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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fashion Shows: Life Backstage

Lights, Camera, Fashion! 
Every season designers parade their collection down exquisite runways, in front of Editors, buyers, celebrities, and socialites. These "fashion shows" last anywhere from 10-25 minutes, but take months of preparation from literally, an "Army" of people. What exactly happens backstage in the shadows of the blaring runway lights?


Backstage life is basically a rare form of organized chaos. There are literally tons of people scrambling around with a specific job, and everything works in a strange chaotic harmony.  Make-up stations are neatly set up in rows, and blaring lights. 

There are always crowds of people. From models, hair stylist, nail artists, reporters, camera men, assistants, interns, journalists,etc. 

Perhaps the life blood of runway organization, is centered around the polaroid  boards. These boards can always be spotted backstage at any fashion show and include head shots of all the models and what they will wear. Usually, they will also be placed in the order they will appear on the runway, to help with order placement. 

Like flies on honey, you can see herds of people swarming around models. Whether it be hair, make-up, last minute touchups, pinning, sewing, finding a shoe, or the right bag, it takes an army to dress one model. 

Steamers. If you have never seen a steamer, you will definitely know what one is by simply going backstage. Almost always you can spot an intern steaming up a storm near a rack of clothes.

Each model has a designated portion on a rack. Their outfits are neatly put together, with a board attached to it. On this board there is their name, directions of their outfit, how it should be styled, and when it will go out. 

Make-up is something planned and discussed months in advance. You can almost always spot these face sketches taped to the mirrors of make-up artist. They are basically the guidelines of the colors, shadows, and rouges, discussed for the look of their model. 

Lastly, there is almost always chaos at the lining up of models in the correct order. Some one with a head piece yelling for some model is just a day in the life backstage.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

5 Ways to Pick a Fashion Image that Is Yours

In the Fashion Industry, it is rather easy to get swept up in a abyss of clothes. Every season is marked by new trends, and new "fashion images". They are then plastered all over magazines, and used to hypnotize viewers to buy themselves a new image.
Yes, being "trendy" and copying runway looks, is an easy way to look good and champion yourself as "stylish". However, can you really call yourself fashionable if all you really do is follow the fashion flow of others? 
How can you find your own fashion path and step out of the lane? 

Here are my 5 easy ways to keeping your style Right for You.

1.) Who are You?
Not to get too philosophical, but if you want to be fashionable you have to know who you are and what you are about. Are you a student, doctor, actress, waitress, etc.? Your occupation serves as your "practical" factor. For example, if your life requires you to be on your feet, running around, then tight mini skirts, and 3 inch heels are probably not for you. Fashion always need to be "functional". It should work with you not "you working for it". 
Separate from your occupational side, you also need to know your inner you. This is the you that represents what you like. Do you like art, sports, music, books, etc.? Start getting inspired by what you love. 

2.) Don't be afraid to be Different

The worst thing for fashion, is the need in humans to be accepted. Nothing kills creativity faster than wanting to be exactly like everyone else. Trends feed off this human weakness, and seasonally more mindless fashion minions, buy into losing themselves. 
The more "popular" a style maybe, the less original you are. Try to always think for yourself. If you have a dress or shirt that many others also have, why not spice it up by cutting off the sleeve, changing up the buttons, or adding some other fabric? 

3.) The Fit

The shape, fabric, and style, best suited for you, should be decided by how it makes you feel over how you look.
 What makes you feel beautiful? 
For myself, nothing puts a smile on my face quicker than a flowy, A-line, skirt. As a shorter frame, this elongates my legs and is flattering whether in flats or heels. When you feel beautiful you will move, and hold yourself in a more attractive way. Remember in life, we are not a motionless photo. How you walk, stand, all contain wrythm, flow, and attitude. If you don't feel good chances are, you are not looking so great either. 

4.) COLOR!

