Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Kid On The Block

There’s a new girl in town and her name is Lara Stone. The 26-year old mannequin who hails from the Netherlands has taken the fashion world by storm dominating not some, but all of the latest issue of Paris VOGUE. Apparently Carine Roitfeld, the notoriously sharp-witted editrix of French VOGUE is so enamored with Lara, she has dedicated an entire issue to the new face and more notably, the new body.

Lara's archetypal Victoria Secret Angel physique has been described by Purple’s Olivier Zahn as one of a “1970s Playboy model” with the face of a child. Every man’s dream; but high fashion's too? It’s worth noting that the February issue has more photos of Lara flaunting a nude body than the spring collections. What message is Roitfeld trying to convey? That in these desperate times of economic downfall we all must go nude?

Still, Lara has been paraded around as the face of Givenchy, Prada, and Jil Sander to name a few, and the nonexistent eyebrows give her just enough edge to make fashion's bad boys swoon, which means that she can bridge the gap between sexy and sartorial - one that Gisele has a hard time doing these days, I mean, have seen those Versace ads?

Final Word: For fashion veterans, Lara is hardly a “new face”, but to the rest of us who have yet to acknowledge her as a one-name phenomenon like Kate, Gisele or Naomi, we’ll just enjoy the photos for now.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

City Slackers

The new Spring 2009 DKNY ads have hit the glossies (as well as street signs, cabs and sides of buildings throughout the Big Apple I presume) and I have to say I'm a bit disappointed. Why would Scott Schuman, whose strikingly simple portraits of dashing pedestrians sell out and go commercial? Well yes, money for one. But the pure beauty of capturing the fashionable elite in their own haute habitats of the Tuileries Gardens and the Carousel du Louvre is so sacred, to mimic it for DKNY, well just cheapens it.

As the line between reality and faux-ality becomes more blurred every day, it's hard to tell where real life ends and make believe begins (I'm still stumped at the sordid so-called plots of MTV's The City, which is why I tune in religiously- are they REALLY having a lovers' tete a tete at Extra Virgin? Did the non-working model with diamond-studded ears REALLY pull together in art show in the LES and cheat on his model girlfriend with a typical Tenjune sycophante?)

The truth is, I am sick of art imitating life. Where is the inspiration? Where is the fantasy? Are we suffering such a cultural malaise that even fashion, supposedly the most inventive industry of all, is turning to dreaded reality for inspiration? The only thing that comes close to a dreamworld is the beloved Gossip Girl which allows post-private schoolers to get lost in the sick, twisted plots of their past and even more lost in the disheartening transformation of Jenny Humphrey from cute Brooklyn alternista to Goth rebellista with too much eyeliner.

Final Word: Based on history the best work was created during times of squalor (Read: Hemmingway, Sinclair, Steinbeck...need I go on?) so enough of this creative coma...vive la vie boheme!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Soleful Dude

Kanye West is today's Renaissance Man. He raps, he sings, he blogs, he blings- and now he has reinvented himself as cobbler. Yesterday Mr. West launched a capsule collection of designer sneakers for Louis Vuitton in collaboration with Marc Jacobs. This mildly inspiring collaboration lacks the creativity and risk found in Mr. West's albums but is garnering equal buzz from fashion flacks nonetheless. It seems LV loves to prove its street cred constantly collaborating with hip hop honchos like N.E.R.D. frontman and beat impresario Pharrell Williams who designined a line of eyewear for the legendary French fashion house only a couple of years ago. What's next a line of LV rags designed by T.I.?

What's more annoying is Mr. West is no stranger to avant-garde fashion touting himself as the most stylish lyricist in the game. But the kicks themselves are not exactly ground-breaking. They pretty much resemble average Dunks dipped in red paint stamped with the obligatory LV logo making them more Canal Street than Avenue Montaigne (Pastries by the the Simmons daughters' have more flair.) To be honest I expect more from the man who claims his "first true love is fashion." C'mon Kanye if that's true this line of cliche kicks is heartbreaking.

Final Word: The Kanye West/Louis Vuitton capsule collection includes only 5 styles that hit stores in June.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Body Images

Over the weekend my art maven friend Ranya and I saw Marlene Dumas’ retrospective currently showing at the MoMA. Dumas is consequentially my favorite female artist and I had been anticipating the show for over a year.
But what left the lasting impression was not Dumas’ haunting watercolors but the grandiose video installation by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist overflowing the walls of the museum’s central atrium.

