24 February 2010

Burberry Breaks New Ground at LFW

Christopher Bailey put forth a stellar collection for Burberry Prorsum in London this past week. A collection that was so perfect, the only problem, as Sarah Mower wrote, was deciding which jacket to buy first. This is a new kind of problem to have during fashion week. For the first time ever, the outerwear was available to pre-order (for three days only) on Burberry's website as the collection was coming down the runway. Brilliant retail scheme or pioneering clothing disaster?

This is just one of the many changes that have happened in this industry in the past three to five years. Instead of being front row to see a collection, designers are now streaming the show on the web, opening up the collection to potentially millions of people. Instead of waiting to read reviews by Cathy Horyn or Robin Givhan in the newspaper, fashion-enthusiasts can now sign on to their favorite blog and read about the collection as it's happening, or as soon as it has ended. It seems that high fashion has truly become democratized. The industry is changing more now in this decade than it did in the previous fifty years.

Only time will tell if Christopher Bailey's retail genius will be the future of fashion shows, but for now I must say that the clothing at Burberry was utterly perfect. Every piece was supremely wearable and would work in any closet. There were textured skirts, coats in every conceivable structure and fabric, thigh-high boots that you could *gasp* actually wear, and amazing mustard dresses with cool rouching details. It was the most perfect and complete collection I've seen in a long time.

23 February 2010

"The September Issue" is finally out on DVD!

"The September Issue" DVD hits stores today, so get ready to watch, rewind, and review all of the parts you loved about the documentary. For me, that will include pausing on the scenes in Sally Singer's office so I can finally detect what books were stacked there, analyzing the credits (who exactly contributed to the movie from inside Vogue?), and re-watching the touching scene in which Grace Coddington explains what fashion means to her.

The DVD, like most DVDs, also includes special footage and "behind the scenes" bits that weren't shown in theaters. I've heard this entails footage from the Met Gala, so you won't want to miss it.

The DVD is retailing on amazon.com for $19.99, so it might be best to reserve a copy from your library before pouncing on a copy of your own. If "Valentino: The Last Emperor" is any indication of the DVD's future price, it will fall in the upcoming months. The Valentino doc is already down to the ten dollar range.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to watch the documentary again, because, yes, fashion is a religion, and Vogue is indeed the bible.

18 February 2010

Got Style? Harper's Bazaar Wants to Know!

Are you constantly sought out for style tips? Do your friends and family members admire your wickedly original sense of fashion? Are you the best dressed among your group of friends?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you could be in the running to win a $10,000 shopping spree at Saks Fifth Avenue courtesy of Harper's Bazaar. To enter the magazine's personal style contest (or to enter a trend-setting friend), upload three photos of yourself in your most fashion-forward, rule-bending, trend-setting looks at HarpersBazaar.com/personalstylecontest. You'll also need to include a 50-word essay describing your look and why you should win the contest (or why the friend you entered deserves to win). You have until March 30, 2010 to submit the photos and brief statement.

The competition will be tough, so be prepared to put your best, most fashionable foot forward! May the force of fashion be with you.

For complete details and rules, see the March issue of Harper's Bazaar (page 486) or the contest's website (above).

15 February 2010

Victoria Beckham Hits a Fashion Home Run

I'm almost never a fan of celebrity fashion lines. There are a few exceptions (like The Row), but overall, I'm rather disinterested in celebrities who choose to fix their names to clothing lines. Victoria Beckham, however, distinguished herself from the celebrity pack of fashion designers with her Fall 2010 collection at NYFW. The Dick Tracy-inspired collection was filled with wearable dresses exhibiting impeccable craftsmanship and tailoring. VB is no longer a fashion tyro when it comes to creating and designing. We've always known that she had great personal taste, but it seems that her own posh brand of style will appeal to "a whole new class of fans," so says Style.com.

I, like the many critics, loved this collection because the dresses, while beautifully designed, were almost a blank canvas for fashion-lovers to accessorize and personalize each look to the wearer's individual taste. I could see many of the dresses worn with tough heels, cinched belts, bold jewelry, opaque or patterned tights, or even neon accents. The creative world is truly your oyster in a dress designed by VB.

