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Saturday, May 31, 2014

To be fashionable or to be Superficial, thats is the question.

"To be or not to be, that is the question." (Hamlet,Shakespeare)

Obviously influenced by Hamlet's infamous speech,  contemplating life verses death,  lets discuss the question, to be fashionably alive or superficially dead?

The line between fashion and superficiality is quite small and is almost always misinterpreted.
 I have dealt with this skepticism most of my life having grown up in a family of doctors, professors, and "intellectuals". My interest in fashion has always been snubbed, or brushed off as a youthful enjoyment for shopping. A shallow desire of materialism, and concentration of purely exterior qualities.
 I always took great offense to the comparison, because "superficial", I am not.

                                       TO BE SUPERFICIAL 

 When is fashion superficial?

Fashion is superficial if your motivation is purely directed by exterior qualities and if you feel you can somehow "buy" an identity.

Here are some questions to ask yourself. 

Do you dress to be better than others? 
Is your goal to be the prettiest, trendiest, coolest, etc.?
Do you feel people with the highest brands are some how better?
Do you believe your clothes make you a better person?
Do you shop mindlessly with no regard to what you think or feel?
Do you have a purpose, or idea of what you want to say with your look, or are you simply following the fashion band wagon?
Do you consider your style unique and a good representation of who you are?

If your goal to be attractive, outweighs your desire to be yourself then this is a life centered on your outer being, rather than your inner you. 

                                   TO BE FASHIONABLE

To be Fashionable means total acceptance of who you really are, and finding beauty in it. It is the process of bringing your inner qualities to your outer being. This is quite different from someone who places value only on appearance while neglecting the contents of who they are.

The value of fashion has nothing to do with having the most expensive clothing brands, or latest trends. Your fashion identity is purely you, and should be customized for you. In other words, everyone can be fashionable, if they understand who they are. 
Learning to use fashion as a form of expression will help you celebrate the glory that makes you irreplaceable. Finding it is a challenge, but there is nothing superficial in the pursuit of your identity. 

 Fashion  is a art form of expression. It is something that comes from within, and a process of constant creativity. It is a journey of finding yourself, and listening to your inner voice telling you who you are, and what you feel and like. The point is not to be cookie cutter and look like everyone else, or to strive to be anyone but the person dying to come out. The point is to find "YOU". 
The glory is in the process.  Create who you are, question it, pursue it and come to your own solutions. This is what character is made of.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

5 Ways to Finding Your Fashion Voice

"Fashion is a playground up until a certain age, but then you have to find your own signature and your own style." Nicolas Ghesquiere

When I was much younger, I followed magazine trends, and played around with every kind of style. I was adventurous and even had an entire year in New York wearing only black and white. However, I always felt a bit blind when I shopped in stores. It was a time in my life that I was easily manipulated by what others would tell me I should wear or buy and somehow I felt a bit lost. My voice only knew whether I liked an outfit or If I didn't. That was pretty much the extent of my non-existent fashion voice. This doesn't mean I wasn't "fashionable". In fact, I was always on trend, and by society terms, quite the fashionista. The big secret is, being fashionable is not so difficult. You can fake it quite easily by copying trends from magazines, runways, or other fashionable people. Simply "wearing" great fashion, is not the same as "being" great fashion.  When you and fashion become one, this is when you have unveiled your true fashion voice. 

5 Ways to Achieving Your Fashion Voice

"What you do for a living should not restrict your fashion voice."

1.) Get rid of Stereo-typing yourself.

 People have this misconception that finding your "signature style" is somehow restricting. They often place limiting categories on themselves  or label themselves as a mom, businesswoman, prep, goth, girly girl, jock, or whatever else and then force themselves in a "look" that society has deemed appropriate. The truth is, finding your signature style should be liberating not suffocating. Just as life has a trillion variations in color pigments, your style, can have a multitude of variation as well. 

2.) Dress in whatever excites you. 

The key is to watch out for what excites you from within. Do not follow trends or popularity. How you dress should  have nothing to do with how others accept you. Dress by what excites you.  It doesn't have to be strictly fashion, anything in life that gets your blood flowing take a mental note of it. This is the first step. You will slowly start to notice patterns and recognize certain categorizes or features that speak to you. For me, I love art, and the attention to details. I love vintage clothing simply because the craftsmanship is exquisite and there is always some kind of tiny embellishment, embroidery, or beaded design. 
I also love nature, and the colors represented by the seasons. When I walk through autumn leaves, the colors and textures speak to me, and dressing within that color palette is something that makes me feel alive and connected to Nature itself.

