Sunday, December 27, 2009

a compendium of curiosities

I went to New York City today to visit some family and see the sights. It was way too crowded for me to really enjoy anything, but we did manage to make our way to Bergdorf Goodman's to check out the window display.  This year's theme is "A Compendium of Curiosities"-- a sort of Alice in Wonderland meets in the world of high fashion.
Since I got a digital camera for Christmas, I was able to take some of my own pictures for once! Get used it--this camera is very talented, so expect more of its work on this blog in 2010!

I loved this part of the Pamela Love window--a crab, I believe, playing a violin.

Alexander McQueen!

The most eye-catching window featured a playing card-covered table and decked-out mannequins.

You can't really see the details too well, but this was a Marc Jacobs window.

If you're curious to see some better-quality photos of the window displays, head over here for a slideshow.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I love that they put Gaga in this SS10 Viktor and Rolf piece for Elle's January issue.
I realize this blog is quickly becoming a tribute to Lady Gaga... New Year's resolution: Find another hobby? Or another obsession? It's so hard though! I'm still listening to The Fame Monster on repeat! It never gets old!
Anyway, Happy Holidays, everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Year End Wrap Up

Since this is a fashion blog, there isn't really any way for me to rank and grade everything that happened this year. But it's December and everyone is listing their favorite albums, songs, movies and tabloid stories. These lists are generally meaningless, but they're a fun way to generate a discussion of the past 12 months. So what can I do to get some closure on the year that was 2009?
I decided to share with you my top five favorite women who made a splash in '09. Since, like I said, this is a fashion blog, they had to be generally well- (or at least creatively) dressed. But I'm not totally shallow. This isn't a best-dressed list--it's more like a countdown of the ladies who made this year more interesting, fun and beautiful. Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!

Alexa Chung
'09 accomplishments: This former model and British TV presenter won American hearts when MTV hired her to host TRL replacement It's On with Alexa Chung. Since I have a full time job, I only saw Chung's show the handful of times they aired a repeat after 5 p.m., but she was totally charming and down-to-earth--not to mention extremely well-dressed. Chung's tomboy-meets-girly-girl style is easy to mimic, which made her a major '09 icon among fashion obsessives.
She says: "I guess I like things to look more authentic. Or maybe I just like that haggard look. I grew up in a cottage, so I like things to look like the plaster is falling off." -To V magazine
What's next?: Our darling Alexa's show may have been cancelled, but I have no doubt she'll find plenty of new challeges in the new year, even if all she does is show up to events and get photographed in adorable outfits.

Taylor Swift
'09 accomplishments: What HASN'T this girl done this year? She went on her first headlining tour, won a VMA, survived being accosted by Kanye West, swept the Country Music Awards, hosted and performed as the musical guest on SNL, turned 20, and possibly dated a werewolf.
She says: "My toenails are painted black right now. And sometimes I paint them all different colors. I'm making so many major decisions about big things right now - my tour, my second album, which songs to put on my re-release - that I don't seem to be able to make little decisions anymore. Like, what color to paint my toenails." -To LOVE magazine
What's next?: Well, the Grammys are coming up in February and Taylor's been nominated for several. She's also set to appear in the movie Valentine's Day, which will be released on, well, Valentine's Day. Taylor Swift: making everyone else look lazy by comparison.

Brody Dalle
'09 accomplishments: So maybe Brody hasn't been on everyone's radar the way Taylor Swift was, but that doesn't make her place in my heart any less special. After the Distillers disbanded in 2006, Brody finally re-emerged this summer with the release of her new band's eponymous debut Spinnerette. The album was a fun summer soundtrack I played over and over despite the huge departure from Brody's punk roots. But we're all allowed to experiment, right? As evidenced above, Brody also spent 2009 wearing heart-shaped sunglasses and hanging out with robots.
She says: "The death of my dad and the birth of my daughter are really what a lot of this record is about. When you have those two things it's like a huge swing of the pendulum. You look at what's really important about walking around this planet." -To Pop magazine
What's next?: I haven't heard any official Brody plans for 2010, but here's hoping she sticks with Spinnerette and keeps delivering her unique brand of badass girly rock.

