Fall 2013 Couture: Jean Paul Gaultier

Two things came to mind the instant I saw the collection: First, my girlfriend, Kinsi, who could (and would) rock this collection. Second, the famous Elsa Schiaparelli leopard hat.

This line falls into two distinct categories for me. The first is wildly sensual and would be my go-to outfit for any event requiring seduction or power-through-feminine-darkness. The second half was, WTF?

Every outfit based in black I loved. I also think the animal print tights are incredible and I want every single pair.

jean-paul-gaultier-c13-black1 jean-paul-gaultier-c13-black2 I’m pretty sure this was my favorite outfit, though the one above is killer.

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Sadly, the start was my favorite by far. The show then moved into some fun, but less awe-inspiring pieces, lots of leather.

These man repeller pants are great. And this top is the only “puffy” piece from the group that I liked.

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It took me a while to pick up on the animal print that was painted onto the models’ hair. I’d never see something like that before and I thought it was clever nod to the animal stockings.

jean-paul-gaultier-c13-blueThen came the “What the fffff” moment for me.

jean-paul-gaultier-c13-wtfI am all about taking fashion a step beyond in a runway show, but this completely lost me. The headpiece was distracting from the outfit (which I hated, due to the headpiece, but once I got over the initial shock I realized that I do like) incongruent with the rest of the show and just weird. I don’t get where this was supposed to be going and I think it was a major flop.

I recommend going back up and re-looking at the first outfits but to give you some more fun, here are two outfits that are almost fairy-tale worthy in their detailing. It’s winter-queen and elven maid*, in my mind.

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Thank heavens for those tights. They keep me happy.

*Buddy the Elf not Arwen.

My Husband v. High Fashion

Fact one: I am married.

Fact two: I love man repeller clothing. (Definition here.)

Fact three: My husband is very patient with my fashion choices.

Fact four: My fashion choices are incredibly muted, in gratitude to his patience.

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When the person you love, and work to make happy, watches in horror as you try on something fashionably up-there and asks if you really intend to wear it in public, how often do you shrug your shoulders and say “Too bad” and when do you say “Alright, I won’t get it.”?

It’s a balance my husband and I have been trying to find since we started dating. I have a quirky sense of style, and enough self confidence to wear the ultimate man repellers, but he hates it. I’m still working on maintaining that fine line of self-expression and selflessness.

Anyone have any suggestions?

Resort 2014: Phillip Lim

I’m having a hard time putting the overall feeling of this line into words: vacation/relaxation chic? That’s probably the closest. The cuts are a mix of relaxed and structured while the fabrics are strategically interspersed by detail, color and design to give it a contrasting rich/relaxed feel.

And yet, because I can’t seem to find a thread to guide my thoughts, I’m just going to spitball opinions. (Side note: I’ve decided the term “spitball” should originate from SuperMario, not baseball.)

I’m a big believer that neutral, relaxed fits are vacation clothes so these black and white plus sea green is perfect. These say, “Don’t worry, I’m just stopping for some shopping before getting back on my yacht.”

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This one falls in the above category but I wanted to note that boots continue to be a staple for all outfits. White motorcycle boots are now on my “Coveting” list.

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 While boots are always a win, one thing I struggle with are shorts. Short shorts (read: mid-thigh and above) are easy for me because they just sit well and are comfortable. But sometimes I don’t want to show that much leg and I’m not in the mood for a skirt. Struggles. Therefore I think these pieces are genius: shorter shorts, lengthened by sheer cloth. I love them.

 I love this entire outfit. The fit of the jacket balances the shorts so well and the details are to die for.

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 Let’s talk dresses: This collection had a good mix of lengths and styles. I’m including these two because the first is a good example of the big sleeves that are in this collection and the mix of fabrics (neutrals and metallics). The second shows the sleeveless cut with the deep-v detailing, there are a couple pieces with the same cut. I like it.

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Phillip_Lim_017_1366.450x675 Here’s where the fun mixes comes into play: The first half are pieces that are structurally linear, the second half plays with linear patterns.

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I don’t know what it is about this one, but I love the mix of the shorter baby blue coat with the red top. It almost feels like a clash of East and West (Mao Zedong versus Napoleon) or antique and space-age.

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I bought a jacket a lot like this from a Goodwill in high school and I loved it. Metallic-green color blocking on a motorcycle styled jacket, I’ve missed that jacket randomly throughout the years since I got rid of it, but seeing this jacket makes me really regret not keeping it.

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The pattern on these pants remind me of a modern mariachi pant, which I think pairs with the tuxedo jacket really well.

Phillip_Lim_038_1366.450x675I think this is my favorite outfit, I would wear this everywhere. Any idea what the texture of the jacket is?

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There are definitely things I want from this collection (jackets and those shorts) but  I’m not obsessed with this collection. I think the reason is I wasn’t pulled through the collection like some shows do and I missed the story.

 

High Fashion: Alexandre Vauthier Fall 2013 Couture

This show was a hit and miss for me. I loved some of the aspects while others left me flat, but I was pleasantly surprised by some unexpected details. This is one show that would have benefited from multiple pictures of each outfit: front, back, sans-jacket, details.

Some of my loves

I love the harem-cut pant (probably mostly because my body-type prevents me from wearing it) and this show pulled that gathered look into both pant and skirt and I loved it.

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I love fur, so points for starting out with some fur.

