style is how you live your whole life manifesto: art is my 6th sense in digital form i use a combination of photography vectors and rasters to form my nu-rave nuclear creations thematically i focus on my reaction to and participation... [more]
style is how you live your whole life
art is my 6th sense in digital form i use a combination of photography vectors and rasters to form my nu-rave nuclear creations thematically i focus on my reaction to and participation in life through my work i have launched an intellectual revolution positive change is the name of the game i have a choice in who i am choose wisely
In reviewing my past week, I have kept note of what I've seen, heard, tasted, and felt and tried to make sense of it. Here's what I came up with:
Highlights from my week:
1) I am currently working on costume design for “SCROOGE!” an original musical theater production based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” My first project has been the condemned souls. They accompany the ghost of Jacob Marley and are made in his image and all-together fluid and ghoulish. The costumes are all black: long coat with high collar, cape, face mask, top hat, and veil.
(see video at bottom of post below)
2) Adam Lambert of American Idol fame has released his new single, “For Your Entertainment.” He is known for his glam rock image of black eyeliner and matching black nail polish. The premise of the song is that he is calling the shots and will is here for your entertainment. It is a mash-up of masculine and feminine imagery and lyrics. Additionally, he has blue hair on his album release.
(see video at bottom of post below)
3) Britney Spears released her new video for “3” today. It is a collection of sexy montages of her in alternating black and white clothing. The whole song is about promiscuity and her intimate conquests in a threesome.
(blue attire and interiors)
(blue bathroom tiles)
4) Despite dismal reviews and ratings, I continue to watch “Ugly Betty” on ABC. She is the off-beat assistant features editor at “MODE” fashion magazine. The episode, entitled “Blue on Blue” follows her continued struggle to succeed in the workplace under her boss/ex-boyfriend by pitching a story about Evan Grant’s move from Dolce and Gabbana to Gucci. She partially succeeds by helping Grant pick a series of blue tiles for his bathroom remodel. Additionally, the color blue is prominent throughout the show in interiors (MODE office, restaurant wine rack) and fashion (Betty’s jackets, Daniel and Sammy’s dress shirts, Michael’s blazer, etc).
5) I am a self-proclaimed cheese-head. I eat it every day as it is my favorite food. This week I have eaten American, parmesan, cheddar, blue, feta, mozzarella, and cream cheese. It comes in many colors and I find it to compliment almost every food (except cotton candy!)
What it means:
I continue to find references to black and blue in my daily life. Even today I wore a black sweater and blue corduroy pants! Around every corner is the promise of death (black): the ghost of our past, an economic recession, the immorality of a threesome, the goth and glam fashion of rock stars, burnt cheese. And, on the other side is hope (blue)…not as dark as black but not stark white: feeling blue about work, love, and prospects, the perfectcompliment to a cobb salad, the sky on a bright sunny day. When you put black and blue together, it’s not exactly a bruise, but a harmonious and humorous zen-like reflection on life.
I drive a lot of my friends crazy with my shopping habits: it’s shopping, not buying! I often like to take a day of going around to all the stores and try stuff on, but will only buy those few items that really stand out. One of my favorite places to shop is around the SoHo neighborhood in downtown Manhattan. Aside from my usual haunts, I suggest you snake through the grid of SoHo and go into any story that strikes you. It never hurts to look!
Essential Brick and Mortars:
421 W Broadway
A great boutique to find one-of-a-kind pieces with lots of embellishments. Mens and womens clothing in two different store fronts. Can find great sales in limited sizing, but totally worth full price for a piece that mix/matches into your wardrobe. Occasionally you will find some great sale pieces and always worth a trip in.
This flagship is a must. I know not everyone can afford Prada, but the architecture of this building is a longtime favorite. Entering at street level, you walk to the edge of a large verve: shop downstairs. Of course any self-respecting fashionista is aware of Prada's aesthetic and knows that Miu's creations are nothing but quirky and fabulous.
Note the area code marks this store as part of a new generation of NYC. Uniqlo is the Japanese equivalent of SwedishH&M. It is a great place to stock up on versatile pieces in a variety of great colors. Don’t forget to talk to the robot: it talks back!
This little-known diffusion label is part of the Diesel empire. The price points are more affordable, but still incorporate a lot of unique design elements. The aesthetic is less fashion-forward and a lot more street/skater/punk. It’s great for casual wear.
French Connection (FCUK)
435 W Broadway
Don’t let the name fool you; this label is an English brand with a smart design sensibility (F rench C onnection U nited K ingdom). It is great for very trendy garments at a reasonable price. They have separate entrances for mens and womens, but connected inside the store. This is another store that you can find great sales and bountiful product selection.
