Saturday, January 30, 2016

Gibson Girl Gone Bad

Gibson Girl meets Edward Scissorhands. A blend of pompadour hair and leather clothing. 
These were the two images I had in my mind while looking at the Alexander McQueen fall collection.

Just like the Gibson Girl was a symbol of a new type of woman breaking free of Victorian restrictions, Sarah Burton seemed to take this idea a step farther, more of a Victorian girl gone bad. She has revealing necklines, sheer fabrics, leather accents and racy cut-outs.

The hair of the models mirrors the bouffant or pompadour style made famous by Charles Gibson’s Gibson Girl drawings. The unruly nature of the styles seem to pay a bit of homage to Edward Scissorhands’ unruly look. But unlike the Gibson Girl who still followed many of the rules, Burton pushes the boundaries to an edgier take on feminine beauty.

More than 100 years have passed since the Gibson Girl took to the streets riding bicycles, showed athleticism and broke boundaries, yet the power and beauty of this new Victorian woman continues to inspire.

Runway photos: 

Dash of Historic Flair

It’s the collection that has a touch of Elizabethan accessories, a dash of Baroque flair and a touch of Rococo romance. The fall collection for Giles showcased several details reminiscent of these various time periods. 

Royal worthy sashes evoked the feeling of going to the Parisian court of Versailles with Louis the Sun King.

The romantic bows were reminiscent of the feminine detailing always seen adorning the gowns of Madame Pompadour from the Rococo era.

Many of the designs in the Giles collection featured ruff collars and wrist accessories. Though these continued in various forms through the Rococo era many years after the Elizabethan era, they instantly evoke the look of Queen Elizabeth I

The accessories send a message of power and inaccessibility as it separates the wearer from the viewer.

References also connect to the Baroque era in designs like this golden suit. The front detailing mimics corset strings and is accented with a bow. The details and the color of the outfit mirror aspects of the portrait of Henrietta Maria from 1623. 

By using points of inspiration from time periods spanning hundreds of years, the designer invokes a sense of history while translating the historical notes into a modern world. 


Winter Rose

Mamma Mia! Mother’s played a central role in the Dolce and Gabbana Fall collectionWith childlike embroidery, you could imagine mother’s wearing their child’s art. Although this was a bit chicer than imagining a coloring book page pinned to your dress.

But celebrating mothers was not the only point of reference for the designers, roses and technology  abounded as seen in the embroidery and accessories.

Though we always say goodbye to the blooms of summer once fall and winter arrive, the designers were quick to use floral embroidery to adorn many of the dresses.  The roses added a touch of classic romance whether on eyelet material or sheer chiffon like draping.

It goes without saying that technology has become an everyday presence in all of our lives.  You can hardly walk through a store or drive down the street without seeing someone wearing headphones. And forgetting your phone at home easily feels like a part of you is missing. The designers definitely recognized these trends in our behaviors and chose to incorporate them into the show.

Models wore headphones that seemed to be a hybrid of Beats headphones and fuzzy earmuffs.  Not your average headphones, they were bejeweled and adorned with fur like fabric. Noting how people always have their phones with them, the designers positioned the phone and it’s case as an accessory.  
Just like a purse or shoes, phone cases are increasingly making a statement as fashion accessory. What statement are you ready to make this winter? 


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Star Gazing in Couture

The Armani Prive Fall 2015 couture show opened with an ode to Elsa Shiaparelli’s shade of shocking pink. The powerful shade never goes unnoticed, and with the color comes a reminder of the designer who made it so popular in the 1930s.  Almost 100 years later and the color remains just as stylish.

The celebration of pink quickly gave way to cooler tones.  With the use of texture and multi-tones in the designs, I couldn’t help but imagine the painterly skies created by Vincent van Gogh.

Just as van Gogh layered shades of blue to create the swirling sky and feeling of nighttime, the couture designs featured similar palettes and textured layering to create the feeling of movement and night.
Vincent van Gogh once said, "For my part I know nothing with certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." Thanks to this collection, we are given an interpretation of the night sky and a speckling of stars, giving us one more reason to dream of all that is lovely and magical.  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Watercolor Beauties

They are talented, beautiful and according to fashion artist David Downton, stylish women. 
After 20 years of painting glamorous women like Sarah Jessica Parker, the London based artist has pulled together a collection for his book, David Downton: Portraits of the World's Most Stylish Women. Seeing his watercolor portrayals of these iconic women, it's easy to agree these women are quite stylish. 

Downton's watercolors capture the beauty of women like Cate Blanchett and Sofia Coppola.

 A soft brush stroke, the suggestion of a jaw line, the natural use of shadow and light…these techniques help the vibrancy of these women come to life. 

It's in the Bag: Freedom of Animals

Your recycled water bottles have found new purpose, and a pretty one at that, thanks to the Nikki Reed and Morgan Bogle Freedom of Animals collaboration. The brand is a PETA certified vegan line of handbags that uses materials like recycled plastic water bottles as the lining. All materials are free from animal products. 
The ethically produced bags prove that style doesn't have to come at a cost to someone else--whether it be an animal or someone without fair wages. Not only are they ethically produced, most of the bags are named after an orphaned elephant being rehabilitated by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. Another great way to create awareness for a noble cause.  

The black and white bags from the collaboration blend boho elements like tassels with clean lines and classic shapes. As a modern take on classic beauty, these bags are sure to be a wardrobe staple for years to come. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Under the Sea

This time of year always brings with it mild fall temperatures with a touch of sunshine that beckon you to come outside. Day’s like today have perfect weather for exploring a park, hiking trails and forests. 

But what if the park was underwater? Parks are no longer limited to dry land thanks to artist Jason deCaires Taylor. He was the first artist to create an underwater sculpture park. 

His most recent sculpture was in the London’s River Thames. The installation was titled “Rising Tide.” The rise of the tide slowly covers the sculptures, revealing the frailty of man. 

The works are designed to allow humans to interact with underwater habitats. Scuba diving in these parks can bring you face to face with man made art, as well as the natural art of the sea life that begin to call these sculptures home. 

The sculptures transform from inanimate objects to pieces that provide the foundation for new life. 

You can visit a museum of over 500 works submerged off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. 

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