Wednesday, October 28, 2009


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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.

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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!
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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.
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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...
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