Every so often I feel like the fashion Gods are a malicious lot...the kind that laugh when you trip over an uneven sidewalk and then prod you as you lie there, flailing like a bug on its back. How else to explain the phenomena that is currently occurring and which, for the sake of this piece, I'll call the curse of the summer shirt? A malady that has struck during virtually every summer of my adult life...and whose symptoms consist of an extreme lack of non-t-shirt options once the thermometer hits a certain point.
|Of course this year (when I have set myself a limit on the amount of clothing that I'm going to buy) I find myself faced with a plethora of options. The latest is this olive-toned, nautical-inspired, little number from Alexandre Herchcovitch...a perfect casual (but not too casual) summer top. The only downer, apart from my self-imposed shopping limit, is the $385 price tag. Without wanting to sound too curmudgeonly...doesn't this seem a little much for what is essentially the next step up the food chain from the humble t-shirt...or am I just bitter because it will not be mine?|
But recently mainstream publications have been getting in on the act. The online version of Britain’s Guardian newspaper, for example, ran a series entitled “Make your own designer clothes and accessories”. Readers could choose to unleash their creative urges upon, amongst other items, a Jade Jagger bracelet, Paul Smith shirt, or even a Martin Margiela newspaper waistcoat.
The strange thing was that even though the photography was better than that of the average blog, and the DIY items were designer-endorsed, some of the excitement was missing. It wasn’t just that the skill-level required for each project veered wildly from either end of the spectrum (Jagger’s ribbon and safety pin bracelet could easily have been made by a child while Smith’s shirt required expert sewing skills); there was a feeling of sterility about the whole process as the enthusiasm that bloggers bring to their craft projects was sadly lacking. Perhaps, in some instances, certain things should remain in the (virtual) streets.
Back home...and so tired that I slept for most of the day...
I'm not sure why admitting to something like that induces such an overwhelming feeling of guilt...but it does. You feel the need to add qualifying statements like, "I only slept four hours a night for the last three days"...or "I'm conducting a study into the sleep habits of fruit flies" (for anyone who's curious the fruit fly demands ten hours of rest a night and need to sleep more if you keep them awake longer...they're also, presumably, rather pissy the next day as a result).
|I noticed Shourouk's necklaces while I was browsing through Lane Crawford's lookbook...not that it took a lot of observation skills...the over-sized necklaces and brooches, laden with sequins and Swarovski crystals, aren't exactly subtle. But they are fun...especially for the summer when you could use them to jazz up even the most uninspiring t-shirt.|
While I'd love one of the actual necklaces designed by this former textile designer for Chloe, Galliano, and Cavalli they're out of my price range for costume jewelry...they do, however, provide excellent DIY inspiration...a few sequin appliqués from the craft store, some chain or ribbon, and voila...a homage is born.
Even though I have a slight trench fetish...part of a much larger jacket and coat fetish...I'm still rational enough to realize that of all the things that I may "need" another trench (albeit in cropped form) is not one of them.
Which is a shame as I just came across rather a bargainous designer doppelganger at J Crew...on the left, Phillip Lim's $675 version...and on the right, J Crew's $118 one. Admittedly, the Crew adaptation is lacking some of the extras...hence the $557 price difference...and has a detachable ruffled sub-collar which I would remove immediately (and wear back-to-front as a necklace with other outfits)...but it's pretty close if you're looking for something a little more budget friendly.
Dress - Isabel Marant, plaid shirt - H&M, zip flats - Ash
|"Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained." - an unknown schoolboy|
Sometimes I feel like I have the sense of humor of a pre-pubescent boy...even if the p.p.b. in question also has a love of fashion...as I'm a sucker for any kind of bad visual pun. Like, for instance,...this t-shirt by Sixpack France...which features Hermes' classic logo taking a well-earned rest. It's cheesiness personified...yet it makes my p.p.b. giggle away to himself...which can't be such a bad thing, surely.
