July 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
On Day 2 of the Paris Couture shows last week, photographers snapped away at a silver, metallic Gareth Pugh dress worn by journalist/performance artist/fashion enthusiast Daphne Guinness. She paired it with a hunter green alligator purse and sculptural silver shoes that resembled a robot’s feet on tippy toes. The conservative silhouette contrasting with the sleek, high tech fabric recalled Driving Miss Daisy circa 3000.
Korea’s bad-ass yet wholly lovable girl group 2NE1 wore a slew of looks from the same S/S 11 Gareth Pugh collection for their latest video modestly titled “I’m the Best.” They were going for a minimalist, space-age, bad girl look.
Although these looks may lead their wearers to look like baked potatoes, cupcake tins, or Star Trek extras, I appreciate their directionality and their spirit of tough femininity.
June 24, 2011 § 1 Comment
I get the impression that critics don’t take Balmain seriously. And I get why. It seems that for them, fashion isn’t about concept so much as offering wealthy people cute clothes to wear clubbing.
But despite Balmain’s questionable sophistication and often astronomical prices, there’s no doubt that women love it. This summer, on the street and in the blogosphere I’ve seen quite a number of looks from their S/S 11 collection, which offered a selection of leather jackets, skirts, and shirts covered in safety pins. The overall aesthetic was hip and downtown, and it brought to mind club-happy teens smoking French cigarettes.
I’ve seen one jacket in particular on several street style blogs, as well as on CL in 2NE1’s video for “Lonely.” The detailing on the back is insanely intricate.
And whenever a hit designer item comes along, knockoffs are not too far behind. For whatever reason, Britney Spears wore a Balmain-inspired jacket for her video “I Wanna Go.” Notice the safety pins dangling around the collar of her jacket, as well as in rows on the right shoulder. It definitely encapsulates the Balmain look but the brightness of the white makes it look cheap.
I’ve also seen a number of large safety pins used as accessories on street style blogs, such as this one on FaceHunter.
The safety pin phenomenon has clear roots in punk subculture – I’m sure legions of punk scenesters once used safety pins to hold together rips they acquired at concerts or riots. But Balmain’s appropriation of the punk aesthetic goes against certain core values of punk subculture, most obviously anti-consumerism. This brings to mind the question of what the punk aesthetic means today. Do safety pins and studs still communicate rebellion and anarchy as they did in the 70s, for example? I don’t think so. At least in the fashion world, the only thing these details symbolize today is simply indulgence.
June 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
This week, Lady Gaga released the video for her single “The Edge of Glory.” It was a throwback to the 80s, with ominous red mist lingering in the background and Gaga sporting Versace from the Gianna era. To me, the most interesting aspect of the video wasn’t the clothes or the set; rather, it was Gaga’s two-toned bob á la Cruella de Vil.
The bob was a refreshing alternative to the Troll-esque look she’s been sporting for the past year or so. I’m hoping the teal wig she wore to the CFDA’s was the swan song of that “do.”
The de Vil bob was also seen in YouTube sensation Rye Rye’s “New Thing” video that was also released this week. The video was a collaboration with New York-based designer Prabal Gurung, who used it in lieu of a runway show to promote his inaugural resort wear line. Unlike Gaga, who paired her hairdo with an S&M-inspired aesthetic, Rye Rye went with a sunny, popsicle-y style that’s appropriate for summertime.