A Vision of Gareth Pugh at the National Gallery

January 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

On a recent visit to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., I was struck by a small collection of asymmetric pyramids that were sitting in a courtyard between the East and West Buildings. The sharp, triangular forms were designed in 1978 by I.M. Pei, the architect who would over a decade later dream up the iconic glass pyramids for the Louvre in Paris.

The pyramids had a number of interesting qualities – a mirror-like reflectivity, a playful composition, a propensity to create geometric shadows on the ground – but the most fascinating aspect of the angular forms was the way they conjured fashion motifs from recent runway collections. Goth-minimalist designer Gareth Pugh’s Spring/Summer 2007 collection, for example, featured a black, open-knit dress with giant, triangular sleeves. Two years later, Pugh played with the same silhouette, using white plastic to create pyramid-like shapes along the arms of a duo of minimalist looks.

Gareth Pugh S/S '07

Gareth Pugh S/S '09

Gareth Pugh S/S '09

Lady Gaga has also found sartorial inspiration in Pei’s pyramids, as evidenced by the sequined geometric ensemble she wore for her Monster Ball Tour in 2009. The angular style echoed in the mirrored panels behind her.

After spanning the architecture, fashion, and music industries over time, where else is this motif going to turn up?


Dolce & Gabbana, Joan Rivers, and a Touch of Sparkle

January 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

Sequin blazers at Dolce and Gabbana F/W '11

I kind of died over the sequin Dolce and Gabbana blazer Brad Goreski wore on the premiere of his new show, “It’s a Brad, Brad World.” He wore it to an award ceremony hosted by US Weekly, where he accepted an award for his signature personal style.

Brad Goreski in the blazer

Beyonce wore a magenta version of the same blazer for her performance of “Love on Top” at the MTV Video Music Awards last September. It offered some fun (but pretty modest) gender play and harkened back to the days of the Rat Pack.

Beyonce at the MTV VMAs

After doing some research on sequin blazers on the market just now, I learned that one of the best comes from none other than Joan Rivers, who apparently has her own line called “Touch of Sparkle.” The blazer comes in four colors – black, maroon, navy, and steel – and in sizes from XXS to 3X. This means that no matter who you are, Joan Rivers has a sequin blazer that’ll fit your taste AND your body!

Also, she’s her own model. Kind of amazing.

Buy your own Touch of Sparkle blazer from the QVC website here, and feel free to submit pictures of yourself wearing it, posing as Joan in the picture above.

Now Trending: Geometric Jewelry

December 31, 2011 § 2 Comments

The ubiquitous minimalism aesthetic has given way to a range of geometric jewelry this season. Retailers offer the trend in diamond, triangular, or chevron shapes done in a range of precious or semiprecious metals. Some of my favorite iterations of this trend include 3-dimensional rings as seen in street style coverage from New York Magazine, as well as Eddie Borgo‘s sleek interpretations of flowers and insects.

via New York Magazine

Chris Habana, via Oak

via Facehunter

Orchid pins, Eddie Borgo

via New York Magazine

Design Inspiration from the Steven F. Udvar Center

December 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

While on vacation in Washington, D.C., I found unexpected design inspiration at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, a companion facility to the  National Air and Space Museum. The Center houses a collection of aircrafts that were pivotal in American history, such as the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Enola Gay, and the first aircraft to achieve sustained flight with a pilot, the Wright Flyer.

The plane engines on display brought upon some intricate designs that I couldn’t help but reimagine as couture hats or costumes for a remake of Blade Runner.

The exhibition space itself was also beautiful. It’s housed in a giant hangar boasting a vaulted white ceiling and fancy light-effects.

There was also a small collection of cool leather headwear on display, as well as leather accessories and a fierce pair of fur mittens.

And my favorite detail of the museum: astronaut converse!

Street Style: Garosugil, Seoul, South Korea

December 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

“H” to “T” Rick Owens.

The Historical Roots of American and European Fashion

December 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

The difference between American and European fashion is undeniable. Zac Posen acknowledged this a few seasons ago when he moved his runway shows from New York to Paris where he claimed people “better understand his clothes.” In a way Posen’s move made sense – Paris is the Mecca for over-the-top glamour while New York is best known for more egalitarian sportswear.

It recently came to my attention that the difference between American fashion and European fashion has roots in the history of each respective place. The first American settlers lacked time to amass or design rich clothes or accessories, whereas their European contemporaries (the aristocracy, at least) built upon a rich history of sartorial identity that involved jewelry, tailoring, and craftsmanship.

Gilbert Stuart's George Washington (1796)

The aesthetic (and indirectly political) differences between the U.S. and Europe can be seen in historical paintings of the late 18th century. One of the most recognized and canonical American paintings of this time was Gilbert Stuart’s George Washington (1796) which showed a modest image of our founding father in a simple white shirt with black blazer. The incompletion of the work and the thin brushstrokes echo the overall pared-down mood of the time.

Francois Bouchert's Madam Bergeret (1766)

Compare this work to a French work of the same time period – Francois Boucher’s Madame Bergeret (1766). The subject is decked out in a silken ball gown adorned with freshly cut flowers. It’s set in an elegant salon and her arms are healthily plump.

The sartorial differences between the subjects of American and European paintings vary a bit, and these two examples illustrate general, overarching aesthetic and political mentalities pervasive at the time. In some ways, we can still see this dichotomous mentality when we compare Diane Von Furstenburg’s wrap dresses to Lanvin’s silk ensembles, or Ralph Lauren’s rugged workwear to Dior’s couture gowns.

Last season, Zac Posen moved his runway shows back to New York – Paris was a bust, apparently. Perhaps this just means that the French didn’t really understand Posen’s clothes. He is, after all, American.

My Latest Obsession: The Billy Kirk Duffel

November 15, 2011 § 1 Comment

After a long, arduous hunt, I’ve finally found the perfect duffel bag at In God We Trust in soho. It’s by Billy Kirk, a duo of Amish brothers who craft each bag by hand. I love the leather handles and buckles, as well as the leather base. Also, the whole aesthetic goes perfectly with the heritage trend that has dominated menswear over the past few years.

Although I went with the traditional crafts-oriented bag myself, Billy Kirk offers a range of other styles that compliment a variety of other looks. I’m personally in love with the quirky camo bag they made in collaboration with Opening Ceremony, for example – it’s pop heritage! And the black tote they sell at Oak is great for rocker and/or hipster types.

Billy Kirk x OC camo bag

Billy Kirk tote from Oak