Craft alert...well, actually, it's a potential craft alert...because I can't decide if I'd be biting off more than I can chew if I try to re-create Fernanda Pereira's accordion pleated ruff. The online ruff instructions that I found uniformly agreed that creating a single ruff is a time consuming process which uses more fabric that would seem possible and is enough to drive a person to drink...a towering mass of pleated fabric can surely only end in madness.
Yet the combined forces of a) my belief in how incredible this neck piece is and b) my innate cheapness mean I am seriously considering a pleat project.
Well, I'm traveling again...this time it's a short trip to Indiana by way of Kentucky...I know, I know, right about now most fashion blogs are taking you to New York, London, or Paris...
It's taken a while, but we US based folks can now rejoice in the news that Topshop's NY store will open on April 2nd...at $20 million it's a sizable investment in the lure of hip during a down turn in the economy...and I can't wait to see the "reclaimed timber floors, exposed brick, futuristic lighting, and suspended DJ booth" mentioned in the Telegraph's article. Although, personally, I have a love/hate relationship with Topshop...I love their designer collaborations...but I hate the fact that everything on their US website is priced at exactly twice the amount of the UK site (exchange rates fluctuate, and pricing must be difficult, but as the current exchange rate is currently hovering around the 1.42 mark doesn't it seem a tad greedy to consistently round up to 2?).
|And, if the unsympathetic price conversion wasn't enough, I'm currently...confused, I suppose is the best word...over the $600 suede dress currently listed on their site. Maybe it's just me, but I don't equate Topshop with such expensive items..."fun cheapies", yes..."lower priced designer collaborations", yes...but not $600 dresses. Quite frankly, for that amount, I could invest in a true designer piece that would last me for many years...I could also, quite honestly, fritter it away on a designer item that would amuse me for a couple of months (I'm irrational, yet honest)...|
My question today...what is your limit when it comes to "disposable fashion"?
|Judging by how neurotic I can get over my suede handbags I probably shouldn't get too excited about the suede/fur trench that Derek Lam showed as part of his Fall/Winter '09 collection. I mean, really, how many days are the weather conditions going to allow you to wear this? And even if you happen upon a perfect fall day, where do you go? Only a food/drink/liquid/stain free environment will ensure the maintenance of its purity and beauty.
All of which explains why I shouldn't be excited...but I can't help myself (heightening the excitement...the fact that Lam's inspiration was one of my favorite films...Louis Malle's 1958 movie, Ascenseur pour l'échafaud).
|Whenever I read those lists of "classic must haves" in fashion magazines...you know, the ones that include a black Chanel bag, perfect red lipstick, and a trench...I wonder where the un-classic classics are. The pieces that have been around for long enough to obtain classic status but, for whatever reason, don't fit in the neutral color palette-d world of the "must have" list.|
Like...Lucien Pellat-Finet's sweaters...made from ridiculously soft and light cashmere...in an exuberant mix of colors and designs...they're fashion Disneyland (and I don't say that purely because I'm lucky enough to own the Mickey's skull design...or that for the price of one of these sweaters you could send a family of four on vacation to the Magic Kingdom*).
All of which is leading me...via a very circuitous route...to asking what your un-classic classics are?
* I should add that the only reason I actually own an LLP sweater (as opposed to just drooling over it in pictures) is because it was drastically reduced
I get an awful lot of emails from people trying to get me to write about them on my blog...from how to tell if you have bad breath (apparently you lick the inside of your wrist)...to skincare...to updates on "shapewear" for the upper body (think Spanx for your upper arms)...but, as you'll have noticed, I rarely write about them because...well, they're just not my thing (the blogging equivalent of "he's just not that into you").
One email that I was into though concerned a new site called The Black Buoy which sells t-shirts from the New York/Hamptons based art collective Lola...along with clothing from Hamptons designers Max & Suzanne...and (the biggie for me) a nicely curated selection of "Driftwood" a.k.a. vintage and "Seaweed" a.k.a. vintage oddities (matchbooks, lucky wooden nickels, and Beatles collector cards).