Lara Stone
'09 accomplishments: This Dutch model completely owned fashion this year, making herself one of 2009's highest paid models. You couldn't open a fashion magazine without seeing Lara's gap toothed mug or bare breasts staring at you. Carine Roitfeld dedicated the entire February issue of French Vogue to Lara, declining to feature any other models in that issue's editorials. She appeared on the covers of British Vogue, W, French Vogue (twice) and i-D. She appeared with Caroline Trentini and others in the ads for Sonia Rykiel's diffusion lingerie line for H&M and walked in several runway shows.
She says: "This Belgian girl was in the way, posing for the cameras. I kept saying 'Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me,' because I had to get to the catwalk, but she just kept posing. So I pushed her. It was only a few stairs." To British Vogue, on pushing a fellow model down some stairs.
What's next?: Lara shows no signs of slowing down. Images of her LOVE magazine cover have just started appearing--the magazine's third issue comes out in February. She's even replacing Madonna in Louis Vuitton's spring ad campaign, so we certainly won't stop seeing her face everywhere any time soon.

Lady Gaga
'09 accomplishments: Type in the letters "L" and "A" into a Google search and you'll immediately be greeted with "Lady Gaga", "Lady Gaga hermaphrodite", "Lady Gaga poker face lyrics" and other nonsense. Gaga completely took over the world in 2009 with the release of her epic, pull out all the stops music video for "Bad Romance" and the subsequent release of her second album The Fame Monster. I had the privileged of attending her Monster Ball tour stop in Camden earlier this month, and had my mind completely blown. This is an artist who really knows how to perform--after two hours, several costume and set changes and dancing galore, I was completely exhausted and I wasn't even the one up on stage. Of all the lovely and talented females I swooned over this year, Lady Gaga has worked the hardest and completely deserves the success she's earned. And just look at all the insane outfits she wore!
She says: "The truth is that every bit of me is devoted to love and art and I aspire to try to be a teacher to my young fans who feel just like I felt when I was younger, I felt like a freak. I guess what I'm trying to say is I wanna liberate them, I wanna free them of their fears and let them know they can create their own space in the world."-To Barbara Walters
What's next?: The mystery of what Gaga's going to wear, say, sing or do next is half her charm. But I can confirm she'll continue touring in support of The Fame Monster, and graces the cover of Elle's January issue. As long as Gaga is still driven to be the performance art extravaganza she was in '09, I expect to include her on this list next year, and the year after that, and...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

maybe cintra isn't so bad after all?

Hey, loyal readers! Just wanted to take a brief moment to direct your attention (if you haven't read it already) to this great Elle interview with the NYTimes Critical Shopper Cintra Wilson.


You may remember Cintra from her controversial column on Herald Square's J.C. Penney in which she insulted everyone from middle American shoppers to the "obese" mannequins inside the store. A sampling:

"It took me a long time to find a size 2 among the racks. There are, however, abundant size 10’s, 12’s and 16’s. The dressing rooms are big, clean and well tended. I tried two fairly cute items: a modified domino-print swing dress with padded shoulders by American Living (a Ralph Lauren line created for Penney’s) and a long psychedelic muumuu of a style generally worn by Rachel Zoe. Each was around $80; each fit nicely and looked good. I didn’t buy either because I can do better for $80, but if I were a size 18, I’d have rejoiced."