Corner Shop Café
Great bistro/café type food mixed with a full bar and a great atmosphere. The chairs and décor is a bit of a hodge-podge, but it gives it an authentic character and charm. I have always had excellent wait staff and bartenders here. Menus are posted online.
If star-sighting is more of your taste, the Star is a great place to rub elbows with the locals. They have a great variety of gourmet foods that venture into higher price points for the portions, but it’s hard to go wrong with a diner-type atmosphere and selection.
-avoid Canal Street knockoffs at all costs
-several art galleries tucked-in
-Dean & Deluca cart for refreshment, as well as other more budget friendly food vendors
-artisan street vendors set-up on tables selling art, accessories, etc.
Here is a compilation of 10 fashion designers that have contributed greatly to the last decade, and are poised to continue to impact the fashion landscape for the next 10. Their contributions vary greatly, some seasoned and some newcomers, but all full of intrigue--that's fashion.
1. Marc Jacobs (Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Marc by Marc Jacobs)
Marc embodies the very essence of the American spirit. He is the most influential American designer of the last ten years, and will be for another ten. In addition to his self-titled label, Marc is the creative director for Louis Vuitton. He is responsible for the signature bags that were (and admittedly still are) all the rage, triggering other competitors to release their own signature logo bags. He sparked such a strong influence, Japanese artist, Murakami, got involved with several special edition bags. The real genius of Marc, though, is how across several channels (haute couture to ready-to-wear) he manages to influence fashion, beauty, accessories, and cosmetics by providing pure, raw, creative energy that we can all tap into.
2. Gwen Stefani (L.A.M.B.)
Gwen's unique style combines high fashion with a street sensibility. Branching out onto some solo albums and her fashion label, we have seen Gwen morph into a strong, independent, yet stylish woman. One of her most influential moves was her work with Harajuku girls and bringing their quirky underground style mainstream. Even more admirable is her stable family life: a husband and two kids. I think she'll continuing blazing blazing the trail in the next decade for all fabulous, fearless women in and out of the fashion industry.
3. Monique Lhuillier (Monique Lhuillier)
Although she started bridal in 1996, it wasn't until the 2000's where her influence on the fashion industry really began. Although a favorite among editors since the formation of her company, designing Britney Spears' wedding gown in 2004 really put Monique into mainstream consciousness. Her work has become a fixture on the red carpet as she has transitioned away from bridal into ready-to-wear and evening wear. She will definitely be around for the next ten years as a strong designer because she is always feminine and knows how to dress the female body so beautifully. Perhaps the added fact that she is Filipina really cements her role in understanding the international fashion landscape and why her designs appeal to many people.
4. Miuccia Prada (Prada, Miu Miu)
Prada, known for her unique silhouettes and quirky details, is synonymous with high fashion and luxury leather goods. Her influence is wide-spread through her diffused ready-to-wear pieces and pop culture fixtures like the blockbuster "The Devil Wear's Prada" with Meryl Streep. Prada is also known most recently for launching the careers of several super models by casting them exclusively in her runway shows and print media (Daria Werbowy, Gemma Ward). The company had a rough start in the 21st century after a failed attempt to create a luxury conglomerate a la LVMH, and had to sell Jil Sander, Helmut Lang, and it's share in Fendi, but looking ahead Prada has an even keel and continues to expand stores worldwide. Her work is so unique because of her point of view that always adds something fresh to the season that customers can't seem to get enough.
5. Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough (Proenza Schouler)
Founded in 2002, named after their mother's maiden names, graduates from Parsons founded the label in 2002 , these guys are quickly rising as fashion superstars. The garments are high end and sold in the likes Barney's New York and Bergdorf Goodman, but in 2007 they designed a collection for Target's GO International line, reaching an entirely new segment of America. They are also a favorite of celebrities like Emma Watson (can you say major Harry Potter exposure?), but most recently on Whitney Houston while filming a video for her comeback album "I Look To You." I think they've proved their worth, and so does the CFDA with their Perry Ellis award, so it's safe to say that the best is yet to come from this new talent.
6. Stefani Germanotta aka Lady Gaga (Haus of Gaga)
Although Gaga's unique outfits are not available for purchase anywhere, her updated glam rock image and sound is sending shock waves around the world. In fact, Gaga started Haus of Gaga to reinstate the super-fan that would thrive on a barrage of the senses from all things Gaga...including fashion. Her biggest statement to date was inspired by the sex appeal of Versace: not wearing pants. With a chart-topping album, "The Fame," in 2008 she has reached millions of people and the potential to reach them for many more years. While the future of her launch of a fashion label is unclear, I think Gaga will continue to turn out hit albums and continue to influence fashion, even if she never does form a retail label much in the same way artists like Michael Jackson and Madonna have done in the past.
