Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: 9th September 2017

Instead of focusing on news stories this week, I thought I would highlight some editorials/magazine covers that I have spotted and really loved. As I’ve said a zillion times before on here, I don’t love Kim Kardashian. However, she has been involved in two great photoshoots which have been released over the past couple of weeks that I feel would be a shame not to share. She is actually fairly versatile as a model so that’s one thing I will give her. Her Harper’s Bazaar Arabia shoot was to die for. I love the Cher inspiration and it is nice to see her channeling another Armenian icon. Kardashian herself is a huge fan of Cher, having posted various images of her as inspiration on her Instagram a few months back (and losing millions of followers whilst doing so), so it is cool to see her doing a shoot that you know she would’ve actually been really excited to participate in. The second shoot is the Interview cover which Kim shares with her daughter North (aka the cutest kid in North America). There has been some controversy over this shoot because Kim’s skin tone is a lot darker than what it is in real life (and the same shade as her daughter, which is impossible given that her daughter is half African-American and Kim is White & Armenian) and also because people think that Kim channeling Jackie Kennedy is in poor taste (apparently she is not classy enough to be a first lady, but I beg to differ given the current administration). However, the shoot is cute. It is a fun historical take on fashion, and it features Kim in styles that we wouldn’t normally expect from her. Finally, I wanted to show off the Bella Hadid covers for Vogue Brasil. Bella has broken a world record for being on the most Vogue covers in one month, formerly held by Doutzen Kroes. Out of all of the international editions of the magazine that she is featured on, I like the Brazilian cover the best. They are fun, retro, and give me serious Carla Bruni vibes. Now that I think about it, Bella can look like Carla in some photos. If nothing, looking like a true supermodel from the 80s is the highest compliment a model can receive.

Harper’s Bazaar Arabia – Kim Kardashian West by Mariano Vivanco, styled by Simon Robins

Full editorial here.

Interview Magazine – Kim Kardashian West & North West by Steven Klein, styled by Patti Wilson

Full editorial here.

Vogue Brasil – Bella Hadid by Gui Paganini, styled by Yasmine Sterea

Full editorial here.

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Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: May 27th 2017

“From the archive: Anna Wintour on leaving London for New York” – The Guardian

I don’t know about you but the first thing I do when I wake up is check my email. Among the endless promotional codes and spam-like attempts to capture attention from various retailers lies The Business of Fashion’s Daily Digest. One day last week they highlighted this 1997 article from The Guardian on Anna Wintour, posted on The Guardian’s website as a piece from the archive. I’m not sure why they revived a 20 year old article but it was such a good read. It’s amazing to see how things have changed in that time. As I said when I read the profile of Anna Wintour for the site’s print issue, Anna Wintour comes across really well. She is a formidable woman who earned her place in the industry. She has a reputation for being icy and mean yet every piece of journalism I’ve read relating to her paints a different picture. This profile was endearing because she talks about her own career path in the most humble way possible. She also talks about the differences between the UK and the US, something that I can relate to having made the move myself. If you want to read a good throwback article, click the link above.

“Bella Hadid’s New Nike Campaign Pays Homage To ’70s-era Farrah Fawcett” – Fashionista (IMAGES)

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Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: April 8th 2017

I’ve had a thought. There’s often so many stories that come out in fashion and so many articles that I read that I’d like to make a comment on but I don’t have enough to say to make an entire post so I don’t discuss it at all. Instead of just ignoring all of these things I decided that I would start a weekly round-up of these things, to be published every Saturday. I’m basically just going to pull content from various sources that I’ve spotted and been inspired by over the previous week and put it all in one post. Hopefully it turns out to be a more concise way to share my thoughts with everybody in a more snappy, easy-to-follow format. Let the series begin!

“The Olsen Twins’ Ex Stylist Tells All” – Refinery29

I actually read this article on Snapchat (and sent it to myself, something that I was unaware you could do?) and thought about it afterwards. I have always loved the Olsen twins, ever since I was a little kid. I watched almost all of their movies and tv shows, read every single one of their books, and followed their fashion careers from the very beginning to the crazy levels of success that they have now reached. Who would’ve believed that child stars could become credible fashion designers?

