Fashion, Opinion, Personal

Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garcons exhibition at the Met

I. don’t. get. Comme. des. Garcons. 

Really, I don’t. I went to the summer costume exhibition at the Met to check it out and, like almost everyone else who was visiting, I didn’t know what to think. It feels almost blasphemous to say that I didn’t like it or didn’t get it because there is this unwritten rule that if you are seriously into fashion (or claim to be) you must love Comme. Don’t get me wrong, there are some things from the brand I like. Dover Street Market is an amazing store with great merchandising techniques. The diffusion line with the little heart logo is branded perfectly. I can appreciate a really cool avant garde piece. I think they photograph brilliantly and I think they look really insane on the body (think Caroline Kennedy at this year’s Met Gala, or even Rihanna) but I don’t understand them and I know that the majority of people in my company at the museum felt the same way.

The exhibition was in a different gallery than the Manus x Machina one was last year and I didn’t like the space as much. It was lit very brightly with everything on stark white pedestals and some pieces were displayed well above eye-level, meaning it was easy to miss things if you didn’t realize you had to look up. The pieces featured spanned decades of Rei’s work. The exhibition was split up into various different segments, each representing a different aesthetic expression (e.g Clothes/Not Clothes) and there was no text explaining anything on the walls, nor credits for the clothing’s season etc – all of this information was to be found in a paper exhibition guide that was available at the entrance. Because of this, I found myself going around the exhibition faster than I normally would when I stop to read things because I didn’t actually read the guide until I sat down at the end and compared the guide with photographs I took. I still feel like I need further clarification though because I don’t understand the meanings of the pieces. I am a very imaginative person but I cannot immediately see the meaning of these clothes.

Ever since I got into fashion as a young teen, Comme des Garcons was a name I’d seen thrown about always in extremely high regard. On Tumblr, nobody dared disrespect Rei, thinking of her as the high priestess of fashion. I guess this mentality was ingrained into me without realizing it and for years I’ve always thought that I liked Comme, without actually thinking too much about it. Now I realize that I don’t like Comme, not because I think the clothes are bad but because I just don’t understand it at all and I can’t see the depth that others do. That includes most of the designers in the Japanese conceptualist movement, like Yohji Yamamoto, too. This year at the Met Gala, I was hoping for more out-there pieces because what I’ve seen from Comme des Garcons in the past and I do stand by my criticism of that red carpet. It was boring and could’ve been so much more if people were willing to push the boat out and not worry about looking hot for one evening.

I have compiled a little video, linked below, which is a get ready with me where I do my makeup, then once I have finished that I have included a lot of shots from the exhibition. I actually got a new camera recently and I’ve been playing with it, trying to work out its capabilities. The makeup video was actually just shot for fun, hence the unprofessional set-up, but once it was done I actually quite liked it so I decided to make something of it. The shots from inside the museum are taken on the same camera. I’m impressed with the quality.

Overall, if you’re in New York I think you should check out the exhibition and see what you think for yourself. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It didn’t help me gain any further understanding of or appreciation for the designer, but I did enjoy seeing it. I’m a huge advocate for fashion exhibitions and preserving garments like art pieces, because I do think of fashion as a form of commercial art, so I will always go along and see things even if I’m not a huge fan as I will always find it somewhat interesting.

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Fashion, Personal

Space Age Vibes – Inspiration Clips

I was initially inspired to pull these clips and images together because of the Paris Refashioned exhibition at the Museum at FIT. In this exhibition, I saw a mirrored Paco Rabanne dress which sparked my interest in the brand and I wrote about this in a previous post – “The Return of Paco Rabanne“. Going from there, I began to think about the space age, futuristic fashions of the 1960s and I started pulling together a series of images which I felt conveyed this well. Then instead of sticking exactly with the decade of the 60s, I ended up including clips from some 90s music videos too. I hope you enjoy the video!

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Personal

Life Update

I’ve finished another semester at FIT and it feels strange. I’m in a very exciting yet slightly scary place in life right now. Technically, I’m a college graduate having achieved an Associate’s degree. Of course I’m going to return to earn my Bachelor’s but not before taking a semester off.