The dresses were also sexy enough (without being too overt) to be ladylike and feminine at the same time. I especially loved the architectural and graphic elements to the shoulders and necklines. While I usually shy away from black dresses, VB excels when it comes to creating elegant head-to-toe black looks, so the black dresses in this collection truly stole the show.

Perhaps the best part about this collection was that I could picture Victoria Beckham herself in every single look...and who wouldn't want to emulate her elegant style?

Check out the entire collection at www.style.com or http://nymag.com/fashion.

Maybe I spoke too soon about Jessica Biel...

In a recent post, I wrote about how Jessica Biel as a cover choice for the February issue of Vogue was a complete snooze-fest. Today I might find myself eating those words.

As my Monday morning ritual of checking out Alexandra Kotur's top ten best dressed on Vogue.com commenced, I noticed that Jessica Biel was on that list in a breathtakingly beautiful Oscar de la Renta dress. The beautiful red, white, and pink layered confection was worn to the premier of her movie, "Valentine's Day."

This dress is eye-catching, original, and interesting. Now why couldn't Vogue have had her on the cover wearing this dress? Maybe more heads would have turned and more issues would have been sold on the newsstand...

11 February 2010

Alexander McQueen 1969-2010

The fashion community has suffered a tremendous loss today. British designer Alexander McQueen was found dead in his London apartment this morning.

Alexander McQueen was one of the rare visionaries who truly transformed art, fashion, and culture. He was also one of my personal favorites, a designer whose work I had planned to study in London at his alma mater this year. In my blog profile, when I refer to the "illustrious Saint Martins grads of recent years," McQueen is no doubt at the top of that list.

From Givenchy to his own design house, McQueen continually pushed boundaries and revolutionized the way we perceive fashion, for his clothing was truly wearable art. Like fellow British designer John Galliano, McQueen's work was instantly recognizable and always carried a unique point-of-view. You could never accuse McQueen of borrowing inspiration or taking queues from other artists. His work was always entirely original. McQueen was also a perfectionist. My favorite Vogue writer, Plum Sykes, described her experience with her dear friend, Alexander McQueen, when he designed her wedding dress. Her friendship with McQueen stretched back to his earliest days as a designer, when he barely had a penny to his name. Sykes would pay McQueen in cash since he did not have a bank account. She also walked the catwalk in 1994 for one of his first collections. So, naturally, she called upon him to design a gown for her most important day, with McQueen insisting that the gown be absolutely immaculate.

While McQueen's death is a great loss for the British fashion community (and, of course, the industry as a whole), McQueen's contributions and legacy cannot be underestimated. He inspired a generation of designers, challenged the community to think outside the box (see his progressive Fall 2009 collection as evidence), and ultimately left an indelible mark on 20th and 21st century fashion. McQueen may have lived a short life of only 40 years, but history will remember him forever. I truly believe that his name will be said alongside fashion's greatest couturiers. Chanel. Dior. Poiret. Lanvin. Balenciaga. McQueen.

My thoughts go out to McQueen's family and friends at this time.

** One of my favorite blogs, "Seams to Me," has a wonderful devotional piece to Alexander McQueen as well. I encourage you to read her kind words celebrating McQueen's life! http://seamstome.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/alexander-mcqueen-commits-suicide/

09 February 2010

NYFW Update

New York Fashion Week is in full swing and the schedule has been posted online, so I've had a chance to check out who will be rocking the catwalk. I've divided the shows into three categories: shows I'm excited about, shows I'm curious/skeptical about, and shows that are destroying the fashion industry. Who was placed into which group? See below...

Shows I can't wait to see:

- Jason Wu (2009 was his year. 2010 should hold even better things for him)

- Doo. Ri

- Ohne Titel

- Alexander Wang

- Thakoon

- Erin Fetherston (Erin used to show in Paris, but now she's back in the U.S.)

- The Row (I love this line!!)

- Zero+ Maria Cornejo

Shows I'm curious about:

- Christian Siriano (possibly the only Project Runway alum who might actually have a future in fashion)

- Behnaz Sarafpour (Behnaz used to be one of my favorites, but she has kind of been overshadowed lately)

- Brian Reyes (Isn't LSD a huge fan?)

