Amy Winehouse: In Defense of a Style Icon

July 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Amy Winehouse photographed by Hedi Slimane

Perhaps due to the uncertainty surrounding the cause of Amy Winehouse’s sudden death, another question has emerged in the days following: is she or is she not a style icon? It was a post on New York Magazine’s fashion news blog The Cut that first tipped me off to this debate. They cite an article written by British fashion critic Lisa Armstrong during the height of Winehouse’s popularity, which expressed outrage that publicists in the industry were attempting to make her outfits desirable.

Sure, fashion publicists can be an insufferable bunch, but should we really let that discredit Winehouse’s wholly original look? « Read the rest of this entry »


Trend Watch: The Big Bird Look

July 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

If you’re looking  to dress yourself this fall in a way that evinces both your proud plumage and your affinity for friendly monsters, don’t you dare look any further. It’s been a long time coming, but Big Bird is this season’s go-to muse. His love of daring bright looks and timeless elegance inspired a number of influential designers this season, among them Frida Giannini and Donatella Versace. So pull out those bright yellow textured pieces you’ve been saving. Now’s the time to to rock the look. It may not be easy being green, but it’s simply fabulous being yellow.

Here Comes the Sun

June 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last summer when I spent a week in Key Largo, my 16 onces of sunscreen got confiscated at the airport. As soon as I had unpacked, I set off looking to purchase a replacement, and soon met an eccentric giftshop owner who tried to convince me the sun protection product she sold was the meaning of life. $8 seemed like a rip off for the small bottle i purchased but i soon found it was worth every penny- most sunblocks have a “reapply every few hours” warning printed somewhere on their label, but you used this stuff once and you were fully protected. FOREVER (or at least until you scrub it off with soap and scalding water…)

If you didn’t find this post in time and are currently sporting the lobster look, click here

Amazon’s Gilt Killer

May 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

For a while now, Amazon’s clothing selection has been…lacking in some ways. Given its reputation as a one-stop online shop for everything from books to car parts, there was an astounding dearth of options for anyone unimpressed by novelty t-shirts. Thankfully, they appear to have gotten their act together. This month, they’re introducing their take on the invitation-only online boutique, the somewhat ominously named My Habit. It’s quite similar to its main rival, the ubiquitous Gilt Groupe, but it’ll be interesting to see how it grows over time. Gilt has the fashion clout, but it’s hard to deny Amazon’s reliability and appeal. Could this town be big enough for the both of them?

Today in Fashion Week: February 25th

February 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Howdy folks! Milan is progressing nicely, and before you know it we’ll be looking at the Paris shows. Until then, however, let’s see what Milan has to offer.


Starting with last season, Donatella Versace has been experimenting with reappropriating the heritage of her family’s brand. Last season she playfully spliced up the house’s logo, this season she worked with another traditional print. Her manipulation was much more straightforward this time around, however; she scaled the print so large that only the tiniest detail would cover an entire dress. Indeed, her delving in the archives has never exactly been direct. She seeks to modernize everything she reintroduces, and this collection was a prime example of that. A few looks were especially thrilling–a black and white coatdress comes to mind–but you get the impression Versace could have dug deeper. In spite of that, however, this was a pleasingly on-beat outing. « Read the rest of this entry »

Today in Fashion Week:February 24th

February 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

The truth is, no matter how much we strive for equity, we all play favorites. And so today, I’m taking to opportunity to cash in my favorite card. Yes, Prada holds a special place in my heart. It’s the one show I always look forward to, the collection I think back on fondly more often than any other, and in many ways the impetus and constant reinforcement of my love of fashion. I think Miuccia is a living legend whose work will be looked back on for centuries to come. And now, on to her offering for this  season.


Last season, the Prada show started with a bang: a flash of fluorescent light followed by an exhilarating, colorful collection. This season started much more gently, by contrast. In an all white room, Miuccia started the collection out with a few classics. From there, the collection could’ve gone anywhere. There were snakeskin boots, aviator-like oversized sunglasses and caps, and somewhat boxy proportions. Perhaps those were just distractors, however; because it was actually those seemingly generic black coats that became a jumping-off point of sorts. Evidently, Miuccia was thinking about purity and innocence, as well as her all time favorite muse: the schoolgirl. But in case your knowledge of schoolgirls is heavily reliant on fetish porn, this show should provide a reality check. In actuality, schoolgirl uniforms are all about unflattering pleats, awkward shapes,  and outdated plaids. Miuccia goes against the grain whenever possible, refusing to sexualize her clothes, and often settling for what is widely considered ugly. It’s easy to produce beautiful, unimaginative fashion; but she unequivocally says that’s not enough. Her off-kilter clashing combination of blown-up plaid in bright colors and two-tone snakeskin boots is one that leave most questioning what they think is beautiful clothing. Those looks were the real meat of the collection, the takeaway of the theme, but perhaps my favorite looks were the fur-covered ones. Fur detailing has been all over the place this season, but it takes something really out-there to stand out from the pack. Miuccia’s take was to have nondescript, plain-jane coats and dresses and then make them appear to literally sprout fur like a Chia Pet. Those looks were wacky but fascinatingly beautiful. For the final looks, Miuccia layered dull sequins together to make matted, blurry dresses. The effect was abstract and interesting, though it didn’t add much to the theme. All in all, the collection left you a lot to think about. It was a real statement in the “what is ugly?” category, and it’s sure to inspire intense debates in the days to come. « Read the rest of this entry »

Today in Fashion Week: February 23rd

February 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

On to another city! We have only two shows to look at today, but think of it as a pallete cleanser. Tomorrow is a very special day. Yes, people, tomorrow is Prada. I know I’m fasting and praying to Miuccia like there’s no tomorrow. But hopefully there is a tomorrow, because that’s the day of the show. We are all not worthy. We are all not worthy. We are…


Frida Giannini has not been the most celebrated designer at Gucci in history, and that is not exactly unjust. Her work has never been very polarizing or idiosyncratic. She has never led a movement. She’s a perfectly capable designer, but she’s not inspiring revolutions. One thing to her credit, however, is that she’s the queen of the 70’s reference. Seriously, she’s been exploring the 70’s as a source of inspiration for years now. Now that they’ve finally come back into fashion, it seems she’s not squandering the opportunity to bask in her favorite decade. Her clothes had a lot of commonality with those of Marc Jacobs last season. It had the same dressy-casual feel to it, and the same loose but luxurious sentiment. Particularly beautiful were a couple of coats toward the middle. It was that point where you stop scrutinizing and start simply taking a show in. The pace got derailed a bit with some ill-advised largely sheer evening gowns, but those solid looks more than made up for it. All in all, it was Giannini’s best effort at the house in memory, and possibly one of the best of the season so far. « Read the rest of this entry »