April 30, 2013

What's a Facebook?

I've been blogging close to 3 years now, and I've been very happy doing it. Yet from a business-savvy blogger's perspective, I would look to be in an utter rut. I've never been one for overt self-promotion.  Sure, I will share my posts with my friends, but the whole "Follow me!" or "Follow for a follow!" has never been my thing.

So it was with some slight hesitation that I created a Facebook page for my blog.

Not only do I shy away from self-promotion, I don't feel worthy of having a Facebook page yet.  If you can count the number of readers you have on your fingers, then there's probably not going to be much interest in your page anyway.  I'm also not a fan of social media, with Facebook being the only platform I can stand, simply because of its ubiquity.  It's great for keeping in touch with friends, but the things you see people posting...when did rationality go out the door?

But anyway, if I was so apprehensive about starting a page, then why did I do it?  Admittedly, the idea suddenly came to me the night before an exam when I was trying to catch some sleep, and as you might know, the weirdest things come to mind when you're laying in bed wide awake. It seemed like a good way to gain exposure beyond the walls of my friends and fellow bloggers, but in the end, it's to satisfy my personal goals more than anything else. I find that I always have these little nagging thoughts about fashion that are not significant enough for an entire blog post, and too well-developed for something like a (pointless) 140 character rant on Twitter.  Facebook will allow me to professionally share these random thoughts, as well as provide me with a nice platform to look back at some of my older posts.

I might sound unenthusiastic about all of this, but after seeing my page come together...it's another step that my blog is taking and I really couldn't be happier.

April 28, 2013

Valentin Yudashkin Fall/Winter 2013 RTW

I know I tend to talk a lot about big name collections on this blog and I make no effort to hide my love for high fashion. However, at the heart of it all, it's talent that I love, and although you may not know it, I really do enjoy scrolling through the collections of lesser known designers and seeing what other amazing talent exists outside the big box names. One of my latest discoveries is Russian designer Valentin Yudashkin, who presented his Fall/Winter 2013 RTW collection during Paris Fashion Week and Moscow Fashion Week. I was elated to find a video of his full show on Youtube, allowing me to write a proper review of the collection. Although Yudashkin is a well known designer in Russia and definitely far past the stage of "up-and-coming", I hope to have enough time over the summer to bring you more posts on relatively unseen talent.

What drew me to the collection was its very icy, but thoroughly sophisticated, demeanor (which makes sense, considering we are dealing with snowy Russia). The collection dealt with the fragility and beauty of snowflakes and their almost otherworldly ability to transform a landscape, one flake at a time. It started off strangely reminiscent of Blumarine Fall/Winter 2012 RTW, a collection I gave one of my most scathing reviews to. The white fuzzy boots and the metallic sheens could have veered on the tacky, but Yudashkin did what Anna Molinari didn't: he kept it classy.

His cuts were clean, with sharp angles around the collars and hems to reflect the slick edges of a snowflake. To keep his shorter dresses from being just another thing at a high school prom, he gave them exquisite flake-like detailing, and updated them with masculine blazers and coats. You could almost envision yourself sipping hot chocolate by the window on a snowy Winter's day, and marveling at how ice crystals manage to wind their way up glass panes.

One thing I loved was how some of the coat collars folded so softly it was as if the models were coated in a sheet of snow. As the show progressed, I also noticed the use of muffs - an accessory I used to have as a child, and one I think could make a great comeback. There were some looks missing from the Paris show that appeared in the Moscow collection, and so I recommend you watch the video to check out Yudashkin's use of prints and 60s silhouettes.

Moving into evening, we once again get sharp cuts, with the most unique being cutouts around the hip that reminded me of the curved hips at Atelier Versace's stunning Spring 2012 collection, but upside down. Not all were hits though; the extreme sheen of some gowns revealed awkward rumpling around the hips, and the skirts of others were just too stiff.  But the last two looks made up for any mishaps, and you can see for yourself why they had some audience members clapping proudly.

In giving us such a clean palette, Yudashkin created a seamlessly connected collection from start to finish. It was a pleasure to break outside the Big Four cities (even though he did present in Paris) and see what other talent is boiling away behind major media lenses. After seeing this collection, I am reminded of Sochi 2014, and think that this sort of atmosphere would make a smashing Opening Ceremony.