                                    STEPFORD WIVES
3.) Distinguish what you dislike.

Observe fashion styles, and trends, you detest. For me, I dislike the "Stepford Wives" look."Stepford Wives" is basically a robotic barbie look with creepy emotionless, botox injected smiles. The entire look is extremely fake, and very popular in the region I live. I constantly edit my look to prevent myself from going in that direction. 
Perfection is overrated, and in my opinion the ugliest one of all. 

4.) Shop Alone 

Believe it or not, shopping with friends is probably the most challenging way to find your fashion voice. When you shop with a buddy, their opinions and taste affect your opinions whether you know it or not. You are constantly talking with them and  processing your own thoughts take a back seat. 
When I shop alone, it is a date with my thoughts, and discovering myself. You can't imagine countless times I have gone shopping with friends who have forbid me to buy certain items. Sometimes fighting for what you wear, is just as important as fighting to be yourself.

5.) Observe People You Admire and Figure out Why

Observe people that you admire or fascinate you. 
This does not mean to "copy" their style, but simply use it as a tool to uncover your taste and be inspired. Ask yourself what you like about their fashion choices, figure out what is drawing you in. Take what you like from various people and start customizing your individual style.

Throughout the years, unveiling my fashion voice, was also a long process of discovering myself. With all the technological noise we surround ourselves in, our voice can easily get lost. 

Fashion is a way of life, make it as you see it. 


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Many Faces of CARA DELEVIGNE

Cara Delevigne is Britain's fashion "IT GIRL". Whatever the "IT factor" maybe she seems to have it. Currently ranked number 5 on "50 Top Model List" and voted in "Sunday Times Magazine", as one of the most influential British People of the 21st Century. 
Her Recent campaigns in 2014, include such brands as YSL, Burberry, DKNY, Mulberry, and La Perla.

                                       FACE of CHANEL

Delevigne, with her iconic smirk, walks down CHANEL runways with a childlike mischief that catches your eye. There is something regal about her porcelain skin, and doll like lips. However, her power is all in the eyes. Bringing you in with each glance, we wonder, who is she, and what is her story?

                                         THE SOCIALITE

Born in London, Delevigne is the daughter of Pandora and wealthy property developer Charles Hamar Delevingne. As a Socialite she attended Bedales School in Hampshire and her godfather is Nicholas Coleridge, presidents of Conde Naste. 

                                  REAL LIFE BAD GIRL?
(Develigne's Response when asked what it was like to be a  famous supermodel.)

 "I don't know — I have no idea. I haven't really had time to take anything in. I think when I stop and think about it, it just confuses me more and more. I can't really process it all that quickly."

"People say very weird comments to me about what I've done, and I'm like, 'Really?' That doesn't sound right. In my mind it's very different to what people see." 

-Cara Delevigne

Delevigne who was born in 1992, is still in many ways, growing up. Her mother who suffered from drug abuse, might have also passed the habit to Cara. Recent rumors have  reported her wild behavior, and partying ways, and she is yet to respond to being caught with suspicious cocaine like powders. 
It is synonymous among Models to be looped into the formula of drugs, rock in roll, and eating disorders, but nothing is more morbid than watching a beautiful young girl deteriorate over drug use. 

                                          THE ACTRESS

"Modelling is a great job, and I appreciate everything it has brought me, but it's not my passion," she said. "As far back as I can remember I've wanted to act ... Acting is the opposite [of modeling]. You can't be aware of the camera at all."
-Cara Delevigne

As an actress, Develigne had a small role as Princess Sorokina in 2012 film adaptation of Anna Karenina. In 2013, Delevingne appeared in the Grand Theft Auto V video game as the DJ for the Non-Stop-Pop FM radio station. She also starred opposite Kate Beckinsale and Daniel Bruhl in the thriller The Face of an Angel, expected to be released theatrically in 2014. In April 2014, it was reported that Delevingne will play the role of Henrietta in Tulip Fever directed by Justin Chadwick. She will also play a small part in the 2015 in the film Pan, directed by Joe Wright.

