Showing posts from February, 2010

Let's Talk About Prints

Hermes S2010 with Karlie Kloss by Paolo Roversi

It's London Fashion Week and designers such as Basso and Brooke and Mary Katrantzou are showing conversational prints for Fall 2010 of the sort Hermes and Gianni Versace made popular in decades past. The Hermes Spring campaign is similarly eye-catching.

Mary Katrantzou, Fall 2010

Basso & Brooke, Fall 2010

US Vogue, July 1989

Biba + Grunge + Edwardian = Ralph Lauren F2010!

Ralph Lauren F2010

Well here is something I didn't expect to hear myself say at the end of NY Fashion Week, I really liked Ralph Lauren's Collection for next Fall. I think it is because it reminded me of at least three of my "history of fashion" passions. First, Biba, the original lifestyle store/brand created by Polish-born Barbara Hulanicki and her husband Stephen Fitz-Simon in the Swinging London of the 60s and 70s. Second, the clothing style of the Grunge Movement of the early 90s (which at the time reminded me of the garb of British art school students) and third, Fin de siècle (turn of the century) Edwardian England/Art Nouveau/the Belle Epoch.
I am about the sell a huge collection of American Vogues dated from the late 80s and early 90s and it has been such fun wading through them all and finding iconic images and editorials. Here are a few pages from a fashion story in the December 1992 issue, photographed by Steven Meisel and styled by Grace Coddington.

Vogue D…

Wild Child

US Vogue, January 97
I found this photograph of a McQueen outfit taken by Steven Meisel. It reminded me that in 1996 McQueen was the first to show the extreme low-rise hipster that became the iconic pant and jean shape of the next decade.

More musings on McQueen

Lady GaGa wearing McQueen shoes from his Spring 2010 Collection 
Alexander McQueen's death is so momentous that I feel as if I'll probably blog about it for days, even though Fashion Week is upon us. This morning I saw him referred to on Popeater as an "eccentric' designer. This is the comment I left. 
To label Alexander McQueen as "eccentric" does not do justice to his genius as a fashion designer. Most are simply stylists "early adopters" of whatever trend is the next big thing. With McQueen (along with fellow Brits, Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano) it is different. His creativity stretched far beyond the realm of what is hip today and gone tomorrow. Just as he had in Isabella Blow and Bjork years before, in Lady Gaga, he found a muse and partner, someone brave enough to use her own body to display his artistic fantasies. Not only that, with his Savile Row training the man could cut and drape as well as any fashion designer on the planet.

Specially Made

Alexander McQueen,S2000

Alexander McQueen was renowned for his thought-provoking and often controversial runway shows. One of my absolute favorites was Spring 2000 when he sent double-amputee Aimee Mullins down the catwalk in a pair of hand-carved wooden legs and boots. What was the point? Did he have one? I only know what I take away from it myself and that is his extraordinary ability to find beauty in the most unconventional of places. In some cases, others follow years later and its true in this instance. There is now a reality show contest for models with disabilities including missing limbs. Alessandra Stanley wrote a great article in The New York Times about “Britain’s Missing Top Model” In it she ponders whether or not this show is a positive step forward or in the general acceptance of people with disabilities. One thing is for sure, McQueen drew the eye to a place where others often preferred to look away and once he had your attention, he kept it there.

Photograph by Nick Kni…

Alexander McQueen 1969-2010

McQueen and SJP, 2006
Ironically, Alexander McQueen chose to take his life on the first day of New York Fashion Week. Rumor has it that Anna Wintour was attending the BCBG Fall 2010 show when she received the shocking news by text. Apparently she left the tents immediately and sometime later issued the following statement.
"We are devastated to learn of the death of Alexander McQueen, one of the greatest talents of his generation. He brought a uniquely British sense of daring and aesthetic fearlessness to the global stage of fashion. In such a short career, Alexander McQueen’s influence was astonishing — from street style, to music culture and the world’s museums. His passing marks an insurmountable loss."

Head Start

Acne, Fall 2010

The Fall 2010 runway season has begun. Hip Swedish label Acne got a head start on the majors, showing a few days ago in London to great reviews from the press including that of Sarah Mower at who wrote, "The models who flew into London for the show had spray-painted foreheads and greasy glitter around their eyes and stomped onstage wearing cartoonish boots with Lego-like soles, dressed like some postapocalyptic alien militia." Also notable were the scarves wrapped around some of the girls' heads. Was it a political comment? Ironic that something which has for centuries been a custom of religious significance should now be at the center of controversy.
For their Christmas 08 issue Playboy Mexico stunned Catholics with their cover depicting the Virgin Mary dressed ONLY in a white head garb

Maria Florencia Onori, Playboy Mexico, Dec 2008

As a non-Catholic, some spectators were surprised by Michelle Obama's choice to don a dramatically long black v…