A stranger to Rist's work, I was met with a vast, trippy movie of kinetic images of blossoming flowers, corpulent body parts and other indiscernible sensual images from floor to ceiling bursting with such vibrant color I practically swooned from the visual overload. All senses were accosted with the video's soundtrack of an eerie humming sound that was not melodic but strangely soothing nonetheless. Guests were invited to take in the rich exhibit by removing their shoes and laying on a felt orb situated in the center of the room making the whole communal experience even more EST-cultesque (sans the Kool Aid) but enraptured by the sensuality of the film, I stood alone mouth agape, eyes wide as I've always preferred solo phantasms over group trips.

Final Word: A cultural alternative to the daily java jolt in the dead of winter, this hot exhibit will breathe a new life into the otherwise vapid season of depressing Oscar films and meaningless reality shows. Pipilotti Rist: Pour Your Heart Out is on display until February 2nd

Tour de Wang

It's hard to criticize Alexander Wang for anything that he does because regardless of whether you're an it-girl or not, you WILL be wearing his designer duds in time, it's just a matter of how fast you catch on. Whether it's oversized see-through tees, razor ripped stocking or holey thermal shorts, the perennial arbiter of cool has tested our boundaries again in his pre-fall presentation with, drum roll please...sheer biking shorts.

The concept itself is painfully offensive and almost incomprehensible. Akin to a pair of the auspicious brand of undergarment Spanks, these sausage encasings are not for the faint of heart and are not hidden by a ubiquitous Herve. These babies are in full-sight. Even to the Wang-trained eye the stick-thin models look confused and uncomfortable. But after the third look my palate acclimated and now I just see a challenge!

Final Word: You better hope your stars I or other girls opt out of this inane trend; but I'm not making any promises just yet..

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yes She Can!

The most watched woman in the world is Michelle Obama. This lady makes even Beyonce cry. And the most scrutinized trait about her, is what she wears. At yesterday’s inauguration Mrs. Obama opted for the eccentric Cuban-American designer Isabel Toledo- a choice that sent mixed emotions throughout the fashion industry. Style insiders have yet to recover from the humiliating failure of Ms. Toledo’s show for Anne Klein (she was quickly dropped by the mega-brand) - a blemish on her legendary career. But one fashionista's trash is another First Lady's treasure. The First Lady's risk-taking skills (or her stylist's?) became more apparent when at the Neighborhood Ball, the President’s wife appeared in a full-length Jason Wu gown. The identity behind the First Lady's costumiere is still a mystery - does she truly adore Thakoon? Was that Alaia belt of her choosing? And most importantly, was that breathtaking and refreshingly youthful Jason Wu gown her decision?

Perhaps these answers are inconsequential, after all Jackie Kennedy was not remembered for her dependence on design great Oleg Cassini, only that she wore her Chanel two-piece and pink Diors so brilliantly.

Mr. Wu, whose life is surely about to change big time, is only in his third season but has already been likened to American greats such as Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera. The key difference? He’s not either of them. Brava to Mrs. Obama for taking a chance. Perhaps this means change is really to come. Let's see if VOGUE takes a chance in her upcoming feature.

Final Word: Personally we would love to see the First Lady in the Technicolor brights of the season or harem pants with gladiator heels. Perhaps bondage platforms are the new pillbox hat?

Bag Lady

Everyone knows it's the year of the shoe. Balenciaga, Lanvin, Marni have all made fetish-worthy footwear with platforms so high and so ornate they're smashes on the runway and glossy pages alike. Yet all the while, has no one commented on how ridiculous this boot ballyhoo has become? After all, who can afford a $900 stiletto with no heel? Sadly we're not all Posh Spice. Still for the lot of us studying our Vogues, Bazaars and Elles for the past few months have been trained into believing 'it-bag' is a dirty word. "Personal style reigns!", the fashion elite continually decree, "The it-bag is dead!" Well in my case, it's about to be revived.

(Image Courtesy of

I have officially fallen prey to my nasty bag-accumulation habit and have swooned for a satchel that is so discreet and so, dare-I-say-it, perfect that I may have a reason to splurge for spring. Proenza Schouler's PS1 bag embodies all things recession-chic (not literally of course, but what in fashion is ever literal?). Subtle in design and so simply supple it is perfect to wear every day without being untactful or tacky. Even the briefcase silhouette harks back to an austere and adult Mad Men-esque era when the important carried their papers and possessions in elegant encasements of leather and shiny gold hardware. If anything, this bag reminds me of a happier time when I was a little girl and used to sift through my father's cognac leather suitcase searching for stray mints. This time, rather than mints I search for my Parisian Marlboro lights (another nasty habit) and rather than classic cognac I'm privy to the sunny yellow shade that is sure to perk up these dreary depression-filled days.

Final Word: Available at Barneys and consequently the only thing on the first floor NOT on sale, I just must muster up courage to make a hefty purchase in the midst of economic crisis. Barneys, would you take a cue from Net-A-Porter and start brown-bagging it?