Monday, May 26, 2014

JAPAN: Top 5 Must Know Fashion Designers

                                          ISSEY MIYAKE

"Even when I work with computers, with high technology, I always try to put in the touch of the hand." -Issey Miyake

Miyake’s fearless approach to design is a liberation of ideas, unconstrained by any pre-existing rules or framework. He works in a manner that not only advances his own ideas but also cultivates skills in the people around him, constantly pushing both the tradition and the evolution of design.
 Born on April 22, 1938 in Hiroshima, Japan, he witnessed and survived the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The darkness of experiencing war as a child, is evident in his work and the lasting impact on his choice of colors and themes. He often plays with shapes, and origami like creations. 
Miyake, later graduated from Tama Art University in Tokyo. He then started to work in Paris and New York. Returning to Tokyo in 1970, he founded the Miyake Design Studio. 

                                       YOHJI YAMAMOTO

"I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion." 
"With my eyes turned to the past, I walk backwards into the future."
-Yohji Yamamoto

Yohji Yamamoto has had a long career of smashing fashion boundaries by pursuing anti-fashion through fashion. From his first Tokyo collection in 1977, “avant-garde’s Far Eastern couturier", his creation are always testing the boundaries of stereotypes of what beauty is. His style, is asymmetrical, unpredictable, and a celebration of "ugly" beauty.

Yamamoto first descended on the Paris scene in 1981 with what the Tokyo press had dubbed the “crow look”. His designs included voluminous black garments cut along severe, almost monastic lines. Enveloped in elegant asymmetry, Yamamoto’s crop-haired, makeup-less models somberly filed out in simple flats. 

Born in Tokyo, Yamamoto graduated from Keio University with a degree in law in 1966. His further studies were in fashion design at Bunka Fashion College led to a degree in 1969.

                                          KENZO TAKADA

 “My work was always about freedom and harmony. I’d like to be remembered as a designer who crossed boundaries." -Kenzo Takada

 Kenzo Takada, from provincial city of Himeji, Japan, decided to embark upon a grand adventure. Never having left Japan before, he bought a one-way, second-class passage to Europe. The six-week sojourn, took him to Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, Egypt, and finally France. 

The dazzling kaleidoscope of sights and sensations he encountered would change the course of his life. The array of native customs and costume would have a lasting impact on his psyche and inspired his desire to "create".

5 years later, he opened a boutique in Paris selling his own designs. The shop was located on Galerie Vivienne, far from the rarefied bastions of the haute couture, and its clothes capturing the joyful spirit of a multicultural world. 

He borrowed ethnic gestures from all over the world, African boubous, Vietnamese ao dai tunics, Nehru jackets, and  Austrian dirndls. He would combine these ideas and created head-turning creations.

                                           HANAE MORI

“I feel sad to think that human hands are atrophying as so many things are made by computer. I make clothes for people who will cherish them.” -Hanae Mori

Hanae Mori is the only Japanese woman to have presented her collections on the runways of Paris and New York. She is also the first Asian woman to be admitted as an official haute couture design house by the federation francaise de la couture in France. She is also the most honored female designer in Japan. Being one of the first women to have a career in fashion in Japan, she is widely regarded as an icon of liberated women.[

After graduating from Tokyo Womens Christian University, Hanae Mori married and attended dress-making school. She opened her first atelier in 1951 and over the next several years designed costumes for hundreds of movies. In 1965, she successfully presented her first New York collection, "East Meets West". Twelve years later, she opened an haute couture showroom in Paris. 
Her signature symbol is the butterfly. 

                                     JUNYA WATANABE

"I am not  interested in the mainstream." 
-Junya Watanabe

Junya Watanabe began his fashion career as pattern cutter at Comme des Garçons, straight out of Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College.

Watanabe's creations are not ever targeted to a specific woman, or inspired by a singular theme, but instead is driven by a feeling.

