Friday, March 28, 2008

Who Says Jewelry Isn't Art?

(Pendant, 1904)

After a long, grueling day at my internship, I had to meet my art history class at the Neue Gallery on 86th and 5th.

Now I was tired, it's Friday, and I wanted the weekend to start. But, I had to go. After all, I am an art major.

Imagine my relief when the first exhibit I walk into is a room full of cases filled with jewelry.

Not only were these pieces amazing because they were so beautiful and were from between 1903-1920 but they had substantial meaning.

(Brooch, 1907)

The jewelry was created by Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Carl Otto Czeschka, and Dagobert Peche, along with many others. During this time, jewlery was usually made of diamonds and gold. These pieces were created to show that gems and silver were just as beautiful. Also on display, were photos of fashion designer Emilie Floge wearing not only the jewelry, but her own creations called "reform dresses".

According to the Neue Gallery's website, the purpose of these pieces were to demonstrate that
"jewelry should be valued for it's artistic merit and not simply for its monitary value."
I loved this about these pieces. People always tend to look at fashion on the surface or physical value. There is more to fashion that meets the eye. Fashion is a mix up of ideas, feelings, and statements that come together to express a purpose.

Another wonderful aspect to these pieces of jewelry was that many of them were functional. The pendant (top picture) was used not only as a necklace but for a mirror. They believed that a women should always have their mirror on them, to admire their beauty. This is something I always get grief over, fashion not be functional. According to many, fashion is about what's on the surface and all it is good for is aesthetic purposes. I love it when examples like the pendant prove those type of statements to be wrong. Personally, I also always hear things such as, "Amanda, those shoes are not practical". Um, actually they are..because they give my feet protection from the ground (with the exception of a blister here or there). Hey, I'm walking aren't I?

That brings me to the final aspect I loved about this exhibit. Emille Floge's photos of her in the jewelry and her dresses were meant to depict how each piece was beautiful. According to Hoffmann, none of them were to be considered more beautiful than the other. They only accentuated a women's beauty.

That concept is brilliant to me. How come we can't live in a society where we can wear beautiful things just because of that? Screw the fact that it could be considered "gaudy" or over done, because if each piece is beautiful, why the hell not?! So about those shoes of mine that aren't "practical"...who cares?? They're hot, right?! No, but really...I loved this concept. I have to image how the women must have felt during the begining of the 20th century when these pieces were created.

I'm just glad that there is stuff out there like this. Fashion isn't shallow like the majority of the world thinks it is. There is so much depth and meaning and knowledge behind this industry. It's more than just shoes, handbags, and dresses. This is what I walked away with tonight. That room alone made my night. I hope that everyone has a chance to visit the gallery for this exhibit alone.

Final thought: Fashion is art, is ART.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Royalty Influences McQueen: Fall 2008 Collection From Paris Fashion Week

(If the pictures aren't showing, click them to go to the link)

February, 29, 2008, Alexander McQueen showed his fall 2008 collection in Paris. The collection consisted of 42 pieces broken up into three different sections.

The first section of the show was an array of black and white attire. From a-line dresses, to high waisted leather pants each look was individual but cohesive. There were correlations of different fabrics including leather, chiffon, lace, and knits. Themes from fall 2007 arose with different twists, including high waists, volume, one shoulder dresses, opaque tights, and Greek inspired flowing dresses.

New concepts that were displayed were asymmetrical hemlines, decorative collars, and double breasted jackets. Reoccurring elements in the collection were zippers, for fitting garments, bows, fringe, frills, and leather. The feel of this first section was rock royalty meets street chic meets black tie event with their pale skin and wide, frizzy, bride of Frankenstein like hair.

The second section had a smoky feel, with blacks, grays, and white. It wouldn’t be a fall/winter collection without plaids, which occurred in this section of the collection. This section had an easy transition from the first section because the leather carried through on the girl’s pants and shoes along with the continuing reoccurrence of volume in the sleeves and skirt.

Wool trench coats with large plaid stripes gave a familiar sight, but the structure was a little different than one is use to. It appeared thinner and less heavy than the typical trench, giving the illusion of a longer length. This section is also where we saw a lot of knits. There was a repeat concept of the sweater dress, but it also had a twist on a popular spring trend: geometric shapes. McQueen took these shapes and softened them by using knit and by sticking to the black, grays, and white. He took these sweaters and layered them on top of wide chiffon dresses. Fur was repeated from last year, but a new concept was McQueen’s nature inspired details including, snow flake and elm tree embroidery on his dresses.

