Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Scandalous Empress

Inspired by the spirit of Rome, the Fall 2015 couture collection for Valentino showcased designs worthy of a Roman Empress. 

The tunic dress styles, flowing fabrics and gilded jewelry were reminiscent of the controversial Empress Messalina.
Scandal is nothing new, and Messalina was at the heart of many controversies in the world of ancient Rome. Noted as quite a beauty, it's said that her soon-to-be husband, Claudius, was left drooling in her presence. 

When Claudius is Away, Messalina will Play, 1911 by A. Pigma

After marrying Claudius, Messalina, did anything necessary to protect her position. Rumors of affairs, adultery and murder were left in her wake. There was even speculation that she ran a brothel under a secret name and forced upper class women to work in the establishment.

Messalina has inspired the imaginations of many, including this 1951 Italian film and 1960s novel. 

An Empress is a far cry from a gladiator, but the collections gives gladiators the royal treatment in rich fabrics and detailing. We can easily imagine Messalina wearing garments like these as she interacted with the gladiators in the Colosseum. 

 Messalina may not have been the most admirable of women, but she does show how colorful history can be. Though we don't aspire to her scandalous intrigue, we can imagine the power and beauty she exuded and translate it to modern day through the lens of Valentino. 
Charlotte Wolter as Messalina, 1875 by Hans Makart

Melting Beauty

Imagine kayaking through a glacier filled landscape, taking in the scenery, to suddenly find a woman emerging from the depths of the water. It might be a little scary, maybe slightly eerie.
Now imagine a world of vast oceans. The glaciers are gone, as are the animals that called them home. This too would be a little scary and slightly eerie. 

With glaciers melting and ecosystems threatened, surfer turned artist Sean Yoro decided to speak about the subject through his art. Words are not necessary as the art's lifespan draws attention to the state of climate change. The pieces are painted on the sides of glaciers. After hours of work, he knows the art will soon melt back into the ocean water. 
Located in remote areas, Yoro presents them to "ignite a sense of urgency toward climate change in those who stumble upon the murals," as he told CNN Style

Though we may never stumble upon one of his murals in the natural setting, we can still appreciate their beauty and the strength of their message. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Barbie Girl

She's one of the most recognizable fashion icons. She travels from the beach house, to the boardroom, to the operating room. She makes rocket science and landing on the moon look easy. Her name is known across the globe…Barbie. 
In recent years her name has become less known as the top choice of doll and more known as potentially spreading a negative body image message. However, the tide seems to be turning as people begin to recognize the fact that Barbie has promoted over 150 careers. Take a look at this amazing new commercial from Mattel. 
Not just about looking a certain way, Barbie shows that girls can do anything.

She even proved to be an inspiration from Moschino designer, Jeremy Scott, in a recent collection
Models sauntered down the runway in bubblegum pink and platinum wigs. The designer even played with the font of the iconic Barbie logo, but instead, plaster the designs with the Moschino name. 
The collection blended classic Barbie reference with Moschino details like the chain belts and cheeky accessories. 

If you can't picture yourself in head-to-toe pink a la Barbie, you can get a piece of the Moschino style with the Barbie collection that hit earlier this week. 
Fifty years after her debut, Barbie proves to be an everlasting icon and that this truly is a Barbie world.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Art of Fashion

Is fashion art? Certain types of art can be in fashion, but is the reverse also true? These are just a couple of questions that swirl between the fashion and art worlds. 
Designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren decided to further the conversation with a recent couture collection for their Viktor & Rolf label. Canvases collapsed into multi-dimensional designs that were worn by the models on the runway. By the end of the show, these sculptural pieces adorned the walls of the gallery. 
The fabric of the skirts and gowns acted as the canvas for painterly interpretations of fine art. Instead of trims and standard stitched edges, the designs were trimmed in structural materials to serve as the frames of the art work. 
Not only artistic in their designs, Viktor and Rolf also produced the runway show as a type of performance art. They displayed the stages of putting on the piece and then removing it to hang on a gallery wall, which questions the point at which the fashion can become art. 

Is it more valuable as a garment on a couture runway, or does it only gain artistic value once it hangs on a wall in the museum? 
It's an interesting notion of not only how we treat fashion, but also how we view fine art. The collection certainly serves as a conversation starter for these thoughts and questions, but the answers remain to be seen. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Classic Beauty

Delicate fabrics, romantic touches of lace and flowing hair…these words easily describe the Chloe collection, yet also call to mind the beauty found in the works of the Pre-Raphealite Brotherhood. 
Seeking to express the genuine and what was found in nature, the English artists banned together in the mid-1800s to reform art. Their romanticism and attention to form produced works steeped in classical imagery. 

Just like the brotherhood, the designs from the runway include unstructured silhouettes, billowing sleeves and draping. Accented by gladiator sandals, the looks are reminiscent of classical Greek or Roman tunics. 
Though steeped in the spirit of the ancient world, the collection shows how timeless classic forms can be. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Falling for the Flower Child

The Versace couture collection is part 1970s flower child, part rocker-chic and completely glamorous beauty. Together, these elements result in a softly feminine aesthetic that is both nostalgic and modern. 

Distressed edges, peek-a-boo cutouts and platforms speak to the rocker side of the designs. The use of floral motifs and lace add touches of romance. 

The delicacy of the fabrics and use of flowers may come as a surprise for a Fall collection, but Donatella's designs prove that such beauty is always in season. 


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fashion for a Cause

When you say the word nursery, elephants may not be the first image that comes to mind. But that's exactly what exists in Kenya's Nairobi National Park thanks to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

This nursery rescues elephants that are orphaned from poaching or conflicts with humans. In both Africa and Asia, elephants are fighting for their lives as humans hunt them for their tusks or meat. 

To help save the baby elephants and rehabilitate them for life in the wild, the Wildlife Trust has created an environment where they can heal and grow. Caretakers spend time with them and even sleep in the same room to ensure they never feel alone. 
To keep away the chill, caretakers bundle the baby elephants in blankets. 

What's amazing is that the elephants have so many human-like behaviors. They can recognize themselves in mirrors, show emotion and remember who their caretakers are. 

Just like school children, they line up and follow the leader. 

As elephants fight to stay alive, brands like J. Crew and Chantecaille are finding ways to help. Simply by buying a t-shirt or some blush you can help save an elephant. That's truly fashion for a cause!

You can also help by fostering an elephant like Sokotei in the picture below. That's a gift definitely worth adding to your birthday and Christmas wish lists. 

To learn more about the ivory trade and its effect on elephants, take a look at this amazing article from National Geographic