Menswear and our concept of the feminine

From the Topman show

From the Topman show

Recently, two pieces on the Internet have got me thinking about menswear and its place in the 21st century. BBC’s Maya Singer’s piece  offers a view of where the gender pendulum is currently swinging in menswear fashion. The Sartorialist’s Scott Schuman’s mention of ‘Full-On Floral’ for Men’s SS2014 collections made the topic more potent in my mind.

From the Sartorialist.

From The Sartorialist.

In Singer’s article, menswear designer Martine Rose describes how we live in a “really conservative moment”, where a man seen in skirt, dress, or (gasp!) floral is quite the scandal. I’ve got to say I agree. I mean, no one blinks an eye at a woman in palazzo pants or smoking jacket. However, Singer also categorizes the topic as ‘ivory tower’ talk, another valid point.

So what do you think? Is the world ready yet for men in halters and lace, floral and thigh-highs? Or are we already there and the real issue is the market, what’s sellable? Perhaps it opens a new dimension of androgyny, though now in menswear. Will fashion eventually all blend together, differing only in sizes and no longer gendered style? Maybe we are on the brink of a new transition in the society of clothing– how we wear it, how we see it. In any case, it got me thinking on a subject I was never very interested in prior.

Summer 2013 Fashion Exhibits

White Dream by Kiki Xue. A Glimpse at Photo Vogue.

Here’s a round-up of fashion-related exhibits going on this summer. If you’ll be traveling or are lucky enough that one of these is going on in your own city, go! Grab a companion– even if he or she isn’t a fashion junkie, chances are they will enjoy it from the mix of history and current trends/pop culture.

Have you been to any of these exhibits yet? Do you have an all-time favorite fashion/art exhibit. XS

New York: Punk: Chaos to Couture. Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. When: May 9-August 14, 2013

RetroSpective: Fashion and Textile History Gallery. Where: Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). When: May 22-November 16, 2013

Providence (Rhode Island): Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion. Where: Chace Center Galleries at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. When: April 28-August 18, 2013.

L.A.: Helmet Newton: White Women-Sleepless Nights-Big Nudes. Where: Annenberg Space for Photography. When: June 29- September 8, 2013

Savanna: Francisco Costa, for Calvin Klein Collection. Where: SCAD (Savanna College for Art and Design) Museum of Art. When: May 18-September 15, 2013

Seattle: Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion. Where: Seattle Art Museum. When: June 27-September 8.

Toronto: Christian Louboutin. Where: Design Exchange. When: June 21-September 15, 2013

London: Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s. Where: Victoria and Albert Museum. When: July 10, 2013-February 16, 2014. You’ve got awhile.

Fashion Rules: Pieces from the Wardrobes of Queen Elizabeth I, Princess Margaret and Princess Diana. Where: Kensington Palace. When: Opening July 4, 2013

In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion. Where: The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. When: May 10-October 6, 2013

Paris: Underpinings: A history of the silhouette. Where: Musée des Arts Décoratifs. When: July 5- November 24, 2013

Düsseldorf: Azzadine Alaïa in the 21st Century. Where: NRW-Forum. When: June 8-September 8, 2013.

Milan: A Glimpse at Photo Vogue. Where: Galleria Carla Sozzani. When: June 13-August 10, 2013

Moscow: Fashion as the Mirror of History: 200 Years of Russian Fashion. Where: Museum of Moscow (formerly the Museum of History of Moscow). When: May 17-October 8, 2013

Dolce & Gabbana, robe-bustier; SS07. From the exhibit at Le Musée des arts décoratifs, Paris

Dolce & Gabbana, robe-bustier; SS07. From the exhibit at Le Musée des arts décoratifs, Paris

Credit: Some suggestions come from Fashionologie.com.

Plus: Summer reads from Women’s Wear Daily.