I’m somebody who values real experience over books. After high school I took almost two years off from education to work, both in an office job and in retail, with internships along the way. Heading back to school full time last summer was kind of scary for me, just because I’d forgotten what it was like to sit in a classroom for hours at a time. That, coupled with the fact that I wasn’t going to be earning my own money for the first time since turning 16, was tough for me. However, I adapted into the college life pretty quickly. It’s amazing to me that that very short chapter of my life is over already.

The next few months are going to be pretty crazy for me actually. I’m slightly worried but also extremely excited because, for once, I’m going to be doing something that I really want to do. I’m interning with for the summer whilst also working retail (with the job title of stylist too). I’m beyond excited to start to gain this experience in my internships, even if it consists of a lot of returns and pick-ups, carrying clothes, and steaming. That’s what an assistant does.

I’ve found that since moving to New York I’ve had a real shift in attitude and it is probably the opposite of what you would expect. Instead of becoming more and more stressed about “making it” and needing to have achieved a certain level of success by a certain age, I’ve relaxed. I now want to focus on the bigger picture, on life as a whole. I no longer feel this great urgency or huge rush to achieve everything instantly. I was getting ahead of myself before and would’ve ended up tripping up. I’m ready to assist people, work hard, and learn the ropes from people who know best. I’m so young, something that I often forget.

On the topic of styling and careers and that whole area, Fashionista.com have been publishing some great articles recently on their careers series. In particular, I enjoyed the guide on “How to Make It as a Celebrity Stylist in 2017”. They also published an in-depth chat with Rachel Zoe who is perhaps the most prominent (former) celebrity stylist of my lifetime which I spoke about in a previous Weekly Words post.

The point of this post was to give a brief update on how things are with me and what I’m going to be doing over the next few months. If content on this blog drops off I apologize. I’m going to be working 6 days a week with little free time so I may not have much time left to dedicate to this. I’m enjoying writing the Weekly Words posts because I’m just summarizing/commenting on any news stories that I’ve come across in the past week and talking about it as if you’re my friend. (I don’t have anyone in real life to discuss these stories with!!) However, I might not be able to keep up with that schedule and it may become bi-weekly words. Regardless of what happens, I’m still here. I still love writing on this blog. I still love posting random compilation videos on YouTube. I still post on Instagram all the damn time. Stick around!

MY LINKS

Instagram – personal @bigbabyeve

Youtube – Eve Gardiner

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Opinion, Personal

LA – February 2017

I took a trip to LA this past week. It was unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before. From what I’d heard over the past few years, California was experiencing a drought. Rich people were getting derided for using sprinklers to keep their lawns green when most vegetation was turning brown. However, when I went we were hit by a storm so bad that we spent the entire Friday inside, lying on the sofa watching the rain pour down. The infinity pool in the back yard rippled and began to overflow. One minute you could see the mountains in the distance, the next they were obscured by a wall of cloud. I was in the Valley.

I stayed in LA for four full days, but 5 nights in total. In that time I seen almost everything I wanted to see. I seen the Valley, I seen the mountains, I drove down the Pacific Coast Highway, through some canyons, down Sunset at sunset and various other times throughout the day, I ate the best food, I browsed in many stores, I seen the ocean, I put my toe on the sand, I drove to the top of a hill and observed the entire city below me, looking to Downtown and across to the sea. I really loved it. I cannot fault the trip.

The differences between New York and LA were so striking to me. It’s a completely different way of life. I’ve thought about moving there after graduation a few times and it appeals to me in some ways but not in others. Now that I’ve visited I’m more sure of the positives of the city and what it has to offer. I still have my concerns though. In my mind, LA is rather isolating. Everyone drives. I worry that it would be difficult to meet people because it’s not the same as New York where you just walk around everywhere and bump into new people. I think socializing would require more effort and making new friends and trying to build relationships would take a lot of work. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable making the switch to the west coast until I knew a couple of people out there, at least as acquaintances to meet up with initially. Overall, everything just felt more chill. Less rushed. Even when we were backed up in traffic on the 405 I didn’t feel stressed out. Normally if I stop for a minute in New York I’m antsy. I can’t even wait at a traffic light for the walk sign without pacing halfway into the flow of oncoming cars. I think the pace of life would take some adjusting to, especially coming from New York. However, thousands of people move from New York to LA and vice versa every single year and manage so it must be doable.

