Archive for April, 2011

April 25, 2011

Alexander the Great

Credit: Vogue.com

Coco Rocha, Caroline Trentini, Stella Tennant, Karlie Kloss, Karen Elson, and Raquel Zimmerman by Steven Meisel for Vogue US May 2011

Oh Lee McQueen…you are still very dearly missed.  The industry is still dealing with the loss of the creative genius.  Although, Sarah Burton is very nicely carrying on in his stead.  In Vogue‘s May issue, Meisel profiles pieces from the Costume Institute’s tribute to Alexander McQueen’s legacy, aptly titled “Savage Beauty.”  And what a savage beauty Lee’s work was.  His work has intrigued me, awed me, confused me, provoked me, and above all, moved me.  Even when I disliked what I saw, I could not deny his incredible design technique.  I still recall that 1999 opening where Shalom Harlow was on a turntable, wearing a white dress, and being paint splattered by two robots.  It was creepy yet thrilling, fantastical and provocative; I was riveted by the performance.  Now that he is gone, his legacy is in his work left behind.  And in the people he influenced.  Sarah Burton is fantastic technician because his tutelage, and she carries on that technique and vision today.

Meisel has stayed true in this editorial.  I love how he has propped this set; it’s quirky and perhaps a little out-of-sorts which suits the mad genius of McQueen.  Moreover, the pieces Grace Coddington chose, on top of being beautifully wrought, each has a story.  They are striking, weird, magical, and romantic at times.  I love it.  Check the Vogue article for  the fully story [although the site coding is a little hard to read so I’ve posted it here as well].  Here’s what Sarah Burton has to say about each [in order]:

  • Widows of Culloden, Fall 2006: “The collection was about the 1745 massacre of the Scottish Jacobites by the English, which Lee felt so passionately about because of his Scottish family heritage, which his mother had researched. The women were the widows of the slaughtered army. This dress was actually based on my wedding dress—I got married two years earlier. We had to figure out how to make lace work in the round with those ruffles because Lee hated gathering. So we cut out all of the flowers from the lace and reappliquéd it on tulle to make our own fabric. This is the collection most people remember as the one with Kate Moss in a hologram. Oh, my God, it was so beautiful. He loved that show.”
  • Voss, Spring 2001:  “So much of this show was about the collective madness of the world. It was presented in a two-way mirrored glass box in London, and the girls had bandaged heads, acting like inmates of a mental asylum. Lee wanted the top of this dress to be made from surgical slides used for hospital specimens, which we found in a medical-supply shop on Wigmore Street. Then we hand-painted them red, drilled holes in each one, and sewed them on so they looked like paillettes. We hand-painted white ostrich feathers and dip-dyed each one to layer in the skirt.”
  • Number 13, Spring 1999: “This was from the amazing show in London where Shalom Harlow stood on a turntable and was spray-painted by robots. This particular look was made from wood to form the shape of a fan: It was all about the craftsmanship. The wooden wings were in this show, too, and the prosthetic legs he had carved for Aimee Mullins, who walked in the show. That was so moving. There were so many ideas in there. Each of his shows was like ten of anyone else’s.”
  • Sarabande, Spring 2007: “The collection was based on Handel’s ‘Sarabande’ in the film Barry Lyndon. It was held in the round at the Cirque d’Hiver Bouglione in Paris, with classical musicians playing onstage under a giant chandelier. This dress had fresh flowers on it. We put them on just before she went out, and they started to fall off one by one as she walked. I remember people saying Lee timed it. We had a laugh about that. It was an accident!”
  • It’s Only a Game, Spring 2005: “All the girls were dressed as chess pieces, and the show was choreographed as a chess game. It was about the chessboard of fashion. Lee did have foresight and a sense of humor! This is one of the two horse pieces. He made it by commissioning Steve Powell, a hospital prosthetics expert, to make the body. And the horsetails were from the same suppliers who make the plumes for the queen’s Royal Horse Guards.”
  • Voss, Spring 2001: “This is a straitjacket, a kimono with the sleeves strapped around the back, embroidered with raised birds and flowers, and the flowers on the hat were real. I saved all the showpieces from every collection because I’m an obsessive, obsessive hoarder. Sometimes Lee would look at them again, just to remember what he’d done with something. It was his dictionary he was building, really.”