Yea, yikes.
Well, old Cinta redeemed herself in this interview and came off as a clever fashion writer who recognizes why people sometimes put down fashion because of its frivolity and excess. When asked about how fashion forward she really is, Cintra remarks, "I think of fashion as a very immediate and fluid art form, so I try to look at top-shelf, couture boutiques the same way I look at art galleries - I don’t need to own the stuff to appreciate what it means, and what it makes me feel."
I've always used a similar line on my parents when they wonder why I freak over bajillion dollar couture pieces I'll never own. Most people will never own the art hanging in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but that doesn't mean they don't enjoy paying admission to look at it all for a few hours.
Also, she's practical! When asked what she'd do with $5,000 to spend at Barneys, Cintra would, "probably end up buying something boring, sensible, indestructible thing that I thought would last the rest of my life for about 2K… and then I’d buy all my Christmas presents."
After reading this interview with her, I've come to the conclusion that Cintra's J.C. Penney debacle was just a bunch of really bad jokes from a woman very out of touch with the middle-American midset. I'm not making excuses for her, I just think she didn't fully understand the impact her snarky remarks would have on readers outside of the metro New York fashion circle. Hopefully the whole experience just taught her a very valuable lesson. Thoughts?

On an unrelated note, I'd like to direct you all to Pandora Radio's Lady Gaga station. It's been a lifesaver during my weekly B&N cafe homework sessions.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

combat boots

I'm excited to announce I have acquired a pair of combat boots from Mary-Kate and Ashley's new Olsenboye line from JCPenney. They arrived in the mail on Wednesday, and I think I'm going to wear them for the first time today. I've been wanting a pair of combat-like boots since the whole 90s grunge revival thing happened, but these MK&A boots have an added bonus. After staring at them for a little while, I concluded that they bare a striking (kind of) resemblance to the Ann Demeulemeester boots from winter 2008.
Similarities: they both come up to mid-calf and lace all the way up. Also, they both have a zipper on the side, sparing the wearer from lacing and unlacing the boots every time they need to come off or on. They also both have a seam on the rounded toe (very small detail) and a stacked heel.
Differences: the Ann Ds are made of fine Italian leather, while the MK&As are constructed from "synthetic materials" (better for the cows, I say). The MK&As only have a very small heel, while Ann's are known for the taller "talon" heel. Also, the Anns would cost me more than two month's rent, while my boots are currently on sale for $29.99.

OK, the comparison might be a bit of a stretch, but I'm in love with these boots, and the deal that's going on right now on JCPenney's web site is hard to pass up. It's almost Christmas--treat yourselves to some Olsen-approved fashion!

images edited by me, from and

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I really need the December 2009 issue of British Vogue. My current favorite (and everyone's current favorite) model Lara Stone graces the cover and stars in a elegant, ballgown filled-photo shoot and interview in which she reveals her struggle with alcoholism and recounts a story of pushing another model down a flight of stairs. WHY ISN'T IT AT BORDERS YET??

Thursday, November 12, 2009


This lunch break made the rainy day bearable.
photo via me at Naked Chocolate Cafe

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

ga-ga, ooh la-la!

Remember the last time a music video premiered and the world seemed to collectively stop, watch it and react to it? Yea, me neither.
Lady Gaga pretty much single-handedly made the music video relevant again with yesterday's premiere of her "Bad Romance" video. Haters who have labeled Gaga as disposable, unoriginal or irrelevant seem to be eating their words after viewing this unforgettable video. Whether you love it, hate it or are just plain confused by it, you'd be hard-pressed to come up with an argument that the Lady doesn't put on a hell of an entertaining show. Just try to look away when she and her dancers claw at the air wearing skintight body suits or when Gaga sings to the camera with tears in her eyes, face startlingly free of makeup.
More than any other popular recording artist today, Gaga is 150% devoted to the art of performance. The set, the clothes, the makeup and the choreography are all working together to tell a story, and we haven't seen anything like this in a music video in years. Christopher John Farley said it best on the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog, noting that Gaga is, "one of the few pop stars these days who really understands spectacle, fashion, shock, choreography—all the things Madonna and Michael Jackson were masters of in the 1980s." I completely agree. And nothing demonstrates Gaga's understanding of what it means to be a pop star better than this music video.
All Gaga like or dislike aside, I think it's worth noting that in our excessively informed, ADD-afflicted culture, everyone has something to say about this video and this artist in general. Heck, Bad Romance and/or Lady Gaga has been a Twitter trending topic for more than 24 hours--practically weeks in Internet time. I know our attention spans are shorter than ever and there's always a new distraction around the corner, but I think this could be one of the biggest music video events in a long time. If Lady Gaga aims to do nothing more than stay in the public eye for as long as possible, I have no doubt she will succeed.
OK, now I'm going to take my amateur pop culture analyst hat off and get back to what I know: the fierce, off the wall fashion that defines this video.