7. Kate and Laura Mulleavy (Rodarte)
Another young, dynamic duo on the start of a major fashion career, these sisters already have the support of the CFDA and an all-important nod from Anna Wintour (editor-in-chief of US Vogue). While the label is only 4 years old, they have already dressed Cate Blanchett, Reese Witherspoon, Kirsten Dunst, and even the First Lady Michelle Obama. This upcoming December they are set to launch a line for Target's GO International. It is rare for young designers to find success so early, but with their talent (meticulously detailed, romantic dresses), there's no denying that they'll have a lot to contribute over the next 10 years.
8. Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel, Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld, K Karl Lagerfeld)
Karl has certainly created a legacy. He's iconic prowess as a designer is legendary. The last ten years have linked him to wardrobe for Madonna and Kylie Minogue, a collection for H&M, a Sundance Documentary, and a lucrative deal with Dubai Infinity Holdings. That is, in addition to his work at powerhouses Chanel and Fendi. Lagerfeld lives and breathes fashion, so I think we've got another exciting and innovative 10 years ahead. You know Lagerfeld.
9. Tom Ford (Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, TOM FORD)
A favorite in the fashion industry is definitely Tom Ford. He is best known for turning Gucci around and his excellent work at YSL, as well as his dramatic departure from the fashion scene in April 2004. However, one year later he came back launching a breadth of womenswear, menswear, accessories and beauty products under a self-named brand that relies heavily on sex appeal and sophistication. He is currently expanding his brand and plans on 100 additional retail locations over the next 10 years. In addition to fashion, Tom has demonstrated an interest in directing films and architecture. I think he'll continue to impact the world be in on the runway or otherwise.
10. Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren (Viktor & Rolf)
Rounding out my top ten are my absolute favorite designers, Viktor and Rolf. They are best known for their distinctively Dutch avante-garde point of view that accompanies their highly conceptual, artistic runway shows like their Fall 2007 show where each of the looks included a scaffolding and lights worn by each model. They are so important because they provide great analysis and commentary on the fashion industry itself. While much of their success is based on a select group of a cult following from fashionistas, they are making some progress with reaching the masses through a fragrance deal with L'Oreal Paris (Flowerbomb, Antidote, and as of October 2009, Eau Mega). They have also designed a mini collection for H&M and carry several accessory licenses around the world. They are design rich and will continue to push to boundaries of fashion for many years to come.
The Emmys, which aired 9/20/09, marked the end of the Hollywood award season. Here are some of my favorite looks from the red carpet...and a few cringe-worthy numbers. I find it fascinating how after so many years of so many awards, some stars just can't get it together for these events celebrating their work! Some of the biggest trends on the red carpet were bling/sparkle, red dress, one shouldered gowns, and Grecian draping looks. Who do you think hit the mark? and should have stayed home?
1. January Jones ("Mad Men") in Atelier Versace
Hands-down this was the best look of the night. This strapless white gown with silver metallic taping and geometric cutouts are an example of the allure of haute couture. January was simply stunning!
2. Blake Lively ("Gossip Girl") in Versace, shoes Christian Louboutin
Blake is always one of my favorites to see on the red carpet. She has mastered her fresh, young, sexy, edgy look with this plunging neckline and high slit. She's received a lot of criticism from other fashionistas for the similarity of a lot of her dress, but I think it is different enough from previous looks and if it's not broke, don't fix it. The high, braided pony tail really sells the glamazonian look.
3. Debra Messing ("The Starter Wife") in Michael Kors
This one shoulder, draped, sparkly confection really hit a lot of trends seen at the Emmy's. The draping here really accentuates Debra's thin frame by adding some womanly curves. Plus, red is always a great color for red-heads. Debra has long been a style icon, and while this look is understated, I find it to be elegant and age-appropriate. And with cheekbones like that, how could she not take her spot in the top three?
1. Sarah Silverman ("The Sarah Silverman Program") in unknown designer
I supposed if I designed this gown I wouldn't want my name advertised either. The draping is awkward at best and does absolutely nothing for her figure. It is truly an atrocity that anyone in her circle let her out like this. Sarah has admitted to be self-consciousness about her body, but her goto of t-shirt and jeans might have been better.
2. Hayden Panettiere ("Heroes") in J. Mendel
Hayden is a habitual offender of dressing far beyond her years. This red, ruffled and draped one-shoulder number was certainly on target to hit the trends with a knock-out look, but failed. It looks a haphazardly shredded mess. Sometimes less is more.