Color is actually a fascinating phenomena that is often overlooked in life. Each color is scientifically proven to hold a different frequency and create different moods.For example, when we see pink we think "sweet". This is largely the reason we represent little girls to "pink, and bakers add pink food coloring to their sweets. 
To be honest, there is nothing more ridiculous than, following "color trends" that are marked every season. It is a decision obviously decided by textile companies and brands contrived to sell products motivated purely on making money. 
Color evokes emotion. Just because 'orange' is the color of the moment, it means nothing if the color is not right for you. Certain colors will give you comfort, and this is a sign your aura is fluctuating  on a similar frequency as that color.
 Motivate yourself, to follow your instincts. These instincts are what will bring you to the image you should be. 

5.) VINTAGE!! 

I can not stress enough my love for Vintage. For those of you who really hold no interest in it, at list give it a try. First of all, a Vintage Store, Thrift, or antique, is a whole mish-mash of STUFF. It is an excellent way to exercise what you like, without the mind manipulation that happens in "trendy shops" that strategically pose mannequins in fashion images that they want you to be. 
At first it may look like junk, but let your eyes settle into a new mindset. You cannot imagine the treasures you will find, and how much it improves your vision on your own personal style. Whether it be an interesting belt, or a 60's pouf dress, there is something for everyone. Keep an open mind, and the ideas will flow in. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Photo Entry for Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair and Elizabeth Arden will be creating a series of special slideshows highlighting the flawless looks from the Best-Dressed Challenge entries in celebration of the NEW Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide skincare collection.
As a member of Vanity Fair's Best Dressed Challenge Community, I was asked to send in a photo entry and this is the one I chose, titled "Now and Then". 

I'm sorry for the lack of entries this month, but there will be many articles coming very soon!


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Frida Kahlo Exposed Through Fashion

 Frida Kahlo is famously known for her paintings, and her ability to express pain through her works. Dubbed as a Surrealist, Kahlo refused to claim the label since her paintings were not of dreams, but of how she truly viewed the world. Not a particularly celebrated artist during her lifetime, she would be quite surprised to realize the impact she has made, not only in the world of  art, but as an icon of  fashion. 

"She has made stylistically a lasting impression on fashion and style in general because it had both: use of color and she was definitely an icon of the feminist movement," 

-Misha Nonoo (British designer)

                     FRIDA KHALO FASHION STYLE

 Kahlo's distinctive uni brow, traditional mexican full skirts, loose peasant blouses, and her hair vividly adorned by colored flowers, was iconically "Khalo-esque". Her jewelry artistically bold, and the stacking of necklaces and rings were undeniably ahead of her time. Such projection of self identity gives off the impression of a powerful woman, full of confidence, energy, and life. 

"She had a tremendous self-confidence. She was convinced that what she wore displayed who she was inside," -Alejandra Lopez, (Art restorer for Frida Kahlo Museum)

Her fashion style was powerful and full of color. A style that truly celebrated life. One would never expect such an individual would actually be living in such pain for most days of her life. Plagued  with health problems, Kahlo's clothing was in many ways a form of "armor". Like her paintings, fashion was in many ways used to deal with the pain in her life, both physical and emotional. 

As a child she suffered from polio, and at 18 she was horribly injured in a bus accident that would cause her physical agony for most of her life. For the earlier part of her life she wore masculine suits with her hair slicked back to cover her left leg that was thinner and weaker. 

Later in her life, she suffered from Gangrene and her right leg was amputated, and replaced by a wooden leg.  Her shoes still colorful and delicately embroidered with various designs, it is visibly evident that her fashion sense still celebrated life. 

Under her feminine loose blouses, lie stiff corsets that locked her body and fought the shrills of pain that ran along her back. 

"She described how she used her clothes to cover her body imperfections," -Circe Henestrosa

Kahlo, also faced much personal heartache, caused by her husband, Diego Riviera and his countless affairs, which even included her sister. Every break in their relationship could be spotted in her appearance, as she would chop off all her hair and refuse to wear any traditional mexican attire which her husband had adored. Gravitating to western attire, and darker colors, at these times, she would always return to her iconic style of "life and color" as her relationship with Diego would be restored. 