Tiny fences are your nails are so chic!

I loved this look for its simplicity with a touch of weirdness in the black crown.

Don't you wish you were one of Gaga's back-up dancers? I know I do.

The orbit!

Most notably, the SS10 McQueen outfit I compared to a disco stick back in October... remember?

Looks like Gaga snagged it in gold though. Unless it's just the lighting.

One of the most insane outfits came towards the end when Gaga approached her suitor wearing a coat made out of a polar bear. What you may not know is that this coat originally appeared on designer Benjamin Cho's Spring 2004 runway with the Humane Society of the United States. That's right, no polar bears were harmed in the making of this video.

I could go on for days about how amazing I think this video is, and I know I'm not alone. So, if for some odd reason you haven't watched the video yet, please do so immediately. If you don't like her music, turn the sound off and watch a true artist at work.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Now THIS is having some serious fun with fashion. M.I.A.'s pose goes with the shark's expression, the blue flow-y sleeves are like the ocean the shark is jumping out of! She's even wearing fish earrings! This reminds me of those theme outfits Claudia Kishi wore in the Baby-Sitters Club. Well done, Maya. Very well done.
image from

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


image from
I'm sure all you MK & A obsessives out there have already heard about Olsenboye, the Olsen's new budget-friendly JC Penney line aimed at teens and tweens. They introduced/announced the line on Good Morning America yesterday complete with a truck full of cupcakes and a few pieces from the line. Olsenboye will begin to roll out online and in select stores November 6, with a full launch scheduled for February. Check out this video to see some models in Olsenboye items and hear MK & A explain the origin of the line's name.
Later, the sisters allegedly made an appearance IN the cupcake truck--but I think some onlookers were fooled. This picture looks like wax figures of the Olsens, and it's really kind of creepy.

image from

My verdict of the line so far? I think the it looks intriguing. As a total fangirl, I'm going to eat up whatever they put out. Unfortunately, I'm a little older than their target audience, but the blazer and pink skirt in the lookbook preview seem like something I could get away with, right?

Friday, October 23, 2009

thin is in--but why?

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While fashion is certainly a fun hobby for me, there are times when I want to examine the serious influence fashion has on our culture. After reading a Washington Post article op-ed, I decided to discuss the issue of unhealthy-looking models and the impact their presence has on society. I ended up having a lot to say on the topic, so I decided to post my thoughts here. I warn you, this is a long entry, so if you don't have anywhere to be for the next 10 minutes or so, pull up a chair and enjoy. And if you think I'm full of it--that's what the comments are for!

This past Sunday in the Washington Post, Robin Givhan, the paper's fashion editor, wrote an op-ed about the recent flair-up of controversy surrounding the trend of seriously skinny fashion models. Needless to say, she seemed to come down in favor of the status-quo. I think the fashion industry needs to re-evaluate itself when it comes to who they'd like to model their clothes, but Givhan brought up some points defending the fashion industry that I think are worth discussing further.
In the article, Givhan addressed the public's growing concern for extremely thin models and the message fashion designers and magazine editors are sending by allowing them to walk down runways, pose for editorials and be photoshopped beyond recognition in advertisements. As Givhan points out, public outrage recently reached a fever pitch when a Polo Ralph Lauren advertisement featured model Filipa Hamilton so severely photoshopped that her head appeared to be significantly wider than her waist. Adding insult to injury, Hamilton revealed that she was fired from the company because she--all of 5-foot-10 and 120 pounds--couldn't fit in the sample sizes.
Filippa Hamilton, human lollipop.