The third and final section of McQueen’s collection is where you final see some color. These colors were very representational of the previous fall, consisting of mostly jewel tones, but by pairing them with gold and white, gave these garments a royal feel. The models hair styles finally change, pulled up in tight ponytails or buns. On top of this were beautiful silver and gold jewel encrusted headdresses. This gave the section a Empyreal, Egyptian, Indian royalty concept.

The trims on these garments were fluffy and white. Gold accents outlined each colors, making it stand out. There were also origami shapes in a few of the dresses and tops. Even though it sounds and even appears as though there is a lot, if not too much, going on, there is a sense of simplicity to teach outfit. Every model that came out, you would wonder where she was from and where was she going in this extravagant outfit.

Velvet came back this season after a moments rest last fall. Cape-like shrugs and asymmetrical feather dresses in bright hues suggested an evolution from the previous fall. Cuts on sleeves were experimented with.

The final piece completely finished not only the third section, but the entire collection. The bright ruby cape-like coat, gold jewelry, and white dress was the perfect final note for Alexander McQueen to hit.

Bathing Suit Blues

I'm so cold right now.

It is the end of March (almost)and there seems to be no sign of warm weather in sight. Granted, we have not seen snow for a while (thankfully) but come on! At least make it warm enough so I don't have to carry or wear such heavy coats. I want to be able to wear a light jacket or cardigan with open toe shoes (I love boots and all, but I'm ready for change!).

However, I am not ready for bathing suit season. Now, I'm not particularly fat or anything, just sorta on the curvy side. But I just hate trying to find a flattering bathing suit. Honestly, my chest is just too big!

My lower body is thin enough to demand a bikini, but my chest screams "tankini"! I'm sorry, but I am a girl who has yet to shy away from bikinis because I am stubborn and also just refuse to give up hope! I tend to buy those thicker strapped halter bikini tops, but at the end of the day my boobs are still spilling out, I have thick tan lines, and my neck is killing me from having to support those heavy girls!

Every time I look at photos of previous summers, all I see is mondo cleavage. I am sure it's just because I'm self conscious and I'm sure that most people (well...most WOMEN) probably don't give me a second look, but is it too much to ask for me to want to feel good in my bathing suit?

I know I probably sound shallow and I also know that my body could definitely be worss, but I just wanted to address this issue that I'm sure at least 90% of women (I just made up that percentage) have.

No one looks forward to swim suit season unless you're a supermodel or just don't care (but if you say you don't, you're lying!).

Hopefully, with a visit to the gym a few times of week and maybe even venturing to a few kickboxing classes, I may have more success with this painful (emotionally and sometimes physically) task.

Oh summer..we have such a love/hate relationship.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Does Where You Go to School Effect How You Dress?

Currently, I am on spring break, today being my last day in North Carolina. I am staying at my boyfriend, Dave's apartment on campus at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW). Even though I am still at a school, I have had a considerably nice break from my local scene at Wagner College.

Not only is the campus more than seven times larger than my campus, there are four times as many places to eat and...well....they have outdoor swimming pools. Plus they are all soooo skinny!!! (Dave says it's on the account that they have the pressure to look good for the beach...more so than in NYC).

Although they may be skinnier...(those jerks) one can still hold a flame to NYC style. Ok, ok...I know it is a college campus and that I am one of few who wear high heels to class (unlike at UNCW where only the freshman get dressed up)...but still! Girls at my school tend to have a more street chic look going on compared to the UNCW girls who have the beach/surfer girl look down. Also, they seem to have the more commercial/what's big in the stores at the mall thing going on...(then again, they don't have Sak's 5th Ave or Soho!!)

But I'm not saying that this style is bad! It actually makes perfect sense! I mean, why would someone be walking down 42nd Street wearing a strapless dress with a bikini underneath and flip flops. Talk about a fish out of water!!

Now I'm also not saying that there aren't girls who are wearing looks that are seen in Elle or Lucky, but they are just more scarce.

