January 26, 2014

Viktor & Rolf Spring 2014 Couture

I used to take ballet lessons when I was younger.  I loved (and still love) dancing (at one point in my childhood, I wanted to be a ballet teacher), but I never quite had the discipline, flexibility or physical strength to be an outstanding ballerina.  I quit right before pointe; however, that didn't prevent me from appreciating the incredible amount of physical stamina ballerinas require.  Ballerinas are powerhouses - they need to be constantly aware of every muscle, every joint, every movement, while making it appear as if they gracefully aren't aware at all.

This elegant form of power is evident in Viktor & Rolf's Spring 2014 Couture presentation. The tense leg muscles of the passing ballerinas (who shuffled across the entire runway on their toes) was contrasted against the fluid, latex leotards that practically blended into the skin. There was a serene beauty in the bare purity of the clothing, but truthfully, the dresses paled against the dancers' presence.  When the ballerinas took long strides en pointe, it was the most graceful runway walk I have ever seen.  After all, is en pointe not the ultimate high heel?

A silencing, almost haunting, show that was only broken at the end by the gaudy promotion of the label's latest fragrance, Bonbon.  A cheeky maneuver, surely, but one that ruined what promised to be a good show.

Watch the entire show here.

Image Source: Style.com

January 21, 2014

The Language of Arm Candy

When I was younger, I used to hate carrying a handbag.  I reveled in my freedom of movement and lightness of step.  Besides, my mom always had her handbag, and all I ever needed could be found in that magical, bottomless vortex.  But as I got older and started going out by myself, a handbag became essential. Since then, I've realized there is a certain art to carrying a handbag; how you carry it says something about your character.  A quick Google search confirmed there are actually names for each method, but I think the names I've come up with get straight to the point:

The Civilian

I call this The Civilian because this is probably how most people carry their bags - over the shoulder. It's a good way of keeping both hands free and it adds a bit of decoration around the torso area. However, shoulder aches and annoying strap slippage which require constant adjusting are common. For me, I'm only comfortable slinging my handbag over my right shoulder.  A bag on my left feels strangely awkward.

"Can these straps be velcroed to my shoulder or something?"

The Multitasker

This is another common position, especially with the popularity of cross-body handbags. Slung over one shoulder and across the torso, this is the most practical of all methods. Both hands are free to do whatever else (sifting through racks of clothes, for example), and there is no risk of a strap falling off your shoulder. This is my go-to, but it unfortunately only works for small to medium sized bags. Lipstick, phone and wallet...that's pretty much all you can handle.

"Handbag?  What handbag?"

The Dare Devil

In a variation of The Multitasker, The Dare Devil skips the cross-body step.  This insouciant method sees a cross-body bag hung precariously from one shoulder.  Bags are positioned behind the hip, a prime spot for bag thieves, as my mom likes to remind me.  When walking, bags get quite a beating against the hip, and any movement in the wrong direction can see your bag flying off your shoulder, but hey, it looks cool.

"Sorry, can you pick that up for me?  I have to stay vertical."

The Swinger

Girls with short legs (like me) tend to have problems with this one.  Handbags are simply grasped by the handle and left to rest around your knee area.  With this method, the axis of movement increases significantly, and accidentally hitting people with your bag when you walk a little too excitedly is not uncommon.  Skipping and swinging at the same time is not recommended.


The Contortionist

These girls are of utmost trendiness.  They're always one step ahead of you, and the way they hold their handbag says so too.  Handles for the hand?  Pfft.  Obviously handles are for your arm to thread through so you can clutch the bottom of your bag.  This may not be the most comfortable way of holding a bag, and it could come off as trying too hard, but you've got to admit, you want to be this girl.

"You can stop staring now."

The Celebrity

This is the most common method for the rich and the famous (and one I admittedly love doing, even though I'm neither rich nor famous).  Handles are pinched by the crook of the elbow, and the bag rests in front of your hip for full exposure.  The more you bend your elbow, the more high fashion you become.  Extra points for dark shades, 5-inch heels, and a death stare hot enough to blaze away a path worthy of your runway walk.  But if your fingertips start touching your shoulder, stop.  Only models can pull that off.

"Ugh, where is my limo?!"

The Protector

This method has its roots in Prada's Fall/Winter 2011 collection.  Clutched desperately against the chest, this is the best position for keeping things safe away from potential thieves.  It's also a stylish safety blanket that makes being uncomfortable in social situations look so much cooler.  If both hands are free, however, and the bag is pinched underneath the arm, you know you're dealing with The Fitness Buff, whose incredible upper arm strength (you think just anyone can hold their bag with no hands?) screams "I work out".

"How much longer before I can leave..."