Feelin’ rusty… break out the blogging oil

Freja-Beha-Erichsen-Patrick-Demarchelier-Vogue-UK-01

Hello again and happy summer. Now that my university exams are over I have more time to dedicate to this little hobby of mine. Writing has always been a rich source of challenge and fulfillment for me and I feel as though I’ve neglected the art in lieu of reading for my classes and watching my sweet little toddler, Miles, grow. These things all gotta live in harmony, though, and there need not be so many excuses on my end (I feel like a lot of people go through these ‘excuse’ stages). That being said, here’s to more blogging!

Over the past few months, many interesting innovations and projects have been going on in the fashion and art worlds. Summer 2013 offers an excellent line-up of textile-related exhibits around the globe and the Fall 2013 Couture shows are still fresh on every fashion blogger’s lips. I’m very excited to share some of my thoughts on these and more in the next coming weeks.

For now, a peak at Vogue UK’s August 2013 issue with the lovely Freja Beha Erichsen. Autumn’s new trends, sure-to-be-compelling stories of a couple experiencing the Boston Marathon bombings and a look at the Royal Court Theatre’s newest artistic director (Vicky Featherstone), as well as this summer’s reads-and-needs. Can’t wait to dive in.

Enjoy the golden rays and sea salt waves,

Sarah

Videos

Do you ever watch the videos that fashion brands create? This form of marketing is increasingly used by various designers. Short-short films with plot lines or purely commercial clips, I find many of these videos very engaging. Whether or not they are effective with sales, I’m not sure (I certainly did not go out and purchase a Cartier anything after seeing this, no matter how awe-inspiring and beautiful it was).

Here are a few videos I’ve seen in the past few weeks:

New Burberry Prorsum Smart Personalization for Womenswear A/W13 Collection.

Prada models as flowers.

An uplifting short leapfrog game with Hermès.

Plus:

A NYT interview with Lee Radziwill.

Throwback Dior. [Because I know the words to this Bardot song by heart. ;)]

Fashion Weeks + Awakening

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Tim Walker.

It’s February. 2013. And after a few months’ slumber (although university and motherhood simply do not add up to a good, heavy sleep) , I’ve decided to come back to the blog-o-sphere. The History of Art classes I’m taking are definitely enhancing my knowledge and interest in the History of Fashion; I’ve learned just how inter-disciplinary these subjects are. So if the posts get a little punch of theory, you know why. :)

Have you been watching the NYFW coverage over the past few weeks? What’s not to love about Street Style and Runway snaps from Scott and Garance? NYT’s Fashion and Style section and the Guardian’s Fashion Blog also provide great content about the what/when/where/how/who. But I’ve been obsessed with Style.com’s new addition of footage from Berlin, Copenhagen and Stockholm. There are some true movers and shakers in these cities that don’t always get as much coverage at the Fashion Weeks as their more established counterparts (primarily New York, London, Milan and Paris). So hats off to Style.com for including these images. Here are some of my favorite looks. Stay tuned for more and have a great weekend!

Anja Gockel. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin

Anja Gockel. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin

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Diana Orving. Stockholm Fashion Week.

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By Malene Birger. Copenhagen Fashion Week. Almost every single girl (from 84 looks) was smiling! Refreshing.

Going Once, Going Twice: Paris Auction of Jean Patou by Christian Lacroix

Cuff bracelet with small bell ornamentation

On November 24, the famous French auction house Chayette & Cheval will be selling several items from the Jean Patou collection of Fall/Winter 1985-6 at the Hôtel Drouot. The garments being sold were all designed by Christian Lacroix, creative director of the house at the time.

“Diaghilev” kimono in metallic lace and sequins

“Lipstick” sheath dress

It’s so interesting to see how the colors, lines, and inspirations for fashion have been repeating and evolving over time, especially in the past 50 years. The longevity of Lacroix’s vision and of haute couture en général makes its mark on this auction.

Silk jersey “Flying Killim” with silk trousers

“Bonjour Tristesse” dress

How cool would it be to own one of these pieces?! Do you collect vintage, designer or otherwise? Would you wear one any of these designs? Or would you make a purchase for the sake of fashion history/heritage?