Perhaps, the truest test of any artist, is time itself. Despite nearly 60 years since her death, her artwork and fashion style continues to inspire and influence the world. 

In 2010, RicardoTisci's Couture Collection for Givenchy, was completely inspired by Frida Khalo.

2012 Dolce & Gabbana drew inspiration from Frida Khalo

Maya Hansen  paid tribute to Frida Khalo in Spring/Summer Collection, 2013.

Frida Khalo Style can also be spotted in top fashion magazines all over the world. 

Close friends with Pablo Picasso, she inspired him to make a pair of earrings shaped like hands especially for her.

Pages from Frida Khalo's Daily journal.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

ITALY: Top 5 Designers


                                      DOLCE & GABBANA

Dolce & Gabbana is made up of two designers, Dominico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.

The root of their aesthetic is largely inspired by eclectic, thrift shop Bohemia. Dolce & Gabbana's deeply colored, animal prints have been described as "haute hippy dom", taking inspiration from Italy's prestigious film history. 

"When we design it's like a movie," says Domenico Dolce. "We think of a story and we design the clothes to go with it (Domenico)." 

They claim to be more concerned about creating the best, most flattering clothes than sparking trends. D&G once even admitted that they wouldn't mind if their only contribution to fashion history was a black bra.

Once dubbed the "Gilbert and George of Italian fashion", D & G trademarks include underwear-as-outerwear (such as corsets and bra fastenings). Gangster boss pinstripe suits, and extravagantly printed coats.


"I know what women want. They want to be beautiful." 
-Valentino Garavani

Valentino Garavani's style inspiration comes mainly from Art. Whether it be borrowed implications from  nature, traditional folk themes,  or zoological inspiration, his collections are always with depth and an underlying base tone of emblematic beauty. His love for such colors as white, symbolize the mystery and purity of dreams and his signature vibrant Red symbolizes life.  The Valentino women is regal, feminine, seductive, and always with a hint of mystery. 


"What you wear is how you present yourself to the world- especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language."

"It's horrible when people are only interested in labels, because it doesn't bring them the  happiness they think it will."


Miuccia Prada is perhaps most famous for her black nylon utility backpack, which instantly became an anti-luxury accessory and a must-have bag. She has displayed a knowing sense of irony that has helped establish her as the thinking person’s go-to designer.
 Prada has also become a power player in the worlds of contemporary architecture and art. Through the Fondazione Prada, established in 1993, Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli have acquired an ever-expanding collection of more than 700 works by artists varying from Walter De Maria to Michael Heizer and have acted as early champions for next generation stars such as Francesco Vezzoli and Carsten Höller. Her love for the Arts can easily be spotted in her fashion aesthetic. As a lover of contemporary architecture and art, her style is always followed with clean lines, and a high level of taste. 


"Don't be into trends. Don't make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live."
 -Gianni Versace

Versace, Gianni worked for several Italian designers before opening his own Milan studio in partnership with his brother Santo and sister Donatella. He is known for his flashy, sexy, beautifully cut outfits in strikingly extreme colors, patterns, fabrics, and leathers. Versace merged the worlds of fashion and entertainment, creating lavish shows for pop-culture events.  He drew inspiration from contemporary street life, art, and films as well as art and design history. Emminently theatrical, he also designed for the stage, opera, and ballet.
 He was murdered on the steps of his Miami Beach, Fla., mansion by a fugitive serial killer, and his sister has succeeded him as his company's chief designer. 


"Remain true to yourself and your philosophy."

"I love things that age well-things that don't date, that stand the test of time and that become living examples of the absolute best."