I particularly liked reading about how their former stylist, Judy Swartz, helped pitch and develop their clothing line with Walmart and hearing about the product development side of things as I am currently taking a class in this area and find the process interesting. I was also shocked to find out that the collections were inspired by designer pieces or vintage books because I think we often think private label brands, especially for stores like Walmart, have no design influence whatsoever. To find out that there was somebody actually pulling together a sophisticated array of references and translating it all into childrenswear was genuinely surprising to me. I also had no idea that the twins wore designer pieces in their movies, like Pucci, Prada, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana. It’s worth flicking through the slideshow linked in the Refinery29 article, if not for the words for the images. Throwback MK & Ash is always welcome in my mind.

“Paul Smith’s pink wall is an LA Instagram phenomenon – but is it paying off for Paul Smith?” – Fashionista.com

I’d like to preface this by saying that as a regular Fashionista reader I was keen to find out how their content would change when one of their editors, Dhani Mau, moved to LA as the site was rather NYC-centric. As the West Coast editor, I feel that she has managed to introduce more California-based fashion content to the site in an authentic manner and I really like her articles nowadays.

This article in particular spoke about the infamous pink wall on Melrose that everyone stops and takes a picture with. Countless bloggers and influencers have images on their Instagram in front of it, so much so that it is becoming a tourist attraction with many people either being unaware that it is, in fact, the Paul Smith store or simply not caring. I remember when we drove past in February saying “oh look, it’s the Paul Smith wall from Instagram!”. We kept driving, however. The article goes more into depth about how do these images translate into sales for the store and how does the online engagement and geotagging help the brand. Unsurprisingly so, out of the vast majority of people who stopped to take a photo, only a few went into the store and even less actually made a purchase. Mau found that only 0.17% of the images geotagged with this location were posted by people who actually follow the Paul Smith Instagram account, but many still tagged the account in their final images, perhaps hoping to be spotted. It seems crazy to think an entire article (and a rather lengthy one for Fashionista) could be written about a wall outside a store, yet Mau has managed to do it in a way that didn’t come across as vapid and actually went into great detail with social analytics and comments from the consumers and the brand. I encourage you to read it.

“Porter #20 – Bella Hadid shot by Terry Richardson”

I adore this cover. I don’t like the photographer. Bella actually looks really beautiful, albeit slightly sunburnt, and natural. The cover reminds me of something we would see on the newsstands back in the day of the supers, perhaps like an early Gisele Bundchen, and the background is really beautiful. Porter has caught some flack for using Terry Richardson, and I agree with the comments. I thought most magazines had stopped working with him, never mind giving him cover stories. However, I don’t think the cover image nor the accompanying editorial even looks like his work. It is a different style than we are used to seeing and is much softer and prettier. The editorial images that have been released so far look really good too, with this image from “Ignite the Night” standing out to me.

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Advertising, Fashion

Calvin Klein FW16 Ads – #mycalvins

#mycalvins is everywhere just now. It all started way back when Brooke Shields had the ever-so-risqué campaign with the slogan “nothing comes between me and my Calvins”, meaning her CK jeans. Last season the campaign was revived in the form of the aforementioned hashtag. Cashing in on teenagers who keep buying 90s CK from vintage stores and Urban Outfitters, plus the thousands of girls who now pose on Instagram with their underwear peeking out from their waistband with one man’s name on it, Calvin Klein, the brand, have enlisted celebrities and models to front the latest round of adverts. Once again, Calvin Klein is the it brand.

Last season’s casting drew criticism from Calvin Klein himself, saying that he didn’t like Kendall Jenner (who at the time fronted a campaign – I took a photo of the billboard when I seen it in New York because I actually like the image) but he did like Justin Bieber. Odd. There was also some minor controversy over Fetty Wap’s advert (featuring the slogan “I make money in #mycalvins) or more so, the placement of the advert next to one of a woman who “seduced” in her own ad. People cried gender roles etc. However, I think that was misplaced anger. There are so many other things to be mad about and you’re also probably doing exactly what the marketing department wanted you to do. Adverts are designed to draw attention to the product, and as they say, all publicity is good publicity (at least people are paying attention to it).