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April 23, 2011

Costumer Legacy

Credit: Fashion Gone Rogue

 Valeria Dmitrienko by Dima Hohlov for The Dirty Durty Diary

Another intriguing editorial for The Dirty Durty Diary.  This time it is a intense theatrical dedication by Dima Hohlov.  It celebrates the works of costume designer William Ivey which have appeared in several well known productions such as “Chicago,” “The Producers,” and “Nine.”  It feels fiercely edgy in spite of the dramatic volume and romantic lace to some of the costumes.  I like how each shot is set to stand on its own yet still carries on a continuity to tie the entire series together.   And Valeria has some fantastic bone structure.  It certainly stands out prominently in the featured shot in particular.  I love the tribute to theater and how it feels dramatic without being camp.  Lovely job Dima Hohlov.

[The productions have been noted in the captions.]

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April 21, 2011

Über-Sinnlich

Credit: Fashion Gone Rogue

 Aymeline Valade, Anais Pouliot, Merethe Hopland, Josephine Skriver and Julia Saner by Greg Kadel for Vogue Germany May 2011

Greg Kadel snaps five new rising stars in industry Haute Couture.   Personally, I found the black and white close-ups more impressive.  For one, it is a very a classic take by Kadel and perfect for young ingénues.  I felt that the couture sort of overwhelmed the newcomers; other than Aymeline’s, those shots felt poorly executed.  Take Merethe Hopland.  She has very strong features and had an excellent portrait series a while back, but her couture shot came across far too fake and made-up.  I wish Kadel had chosen a better one out of the roll.  That aside, these girls are some of my favorite newcomers to the scene.  [Does anyone else think that Josephine Skriver really resembles Rosie Tupper (an Australian newcomer) in her close-up?]  I am watching out for Aymeline in particularly.  She’s had some fantastic editorials as of late.  Not to mention, she was basically introduced by Alexander Wang.

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April 18, 2011

Supersize Me

Credit: Mode Photography

Valerija Kelava & Chloe Memisevic by Craig McDean for Interview April 2011

So many epically dramatic shots…I had a difficult time choosing the one feature shot for this editorial.  For all the volume of the styling and the wildness of the hair, something about this still seems really well tailored.  Maybe not so much in a strict disciplined sense, but there’s still polish to this despite the flair of wild abandon.  Not to mention it takes good design technique for voluminous pieces not to overwhelm the frame of the body.   Moreover, there’s an off-kilter quirkiness to this editorial that I really really like.  From the stark stare to the gangly stride, there is most certainly something odd about it.  It should feel off-putting, but there’s an odd gracefulness to it all.  And there’s still this innate sense of cool throughout.  That quintessential visceral characteristic fashion so often strives to capture.

Fashion is frequently about exaggerated escapism.  This editorial gives me just that in the most delightful fashion.  Actually, this is what I love about Interview Magazine.  It presents this pop art quirkiness in a highly unique way.  Moreover, the photography is superb.  Craig McDean uses contrast to his advantage, making me really notice the texture of the shot [does that even makes sense?].  The black and white shots could feel classic with a muted softness; instead there’s a clean sharpness to some of the lines and an entirely modern feel (perhaps a bit futuristic as well) to the enlarged proportions.  Bravo to McDean for a really eye-catching piece.  And for making me remember my love for Interview Magazine.

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April 18, 2011

The Return of Chuck Bass

Credit: dirtyandbritish

Ed Westwick by Steve Erle for Gotham Magazine

In honor of Gossip Girl returning tomorrow, I am posting selections from Ed Westwick’s latest shoot with Gotham Magazine where he acts very Chuck Bass-esque.  And, boy, do I love a guy who can carry off a suit.  The attitude and the suit gets me every time.

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April 17, 2011

Sleep to Dream

Credit: Fashion Gone Rogue

 Emma Beam by Nyra Lang for Deutsch #44

Hooked by her fingers alone.  I love the lines that Emma achieves in the feature shot.   She comes across as elegant, ethereal, and intriguing all at once.  Is it weird to love the angles of her elbows?  Lately, I’ve been really drawn to editorials because of the angles that a model’s elbows create.  Also, I love the filtering of these shots; this editorial feels a lot like a painting series.  The golden tones to it especially make me think that.  [Golden hues also make me think of lazy summer sunsets.  Can you tell that I long for warmer weather?] The hazy dreaminess of it certainly helps.  This also has a fantastic languidness that I like where everything is just a bit blurred and soft.  A lovely little piece for spring.

*Edit* Just realized how loopy this post makes me sound.  Being sick and dizzy is not conducive to getting work done, let me tell ya.

