Monday, 31 October 2011

What I wore last night...

After taking a year out from dressing up last year meant that I was absolutely gagging to get my swag on and have some dress up fun! October swept by so fast that Halloween literally crept up on me and I pretty much only realised it was time to find a costume this week! After spending most of Sunday scrambling around town and dying some lilac feathers black (with black ink, no less), here is what I came up with!
Eyes almost done...
I had no red contact lenses due to the aforementioned last minute-ness of the costume, so I proceeded to rim my waterline red to give my eyes that all-important evilness..
Sadly I could not find a large silver tiara for true authenticity.. Although I think my Swarovski swan necklace helped!
 As for the dress itself, I could have bought the original Rodarte number, but a quick tutu purchase from Armstrongs and feathers down a corset and I was ready! The ink eventually transferred mostly to my hands but they did give the feathers an interesting colour and texture...

So that was this year's effort - still looking forward to catching up with what everyone else decided to do. Remember, there's nothing worse than a half-arsed costume. Happy Halloween!

Just a quick note to say that Michelle Phan's Youtube channel is teeming with ideas not just for Halloween but everyday looks too - I learned a lot of basics from her back in the day...

Monday, 10 October 2011

What did Anna Wintour think of Kanye's Collection?

Sadly, the only person that can answer that question ultimately chose not to, and while we could probably have some fun trying to speculate why the sudden reluctance to comment, it's probably more fun to discuss the subject matter at hand.

No surprises, then, that Mr West's debut didn't exactly get rave reviews all round. If we are to utilise a Rotten Tomato style system, there'd be a lot of green splats amongst the gleaming red tomatoes. The problem with reviewing a collection like Kanye's is that his situation makes it impossible for anyone to make an unbiased assessment.
To begin with, everyone has preconceptions, good or bad. Most new designers have the advantage of the mystery and excitement of the unkown, but of course, the reverse is that, well, no one knows who you are. This prior knowledge of your talent, calibre and skill as an artist in a different medium means no one can form a separate opinion based soley on your new chosen medium, even if the person makes a conscious decision to ignore any other aspects (even the most single-minded, cave dwelling fashion critic is subject to basic psychological rules, and will know a few of his tunes and have seen his abuse of Taylor Swift on Youtube).
So the expectation of the qualtity of your work will be raised considerably because people assume that you will have exhausted all the help and advice available to you due to your superior connections (and personal wealth), and at the same time they will not expect you to have made a siginificant personal contribution due to your other commitments. An accomplished and well excuted collection will result in spectators concluding that the ghost designers did their job, while a poor collection generates a knowing "back to your day job, love"/"we all saw that coming" quip.
But should he be judged on his dress-making skills alone? Let's see...

I will demonstrate why separating the collection from the rapper is not only difficult, but also undesirable.So let's start with a clean slate, Kanye the designer. His collection is a tribute to his late mother (who died on the operating table for plastic surgery - OK, it's already getting difficult pretending he is a poor, struggling designer) with references from all his favourite designers. Already, the attempt at separation of his artistic pursuits falls apart - the charm of an awestruck newbie paying homage to his idols as he shows off-schedule in a small space in a dodgey area of Paris generates excitement as their full potential may be realised by further exposure to the industry and financial support, which means concessions can be made for the quality of construction or the execution of ideas. This is a rather difficult stance to take when you are Kanye the rapper/designer and your first collection is on schedule right in the middle of Paris Fashion Week. Some have suggested that all designers, new and old, suffer from the odd last minute hiccup which results in ill-fitting garments being shown. I shall humour them and assume that that Kanye is bringing back the bumster, then..

So Kanye may not be the perfect seamstress, but surely we should be concentrating more on his ideas and concepts? Kanye the designer, as already mentioned, is so inspired by the giants of design like Celine and Balmain that the whole collection is positively choc-a-block with references. Scattered among them are lashings of fur trims and shrugs and backpacks. The reason why fur is inappropriate for the Spring Summer 2012 collection is so painfully obvious that I'm not even going to go into it, just say that it was the definitive "WTF" moment.   The also abundant use of heavy leather means this collection could easily be Autmn Winter if he decided to slap that label on it. Maybe he found that thicker textures and trimmings like fox fur coupled with long sleeved dresses and jackets are more fun to play with than season-appropriate materials and designs. I can't help thinking that starting off with an AW collection would have at least avoided the comments about its overall heaviness and the much-mocked pelts. Kanye the rapper/designer has attended enough fashion shows to get to grips with the season cycle and the importance of a cohesive collection with some sort of identity.

Every mistake made in this collection by Kanye the designer should have been addressed because he is also Kanye the really famous rapper with a dream team of designers - the concessions we'd make for a real unknown cannot be applied here. His celebrity has granted him access to an internship and inside help, and transformed him from fan to designer. Of course, I am not so unreasonable as to have expected a perfect collection, but even using the least judgmental part of my judgment, this was a poor offering.

Suffice to say, I respectfully disagree with Kanye's desperate pleas for commentators (admittedly he doesn't give two shits about what I think) to: "...Please be easy. Please give me a chance to grow. This is not some celebrity shit. I don’t fuck with celebrities..." This is celebrity shit to the core, but if you are humble enough, then it may be a good idea to take a leaf out of Victoria Beckham's book, and at least start at NYFW, showing your first collection off privately, in a hotel room.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Playing PFW Catch-Up: Ann Demeulemeester

So the always promised and seldom realised Tomorrow's Post did not materialise this weekend. A number of contributing factors made it physically impossible to get to blogging, namely the insanely amazing weather (22 degrees C is like high summer in Scotland) and the boyfriend's last minute taxation homework crisis (don't ask).
With the personal life update out of the way, let's talk shows!

Perhaps a good starting point would be an assessment of Ann Demeulemeester's show. A quick skim through the pictures and I noticed an uncanny, if not somewhat expected, similarity to her men's show back in June (pics here). Unfortunately, I'm not in Paris attending the women's shows this season, so no blurry/side on photos from me. Not being present at the show also means I didn't get to hear the soundtrack, and if it was anything like the SS12 men's collection, it would have added great depth to the atmosphere. Obviously music is  in all shows to accentuate the mood/aesthetic/theme/etc, but not all soundtracks can create the most evocative effect.

The first thing I noticed about this collection is that the wide brim hats are back (yes), as well as the desert/nomad references which she executed so well for her menswear collection. This could be the perfect accompaniment to the male traveller - a woman who's not afraid to take on harsh yet beautiful landscapes - all in exquisite yet practical clothes. Demeuelemeester's androgynous and sometimes effeminate men's collections meant I often found myself drooling over the jackets and trousers. The liberal use of long, flowing, draping mesh (tulle?) sweeping down from under jackets and sweaters creating the perfect sahara silhouette in this offering is drool-worthy enough.

The somewhat heavy black ensembles soon make way for yet more meshy tulle and lighter drapery with cardigans and blazers, in SS signature white, and the last few pieces of inked black and white create a delicate pattern.

What strikes me most about this collection is that it contains all the elements of recent trends I detest: fringe details, bohemian/hippiness (well, basically anything that reminds me of Sienna Miller) and a sheer long skirt over shorts or a shorter skirt. Maybe it's the Ann effect or maybe I'm getting soft, but I found myself getting that familiar twang of longing, and drool threatening to seep out (excuse the imagery), when I saw all those elements. Weird...

IN OTHER NEWS, take a look at Slave Magazine's latest issue for my article on LFW and some styling work in a beautifully shot editorial at an old Victorian school in Glasgow. Plus there is a ridiculous amount of other quality editorials and articles. A must read. May do a separate blog post...