They're also very kindly offering 15% off your first order (through March 1st) if you enter bbpreview at checkout. I'd have already used to to snag the vintage Courreges two-toned vest...if only it were a little larger...
A couple of weeks ago Mr. Heb bought a house...now, before I go any further and you start imagining him to be the next Donald Trump, I should say that the house in question is about three feet tall and made of cardboard. It's "wooden siding" is comprised of slices of band posters and both the house and the posters themselves are the work of Chicago-based artist (and screen print genius) Jay Ryan.
It's a very des-res...part art installation, part doll's house for boys who like indie rock...and it's filling me with an unreasonable desire for Peter Jensen's house print dress. Like a terrible visual pun I have an urge to dress like a house...standing in a house...looking at a cardboard house...
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,
As home his footsteps he hath turn'd
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung.
My Native Land - Sir Walter Scott
I must be feeling (albeit subconsciously) a little patriotic today as I went into a sort of plaid overload mode...
|Some sentences that I thought I would never utter..."let's all go bungee jumping"..."these fried grasshoppers are delicious"...and "I'm looking for some bright pink Juicy sweatpants".|
Another sentence that I couldn't imagine coming out of my mouth was "I really like Victoria Beckham's latest collection"...yet, despite the guilty feeling that washes over me as I type this, I do. Specifically, it's the capes that have me in their grasp...they're streamlined and luxurious...futuristic (in a vintage sci-fi movie kind of way) yet classic (in an Audrey Hepburn in Charade kind of way).
Oh, the shame...I just want to hide away and pig out on a big bowl of caterpillar crunch
It's reached the time of year when I am desperate for spring...every thing's muddy or dead...the thought of seeing a few flowers actually blooming makes me giddy. At this point I'd also make allusions to lambs gamboling if it weren't for the fact that I helped out on a friend's sheep farm during my childhood...lambs may conjure up images of spring but they also mean getting up in the middle of the night to assist a pregnant ewe...being chased across a field by a herd of sheep...and countless other things.
Flowers are unfettered by such memories and invoke a nicely sentimental view of spring...which is probably why I'm lusting over these decoupage rose brooches from Tatty Devine. In an ideal world I'd buy a dozen of them and group them on the lapels of my jackets...realistically, I'll probably have to settle for one.
My initial enthusiasm after seeing the images from Peter Som's show is now waning...next Fall/Winter (from a NY perspective at least) is looking dark...tacky dark at Alexander Wang (who is going to wear crocodile biker shorts...who?)...deja vu dark at Rag & Bone (as all the pieces seemed horribly familiar)...and an 80's darkness at DKNY (the color palette was bright but the pieces themselves screamed "1985 suburban department store" and were therefore about as satanically black at you could get).
Even though her color palette was muted, a bright spot was provided by Karen Walker...not that the collection had the quirky ebullience that I'd usually associate with Walker...but it included several looks that I can appreciate from an inspirational perspective (as 95% of the parts that make up the whole are currently residing in my closet). Ah, budget-friendly "closet shopping"...you have to love it.
I realized the other day that for the past couple of months my "go to" shoes have been a pair of suede booties that I bought years ago (so long ago that the brand name has been rubbed off the inside so I have no idea what make they are). They're flat...cozy...and the height (a couple of inches above the ankle) feels "right" at the moment (versus my knee-high boots which have been temporarily banished to the back of the closet).
|The only downside to all of this is the fact that they're beginning to look a little the worse for wear...fine for wandering around...but a little questionable if viewed up close or in a good light. Which is why I'm considering these belted booties from Jeffrey Campbell...the punk/mod mix is appealing...and I think they'd work equally well with pants or skirts...dressed up or down. They even appease my inner lazy git...as the buckles are purely ornamental and I wouldn't have to fiddle with them for ten minutes any time I wanted to take the boots on or off.|
The following quote was taken from Style.com's "virtual front row" voicemail from Erin Wasson...