The best element of my trip was the food. I feel like I ate so damn well. We went to Spago on Saturday evening for a meal and it was the best thing that’s ever passed my lips. The portions were perfectly sized and the pasta I had was so full of flavor that I finished it all and ate slowly to savor every piece. The steak was also perfect. Brunch at Chateau Marmont was another experience as the food was tasty (and gluten free for some reason), the surroundings were iconic, and the fellow diners were somebodies. I feel like I could look the part and somehow make people think I was a somebody too. It would’ve been funny. Johnny Depp’s daughter was two tables away from me and just as beautiful in person as the Chanel ads, but she has fantastic genetics. Mel’s Drive-In on Sunset was a good lunch option too. I ate a lot of lamb on the trip. A random snippet of information but strange if you know me as you’d know that I order bolognese at every restaurant I go to, yet nowhere I went had traditional bolognese and this was always my closest option. I had a wonderful pasta dish with lamb sausage and red peppers which tasted like Hungarian goulash to me. It was also delicious. Oh, and of course I had an In-N-Out burger. Of course.

I went to almost every store in LA and, whilst I enjoyed browsing, all I bought on the entire trip was a black zip-up hoodie from the men’s section of H&M (it got cold in the house), a new Beauty Blender sponge, and a bunch of random supplies from CVS (e.g. Intensive moisturizer as my skin just dies after travel, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition for $10…). Disappointing really when you consider some of the stores LA has to offer. There were certainly a few experiences to be had. Fred Segal was interesting because it’s such an iconic store but I found the merchandise carried different than what I’d imagined. Nasty Gal in Santa Monica was strange as the entire store was on sale, literally. You could buy the fixtures, plants, mirrors, everything. Wasteland (the vintage store) was disappointing. I’d first heard of it a few years ago, randomly stumbling across their website one time when looking for high-end vintage clothing and I remember being so amazed by it. Going into the store was a slightly disappointing experience as I found everything to be so overpriced. I think they grew too big perhaps. I went to Rodeo Drive and Abbot Kinney (but didn’t shop) and I went to the Grove (where I almost did) and I went to the Beverly Center (where I actually did). I didn’t yet make it to Decades or Elyse Walker; I’m saving them for next time.

The most interesting store to me out of all of these places was Maxfield. I loved Maxfield. It’s somewhere that I’ve wanted to visit for years now and I’ve been interested in potentially working for in the future. I just loved it. The store was so conceptual but not in an annoying and pretentious way. The merchandise selection was spot-on, a mix of high fashion, uber luxury (like vintage Hermes) with young brands like Off-White and Enfants Riches Deprimes, the visuals were cool, and the assortment of art books and coffee table books was cool – like a perfectly curated gift section really. Cool. Everything was cool. The staff, the customers, everything. If I had the funds I could’ve done some serious damage there. To make things even cooler, the Vetements pop-up was still outside. I wish I could’ve gone inside but it was closed when I was there. If you haven’t already seen images online, the Vetements pop-up was like a dry cleaners. It was so funny. To see it in person was a really cool experience for me because normally I’m an outsider to these things, just seeing it via Instagram. Across the street in the gallery space was the Daft Punk pop-up exhibition. It was the first thing like this that I’ve ever waited in line for. It was also really cool, but I think I may write about it in more detail in a separate post so I shall leave that for that.

Besides shopping, I spent most of the time on this trip as the passenger in the car. I was just chauffeured around, being the human GPS system and occasionally taking a nap but more often than not just taking in everything around me. It was really fascinating to me. My fondest memories from the trip are from places I seen whilst in the car and conversations I had on the journey. I love the palm trees too. Really, I think I would like LA. It has a lot to offer. Plus, 9 times out of 10 the weather is perfect. I look forward to my return, whenever that will be.

I wish New York had palm trees lol 🌴🌴🌴

A post shared by Eve Gardiner (@bigbabyeve) on

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Personal

Thoughts on the Weather

I had the oddest feeling like it was summer when I woke up this morning. I could almost feel the heat from the sun. I lay in bed imagining the outfit that I could wear – bare legs were certain, sandals were likely. Then when I actually woke up and went to the kitchen to make breakfast, upon hearing the water pipes squeaking, I was hit by the cruel reminder that it is, in fact, still winter. And we’re nowhere near the end of it.