Even the men have their distinctive looks. Again, the men are riding around UNCW's campus on skateboards and bikes, wearing cargo shorts, Hollister T-shirts,sandals, and puka necklaces, whereas a lot of the men at my school, being the second leading theater school in the country, wear tight skinny jeans, tight T-shirts, Converse, and the occasional murse (man purse). It's either that or at the other end of the spectrum of the super jocks (Wagner logo athletic gear). Really, there is no middle ground.

This makes me think about where I grew up, Connecticut, and if I were to have gone to school there, would I have dressed more "New Englandy"? Think of Harvard, Yale, UMass, and UConn...the latter of the two being more of the stereotypical colleges with their sweatpants to class look...but they also have that Lacoste, Ralph Lauren Polo, North Face (sorry Matt!) look going on.

But honestly, I don't think think that it would have completely changed my style if I went to school in Connecticut...but I don't think it would be as enhanced if I didn't have the inspiration of the many styles that consist in New York City fashion.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Haute Retirement - Valentino Takes His Final Bow

(I know this is a little late---I had to write a news report for my online fashion writing I chose this topic!)

It is official: the fashion industry may never be the same. On Tuesday, September 4, 2007, Valentino Garavani, known best as Valentino, announced his retirement.

“At this time, I have decided that it is the perfect moment to say adieu to the world of fashion,” he declared.

It’s true, the man who spent 45 years on top of the fashion industry decided to retire after celebrating his 45th anniversary in Italy, July 2007.

Valentino showed his last ready-to-wear collection during Paris fashion week in October 2007. Also, his final show, thankfully haute couture, was this past January.

This show was held at the Rodin Museum, in Philadelphia, PA. The attendants consisted of friends, family members, clients, and even some models, who all took up some of the front row. Designers who came out and showed their support for the legend’s finale were Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, Miuccia Prada, and Emanuel Ungaro.

The show consisted of flowing shapes and sorbet colors, along with light day suites. The main focus of the show, however, was the immense details, inspired by nature, that were put into these pieces. From individual strips of satin on suits, to folded hemlines and flower embroideries, these embellishments were the most impressive aspects of the collection.

At the end of the show, the models all came out in identical red dresses, filling the room with a vision of the designer’s favorite color. What an atmosphere to conclude his final show.

Valentino explained his timing for retirement: “As the English say, I would like to leave the party when it is still full.” He couldn’t have left on a better note.
And for those who are curious about Valentino’s plans for the future, he said that his it would be “filled with new interests and challenges”. Hopefully, we will still see him around enough to keep us satisfied, for our hunger for Valentino’s work is going to have to slowly subside, and yet his classic work will never be forgotten. Long live Valentino!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring Break: Two Climates....What to Wear...

Yes, yes...It is that wonderful time of year again known as Spring Break.

Starting tomorrow I am free from any thoughts of school, homework, papers, and the dreaded waking up at 8 am to go to classes for an entire week!!

My dilemma however is this: Half of my break I am visiting my boyfriend, Dave, in southern North Carolina, where they are experiencing spring/summer weather already (lucky them). The other half of my vacation consists of me going back home to Connecticut, where they are still mostly experiencing winter, just like here in NYC. And it all comes down to this: what and how do I pack?!

I mean it's not as easy as it sounds. You have to think about EVERYTING. What if it snows while I'm in Connecticut? What if it is 80 degrees one day in NC? What if, god forbid, I go to the beach (with my not so ready beach body)?!
I started packing last night...(I do everything early). And it really was a lot of hard work. I probably spent about an accumulative hour and a half trying to figure out how to do this. I started off with a simple pair of shorts and a cute top. Then I packed flip flops because of course those are easy. But then it got trickier: how many pairs of jeans? Working at Levi's has given me ample selection in jeans, so that was not the problem. It was which ones, how many, and again, not being as easy as it seems, what tops and shoes to pack with it. Plus, there is the stress of checking you baggage and the limitation of 50 lbs per bag you check! I mean, don't they understand that I have a battle of the climates?!?! You can't wear the same shoes you wear to the beach (such as my new orange wedges) while going out with friends in Connecticut! (I'd freeze my toes off).
I feel the key is to pack a lot of basics that can go either way--like T-shirts and jeans.

