Sunday, October 16, 2016

Surreal Dreamscape

It is a world where dreams become reality…where the imagination is given free reign to explore what is and what could be…such is the world of surrealism. Artists from the 1920s movement like Salvador Dali allowed the canvas to become the vehicle to help communicate imagery that would otherwise only exist in their subconscious.

Butterflies, clocks and landscapes dominate original surrealist works like Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” from 1931 (pictured above), while also remaining prevalent in more modern works like Vladimir Kush’s “Departure of the Winged Ship” from 2000 (below).
Butterflies represent ideas like metamorphosis and growth, while simultaneously showcasing a delicate beauty. The symbol of the butterfly, combined with that of clocks and their representation of time, communicates a message of natural change that takes place across the landscape of time.

Fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli joined the movement in the 1920s and 1930s with famous frocks that included the lobster dress collaboration with Dali. She also embraced the butterfly imagery with a design in 1937.
Like Schiaparelli, modern day designers continue to find inspiration in the surrealist imagery, as was evident on the Fall 2016 Alexander McQueen runway. Designer Sarah Burton used surreal symbols like clocks, lips and butterflies throughout the collection. She created modern day butterfly dresses like that of Schiaparelli's 1937 creation, using lace, sheer overlays and modern lines to update the early 20th century Schiaparelli concept.  
In addition to the fabric motif, Burton also designed the pieces to have the lines like those of a graceful butterfly, with sheer fabric draping over the arms and shoulders and strategic cutouts to help mimic the wings of a butterfly.
 The butterflies also became a bit more proper in suit form, with more subtle cut outs in the skirt.

Dashes of shocking pink also made an appearance as a small nod to Schiaparelli's signature color.

Dali, "Landscape with Butterflies," 1956
The delicacy of a bralette flutters across the skin like a butterfly’s wings, a continuation of the theme in form and not just fabric selection.

So as you bid farewell to the day and drift into your next dreamscape, open your eyes, because the dream may just be tomorrow's reality.

Runway Photos: 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fall's New Frontier

 The open landscape of the wild west continues to beckon us to explore all it has to offer even though years have passed since the original quest for the new frontier. It whispers the promise of adventure, discovery and freedom in a way that a city cannot.

With a history of designs that embrace Western influences, Ralph Lauren showcased a Fall collection begging to be worn in the vast countryside of America. 
The combination of fringe, ponchos, studs and cowboy hats blended authentic and modernized re-interpretations of Western wear staples for 21st century trial blazing beauties. 
Imagining the open plains and mountains of the Midwest, I couldn’t help but think of the 90s classic film Dances with Wolves. Kevin Kostner brought the story of John Dunbar to life against the backdrop of the Dakotas during the Civil War. The rolling hills, dotted with buffalo were home to Native Americans who not only taught Dunbar life lessons, but also became his family.

“I was just thinking that of all the trails in this life there is one that matters most. It is the trail of a true human being. I think you are on this trail and it is good to see.” –Kicking Bird

Dunbar created a new path for his life by showcasing a willingness to experience the unknown and learn from the people and circumstances around him.
“You wish to see the frontier?” – Major Fambrough
“Yes sir, before it’s gone.” –John Dunbar

As you begin this new Fall season, now is the time to leave behind the routine, pack your saddlebags and break ground on the trail of your life’s unexplored frontier before it’s gone.

Runway Photos:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Blaze at the Ballet

The lights are flickering, violins tuning, skirts rustling and laughter tinkling. The year is 1873 and the city is Paris. It’s a night at the ballet, and everyone is ready for an unforgettable experience.
Outside, the Fall breeze is blowing, bringing with it an ominous outcome that theatre goers are far from expecting. 
Not only will the patrons of the ballet get to enjoy the talents of prima ballerinas like Marie Taglioni, they’ll also experience the blazing spectacle of a grand building going up in flames.
Such was the night of October 29th when the Theatre Imperial de L’Opera burned to the ground. As flames from the gas lighting began to lick the edges of the box seats and Victorian d├ęcor, I can imagine women gathering their bustles, men grabbing their top hats and canes as they all scramble to the entrance to escape the fire.
The events bring to mind imagery of tulle, ash and singed silk. The dress code for an evening at this burning ballet comes straight from the Moschino Fall 2016 collection.
Just as if they ran across the threshold of the burning theatre, models sashayed down the runway with smoke emanating from the folds of the fabric. 
The lace and tulle of their gowns played a game of peek-a-boo with burnt edges. Still wearing gloves and tiaras, it’s as if the glittering world of the Victorian aristocracy could not be diminished by the drama of destruction. Even in the midst of the soot and ash, beauty shines through.