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April 16, 2011

Wild is the Wind

Credit: Fashion Gone Rogue

 Liu Wen by Mark Segal for Vogue China May 2011

I have never really appreciated Wild West style; that being said, I think that Liu looks absolutely darling in this editorial.  And I love that pieces I wouldn’t expect are being used in this.  Rodarte look 10 Spring 2011 is recreated entirely in the feature shot (shot 7) complete with those distinctive wood block shoes.  The earthiness of the wood print really suits the gritty nature of the western frontier.  And even the hawk seems fitting as the Mulleavy sisters were influenced by birds of prey for Spring 2010.  I normally associate Givenchy with punk tailoring, but somehow look 11 from Spring 2011 feels right at home as Liu sits perched on the hood of the car.  It adds a certain clean sophistication to the shot without making the style feel entirely removed from the overall mood.  Adding the Alexander McQueen piece in the title shot introduces Western fringe in a new light.  Look 16 from Spring 2011 is whimsical enough, but certainly not typical.  And while there are plenty  expected Western romanticism and Ralph Lauren fringe in this, I like how this editorial is broken up by the more avant garde.  Liu adds just the right amount of edge to carry this through.

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April 16, 2011

Delicate Beauty

Credit: Fashion Gone Rogue

 Barbara Palvin by Rama for Harper’s Bazaar Korea April 2011

Barbara Palvin really is one of my favorite newcomers.  And she does clean minimalist style so well.  She angles her arms in a way that complements the sleek lines of the clothes.  The peeks of skin don’t feel overly revealing either; a sophisticated tone is conveyed throughout this editorial.  Moreover, I love the strength that she exudes in this.  Simplicity does not have to mean blending in; Barbara uses the lovely lines of the clothes to her advantage.  And what lines those are.  The exquisite craftsmanship can be clearly seen.  This is a great alternative to the romantic flowy pieces normally styled for spring.  The white appears fresh rather than stark, and the neutral sand tempers the entire thing.  A nice piece of work all around.

Oh, and I love the cover.  The styling is both sophisticated and sexy with the daring low cut on the side.

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April 15, 2011

The Enchanted Forest

Credit: Fashion Gone Rogue

 Holly by Natalie J Watts for Vecu Spring 2011

With spring comes whimsy because nothing quite heralds the coming for spring for me like whimsical romantic shoots.  For one, I am very into wreaths of gigantic flowers; there is something very charming about that May tradition.  Highly unpractical, but very lovely to be photographed in.  Also, I like how apparent the scalloped details to her dress is.  The whorls are elegantly crafted and add a touch of glamour to the shoot.  Moreover, I am a big fan of soft filtered lighting which casts a glorious glow on the model; dusk shoots are particularly good for this.  Holly appears fey-like in this with her hair beautifully lit in the sunlight.  My favorite shots are the close-ups at the end.  Simple but very pretty.

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April 15, 2011

Jennifer

Credit: Fashion Gone Rogue

Jennifer Massaux by Justin Ridler for Perk Spring 2011

*Nudity Warning (just some slight boobage). If you don’t have the maturity, don’t look.*

I don’t find it fair for people to read my thoughts on everything if all they want is to look at the shoot so I divided it up:

  • 1st part: on the post itself
  • 2nd part: brief thoughts in photographed nudity/rant

Sensual and intimate.  And not just because this is a seductive shoot overall.  While the more physically revealing glimpses are lovely, it’s the close-ups of her face that I find intimate.  Her half-lidded eyes and open mouth denote a vulnerability, and there is something very beautiful (and incredibly attractive) about that.  The hint of sleepiness is also lovely; I like that so much more than composed seductiveness.  And this shoot appears to be taken with film rather than digital; that adds a rawness to this that can be missed with digital shots.  Better yet, I would never call this obscene or cheap.  A woman’s body is very beautiful; if Jennifer can showcase that, all the more power to her.  Moreover, her innate confidence would not be seen if she was coerced into posing for a “nude” shoot.

Photographed nudity has such a bad reputation in American society.  So much so that we begin to lose sight of the fact that the human body is a beautiful thing to behold.  The strength and beauty that it can convey makes for an intriguing and attractive subject.  I will never understand how we as a society can be so afraid of a woman’s sexuality and sensuality.  Oh you’re attracted to her.  Well, it is perfectly ok to be attracted to a naked woman.  Is that really such a revelation?  A person can be attracted to her without exploiting her.  Passion is an intrinsic part of being human.  To deny that is to deny a fundamental element of our humanity.  I am sorry that every nude post I put up practically degenerates into a rant on why I have to preface it in the first place.  I am just so very frustrated by the current social/political atmosphere, especially since the GOP wants to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and roll back women’s reproductive rights.

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