-Giorgio Armani

The Armani lifestyle is all about looking relaxed—an effortless glamour tossed on with a shrug. But beneath that unruffled, easy breezy style, Armani is reportedly a workaholic and perfectionist. Every detail from craftsmanship to aesthetic is of highest quality and luxury. 
He grew up in the postwar Italian small town of Piacenza, and he has described his family as "very poor." He later worked his way up in fashion from an entry-level job as a window dresser for a Milanese department store. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fashion's Invisible Man: MARTIN MARGIELA

Who is Martin Margiela and why is he dubbed the Invisible Man of Fashion?

 In an industry that places enormous value on "Image" and "social popularity", Mr. Margiela has maintained an astonishingly strong stance on maintaining his own fashion philosophies.
He denies any face-to-face interviews and has rarely been photographed. He does not take the usual bows at the end of his shows, and remains in every way a "shadow" of his work.  He communicates via fax machine, and always signs off as "Maison Martin Margiela", House of Martin Margiela. His recluse approach to the business side of fashion, has landed him in hot water with several Editors and Industry Elite, leading to refusal in publications and merit that was undeniably deserved. 

Like the phantom of the fashion world, he has no interest other than creating pure fashion. Mr. Margiela’s philosophy is simple. The clothes should speak for themselves and there fore, the consumer should approach them purely by their own merit. Not by media hype, trends, or any public pressure placed by the brainwashing of the advertorial world, but from a organic and raw desire. For many years, Maison Margiela was not even listed in the phone directory, nor did his name appear anywhere  on his collections or outside his shops.

He is a man of substance in a world of appearance,” said Deanna Ferretti, who founded the esteemed Italian knitwear company Miss Deanna in the ’60s and worked with Mr. Margiela in developing sweaters. 

So who exactly is Martin Margiela?

It would be logical to assume such a private man would be anti-social or cold, but  quite the contrary he is quoted by Stella Ishii, as being very warm and sensitive. He is reported as being tall and classically handsome. He often wears a tight black sweater in the winter or a T-shirt in summer, with Levi’s and a dark cap pulled down low over his eyes. At the atelier, you can often find him describing his collections with passion and intellect, often even demonstrating his techniques. At his shows he is always backstage, styling, preparing, and perfecting. 

As a graduate of Belgium’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts and a former assistant to Jean Pul Gaultier Paris, Mr. Margiela was among a group of designers from Antwerp who caused a shift in fashion in the late ’80s by tearing apart and reassembling garments at the seams, introducing techniques that would have a lasting impact on everything from streetwear to haute couture. The acceptability of shredded jeans, for example, is largely influenced by Mr. Margiela. 

“Martin’s influence in fashion has been quite vast,” said Kaat Debo, the artistic director of the ModeMuseum, or MoMu, in Antwerp. “Often what you see in the mainstream today is something that Martin introduced 20 years ago, and in a shocking way. For example, the showing of unfinished clothes with frayed hems or seams on the outside, which he did years ago, are things today that are seen as quite normal.”

Mr. Margiela’s runway shows have been alternately electrifying or humorous or sexy or just plain weird, as when he introduced a hooflike shoe in 1992 that has since become a Margiela signature.  He has shown coats reconstructed with a sock at the elbow or sleeves protruding from the front and back; jackets with the sleeves turned inside out into capes; and, in 1994, an entire collection based on what Barbie’s wardrobe would look like if it were blown up to life size.

“It is a brilliant way of rethinking clothes with a very simple strategy,” said Harold Koda, the chief curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "There is a weird tension that he throws into the clothes that is poetic, but it can also be unnerving in that it pushes you a little further. It’s not just pretty or simple clothing. It’s something that challenges you, even subliminally.”

In fashion, designers who achieve fame and success will reach a point where they will be approached to sell their business to a bigger fashion conglomerate. When you want success, money, power, creativity and artistry is the first price to pay. New changes means a new owner, which always brings guidelines, restrictions, and the inevitable progress reports, and marketing ploys. Helmut Lang, Ms. Sander and Tom Ford are just a few of many designers who have sold out creatively in exchange for global success. In Mr. Margiela’s case, he has had a hard time coping with these artistic restrictions, and the  natural flow of how our current fashion world works.