So far, as far as clothes go, I have: a pair of white shorts, a short denim skirt, a pair of light gray carpi's (knee length), a sundress, a fancy dress (my boy is taking me out <3),>
Now for shoes (and I do have to say I'm proud of my selections, for I didn't go overboard): silver flip flops, black open toe pumps, brown t-strap heals, orange wedges, black flats, black knee high heel leather boots, brown knee high heel boots, gray mid-calf flat boots, and I'll be wearing tomorrow on my flight a pair of silver peep-toe pumps.

It sounds like a lot, but it all fit in two medium size suitcases (each weighing less than 25lbs I can bring back souvenirs ;-) )

I might throw in a few more things tonight...but I think I'm pretty much good. Oh, what about my tan wedges!!! Ugh...we'll see..

All in all...I give myself a little pat on the back...:-)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Walking down a gorgeous avenue...and my Nine Wests are killing me..

Yesterday, I went into the city in order to go to the MET. I had to write a paper on a painting there. I was underwhelmed to say the least (Hey...I love the city...but Sundays are suppose to be a day of rest). I had been to the MET before and had enjoyed it so I guess there could have been worss things to do.

My friend George and I took the 4 train from Bowling Green to 86th and Lexington. Hardly visting the upper east side, I was still a little confused on which way to go to get to the museum. Using our instincts,we just walked....

And if there is any place to wander, it is on the upper east side. First off, it has a completely different look than downtown Manhattan. It felt so open, and I just couldn't help but to gawk at the beautiful buildings (and trees! Oh my God real trees!). I kept saying to George "I wanna live here! I wanna live here!"

Yeah...I better get a VERY well paying job in my near future if I ever want a chance at living anywhere remotely near Park Ave.

Oh, and does everyone on Park Avenue own a dog? I swear every 10 seconds another person walked by with their medium to little size dog. I definitely did not object, for I am a huge dog lover, but I felt as though it were part of the requirements to living on this block.

Of course, when you get to the upper east side, you are bound to see some gorgeous fashions.

Besides the buildings and the dogs, that was what caught my attention the most. It was as if we crossed some sort of fashion border, leaving the crazy/expressionist/wannabes of downtown (no offense! I love it all!) and entering the land of the lavish fashion forward gurus.

Basically, everyone I walked by I was thinking "Oooh I like those boots. I want them!" or "Wow I would have never thought to wear that skirt with that blazer! That's so cool!"

I know people who live in these areas tend to have a lot of money (duh) which is a main contribution to their fabulous fashion. But come on, there has to be more than money to inspire this amazing phenomenon. Just look at celebrities who are on the worst dressed list all of the time! Money doesn't necessarily mean you dress well!!!

And then it hit me as we approached the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gathered on the numerous amounts of steps were swarms of people. (Sorry...just a little blurb, but when I saw all those people, it immediately made me think of Gossip Girl when they're all sitting on the steps, determining who was the "Queen Bee"). I digress.

Anyway, I looked around this crowd and realized, that most of the people were very well dressed, if not chic! That's when it all made sense. Art. The upper east side is a very artistic and inspiring place (not taking away from other areas of Manhattan...they are inspiring too!). But the buildings are so astonishing because of their beautiful structure and architecture, and dogs (come on you have to face it) are a rising form of accessory or self expression (I mean there hundreds of breads of dogs, so why'd you choose that one?). Even the literal inspiration of art at the MET. It's all about art and self expression, and admiring beautiful things. This, to me, explained why there was such a large population of wonderfully dressed people. It's beyond money. It's taste!

And me? I felt like I looked good( not to toot my own horn or anything). But all that walking in my Nine West pumps, gave me blisters. But that's just how I express myself!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

I Dressed The Queen

I ran around the city to find the perfect pair of jeans. After sweating and stress, I delivered 6 pairs to the mother ship of all fashion magazines.


That's right. Today, at my internship at Levi's PR, I received a call from Vogue telling me that they needed some dark wash straight leg jeans for Ms. Anna Wintour, herself. Not for a photo shoot or a fashion spread or a fashion story. For her own personal ownership.

The fitting was at 1pm. I received the call around 10:30am. Seems like plenty of time right?? WRONG! Me and my boss ran into the denim closet and pulled everything we had that fit the description and that was in her size. We didn't have a lot to choose from so I ran to the Levi store on 14th Street. They didn't even have much of a selection. But I got what I could.