Runway Photos: 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Lovely in Athleisure

Adidas by Stella McCartney Fall 2016
Walking through the mall, grocery store or local Target, I can’t help but notice the number of girls and women dressed as if they’re ready for the next Pure Barre class. But as they walk the store aisles sipping their Starbucks, you know as well as I do they are not all about to workout.
No longer are sports bras, spandex or sweatpants limited to the confines of the gym. But rather they have become the new normal as a part of the athleisure trend. We see models sporting the look on the streets of LA and NYC, mixing leggings and running shoes with crop tops and leather jackets.

Unlike the uniform from high school gym class of a white t-shirt and blue cotton shorts, athletic wear from brands like Adidas by Stella McCartney and Kate Hudson’s Fabletics can stand on its own as fashion.

Though Lululemon has been credited with establishing the athleisure trend, blending athletic designs with luxury loungewear, I’d like to point out that the trend began long before Lululemon told us to “sweat once a day to regenerate our skin.” 
 As women in the late 1800s were finding new ways to express themselves through sports and clothing, corsets fell to the wayside and a new feminine ideal was embodied by the Gibson Girl.
She was beautiful, enjoyed a good game of golf and nice bicycle rides. She pursued her growing interest in athletics with a new freedom of clothing that extended well beyond the stringent dress code of the Victorian era. The Gibson Girl was no longer confined by her corset or bustle, but instead wore more relaxed silhouettes with fewer layers that allowed her to move and enjoy new activities.
 Polo Ralph Lauren Fall 2016
This is strikingly similar to the breakout athleisure trend. Women are seeking new levels of comfort as their lives begin to embrace a variety activities that range from a workout, to grocery shopping, to dropping the kids off at school to having dinner with friends. As more activities enter our daily regiment, it’s only natural that our clothes reflect all the activities we pursue, sports-related or not.
Lacoste Fall 2016 

A.L.C. Fall 2016
Sport-infused accessories and pieces are prevalent on the runways and collections, with sneakers being paired with dresses, leggings worn as pants and team uniform inspired stripes adorning tops.

The Aganovich designs are a blend of Victorian elegance and modern day athleisure street style.
I can imagine the 1890s Gibson Girl headed to the golf course in one of these designs…she surely would have turned some heads.
So next time you head to SoulCycle to battle the bulge and gain some endorphins, imagine a Gibson Girl on the bike next to you…and be thankful she helped break fashion boundaries so you can pedal in time with the music without tripping over a bustle.
Runway photos: 

Beauty in Bloom

Au Jour Le Jour Ressort 2017 
Flowers are one of my favorite parts of summer. The landscape becomes a cacophony of colors as plants of all types begin to bloom. With the talent of street artists, you don’t have to head to the country or even a garden to enjoy the beauty of summer’s flowers. 
City buildings and walls spring forth their own bouquet of buds in an array of colors and types as artists make their mark with spray paint.

From simply sweet flowers to more politically charged works like a flower bomb from Banksy, there is floral graffiti art of all types.
Cynthia Rowley Resort 2017 
What I find particularly interesting about flowers in graffiti art is the intersection between the natural and manmade. These works are rooted in some inspiration from the natural foliage of earth, but are produced in the manmade setting of a city. 
Giambattista Valli Resort 2017  
In a similar way, fashion designers find inspiration in the natural world around them and re-interpret the living 3-D flowers of the outdoors into a 2-D design that we can wear in any environment.
Alexander McQueen Resort 2017 
 Erdem Resort 2017
Both art forms, floral graffiti and the designs from the runway, bring this simple reminder, that no matter where life takes us, we can bloom where we’re planted. Soil or cement, trees or skyscrapers, there is beauty to be found and we can be a part of spreading that beauty one day at a time.

Alexis Mabille Resort 2017 

Runway Photos: 
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