Hearing stories like Hamilton's makes me disappointed in the fashion industry. I agree with critics who have called for larger sample sizes, because a frequent excuse editors use when explaining why they don't use larger models is because they simply don't fit in the clothes designers send them. That's a shame, because I really don't see why designers can only spare size zeroes. However, I also don't think the solution to fashion's latest obsession with thinness is as simple as critics seem to think. Here are a few arguments Givhan makes and my take on them:

Argument 1--It's just fashion, people: As Givhan points out in her article, people are quick to jump all over the fashion industry for being "too much" of many things: too expensive, too revealing, too ugly, too severe. But anyone who thinks what's on runways and in magazine editorials is something everyone should aspire to is missing the point.
You would wear these boots to the office, right?

Fashion isn't about being normal or fitting in or even being comfortable. Just because models strutted down Prada's AW2009 runway in thigh-high wader boots doesn't mean you're going to get kicked off the planet for sticking with sneakers. Fashion is a business of extremes and it's a fantasy parallel universe. Which brings me to Givhan's next point...

Argument 2--Fashion is giving people what they secretly want: We all see that models are getting younger and thinner. What does that say about our culture? Givhan references the so-called obesity epidemic plaguing Americans and how we're all striving to become thinner. Same goes with youth: People have fetishized youth and feared aging for years now, and fashion is simply showing what the majority of people like to see. I suppose a chicken-or-the-egg counterpoint could come in here: is fashion taking cues from what we value aesthetically as a culture or is our culture's obsession with youth and thinness coming from fashion? I personally think designers and editors are just doing their market research--people prefer to look at what they aspire to be, not what they already are. So with that in mind, Givhan's final point...

Argument 3--You want models to get bigger? Than get smaller: This is where the article falls a little flat. Givhan invokes a little fashion bitchery when she more or less says thin models will go away only when the people watching them aren't fat and jealous. She doesn't think people are upset because the models are unhealthy or ugly-looking, but because, as Givhan says, their look is "unattainable for most people." While it's true that most people cannot maintain the weight of a model while functioning normally, I don't think one can chalk up people's disgust to a simple case of jealousy. Many critics are more concerned with the health of the models and the unrealistic ideal that's being presented to the young, the impressionable and the insecure.

To conclude, I'm not quite sure where I stand on this particular issue. I agree the most with argument #1, that at the end of the day, it's just fashion, not the law. I enjoy magazines and fashion shows because they're fun and extraordinary. The extremes we see in couture shows and editorials are verrryy watered-down by the time they hit the mall, so most of us actually cannot follow the trends we see on the runway to a T. But at the same time, the way Givhan glosses over the health issue doesn't sit right with me. She says the people complaining about thin models "aren't asking for a doctor's note," and are more concerned about the aesthetic. While many models are simply naturally thin, many more aren't and are putting their health at risk to conform to a questionable ideal. And even more frighteningly, there are plenty of fashion obsessives out there (most likely young and female) who think they need to look like what they see in a magazine. It's not fashion's responsibility to make sure everyone has a healthy body image, but this is an important part of the issue that Givhan doesn't even acknowlege.

Like I said, this is a tough issue--but I think it's great people are voicing their concerns and realizing they do have a say in fashion, and that it isn't just a bunch of mindless trends being shoved down our throats.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

blake lively does it right... for once

As much as I love Blake Lively as Serena on Gossip Girl, the lady can't pull together a red carpet look to save her life. Many of the dresses I've seen her in have been innappropriately revealing, ill-fitting or both. But finally, FINALLY, at Denise Rich's Angel Ball, here's an ensemb I can get behind:

Blake is still able to show off those fabulous legs she loves so much while still looking sophisticated and pulled together. The shoes add a dash of fun--I love the dark blue sparkles on the toe. This is certainly my favorite look of hers. I don't like to draw attention to fashion failures, but I do like to give credit where credit is due, and it's payday. Ms. Lively--well done!
image from

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stella McCartney for Gap Kids

Stella McCartney will always be one of those "reach" designers for me. If I ever were wealthly enough to afford serious designer clothing, Stella would be towards the top of my list if not for her fantastic designs, then for the fact that I respect her so much as a person. It's difficult to be a strict vegetarian and fashion obsessive because so often the clothes I'm lusting after are made from animal skin or fur, which is worse than finding out the item would cost as much as two months' rent. Seriously, if I won the lottery tomorrow, I still wouldn't get that freaking fantastic Rodarte leather jacket I love, because it goes against my no-leather policy. But if I suddenly hit it rich, no Stella item would be off limits for me!
So that brings me to the topic of today's post. Stella has just finished a diffusion line with Gap Kids, which is the first time I'd be able to afford something with her name on it (besides the line she did with H&M in 2005, but I had no access to H&M at that point in my life). Unfortunately, I'm not a child, so I'll just have to admire her clothes from afar as usual.
W magazine did a feature on the line in this month's issue, and their interview with Stella was so charming. She revealed that she used her children's advice when designing the line, going so far as to let one of her sons draw a picture of a monster that went on a pair of days-of-the-week underwear. She also chooses not to use child models for the advertisements, but instead uses normal, non-professional kids. So if anyone reading this right now has kids at home in need of new clothes, I'd highly suggest heading to Gap. Come on--how adorable would kids look in these duds?

all images from and via

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stylish Guy: Davey Havok

Every so often, I have to recognize extremely stylish men on this blog. Thanks to an idea given to me by Eric and Joe, I decided to speak briefly on the style icon that is A.F.I.'s Davey Havok.
I saw A.F.I. in New Jersey this past weekend, and I have to say, part of me was just as excited to see what the man would wear as I was to hear him sing. His aesthetic for their latest album, Crash Love, is shall we say, more manly than I'm used to, but he's still looking glam and sparkly as evidenced from these photos I discovered on the web.
First of all, there's lots of pink, which is always a challenge for men to pull off.
Pink pants. (photo:

Pink shirt with suspenders! (photo:

And my personal favorite, pink sparkly shoes. I want these! (photo:

At the show, there was no pink to be found on stage, but there was plenty of sparkle. Davey emerged from backstage practically glowing from the combined shiny-ness of his suit, shoes and well-coiffed hair. Since I don't have a camera and am a terrible photographer anyway, I don't have any original pictures for you, but this is exactly what Davey was wearing Saturday night:
You can't fully appreciate just how awesome his suit was in this picture, but take my word for it. It looked even better when Davey was dancing around in it.
So, unfashionable fellas out there: I'm not asking you to deck yourself out like this gent, but Davey proves it can be done.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

alexander mcqueen

Alexander McQueen is always reliable for some extreme, mind-blowing fashion shows. I haven't watched the show yet (available here), but these shots reveal some major outerspace chic. It's almost kind of scary.
First of all, these shoes look awfully dangerous and cartoonish. But I can't look away!

The top half of this looks like the liquid Alex Mack would turn into. The bottom half looks like some kind of optical illusion.

This is the second dress to remind me of one of those "Magic Eye"books.

Disco stick?

Alexander McQueen himself. Hard to believe this shlubby looking guy is the brains behind all this madness.
images from

Sunday, October 4, 2009

viktor & rolf

Personal favorite show of Spring 2010? I think yes. I love the mix of bizarre and totally wearable pieces.

I love that from this angle it looks like the model is cut in half and floating over the bottom piece of her body...
images from and

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

day five: or RODARTE

Checking out the entire collection here is a necessity, but here a few of the most drool-worthy looks from Rodarte. I think this show is astounding and I can't even imagine what it would be like to see these pieces in person, especially on this dramatic runway.