When I got back to my internship, we prepped all of the pieces, made them presentable, and my boss sent me on my way to the heavenly source of goodness that is Vogue.

Now, I would be lying if I said I wasn't a teenie bit nervous...but that completely disappeared when I got into Conde Nast. Seeing all these woman in the most beautiful clothes I've ever seen made me feel like a true ugly duckling (and when I left my room this morning I thought I looked pretty hot!!). I got my visitors pass and made my way towards the elevator. I guess I was still a little nervous because I went to the wrong elevator section. Once I got in the correct elevator I hit the floor number and was on my way to the top (I know, how symbolic!).

Two other people were in the elevator with me and got off before it got to my floor. When the doors opened, I really felt like I was standing at the pearly gates. The reception area was beautiful. So simplistically chic, it was intimidating. The overwhelming feeling of bliss made me think, "this must have been what Dorthy felt like when she first got to Oz".

As I was waiting for the assistant to come out and take the jeans from me, I was watching all these woman walk by who worked there, and tried to imagine myself someday being one of them. It was hard to visualize, but the thought excited me more than anything and made me crave it even more.

The assistant came out and took the jeans, without a thank you mind you, and I was on my way back to reality. I couldn't resist...when I got out of the Conde Nast building I took a photo of the Conde Nast sign, as a little souvenir...well....that and my guest pass.

So now my dreams of working at Vogue are even higher. I long to someday walk through that reception area with my Jimmy Choos (which I don't have now) and walk by some intern who has brought some clothes for the editor or something (you never know, I could even be the editor someday...hey...dare to dream right?). But I'll tell you one thing, when that is me...I will still remember to say thank you to those interns, for I know that those two little words will mean the whole world to them (especially if they just ran all over the city for a pair of jeans for me).

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I Need A Little Spring in My Step

This weekend, while shopping in Soho, I bought a really cute pair of green pointed toe faux snakeskin pumps and a pair of orange and cork wedges . This really got me longing for the warmer weather...

But nope. Here I am in New York City, with the high of 5o degrees, still wearing my wool trench and cashmere scarf.

How can you not be excited for spring, though? The spring trends, especially the accessories, are bold and bright (a nice relief from all the black I tend to wear in the winter...though black is always good).

I love what I have been seeing all the fashion magazines, especially the colorful snakeskin purses and shoes.

As I am sitting here, freezing in my chair at my internship, I can't help but day dream about when the weather will get warmer. Break out the white sunglasses (maybe even get a new pair) and start wearing my floral dresses!! Nothing is more feminine than spring time!

Spring time is also the time to be more daring. Try out those colors or patterns that you were too afraid to try before. It won't hurt anyone. You never know how these looks will work unless you try them on! (Though I always suggest second opinions, just in case!)

So go on, be daring! I know that I am ready to try out orange. I use to always hate orange, but there are different shades that perhaps may be more flattering on me than I thought. If not, no love lost!

Also, yellow can give me some difficulties because I'm blonde. Unfortunately I can't go for the banana yellow, but perhaps mustard or a chamomile may suite me better. We'll see!

Spring is all about blossoming (literally and figuratively) and new beginings, so try out new things. Go bolder,brighter, and...if you dare...louder! Go out shopping for your brights and your florals to prepare yourself for spring because even though it doesn't feel like it right now...spring will be here sooner than you think!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Excited for the Finale!!

Tonight is the night!!

Season four of Project Runway has its season finale tonight!!

Personally, I am rooting for Rami because I thought he was completely talented from the moment I saw him. This is the first time since the series began that the person I picked from the get-go is in the finale!!

Now, I know people are annoyed with Rami because all he does is drape, drape, drape, drape, drape, DRAPE! But hey, those 3 pieces he showed against Chris were phenomenal! (Although, I liked the idea of Chris' use of human hair. I feel that it makes a statement against animal fur, in a twisted way. Not that I would EVER wear it, though.) Rami's pieces were so contemporary and I could see them already being a huge success for the fall. The colors, the structures, the cuts...EVERYTHING was perfect!!

As much as I want Rami to win, I feel that all three contenders are extremely talented, and for once would not be completely disappointed if my choice didn't win. Tune in to see tonight at 10 on Bravo!!!