 “I always start from zero each season,” “to create an interesting form. . . . [It’s] more a question of feeling.” -Junya Watanabe

Watanabe’s real concern with each collection is to ask and answer a question. His fashion does not reek with nostalgia and yet maintains true to the past. Always growing with the times, his designs are technologically graphic, and innovative.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

John Paul Gaultier: Pain Couture Exhibition

The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain presented the exhibition Pain Couture by Jean Paul Gaultier back in October 2004. Some how it took me over a decade to discover this hidden gem, and now that I have found it, I am eager to breathe back life to Pain Couture.

The challenge placed on Gaultier was to produce haute couture with flour, water, salt and yeast. The symbolism of bread and fashion contain deep roots that can connect as far back as the French Revolution, where bread was the blood line of France, and fashion the culprit. 
Gaultier's creations had baguettes shooting out with ebullience, forming swirling skirts or flounces. Rolls and country round bread, were piled and curled into feminine fullness around basket corsets. The results include uncanny evocations of Dior's New Look, of evening sheaths by Schiaparelli and of sumptuous, crinolined ballgowns. The transformations from bread to couture was both whimsical and unexpected, creating a musical  phrase that ended in sublime poetry. 

"Bread is noble, bread is pure, bread is life itself — we can live without clothes but not without bread!" Jean Paul Gaultier 

Gaultier dressed model like servers  in traditional aprons, adorned by corsets made out of baskets worn over transparent white taffeta and muslin over lacy under pants.

The 'Kelly bag', was lovingly shaped and baked, to celebrate his role as designer for Hermès. 
Venetian blinds made from 4,000 fresh baguettes were also hung from the windows creating a delectable vision of art.

The exhibition also included a sculpted dress with two brioches to create Gaultier's famous pointed-bosom gown for Madonna. 

"I love the sensuality of bread, its roundness — there is something sexual and womanly about it," -John Paul Gaultier

13 master bakers were chosen among France's 33,000 registered bakers. They gathered for the weekend opening, wore chef's caps of red, white and blue ribbons hung with the gold medals that recognize their exceptional skills.

Video is in French:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

FRANCE: Top 5 Fashion Designers

                                      CHRISTIAN LACROIX
 "Personally I've always hovered between the purity of structures and the ecstasy of ornament," says the designer who brought Rococo back to couture."
                                                         -Christian Lacroix
1.) CHRISTIAN LACROIX is a fashion genius. Debuting his couture collection back in 1987, he has dazzled the world ever since.  His masterpieces are well known for his eye for detail, vibrancy, movement, and use of color. His creations have even extended onto famous concert stages as master costume designer for famous ballet and opera prodution.
Lacroix who once studied to be a museum curator at The Sorbonne and the Ecole du Louvre, had extensive knowledge in Art and it influenced his fashion designs greatly. You can often see influences from 18 th century artists Boucher, Fragonard or Nattier who painted bustles, bows, corsets and crinolines on the women in their paintings. You can also notice the influence of Toulouse-Lautrec's can-can dancers and gypsies who often wore ruffles, feathers and fringes. 
Lacroix has worked for fashion houses, Hermes, Guy Paulin, Patou, and as Creative Diretor of Pucci.

                                    JOHN PAUL GAULTIER

"Fashion is about what you look like, which translates to what you would be like."
-John Paul Gaultier

2.) JOHN PAUL GAULTIER, formerly referred to as 'enfant terrible' of French Fashion, has always been highly controversial. He trained under legendary fashion house Piere Cardin and Jean Patou. 
In 1976 he launched his own collection receiving mixed reviews. His iconoclastic designs featuring male skirts, corsetry worn as outerwear, and tattoo body stockings, were a shock to classic Parisian Fashion. 
He became world famous after creating a salmon pink corset with conical bra cups for Madonna's Blonde Ambition tour in 1990. 
A master of creating scandal and shock, do not be quick to judge the value in his talent. A genius of design, he even created a unique exhibition at the Fondation Cartier in Paris entitle Pain Couture.
The showcase was constructed entirely of bread.

                                           SONIA RYKIEL

"My shows are about the complete woman who swallows it all. It's a question of survival." 
Sonia Rykiel

3.) SONIA RYKIEL has been dubbed, 'Queen of Knits'. During her pregnancy, she realized it was impossible to find sweaters that were soft and flexible. This discovery lead to her own line of knitwear, and it was so successful that she opened her first boutique that very year.
Rykiel revolutionized knitwear by freeing the female body from  stiff silhouettes. Her knits had movement and were  flattering to the female form. She also increased the sex appeal of knits by freeing linings and hems.  Rykiel dresses and sweaters were like second skins and celebrated feminine form.
In 2001, the French government named her Commandeur de l'Ordre National du Merite. The grande dame of French fashion, shows no signs of slowing down, and continues to impress the world with her amazing designs.