There’s something about the warm weather that makes life more pleasant. It gives you a sense of freedom. I could walk about anytime, anywhere in the summer and feel fairly safe. I have no qualms about walking after 10pm because it’s still light outside. As soon as the sun goes down, the world feels more dangerous. Perhaps the early sunsets in the winter contribute to the overall gloomy feel. You feel restricted by the daylight, and, more so, the weather.

Not only do my outfits suck in the winter (although I do wear more mini-skirts, just with tights) but often my overall demeanor is less happy. I would consider myself a happy person in general but I definitely feel less so in the winter, especially after Christmas when you’re just stuck with the cold weather and zero festivity. Snow in December can be nice but any other month of the year it’s unwelcome.

So yes, my morning was a slight disappointment when I realised that we are only in January, but then I remembered a few good things. Firstly, it’s my birthday next week & I have a few, fun celebrations planned with various different friends. Secondly, I’m going to Los Angeles next month which is so exciting to me as I’ve never been anywhere in America besides New York. I’ll finally see California and the Pacific Ocean. I’m curious to see the west coast and learn how different it is from here. From what I’ve heard, it’s a whole other way of life so that will be fun. Finally, I graduate (with my Associates) in May which means I’ll be able to work/intern/do both over the summer. The idea of finally being able to work again and gain more experience and do something that I’m genuinely interested in is so exciting to me. It’s not all bad. It never is.

PS – I know there’s so many shitty things going on politically right now. I’m trying not to talk about them on here, instead saving it for my personal social media networks. I don’t want you to think that I’m just being complacent or ignoring it or, worse, supporting it. I just don’t think this is the right platform. I hope you understand :)

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Personal

Thoughts on Writing

How did Carrie Bradshaw think of new ideas for a column every single week? Inspiration seemed to hit her in the funniest of places. Yes, her columns (or what we heard of them) were rather vapid and meaningless, yet they always seemed humorous and, more importantly, what people would actually want to read.

I’m at a stage right now where I’m desperately seeking inspiration but I can’t find it. I want to write more but I can’t think of what to write about. I don’t know if it’s worth just sharing tales from my life because in my mind they’re not that exciting. To me, it’s just life. However, where do you find inspiration to start writing? And how do you keep being inspired and push yourself to create worthy content?

I’m always conscious that this website could end up just filled with a constant flow of aggregative posts, summarising things I’ve read elsewhere without adding any real value or input to the conversation. I’d like to change that if I can. I want to be able to weigh in on things in a thoughtful manner, whilst also keeping it interesting and fun. I’d like to learn how to do that.

I’m thinking about taking a writing class of some sort. I find that when I am pushed to do things on a deadline I will produce better work. On top of that, I could learn new techniques and also have work critiqued. That’s my biggest problem: being afraid of negativity. I don’t like to put myself out there for things that I feel are flawed, in fear that people pick them apart. However, in an educational setting this can be helpful and is actually welcomed. I don’t know if I’m going to go about this by taking a class at my school (perhaps a liberal arts elective) or if I should do it in my own time (Gotham Writers’ Workshop?). Either way I’d like to take action. Throughout my life I’ve been told that I’m a good writer and that I should do something with it. However, I hate my voice when I write. It isn’t how I’d like it to be and I can’t work out how to change it. I guess you can’t alter what flows naturally too much or it will sound phony. When attempting fiction, I find myself imitating other writers whose work I admire. I know it’s not my own natural voice and for that reason it can sound contrived. Then when I’m writing non-fiction, whether that be a more conversational, personal piece like what I’m writing now, or a more factual, article-style piece, I find myself straying into a voice that I don’t like. One that sounds uneducated and often too casual. I need to learn how to fix that.

I’d like to write on this blog more often in the coming months. I think I could write some good things if I just got struck by inspiration and sat down and did it. I know I probably sound like a broken record by now. I’m constantly saying what I’m going to do & then changing my mind. I’m someone who needs to say things aloud in order to stick to them. This is sort of like saying it, just I’m typing it to a small audience instead of telling people I actually know. I don’t know. I guess it’s more comforting to talk to strangers. We shall see what happens.

