming April showers, waking up this weekend to clear blue skies, plush white clouds was a dream compared to that splash of green from the trees I feel I haven't seen in so long. It's as though Mother Nature announced herself, in the words of Karl Lagerfeld, "ON TO THE NEXT!" While winter is usually my favorite season because I get to layer (which is my favorite thing to do in with clothes), I was ready to give layering a break, and its like they say, "April showers bring May flowers." After what was, in my fashion, a very dry winter, it was great to see people out and about this weekend, unafraid to be seen. It seems people are officially unafraid to wear neon colors, and girls really favor light, pleated, carved dipping hemline dresses, a way to wear both long and short skirts at the same time. This good weather and change of season inspired this Style Watch post! November was my last Style Watch, so I chose to share THREE videos I found very "springy" in their own ways. (In my fashion, they offer some good ways to look cute with this change of weather.)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Serious Style: The Confidence Game

If you recall March's Editor's Letter, Joel Osteen was one of my main sources of inspiration for the theme, "Looking for Yourself". An insightful piece of wisdom I always keep in my mind now is that you cannot focus on the mediocracy of your life, and expect abundance to come your way. In my fashion, one must always think "attitude before aptitude". One's attitude is an indgrediant to style that steers us towards certain positive or negative opportunities. A confident attitude attracts good fortune. Skimming an old September issue of O Magazine from 2011, I came across the article, "The Confidence Game" by Siri Carpenter.

"The Confidence Game" in O Magazine, September 2011

Some examples of the physical changes we make to our bodies that affect our behavior include:
  • When you reach upward, its easier to recall happy memories, while reaching down draws negative memories to mind.
  • Holding a warm cup of coffee makes us feel more warmly toward others.
  • Reclining - a position that physically stifles a "fight or flight" reaction - helps us temper angry emotions.
  • Even fleeting changes in our own facial expressions - some so subtle they're detectable only by recording the electrical impulses in muscle cells - provide crucial feedback (a study found that subjects who recieved Botox treatments that blocked their ability to mimic emotional expressions were subsequently poorer at recognizing other's emotions.)

It turns out that in the "body language of power", when people strike a "power pose", they precieve themselves as being physically stronger and taller than they really are. In other words, if we percieve ourselves as powerful, so will others. In my fashion, confidence is what makes us all most attractive. If you aren't feeling confident, maybe a change in posture will alter your mood. Read on, after the jump, to learn about how pyshcologist, Deborah Gruenfeld, PhD, teaches how by maintaining the full range of nonverbal language, one will automatically approach situations with a flexible mix of confidence and humility.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


If anyone is surprised at how fast March slipped on by this year, you are not alone. This past month I found myself quite occupied—so much so, that I'm sure you can tell that my post count for the month was really low. Post-wise, this month was a little difficult for me, but this April I am prepared to bring some thought-provoking and insightful posts in greater numbers than March.

What does a child know about aging beautifully? In my fashion, the manner of which we teach our children about style deserves to be an object of special study on the part of all persons.

March's monthly theme, Looking for Yourself focused on creating a positive a positive self image, bringing our "future-selves" to fruition. While thinking about this topic and creating my posts, I found myself thinking more about how we age, and how one does so beautifully. In my fashion, how we see ourselves has a lot to do with how we age, because how we dress sets an intention for where we want to go. Do we dress everyday with the intention to achieve remarkable things, or do we fall slave to the notion that style doesn't play an important role in where we go in life. I agree with The New York Times Style Magazine, T, that while style may encompass all the elements of life that aren't neccessary; without style life would be less charmed, less beautiful, and certainly not as fun.
Needless to say, preparing my posts last month I found myself having trouble completing a post because I wanted to include so much new information that the context of each post had changed from what I initially began with. So I used March as a month of reflection, and research so I could reset, and begin April with more evolved suject matter. I took some time to do some more in depth research on my subject matter and after doing a lot of reading on my Style Maven, I found aging beautifully and developing that vision of who we will be is more than just about taking care of our looks. In my fashion, style is certainly much more than just aesthetics.
Still thinking along the line of health and wellness, my posts this month cater towards growth and and how to set our minds on a positive trajectory toward our future-selves (I am even revving up the "Weekly Health Tips" feature on my side bar, so be on the look out). The word for this month is, LONGEVITY! Lord knows forces in our lives are always working to keep us from seeing what is good about ourselves. In my fashion, while we may have that ultimate vision of ourselves vividly engraved in or heads, keeping a healthy lifestyle and keeping a positive outlook are the hardest parts of making that vision coming true. This month I am going to share what I learned about preparing for the long-haul of life, physically and mentally.