P.S. On a semi-related note to this last dress, have you read Françoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse? It’s a fun summer read to keep in mind. :)

These Shoes: Wowza! The 50 Ugliest Shoes in History

Israeli designer Kobi Levi’s Double Boot (2000), worn famously by Lady Gaga

 The Good. Skip the Bad. And you’ve got The 50 Ugliest Shoes in History from NY Mag’s ‘The Cut’. Flip through this slideshow and you’ll find your palm slapping your forehead more than once.

Birkenstocks, Uggs, and a mess of other popular brands made the list. Also mentioned are those physically painful, possibly unwearable heels (McQueen’s alien platform heels, the Megastructure Shoe). But how about Doc Martin’s? Or Tom’s? Perhaps not the most ‘feminine’ of all foot ware, these shoes are quite popular and have had a following for quite some years. Then again, you could say the same for Uggs and Crocs. Perhaps it is the hybrid that is most frightful.

Jean Paul Gaultier’s 1977 “Les Plongeuses” Fin-Heel recreated for S/S 2007 line

Do you like any of the shoes on this list? Any that you’ve pinched pennies for to add to your wardrobe? Would you add any shoe to this list? Love to hear your thoughts.

P.S. Another list

All photos from NY Magazine

That Coat: MaxMara’s ’101801′

In addition to the blog’s ‘That Shoe’ posts (and inspired by the Design Museum books), I’d like to share some of fashion’s most iconic coats, as well as current trends in the category.  Today, the 101801.

There’s a MaxMara boutique up the road from our apartment and since Malta isn’t exactly overflowing with high fashion, curiosity struck me.  As I was researching the house (the website is very well presented from an engaging layout to videos, ad campaigns, and info on the brand’s heritage) I found out about the iconic 101801 coat.

Double-breasted in beaver wool and cashmere, the 101801 was first presented in 1981 by Anna Marie Beretta.  The site declares the design’s length of 120cm makes it suitable “for every type of woman, while the kimono sleeves can be turned up to fit any arm length”.   Each winter collection it is available without modification, such is its popularity throughout the decades.

The site presents an art tribute to the brand and some photos of the 101801 being worn by iconic women.  Check it out!

Susan Jaffe, former American ballerina. Photographed by Roxanne Lewit.

Singer Cyndi Lauper. Photographed by Roxanne Lewit.

Model Camelia Clouse. Photographed by Roxanne Lewit.

Tribute to MaxMara by William Wegman.

Tribute to MaxMara by Miwa Yanagi

Tribute to MaxMara. Dressing by Sarah Rein.

Books: Fifty That Changed The World

Check out these fabulous little books from the Design Museum in London. The series (sold at the Design Museum Shop) includes five subjects of iconic designs: dresses, hats, shoes, bags, and cars.

I’m sure with just 50 designs per book, each piece must be pretty damn stellar.  Can you think of any that would be in the books?

P.S. Amazon gives you a peek.  :)

Prophetik by Jeff Garner

“Sustainability born out of necessity”- this is how the dressmakers of the American Civil War period crafted their garments. A old dress was restructured into an entirely new outfit, but never wasted. It’s an idea that influences Jeff Garner’s line Prophetik.

Garner and his team create dreamy, original designs with organic vegetable dyes, greenspun fleece of recycled bottles and hemps and flax fabrics naturally softened with baking soda. Fair wages for employees are also practiced chez Prophetik.

Garner shows his line at London Fashion Week and has also worked on costumes for many stars including Sheryl Crow, Kings of Leon and Donna Summer. He will also be working with Lipscomb University of Nashville, Tennessee, to start a school of sustainability– can’t wait to hear more about that!

Esperanza Spalding at the 2012 Oscars. vía vogue.com

P.S. JP Selects (formerly LovingEco) is currently holding a sale on a few lovely pieces by Prophetik.