"I don't really have much to say now because I'm just trying to consume my energy."
You can infer one of two things from this...
- She meant to say conserve
- We have found the answer to the question of why models are so skinny...they eat only pure energy (like a superhero from the planet Thine)
Well, I've had my iTouch for several days now...and I'm hooked...but, to what?
Am I checking the internet on-the go? No.
Am I reveling in having my entire calendar/address book in the palm of my hand? No.
Am I watching Man vs Food whilst sitting on the bus? Once again, no.
|What I have been doing is becoming completely addicted to the Chop Sushi game that I downloaded. Seriously, this is virtual crack...I find myself picking up my iTouch...swearing that "I'll only play for five minutes"...two hours later I'm still matching sushi pieces and battling the world's worries, one piece of wasabi at a time.|
At this point, I just want to finish the game so that I can get my life back...
|It would be useless to say that I don't have an addiction to stripes...there are numerous striped t-shirts sitting in my closet...along with several heavier tops...and a dress on my summer wishlist. And now, I've spotted a cardigan by French designer Charles Anastase which is giving me severe palpitations.|
It's classic qualities would make it a perfect addition to my summer wardrobe...the over-sized buttons featuring swans make it a not-so-basic basic. The only downside is the price...once again proving that addictions are expensive.
The title of today's post should actually have read "Red is the ultimate cure for the ennui that you encounter having to run errands"...except that I don't think Bill Blass ever said that...or, if he did, it wasn't recorded for posterity.
Anyway, partial boredom means partial red...in the shape of a cashmere sweater from Club Monaco's menswear section with a turquoise body and scarlet sleeves...
I seem to remember my grandmother having a pin like this Victorian one...except the monkeys were replaced by some other animals...Scottie dogs perhaps? Of course, she was a tad more ladylike than I am (witness my klutziness from earlier in the week) so she could manage to wear such a delicate pin without either harpooning herself or breaking it.
I, on the other hand, would snap it like a twig the first time I put it on (witness the heart shaped Marc Jacobs tie pin sitting in my jewelery box with a bent shaft)...so I'll just focus on how whimsical the monkeys are and how fantastic this would look on someone with less clumsy tendencies.
"Men always want to be a woman's first love. That is their clumsy vanity. We woman have a more subtle instinct about things. What we like is to be a man's last romance." - Oscar Wilde
As I bought a pair of Minnetonka moccasins last year...and didn't wear them as often as I'd hoped...I can't rationalize buying a second pair of moccs...even if they do have peep toes and a high cute factor.
Time to repeat the mantra..."I'm trying to be good and spend my money wisely...adding new styles to my wardrobe, not variations on a theme"...I admit, the mantra didn't work in relation to suede bags...but maybe it will be successful when applied to suede shoes...
|I realize that upon viewing the image accompanying this post many of you will squirm and writhe while exclaiming "80's flashback...nooooooo!"...and really, Peter Jensen's leopard print skirt does have an alarmingly high so-wrong-it's-right factor...the result of the marriage of the extra high-waisted silhouette and the aforementioned 80's rocker print...and yet...and yet I can't help casting covetous glances at it.|
Which means that I have fully morphed from a "never wearing animal prints" girl to Jane of the Jungle...
|"Everybody's a mad scientist, and life is their lab. We're all trying to experiment to find a way to live, to solve problems, to fend off madness and chaos." - David Cronenberg|
I've never been able to look at this APC coat without thinking "Mad Scientist's lab coat"...I've also never been able to decide if it actually does resemble a MSLC...or I'm the victim of an idée fixe...
Either way it's the perfect weight for the mild weather we've been having for the last day or two...it's also a thematically perfect brown. Because, when a foot or so of snow melts within the space of a couple of days, you get mud...dark, brown, goopy, mud...vast quantities of the stuff.
