August 20, 2012

The Heart of Beauty

Fashion Magazine celebrated their 35th anniversary by having a one-page feature called One Fine Photo on the last page of each issue.  This feature looked back at a some of the best photos in Fashion Magazine's 35 year history, and one photo in particular made my breath catch in my throat. 
This stunning photo of Jessica Stam (my second favourite model) taken by Gabor Jurina was part of a cover photoshoot for Fashion's February 2005 issue.  From amongst all the fashion photography I have been exposed to, there are only a handful of fashion images that I love from the bottom of my heart (four images, to be precise - all of which contain the colour blue...there really is no hiding what my favourite colour is).  I look at those images and I can find no fault in them.  They make me sigh at their beauty time and time again, and it is exactly what this photo of Stam does to me.  There is a clarity about the bright lighting that lends an air of innocence and warmth to the photo, and the purity of the surroundings and of Stam herself is alarmingly beautiful.  Her skin flawless, her hair and lips fiery red and almost think nothing can be more perfect until you see her penetrating blue eyes, which sharply draw you in and refuse to let you go.  There's not much fashion in this photo besides the blush-toned lace corset, toeing the line between seduction and innocence, but in this case, the fashion is hardly important.  Stam gives off a powerful aura that just cannot be ignored.  While some liken this photo to Marilyn Monroe's last photoshoot, I liken Stam's intensity to another supermodel of times past, Linda Evangelista.
Although they don't share the same features, they share the same ability to hook you in with one look of their enticing eyes.  It's not long until you find yourself drifting through a world of sublime.  If you ask me, that's what a great fashion image has to do.  Beauty is beauty, but it's only skin deep if it doesn't pull at your heart with indescribable emotion.

August 15, 2012

Christian Dior Fall 2012 Couture

It's been over a month since Raf Simons' debut at Christian Dior - a couture debut, no less.  The reason for my delayed review is that I wanted to write this in a calm, rational state of mind, unlike the state of mind I was in when I first saw this collection.  When I get worked up, my comments can be biased or scathing, and I don't want to look back on my past blog posts and see something I wish I could have refined.  However, that's not to say this will be sugar-coated.  My opinion on the collection is exactly the same as it was last month, but I will try to present my reasoning in a logical, albeit blunt, fashion.

First of all, with Simons' beautiful good-bye at Jil Sander, I had expected a similarly successful "hello" at Dior.  That was not to be, as Simons created a collection more RTW than anything resembling couture, and a collection so reminiscent of Jil Sander that the spirit of Dior was completely muffled.  On top of that, it was a monotonous collection, lacking the exuberance of past Dior collections.  I understand that we mustn't confuse Dior with John Galliano, but even Dior himself never allowed the simplest of garments to be boring.  Just as Bill Gaytten was beginning to improve, another internal change brings Dior back into turmoil.  In an attempt to strip back superfluous detailing to reveal Dior at its purest form, Simons ended up striping Dior of its life.
You'll notice the straight-faced models, a rarity among Dior shows.  At Dior, models always have fun with theatricality, but this show proved to be disappointingly somber.  The entire wall of blue flowers behind the models is a nice touch by Simons, but I would rather the flowers be on the clothes than on the wall.  Simons did try to get creative with brocade tops, yet failed to dig deeper by pairing them with cropped black pants and classic black pumps.  Many looks were too monotone for the cutting to really make a statement (a shame, as it was obvious that's where Simons wanted to focus to be, and he did well molding the classic Dior cuts).
And then, to my utter surprise, ball gowns in a print much like one of Christopher Kane's famous space prints came out.  Space print on a Dior ball gown.  I was rendered speechless that such a thing could happen on a Dior runway.  From the video I was watching, Tim Blanks' eyebrows flew to the sky when he saw the gown, yet he goes on to write a hailing review (as do all the other critics) under what I assume to be pressure to avoid putting down a well-respected designer - might I add, all the user comments on and Youtube are far from hailing.
The funniest thing is that this space print makes an appearance twice, and is never seen again, seeming to have no relevance to the show other than to serve as a random, maniac interruption.  As we move on, the looks continue to be disjointed, with the only thread pulling them together being consistent silhouettes.  There was less monotony and one striking neon pink gown with a massive slit down the front - making it almost a "half-gown" - which would have roused me if the previous 42 looks didn't dull my mind as they did.
All in all, Simons needs to insert his own design personality into the foundations of Dior without going at it as if it were just another day at Jil Sander.  It's harder than it sounds, no doubt, as Christophe Lemaire's transition period at Hermès demonstrates, but not impossible.  Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, and Jean-Paul Gaultier all demonstrate that multifaceted designing is entirely possible.  And infusing your own personality into an old brand is entirely possible too, with Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli having evolved the Valentino aesthetic.  Minimalism can be appreciated at Dior, but not in this form.  I hope for nothing more than to see Simons discover a part of Dior that will intuitively speak to his own design ideals, and to which he will merge and create with in perfect unison.