                                       NICOLAS GHESQUIERE
"Fashion is a playground up until a certain age, but then you have to find your own signature and your own style." -Nicolas Ghesquiere

4.) NICOLAS GHESQUIERE is creative director of Balenciaga since 1997. When he was first appointed to Balenciaga he was relatively unknown. He had previously worked at agnes b. and Corinne Cobson while still at school in central France. He then became assistant designer to Jean Paul Gaultier and Mugler. This lead to his rather short placement, as head designer of Trussardi. It was from there that he was appointed head designer designer of Balenciaga and began his fearless pursuit of reviving the entire brand. He made green silk combat pants and Neoprene mini skirts iconic. Not to be fooled by his Hollywood good looks, he is a designer with a unique eye for shapes, textures and female form. He was most recently appointed Creative Director of Louis Vuitton.

                                     CHRISTOPHE LEMAIRE

"I always take time so I can distance myself from things that are too fashionable. As a designer I aim for an accessible balance between beauty and function to create a vision of contemporary 'easy wearing'".Christophe Lemaire

CHRISTOPHE LEMAIRE describes his own style  as "graphic, pure, relaxed and precise". He is always concerned about lines and avoiding trends. His genius is in finding balance between fashion and wearability. A master of creating clothing that is always classic and never outdated. 

Lemaire, began his career assisting Yves Saint Laurent, Thierry Mugler, and Jean Patou. Through Jean Patou he later met Christian Lacroix who later appointed him head designer of his own womens ready wear line. In 2001 he became creative director of Lacoste. He revitalized Lacosted by injecting his contemoporary, fresh style into tennis skirts, polo shirts, and college gumpers. Lemaire often mixes Western classics with unique eghnic pieces. in 2010 he was appointed creative director of womenswear for Hermes.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Spring TUTU Trend: Hot or Not?

Whether you like tutus or not they are everywhere. A huge trend for this Spring, it's nearly impossible to miss. Would you say the look is hot or not?

                                       TUTUS Gone CRAZY

The tutu trend is a delicate look that can easily go very wrong. Of course, if you are 5 this look is impossible to get wrong; however, if you are a young lady/woman trying to pull it off, it will take some editing.
Most importantly, do not wear a tutu too "literally".  It can easily look like an explosion of tulle wrapped around your waste. The effect is far too childish, and will appear more like a cheap DIY ballet costume. 

                                  TUTUS AND YOUR BODY

This photo is an example of how tutus  and body type make a huge difference. The look on the left is of a model for BCBG and the right is an attendee for the BCBG party wearing the same look. 
It is clear how the tutu emphasize the hips, stomach and legs. It can easily make you look heavier than you actually are and emphasize places you do not want attention drawn to.
 Ballet dancers are all extremely thin, and a tutu gives them the curves they otherwise would not have. If you have a curvy figure or an average size body, you must be incredibly careful with tutu lengths, fullness, and where it hits your waste. 

                                 HOW TO STYLE A TUTU

Who can forget Carrie Bradshaw's iconic tutu on, Sex in the City? However, lets take a moment to analyze why this look works. The skirt is "tutu inspired, and the fullness is minimal. It allows room to show off her shape and legs without being overwhelming. Pairing the skirt with a simple cotton tank keeps the look cool and effortless. 

                                           BLACK TUTU

If you are ever unsure about trying a tutu, start off with a black one. The color black will keep you looking slimmer and it is easier to style. 
 I personally love my black tutus by Catherine Malandrino and Lanvin. I usually wear it casual with a knit sweater or blazer and some sort of belt. 

                               MY FAVORITE TUTU LOOK 

Honestly, nothing is more fun to wear than a skirt, tutu "inspired". This outfit by Rebecca Taylor is completely my style. The colors are soft and romantic, and the look is whimsical and easy. The skirt is bouncy and playful, but it does not scream, "I am a ballerina". The reference is slight, and the outcome is magical.