The One-Hand Cramp

This is basically the only way a clutch can be held and is likely among the most impractical of methods.  With no straps of any sorts, one hand is forced to grasp despairingly onto the bag day and night.  Living life with one hand while the other suffers from a major cramp is tough.  Someone offers a handshake while you're holding a drink with your free hand? Forget it.  You've reached maximum capacity.

"Sorry, my hands are full."

The Declaration of Independence

Handbags are a symbol of femininity, and you won't fall for social constructs!  What a commoditized world we live in when we're told we need to buy something in order to hold all of our other things. Has no one ever thought that we simply lug around too many inessential things?  You've declared independence from your handbag. You're a free woman.

"Mom, can you give me my sunglasses?  They're in your bag."

Image Source: Style Caster, Styleoholic, Pinger, Kiirby, Telegraph.co.uk, Hypebeast, Pinterest, Favim, You Are The One, Stylelist

January 19, 2014

A Pairing of Equals

I don't often post "fashion don't"s on this blog because it's one thing to give discreet once-overs (I admit, I'm guilty of it!), but it's a completely different matter to give full, public once-overs.  However, I'm breaking my rule today so that I can get across a niggling point concerning designer handbags.

You know how I am with fakes and obvious imitations in fashion.  I despise them.  I don't understand how your conscience can be comfortable when you buy a counterfeit so obviously of inferior quality. Disgust runs through me when I see that plastic stuff they try to pass as leather, that unparalleled stitching that's already coming apart before I hit the cash register (realistically, I would never even consider hitting the register with that thing), and that dull fabric I know will warp after only a couple washes.  Sure, you may have shelled out significantly less money, but in the process, you've lost a valuable connection to the original designer's time and care.

On that note, for those that actually buy authentic pieces - especially handbags - congratulations!  I only feel bad when you've bought an authentic handbag, and it's monogrammed or logo-ed (blame the pitiful mentality that if you're going to buy designer, people must know).  These kind of bags are the target of choice for counterfeiters. Monogrammed fakes are so common that even if you're carrying a real one, people tend to assume you're carrying a fake.  When it comes down to it, avoiding this situation is all too simple: don't pull on a pair of sweats if you know you're going to carry an obviously designer bag!

Sweatpants and a several thousand dollar bag.  Why...why?!  I can't wrap my head around any logical explanation.  Some people think that mixing a designer handbag in with an ugly outfit will somehow make the outfit look better.  Trust me, it never works that way.  The outfit just ends up dragging the handbag down.

While it is possible to make the fox tails from Louis Vuitton look amazing even off the runway, pairing them up with an outfit like this is roadkill:

And, just for the record, a horrible outfit and a bad handbag to begin with won't work magic.  Two wrongs don't make a right, especially in this case:

So what to do?  It's simple: just spend a little more time on your outfit.  Your high quality bags need high quality clothes.  Don't let velour tracksuits get anywhere near your designer handbags, or you run the risk of looking like you bought your bag off the streets.  In this case, a nice outfit will elevate even the ugliest of handbags.

You're a good woman who's decided to give herself a splurge with a luxury bag.  Don't make it look as if you purchased that bag for the sake of owning something designer to flaunt. You're better than that.  Pick the right outfit, and do your purchase justice.

Image Source: Photo 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

January 9, 2014

I Hear You

A friend of mine revealed to me today that she read through my blog over the holiday break. I was surprised and deeply honoured (honestly, I can't fathom why you people read this nonsense of mine). However, what flattered me more was when she said my writing was "elegant with a bit of sass...enjoyable".  In my Hey there, pretty lady. post, I explored how the best compliment a fashion lover can receive is on her outfit. Well, as you know, I'm both a fashion lover and a writer, and the biggest compliment the writer side of me can receive is knowing the words I string together are actually worth reading.  So, a huge thank you to my friend.

What really struck me about her comment was how she nailed exactly the tone I try to get across on my blog.  I won't lie - I do get sassy on here.  I'm opinionated, I go against the grain when I want to, and sometimes, I'm even outright judgmental.  I lay bare my thoughts on this blog; what you read is exactly what goes through my mind.  But as snarky as I get, I never criticize without solid reason.  I always back up my opinions with thorough explanations, and I always, always write as properly and as elegantly as I can.  A snide comment can be made worthy when carried out with class.

I've always believed writers can never truly identify their own writer's voice, and despite the eclectic madness I perceive my blog to be, it's nice to know other people do see a clear tone and style. This is not journalistic writing, this is not academic writing...it's my writing. And if there's one place I'm glad I've successfully showcased my writer's signature, it's here, where I divulge my frankest fashion thoughts.

Image Source: Photo1