I'm a Mad Scientist ninja...blending in with the background while I ponder the theory of Quantum Entanglement (insert maniacal laughter here).
At this stage in my life I realize the inevitability of Valentine's day candy hitting stores as soon as Christmas has passed...the relentless push from holiday to holiday in order to sell, sell, sell...the plethora of completely unromantic gift options out there...but this year we seem to have reached the pinnacle of, to quote Cole Porter, "love for sale". Every day my inbox is inundated by a fresh set of gift suggestions which only suggest romance by dint of being red...Marc Jacobs wallets and Fendi charms from eLuxury...tote bags from Kate Spade...Barneys jewelry (and python Givenchy handbags...admittedly not red but included under "Gifts for Her").
All very nice...but they do raise the question...when did V-day become a second Christmas...a way to show your love via a $2,500 handbag? What happened to romance...a kiss in the rain...and a warm hug on a cold winter's night?
Helpful hint...if you can't watch the whole video skip to the end to catch the yodeling clam. But I digress...I find YouTube has that effect...I search for something and get carried away in a completely different direction on a sea of whimsy.
The initial octopi related search was caused by these octopus earrings...even though I'm not really much of an earring wearer I think they're beautiful...if they morphed into a brooch, or a pendant, I'd buy one immediately...as it is I just hope that any earring/octopus lovers reading this snatch up a pair asap.
|Although I own a perfectly good...thoroughly utilitarian...case for my digital camera...I can't help casting wistful glances at Josey Wales' camera case (or "smoking purse" for those who'd rather carry a pack of Menthol Lights) in dull gold pleated leather.|
Thankfully, from a financial perspective, if this is indeed a camera/ciggie case (as the website suggests) it would be too small for my beloved Olympus...but it has made me consider that maybe I need to treat my camera to something a little snazzier than its current navy neoprene jacket.
As someone whose nails are black on a fairly regular basis (due to nail polish, not dirt, I hasten to add) I'm rather intrigued by anything that smacks of "new advances in the field of black polish". Like...Knockout Cosmetics' new flat, matte black polish. It's the black of chalkboards...and charcoal...and bottomless pits...and, even though it eventually wears into a more satin-y finish, I can't wait to try this and have a brief, momentary fling with all-consuming blackness.
An added bonus, for days when I'm feeling more angelic (rare, but it can happen), KO has also made a matte white.
|Luggage-quest '09 has not been forgotten...I've just been having remarkably little luck finding anything that I liked...I feel like Goldilocks walking through a bed store..."too big"..."too small"...for some reason or other "not quite right". The duffle bags from APC's new collection are close...but the navy version lacks a shoulder strap...and the gingham, however cute, would get dirty before I'd completed my first trip.|
What really caught my eye was the vintage-inspired tweed suitcase shown with pieces from their men's collection...but as one of the main criteria in my search was a bag that I could scrunch into the overhead compartment of a plane a suitcase...even one that's soft-sided...just won't work.
I really wasn't a fan of Marc Jacobs' heart tote when I first saw it...actually, scratch that, I'm still not a fan of it...but when I came across these vintage gold heart barrettes I was visited by an almost irresistible urge to buy masses of them and plaster them all over my head in some sort of tribute gesture.
Good God...first V-day dwarves...then golden hair decorations...am I turning into some kind of hopeless romantic?
I hate to say it but I have a (somewhat irrational) urge for a pair of ombré sunglasses. I say irrational because I already have plenty of sunnies...the objects of my affection are both rather expensive...and I know that it's perfectly possible to find sunglasses that are both cheap and offer good protection to my eyes (which is, after all, the main reason for wearing them in the first place).
Having said that, lust exists...for both Balenciaga's archive-inspired pair...and Tom Ford's purple and orange ones. Perhaps if I ignore this unseemly urge it will simply go away...