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These pants are perfection, mostly because I could actually wear this kind of harem-like pant but also because they are so chic. These could, and should, be worn everywhere. I want them.

I started to type that this collection was mostly achromatic, but that is a gross generalization that offends the delicacy of this collection’s color palette. (If that sounds dramatic, it’s because I know better than to discount the depth and variations provided by Blue, my favorite color.) Let me get to my point: The collection has a mellow hue, except for the soles of the shoes: Bright red. Love.

Remember how I said I wished each piece had more than one picture? The sheer backing, and bold geometric patterns at the hipline (my love of art deco continues) were covered by the jacket, which is how the image shows the model.

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Here again: I wasn’t expecting the back on this one and I love it. Especially the gold diagonal.

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Things I didn’t like

I don’t like the full-sheer here I think it loses its couture feel. If this were a swimming suit with cover-up, I’d love it, but it was a miss for me because it felt out of place in this line.

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I don’t like the ruching, I feel like it takes away from the form and makes the fabric look clingy. Also, I wasn’t a huge fan of the cups throughout the show, and these are a good example. Are they supposed to be asymmetrical? Probably not, but either way I’ll pass.

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So in summary, I think it was a good collection. Not my favorite, but definitely had some solid pieces (Seriously, can I have those pants?).

Full collection here.

High Fashion: Viktor & Rolf Fall 2013 Couture

My biggest frustration with this line is the backdrop to the runway was black, causing all the pieces to drown. I think the combination of the black background and achromatic flooring was beautiful, especially once the models made their way down the runway, but it bugged me.

I wasn’t a huge fan of this collection. The pieces are a little too costume-ish for me to fantasize about owning them and the whiteface was distracting. But then I saw the last posed model:

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Image source: Style.com

The lighting and her figure are stunning. Seeing this image changed my perspective on the entire show. The variation of patterns, and contradictions (soft billowing silhouettes paired with severe angles) all subtly cloaked in black, are interesting, but lost on me until I was given the chance to see a piece interact with its surroundings, as opposed to simply walking the runway.

In my mind, these pieces are wearable pieces of art and should only be worn with the above lighting.

Let’s talk about princesses

I’m undeniably a product of the Disney Princess empire. Ariel is my favorite because I love the ocean and use to wish on everything I could think of that I’d wake up a mermaid. (Ironically, Mary Poppins has always been my favorite Disney movie. I’ll have to think more on that later.)

I’ve noticed that lately the Princesses have become the face for the gender-specific limitations our culture places on our female youth, and while I believe deeply in the importance of well-rounded, anti-stereotypical education, I also think it’s unfair to set these characters up as bad.

Princesses exist, and they are badass. Let’s talk about a few of them:

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge – England Kate+Middleton+Duchess+Cambridge+Visits+Liverpool+OByA-bhrCdCl

As the most popular princess today, Kate Middleton has rocked the world. Known as the Kate Effect, she has become one of the most influential people from fashion to her charitable support. I love the Kate Effect because she presents herself in a very modern, yet sophisticated and classy way. It’s also interesting that so many of my peers idolize her, yet continue to skankify; a contradiction in desires I think. Don’t get my wrong, I’m not a prude, but the Duchess’s elegance comes from restraint.

Let’s get beyond clothing. Kate Middleton has been an icon of and catalyst for women’s empowerment. If she becomes Queen Consort, she will be the first Queen of England to have a university degree. Also, soon after marrying Prince William, England began the process to reform the current law which would allow for the couple’s first child, if she is female, to be first in line to the throne. That changes thousands of years of history, and requires approval from multiple countries. That’s amazing.

Queen Noor Al-Hussein – Queen Consort of Jordan

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Queen Noor is an American-born woman who became Queen of Jordan. Her defining strength is her ability to withstand criticism; a talent more women would benefit from developing. I believe that was one of the strongest understatements.

As one of the first women to study at Princeton she graduated in 1974 then went on to work around in various countries before working for on a new airport project in Jordan where she met and married the recently widowed king.

Stepping into an established royal household as a young outsider is tough as it is, but include a change in religion, name and a desire to break tradition. Queen Noor handled all this, and though she received criticism her work is a testament to her dedication and passion. Because she takes her projects so seriously she found her role as royalty distracted people from listening to the more important topics:

She said: “The pioneering attempts I made to level the playing fields through education and micro financing were initially met with skepticism by a few with fixed kind sets.” But she said her husband “fully supported me and the responsibilities I felt I should assume.”

Instead it was the media that held her back. On her first visit to Washington as a queen she was upset that reporters failed to ask her meaningful questions, instead focussing on her clothes and hair. “I hoped to be taken as a credible voice with serious matters to discuss,” she wrote in her autobiography. “I could not help but feel like a useless accessory.”

The Telegraph

Queen Rania Al Abdullah – Queen of Jordanqueen-rania-jordan

Anyone who promotes education, especially among women, is my hero. Please meet Queen Rania, the voice of education around the world. After receiving a degree in Business Administration she worked for a couple high-powered international businesses.

After her marriage she has promoted domestic education programs, founded and worked with multiple international organizations including: Queen Rania Scholarship ProgramJordan River Foundation and Al-Aman Fund for the Future of Orphans.

 

These women are amazing. We should spend our time encouraging our daughters to expand their interests in Disney Princesses to the real-world princesses and the causes they champion. Why wouldn’t we want our daughters to be educated, elegant supporters of equality, charity and education?