Watch the entire show here.

Image Source:

August 13, 2012

I'm Walking on Sunshine

I've recently been awarded the Sunshine Award 2012 by aki!  Thank you!

As it usually is with these blogger awards, I have to (selfishly) talk about myself and pass it on for others to do the same.  I'll keep it brief since I don't want to bore you all, and as for passing it on, you can only pass it on so many times before it starts to get repetitive, so I'll just leave it open.

Favourite Colour: Light blue
Favourite Animal: Call me cold hearted, but I'm not crazy for animals.
Favourite Number: 7
Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink: Flavoured water
Facebook or Twitter: Facebook
My passion: Fashion
Getting or giving presents: Ok, I'm a scrooge.  Getting, especially if it's fashion related.
Favourite flower: Calla Lily
Favourite celebrity role model: I don't care much for celebrities (except for one) since I only ever admire them for their work and talent.  But if I had to choose, I would say Anna Wintour for not only her talent, but her determination and perseverance.

Thanks again to aki!  I am truly grateful!

August 3, 2012

Backwards Thinking

A novel idea has just come out of Elie Saab's Fall 2012 Couture collection.  Allow me to give you some perspective first: Everything seems normal as Karlie Kloss commences the show in a long, black, and of course, embellished number.  The deep rectangular neckline and looser silhouette is something to raise an eyebrow over, but the look is still hardly different from what Saab produces, well, all the time.  Yet wait a couple seconds more, and you will realize Saab may have found an inkling of creativity this time, because just as Kloss passes you, you see a glimmer in the centre of her lower back.

The backwards belt.  An idea actually so simple and unique I'm surprised I haven't been seeing this more on street style mavens.  The knotted belt, which I spoke about here, has caught like fire, but the backwards belt has yet to fully ignite.  Why is that?  Maybe we still can't shake the conventional idea that belt buckles go in the front, and, cue the common sense, it takes patience and pliable fingers to tie a belt from behind.

That's not to say it can't be done.  Those more cautious may want to start off with bow belts or obi belts, which won't at all look out of place worn backwards.

Those willing to take this on can try buckle belts - opt for thinner and sleeker belts.  Once your belt gets too wide or the buckle gets too large and flashy, that's when you move ever so ungracefully into the zone of looking careless.  Start off with cinching your dresses, skirts or tops, and eventually, you might even be able to pull off wearing a backwards belt on your pants.

But ultimately, when it comes to wearing your belt backwards, you're the best judge.  If you feel ridiculous in front of the mirror, then turn that belt buckle back to where it belongs.  If you take the plunge and walk outside with a backwards belt, then you better own it and have no apologies.  After all, first impressions are not just about first impressions, but what you leave for everyone to remember you by.

Image Source: Style Bistro, Glamour, Tee and Fame, Denim Therapy

August 1, 2012

And the gold goes to...

...Tahari and Winners, for having moments of fabulous style synchronization.  Twice now, I have bought a pair of Tahari shoes from Winners, and twice, there has been snakeskin print involved.  The second time came yesterday when I spotted a pair of gold snakeskin print Tahari Clemintines:
My first thought when I saw these was that it reminded me so much of a pair of razzle dazzle gold glitter loafers my friend had bought not too long ago.  Funnily enough, my dad had encouraged me to look for a pair of loafers this summer (and as I've said before, I trust my dad's fashion opinions implicitly).  At first I was turned off by the seemingly very rectangular toe box, which I thought would be aging, but I decided to try it on a whim.
Turns out the toe box is hardly aging at all, but in fact extremely sleek and chic.  My mom took one look and called it "classic", which definitely sealed the deal for me.  The Tahari Clemintines are made of faux leather, making me a little apprehensive, but considering the insides seem to be made of suede and how difficult it is for me to find shoes I'm willing to buy, I may let this one slide.  Especially once the price is taken into account - $60, with $10 off for a minor scratch - I would be willing to accept synthetic material (although it may be worth mentioning that my first pair of Tahari flats has a leather inside, upper, and sole, and still only cost $60).
What I like about this pair of loafers is how it has staying power, despite it being covered in gold snakeskin print.  It's not a glaring gold; it's a muted sheen that gives the shoe a humble burst of life.  Only up close do you see the threadlike diagonals of the snakeskin print - and if you know me, you know I love the little details.

Another pair of shoes to add to my estimate of the 20 pairs of shoes I already own.  Being a shoe lover and a university student is hard on the bank account, but at least I can take solace in that feeling you get whenever you walk out of Winners with a great buy - the feeling of a champion and a true winner.

Image Source: Polyvore, Piperlime