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Fashion, Opinion, Personal

Spend More, Buy Less – Part 4

As I said in my first post on this topic, I plan to investigate the matter further. The first step that I planned to take was watching The True Cost, the documentary that has been talked about in every fast-fashion criticism of the past few years. I have also read a book on the topic Where Am I Wearing? by Kelsey Timmerman, a writer who chronicled his travels around the world to find out exactly where his clothes were made: Levi’s, the all-American icon were made in Cambodia, his flip-flops made in China. I also went to a talk by the author during my orientation week at school. I found it very interesting and it also brought up further ethical dilemmas. It so happened that I went to a talk about sustainability in Edinburgh in July which sparked another post, so here is part 4 in the Spend More, Buy Less series; a series that I hope to continue for as long as I can keep thinking up ideas on the matter.

I did actually watch The True Cost and I found it rather saddening. I hate to think that people would be dying just so I can buy a pair of jeans for £20 or a t-shirt for £3. Obviously these items should cost more but I think we have become so accustomed to paying these prices that we think nothing of it. Especially when you’re a teenager and you have a small monthly allowance, you’re unlikely to save up to get an expensive, ethically made pair of jeans or a t-shirt. For the past year I have been working full time and therefore have had a little bit more money than I did before (but I was saving for college so I didn’t have quite as much spending money as I wish I did!) so I did buy more expensive, hopefully more ethical purchases than I did before. Now I’m back to being a student without a job and therefore no income. So the small amount of money that I do have I am likely to spend on clothes from Zara. I feel slightly ashamed to even think like that now that I am fully aware of what goes into the making of these clothes but I will also not be able to afford anything better so it’s a bit of a catch-22 that I’m sure many other people are in.

On one hand, I could shop locally made. For example, since I’ll be in the USA I could buy items from American Apparel, a now-flailing brand, but they don’t have the selection that I’m looking for. They’re just basics. I could also shop vintage. I do enjoy this actually but it is definitely more difficult if you’re looking for something super specific. Since arriving in New York I’ve found a bunch of great vintage/second hand stores, although I find that they can be a little bit expensive for used clothing. Really I’m broke as hell so I’m not doing much shopping at all right now.

Since attending fashion school I’m experiencing further disdain for the fast-fashion industry and even private label brands who are ripping off the work of other designers. Yet I feel stuck because I can’t afford any better, and being at a fashion school it almost feels necessary to keep refreshing your style. It is very difficult to be around people who are constantly wearing new looks and trying new things and not wanting to be involved. It’s rather disappointing to me because when I started researching this I thought that by the end of the year I might have stopped shopping fast fashion altogether, and now here is me buying multiple pieces from Zara a month. I’ve even shopped at Forever 21 a couple of times. It’s kind of embarrassing to me, especially because I’m now ultra aware of the effects of my consumption.

It is funny reading this post from beginning to end for me because I started it in August with the best intentions and as time has passed and I’ve got less and less money and more and more urges and desires to have new things, I seem to have just lost everything that I had found over the summer. I can see my viewpoint changing throughout the post. From before I got to New York (I could shop at American Apparel) to after I’d been there a few weeks (I could go thrifting) to now (Zara, Forever 21). It is shameful and I am sorry. I really need to sit down and reevaluate things because I know that fast fashion isn’t worth it, not to me or to the people (and the environment) that are being harmed as a result of it.

To anyone out there who is reading this and wants to remain stylish but on a (very small) budget, what’s your advice? How do you will yourself away from fast fashion? And honestly, how do you shop vintage? (The experience is just stressful to me.)

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Personal

Thoughts (again)

I said I was starting YouTube so I filmed a video and posted it, then decided that I actually hated it. I haven’t deleted it yet but I am thinking about it. I don’t know if it’s because I’m just not comfortable in front of the camera or if it’s because I just feel like I will never have the content exactly how I want, but either way I’m not satisfied. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I’m definitely uber critical of myself. I can always do slightly better in my mind, even if I do a really good job to begin with.

I have a couple of ideas for videos I want to film actually and I’m planning them out. I don’t know if it is even worth doing though. Will anybody watch them? Will I be happy to say they’re mine and share them with my peers? We shall see. I need to get a better camera to film stuff on. I used to have a digital camera at home but I have searched my entire apartment and it is nowhere to be found. Strange. For now I will have to stick to my phone which means it will never be anywhere near as polished as I want it to be.

Also completely unrelated but I made a Depop account. I’ve always heard about people shopping on there but I’ve never actually tried it myself. I think it could be fun though. I listed a few items today so if you want to check it out feel free! @evegardiner 

That’s just what was on my mind today. Come back again soon and hopefully I will have figured things out in a much more clear direction!

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