3. Jane Krakowski ("30 Rock") in Versace
This draped, one-shoulder gown with metallic sheen should have been a knock-out, but just doesn't work on Jane. Admittedly this statuesque Grecian look is difficult to pull off, but with Jane's body type it's just so unflattering. The light grey is also a problem for her skin tone--can you say washed out? However, her hair and make-up looks so effortlessly glamourous...that's an "e" for effort.
As we round the last bend of the first decade in the 21st century, I find it appropriate to pause a moment in reflection on fashion over the last ten years and look to the next ten.
One of the biggest upcoming changes is to the luxury market, especially accessories. During the late 90’s and into the 21st century, the luxury market saw a huge boom (think Louis Vuitton et al. hand bags). With the world economy in the midst of a major recession, the luxury market is shrinking and returning to its true state of a small, elite fashion forward luxury market. These accessories now can only really be afforded by the .5% of the world’s population. After all, the whole idea of a luxury market is defined by the nature of superior craftsmanship and materials. In fact, in Hong Kong with the proliferation of the Louis Vuitton brand and knock-offs, the name itself has entered the vernacular as in insult to yuppies and fashion wanabees (“Look at that Louis!”). Smaller, lesser-known luxury brands like Hermes will benefit the most.
Along with this trend, we are going to see a continual decrease in the amount of haute couture on the runways. Not only is it too expensive for most people, but also sewing is becoming a lost art. With fewer people able to pattern, drape, and sew unique garments, the labor cost further increases the price of couture. Technology will continue to improve and continue to homogenize apparel production, so machines will be able to mimic couture techniques at a lower cost. Fortunately, this will keep the niche market for high fashion and haute couture can remain as a trend-setting force in fashion.
And as these changes occur at the top of the fashion food chain, the mainstream fashion will also go through rigorous changes. Trends are going to become less and less important because the turnover rate will continue to increase. Even now trends are complex and not as definitive as they once were. Designers are forced to work with a shortened timeline for design and production with the quest to deliver the most up-to-date fashions in order to remain relevant in the market place. One continuing trend is the pragmatism of dressing the “real” person. Currently consumers are broken down into those that purchase based on functionality and those that purchase based on attractiveness; however, consumers are starting to demand that their money be spent on something useful as well as attractive. I think this change, specifically, will increase the design caliber across the board.
Because high fashion is receding back to its true form and mainstream fashion will be diversifying to reach “real” people, we are going to see dissolution of fashion rules. Appropriate attire will depend on the wearer and not the event. Already navy blue and dark brown have emerged as appropriate color for formal menswear, joining the legacy of black. Formal gowns and party dresses for women are already incorporating pockets! I think these changes are very exciting for consumers and designers because of the opportunities and possibilities.
The other side of fashion, the business side, is going to continue to flatten as East and West work together. Places in the Middle East (Dubai, Lebanon) and China (Hong Kong, Shanghai) will see the strengthening of fashion capitals that are important to the global fashion industry. And as these areas continue to industrialize and modernize, production costs will rise, forcing companies to look for new low-cost production much in the way the US market turned to China and India. So where do we go? I think Africa is going to emerge as a new resource for textiles and production.
So here is looking to a new, fashionable decade in a flattened global economy with many exciting changes and developments in the design landscape!
My idea for the Art of Manliness came about as I was reading Men’s Health magazine. It seemed to me that the magazine’s contents were continually going downhill, with more and more articles about sex and how to get six pack abs. Was this all there was to being a man?
And as I looked around at the men my age, it seemed to me that many were shirking responsibility and refusing to grow up. They had lost the confidence, focus, skills, and virtues that men of the past had embodied and were a little lost. The feminism movement did some great things, but it also made men confused about their role and no longer proud of the virtues of manliness. This, coupled with the fact that many men were raised without the influence of a good father, has left a generation adrift as to what it means to be an honorable, well-rounded man.
Second City Style is a weekly published women's fashion & beauty e-zine and daily updated blog. We are dedicated to high-fashion, high-shopping (not shopping high), and beauty. We toss in a little celebrity fashion smackdown, because let's face it...if you put yourself out there, you're food for fodder.
/ daily dose of imagery is a simple view of my day to day visual experience. I post one photo a day on this photoblog. for a brief technical detail of each photo, leave your mouse pointer
on images for a few seconds.
"On that note, I also love to experience moments of joy, and I like to share those moments with complete strangers over the internet. I find that recording these moments through words enhances them in ways photos could never do - the imagination strengthens them, and creates a much deeper memory to enjoy again and again." Robert White