- Custo Barcelona (Cool ad campaigns, but sometimes strange shows)

- Elise Overland

- Marc Jacobs (Always a hit, but pics from his show will be popping up in every magazine from here to Timbuktu over the next three months)

Shows that are bringing down the industry:

- Kardashians for Bebe (Yikes, stripes! Could it get any worse??!)

- Rachel Zoe for QVC (Isn't it about time she disappeared? I've never been a Zoe fan, and I never will be a Zoe fan)

Who are you curious (and not so curious) to see?

06 February 2010

Hello, Vogue.com. Goodbye, Newsstand Vogue?

If the Internet is truly the future of journalism and print copies are on the way out, no one heard the message louder than Vogue in 2009. It's true that other publications fared just as poorly on the newsstand (according to The Cut, Marie Claire, Allure, and Lucky were also down), but Vogue is supposed to be the exception, a shining beacon of light for the fashion industry. That may have been true ten or even five years ago, but there is more competition than ever to grab readers' attention, and Vogue has had trouble holding that spotlight.

So, why have sales been down for Conde's flagship? I have a few ideas.

1) The cover choices have been staler than week-old bread lately, with the exception of the January cover with Rachel McAdams. Jessica Biel in dowdy denim (Jessica Biel in anything isn't too exciting...)? Cate Blanchett for the nine billionth time? If you're not a subscriber, the cover is the main thing that is supposed to catch your eye and reel in a sale. So how about fashionable newcomer Carrie Mulligan? Vogue.com loves her. Or, even better, how about Chanel Iman? If Vogue puts her lovely face on a cover, my faith in Anna will be restored.

2) Vogue.com has been overshadowing the hard copy of the magazine. It's fresher, the articles are more interesting, it's updated throughout the day, and more of Vogue's young writers (Christina Han, Veronica Gledhill, Sophie Pera) contribute features to the site, offering new perspectives. I've spent hours reading the features on Vogue.com. I can't even remember the last time I was that engrossed in a hard copy of Vogue.

3) Certain segments in Vogue are dull, dated, and depressing. For instance, the "Up Front" section. Who reads that anymore?? Each month that space is occupied by a woman confessing her adulterous ways or how her husband cheated on her. Well, someone must be reading this dribble because month after month readers complain about it in the "Letters to the Editor" section. Couldn't they write about something else, or just nix this column altogether?

4) There's still too much emphasis on the lives of Vogue writers and contributors. (Cathy Horyn called Vogue out months ago for this.) Marina Rust only writes about herself when she contributes articles (visiting an exclusive spa, the time she tried shoes with lower heels...) and good luck making it through fifty pages without coming across ten million photos of Lauren Santo Domingo. It's boring! No one cares! Could we see more fashion and reviews from Sarah Mower, please?

5) The entire masthead needs to be shaken up. I love Grace, Anna, Hamish, ALT, Virginia, and Eve possibly as much or more than anyone. I grew up reading their work and I still aspire to emulate them. However, some fresh talent to the masthead might spice the magazine up a bit. I noticed that they have a new design director in Raul Martinez. That's a start, but we still need to see some fresh faces, or have the younger writers contribute more pieces. Christina Han did an excellent job for the website chronicling her first marathon. I looked forward to her updates at the office everyday. She seems more than capable of contributing full-fledged articles to Vogue.

This is the year for change, so let's see it happen, Vogue!

02 February 2010

GQ's 25 Most Stylish Men

GQ has put forth an excellent list of the 25 most stylish men on the planet for the February issue. The entire list is worthy of Vanity Fair's infamous International Best Dressed list, but I've narrowed down my top picks. Here are my highlights from the list:

* Russell Brand- I know next to nothing about this Brit, but judging from the photos I've seen, the man has got some serious style. Leave it to a Brit to pull off jeans that tight and not look utterly ridiculous in the process.

* Tom Brady- As if Gisele would marry someone without style, grace, and sophistication. The fashion world has been smitten with Brady for years now. Look no further than the cover of "The World in Vogue" for evidence.