Watch the entire show here.

Image Source: Style.com

April 25, 2013

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I was reading fellow blogger Edoardo's post about Alexander McQueen's hole heels way back when, and there's one thing I wish to quote from him:

"I love their innovation against the general boredom of the model: I mean, heelless heels?  Now they are everywhere...the absence of a heel is not even something interesting."  

When I read that, I was mentally nodding and agreeing with him.  But then I immediately caught myself, and thought, "Did I really just agree that heelless heels are nothing special?"

It dawned on me how critical we've become of fashion and how designers have to continually sweat it out each season to bring us something that will get our stamp of approval.  It's becoming harder and harder for designers to innovate, and there's no doubt they struggle to stay ahead of the ever forward moving interests of society.  Is not every design worthy of some praise, however simple?  Everything is about immediacy nowadays, and as fashion lovers, we hunger for the next new thing.  But the moment an innovation has been licked clean, we drop it like a bone and move on, scouring for our next target.

The inventions and innovations of the past were tremendous, and to try and equal that would require a truly groundbreaking feat.  Naturally, as time goes by, it will become more difficult to innovate.  I was reading a coffee table book titled Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century (a book I highly recommend for its spine-tingling, absolutely beautiful recounting of historical fashion), and I realized what it would take to equal the sheer magnitude of past innovations.  Whether it be Coco Chanel's androgyny, Rei Kawakubo's body-modifying designs, Elsa Schiaparelli's Surrealism or Christian Dior's New Look, there has been little in modern time that has shook the entire fashion world as these past innovations have. Yes, we've had our outstanding technological innovations, and I am hardly saying those are insignificant, but have we really had an innovation that has changed the way we dress?  We've shocked, but we haven't shook.

We've been exposed to absolutely everything in fashion, from meat dresses, to robotic skirts, to transparent crocodile skin.  We continue to set the bar for innovation higher and higher, to the point where there's really nothing we won't expect.  Ironic then, that we still search for innovation with such vigor.

With immediacy and accessibility showing no sign of relapse, I can assure you this hunger for innovation will not end any time soon.  While the world continues to look endlessly forward, I think I'll take some time to look back and marvel at a history I didn't live through, but which contains an abundance of great innovations, both small and revolutionary.

Image Source: Photo 1, 2, 3, 4

April 17, 2013

I see London, I see Stacy...

...I see also Clinton Kelly!  How could I have forgotten about this dynamic duo?
I remember that when I first started getting into fashion, What Not to Wear (WNTW) was my main source of knowledge; it was my first tool in learning the basic terminology of fashion. It was thanks to WNTW that I learned what a pencil versus an A-line skirt is, what an empire waist is, and most importantly, what Mom Jeans are. It was my weekly dose of knowledge, and although I felt strange saying that my favourite TV show was WNTW when all of my other classmates listed off drama series, I cannot stress enough how important WNTW was in helping a nerdy, completely-not-stylish girl like me actually sound knowledgeable in fashion. I couldn't walk the walk, but hey, at least I could talk the talk.
Stacy and Clinton taught me all the foundational rules about style, and it was from there that I later jumped off to dive into the actual world of fashion, where ALL the rules get broken. I moved on to reading fashion magazines, watching runway shows on Youtube, Google searching different types of fabric, reading up on the decades of fashion, familiarizing myself with Style.com, and finally, picking up my first copy of Vogue.  Through my whirlwind years of learning (and I'm still learning!), WNTW eventually dropped off my radar.
But after spontaneously deciding to write an essay on WNTW, I rediscovered my love for the show. I may be able to see through their not-so-subtle tactics of dramatization now, but the ethos of the show remains close to me. I had forgotten that Stacy was my very first style icon, and now I realize that she will always be my style icon. And Clinton, the "good cop" side of the duo, is just infinitely precious. Sadly, TLC recently announced that WNTW will stop production after its 10th season. 10 years of helping women discover confidence through their personal style…over. You can bet many people are having a cry over this, and I’m with them. The nostalgia is coming back in waves, and I will dearly miss the personality these two brought to our television screens. WNTW was there to support me during the years of my budding passion, and you can bet I’ll be there to support them during their graceful exit.

Image Source: Photo 1, 2, 3