At first I thought this whole campaign and the idea behind it was slightly gimmicky, then I was drawn in. Like the iconic images of baby Kate Moss in the 90s, some of these images, I think, will be remembered in the same way. I think this season is even stronger than last. For example, Bella Hadid’s recently released shots with messages like “I mirror you in #mycalvins” are not only stunning images, but are so striking that on a billboard I think they’d make you stop and stare. They’re sexy but not in a trashy way. Very realistic for a young person nowadays, sort of in the same way that Kate’s images were 20 years ago. This is something that you can be a part of, as long as you buy the underwear/jeans/swimwear/whatever the fuck they’re selling us. It’s an intangible cool.

Tyrone Lebon is a really fantastic photographer. He shot my favourite British Vogue editorial (in literally years) on location in Jamaica, linked in an upcoming post, and now he has shot this set of images. I think he has an interesting way of shooting people and it is rather distinct. I don’t know how to put into words what his photographs make me feel but I do know that I want to be a part of them. He makes everyone beautiful and soft and filtered, if that’s a way to describe things.

Apart from Bella Hadid’s images, I really like Anna Ewers’ set, Frank Ocean’s, Zoe Kravitz’s and Grace Coddington’s.

I wonder if these style of adverts will continue after a new creative director is appointed. Only time will tell.

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Celebrity & Red Carpet

Met Gala 2016

I was super excited for the Met Gala this year, mainly because I’ll actually get to see the exhibition for the first time ever! From the previews I’ve seen, the Chanel bridal look with the immense train is a stand out piece, along with some newer offerings from brands like Dior (under Raf Simons) and Prada. I’m excited to see it and explore the differences between handmade, laborious pieces and technologically created. I’m sure it will be marvellous.

An invite to the Met Gala is one of the most coveted in fashion. Nowadays I feel that celebrities attend just to attend, not because they have anything to do with fashion. Next year I hope that they trim the guest list slightly to people who have an impact on/interest in/some stake in the fashion industry but given the increased commercialisation of the event I doubt this will happen. Perhaps it is a good thing given that it is a fundraiser for the museum itself. I wonder if any of the celebrities in attendance actually donate anything to the Costume Institute, other than their presence on the red carpet?

I have to say, this is the event of the year where you can get off with taking the biggest risks in terms of fashion, not somewhere you would need to water it down. In my opinion, a lot of people could’ve pushed the theme a little further than they did, have fun with it instead of wearing straight off the runway dresses, but overall I think it was a good red carpet, although not as good as last year.

Since Manus x Machina (hand vs machine literally; man vs machine in simpler terms) is the title of the exhibition, I expected lots of silver, robotic, slightly futuristic looks and we got plenty of them. The element of the theme that I was most looking forward to was a fully technology created outfit, perhaps some 3D printing. I had hoped for some Chalayan (a true boundary pusher) or even Iris van Herpen. As far as I’m aware, neither of the designers were represented. Instead there was a helluva lot of Balmain and Louis Vuitton. I did like cool uses of texture (embellished latex on Beyonce, for example) and also the celebrities who totally switched up their look for the occasion (Zendaya’s hair looked amazing and also Kim Kardashian really suited lighter eyebrows).

In a dream world, I would’ve attended the opening wearing vintage couture, perhaps Galliano’s Dior (see above Fall 2006 looks), as something to represent the manus section of the exhibition. In a society increasingly reliant on technology (e.g. think of the havoc caused when emails go down in the office), I’d like to think man could come out on top. Or you could do a combination, how about a machine made dress hand-embellished? The clash of the two techniques and the way in which we will adapt to suit is important. And as the sub-title of the exhibition says, we are in the age of technology. However, I am obsessed with couture and the craft behind it. Let’s hope it is an art that never dies.

My best dressed

Amber Heard in Ralph Lauren Collection

Lupita Nyong’o in Calvin Klein

Lady Gaga in Versace (PS – I wish she had taken this even further)

Kendall Jenner in Versace

Kate Upton in Topshop

Alexa Chung in Thakoon

Beyonce in Givenchy

Anna Ewers in Jason Wu

Aja Naomi King in Prabal Gurung

And the best look of the entire evening…

Bella Hadid in Givenchy

 

All images from E! Online and Elle Magazine

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