* Lapo Elkann- No "best dressed" list worth the paper it's printed on would dare put forth a list without him on it. Vogue once declared that he is (possibly) the best dressed man on the planet...and readers were upset with the inclusion of the word "possibly."

* David Beckham- Beckham continues to prove that style is something you either have intrinsically, or something you might never have. And he has it.

* LeBron James- Was it GQ or Vanity Fair that hosted a private party for James and the release of his new book? Either one is a harbinger of stylish things to come...

* Jude Law- Simple yet refined and understated looks again and again. He's also British and very, very handsome. I'm a fan.

* Johnny Depp- Captain Jack Sparrow has style that is seriously worth coveting. Effortless and always original. I love that.

Be sure to check out the entire list in this month's GQ. Seriously, ladies, you don't want to miss this! And, gentlemen, you might learn a thing or two from these stylish men.

Mr. Ford Goes to the Ocars

The nominations for the 2010 Academy Awards have been released, and one of our industry's own will be in the running! Tom Ford's film, "A Single Man," has been nominated for Best Picture along with a leading actor nod for Colin Firth. Ford didn't make the cut for Best Director, but this was only his first attempt (and a mighty good one at that!) at directing. I still haven't seen this fantastic film, which also stars Julianne Moore and Marcus from "About a Boy," Nicholas Hoult, but I'm hoping to catch it before the big awards show. I wonder if Mr. Ford will be asked that infamous question on Oscar night, "Who are you wearing?" Should be an easy answer!

If news that Tom Ford will be attending the Oscars isn't exciting enough, I'm also happy to report that "Coco Before Chanel" has been nominated for Costume Design. I'm quite sure that Karl Lagerfeld himself consulted for this film, so it might even be possible that Lagerfeld will also be in attendance, or at least on call. If I get to see Tom Ford and Karl Lagerfeld on television in the same night, I just might faint.

01 February 2010

Jean Paul Gaultier for Target

Jean Paul Gaultier is the next to join a long list of designers who have collaborated with Target's Go International line. Elle had a sneak peek of the collection in the February issue and I am more excited than ever for this collection. After disappointing looks from Rodarte and even Alexander McQueen, it looks like the collaboration might finally yield clothing that is both fiercely designed and highly wearable.

In an interview with Anne Slowey for Elle, Gaultier explained that his inspiration for the collection was... American pop culture. The French rarely look to America for style queues, but then again, Gaultier isn't exactly known for following the pack. No, this doesn't mean that he'll be putting forth conical bras a la Madonna. Instead, the photograph of the collection (snippets, anyway) in Elle revealed trench coats with pipe accents, elegant party dresses, leather jackets, Breton stripes, textured tights, and even a bustier thrown into the mix.

The collection looks pretty tame for someone who is known as one of France's wildest, most tempestuous designers. Fear not, style risk-takers. The collection, according to Slowey, will also include his most knocked-off piece: a "tattoo-print bikini and long-sleeve tattoo t-shirt." That sounds pretty bold to me!

Gaultier's daring, yet sophisticated collection will hit Target stores beginning March 7th.

Tavi Front Row at Dior

I just brought up The Cut to see what I missed from the day and the headline that immediately popped up was "Disgruntled magazine editors are tired of bloggers getting the good seats at shows." Who else could they be referring to but Tavi, photographed wearing rabbit ears while interviewing a model that I'm not familiar with? I can tell what the folks at The Cut think about this, as well as the posters/readers of the blog, but what do you loyal, fashion-followers think about this occurrence?

In some respects I'm kind of torn now. On one hand, it's pretty exciting to see an outsider (i.e. fashion writer who is not in the industry because of money/prestige/family connections/rich husband, etc.) writing about major shows and, more important, getting mega publicity and attention because of it. So, props to Tavi for penetrating the fashion industry's secret society.

On the other hand, I'm still a little confused. She's only been following fashion for two years! Is that akin to asking a child to pick the Oscars or to choose our next president? Or is there something truly revolutionary and inspiring happening here? Maybe fashion has become democratized?

Please send your comments my way! I'd love to hear what other fashion devotees think about this phenomenon of young fashion bloggers (including Jane Aldridge, but she kind of already had an "in" as the daughter of a model...) making some major waves.