Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ear Cuffs

The Helix or the Conch?

How well do you know your piercings?  Wiki Them Answers.
I have none, but even I knew #4.  The Daith is supposedly one of the most painful places to get punctured.
As one of the few girls who's happy with the holes Gaia gave her, I am limited to #7 and #1.
Hooray for ear cuffs.

below: etsy seller nevertakeoff $75                                       below: etsy seller ringringring $40

above: rough hewn wide ear cuff
from etsy seller
thebeadlily $35

below: ebay seller nicta10

Men Making Movie Magic

For those special men in your life, try fashionable gifts in a familiar form.  10 redesigned movie posters are available at Moxy Creative for around $30.  Each depicts a dapper dude in his career-making duds:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Trophy Jackets

Trend (n.)
: the general direction in which something tends to move.
: predominant tendency or inclination
: thing causing otherwise-reasonable women to purchase harem pants and fanny packs.

I'm not much for trends, mostly because I do pretty much all my shopping online or at the Sally Ann. I kid you not; retail shopping is exclusively an underwear/swimsuit venture for me now. Another reason, second only to my frugality, is that I loathe conformity for it's own sake. If jeans and T's are your staples, fine. There's nothing wrong with wearing 'classics' if they are in fact classics. Conventional items like bootcut jeans and Converse One Stars come and go with the coolness tide, but you get bonus points for credibility if you've been rockin' a pair of each for the past decade. When the time is right everyone will run out to buy new Levi's & Chuck Taylor's, but they won't look like yours, or feel like yours. Fashion trends are cyclical, and currently experiencing the same celeb-obsession that everything else is (check out the WhoWhatWear book, the gals break it down well).
So, I do trends like college kids vacation... in the off season. Doing either lets you avoid paying full price, fighting the crowds, and having the same photos as everyone else. So I had a little chuckle when I was researching Trophy Jackets and found this Vogue UK article that claims they are the 'it' item of Spring 2009. And, yes, Topshop has been cranking them out for a few years under Kate Moss's collab label and their own:

It's now Fall 2010 (in reality, Runwayland is stomping through Spring 2012 already). It's been a year since anyone called the Trophy Jacket a "must", "gottahaveit", or "go-to". Guess it's safe to go back in the water.
Love this streamlined black and gold version from Australian brand Willow. They do such glitzy & graphic stuff - if Cleopatra joined a biker gang stuff. Alas, it's, as Tony Soprano would say, two large (as in $2000, or the current Blue Book value of my car, or a year's worth of student loan repayment).

Instead, let's see what eBay has to offer in the Vtg (that's eBay truncation for 'Vintage') Beaded Jacket department:

eBay seller: Trendsetter Vintage

eBay seller: American Archive

eBay seller: Tin Roof Vintage

All super cute, a bit heavy (read: $$$) to ship, and apparently must be worn with daisy duke's short enough for Britney herself. Think I'll keep the Trophy Jacket on the back burner wish list, since I'm bound to get one of those infuriatingly cryptic "Dress Festive" invites over the holidays.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Naughty but Nice

Gemma Slack's new spring collection
Girls my age talk about things like 'shoe porn' and 'label lust' quite readily, but it's only the token loudmouth/slutty one (AKA: The Samantha) who discusses honest to goodness human PORN (gasp!). Like a dirty Dan Rather, this friend is tasked with earnestly updating all her gal pals on the latest gadgets, positions, and lewd goings on. She's Little Mikey, from those 1970's "Let Mikey Try It" commercials, only she's not diving into a bowl of cereal.

This friend is no less important to the group dynamic than She-Who-Bakes-All-The-Time or Type-A-Control-Freak-Who-Party-Plans-the-Bejeezus-Outta-Everything. We all need that 'nasty gal' friend, although... I suppose my Papa Bear's poker wisdom applies to this psycho-social pigeonholing; he used to say, "If you can't spot the sucker at the table then it's probably you".

Now, I don't mean to go all third-wave feminist, but there is a weird double standard for these sexual anthropologists among us (ie: while girls are slutty, guys are studs). So too has it gone in fashion. It goes without saying (but here, for your reading pleasure anyways) that the male and female forms have been treated disparately by all manner of artistic expression ever since some caveman picked up a stick a stick of charcoal and doodled a sketch of cavewoman.

Keira Knightly in Miu Miu, complete with areolas.
It's always seemed to me that what constitutes sufficient decorum in mode of dress is similarly bifurcate; historically, suitable attire doesn't depend so much on the audience or intended affect, but rather on the wearer's gender. (Wayne's World diddly doot diddly doot sound FX)... back to Junior High when girls were sent home for wearing tank tops that allowed bra straps to show. Conversely, the boys were sometimes asked to turn their T-shirts inside out if a particular teacher thought it crude or pornographic. This was in the heyday of those stupid Big Johnson shirts (which they still sell, so start saving up $18 in allowance money now Little Timmy). I think I even remember a wannabe badass sporting this tequila one in 7th Grade:

One could argue that wearing a supportive bra or revealing some upper body flesh during hot summer months would be, however distracting, integral to a young girl's comfort and ease of movement. I have yet to hear a equally cogent argument in support of youngsters donning T-shirts silk screened with profanity or hypersexualized imagery. But anyway...

In the realm of us free-speaking adults my Big Johnson dialogue takes on a different timbre. It becomes more about the line between:

clever, risque commentary on sexual identity and gender roles in modern society :)


vulgar, gratuitous pornography that degrades the wearer and disempowers the viewer :(

I am interested in designers that attempt to walk that line, many of whom are creating beautiful clothes that are, at base, just sophisticated innuendos. I am now of the mind that those grody grade school boys may have been on to something; you can't be offended by the joke if you don't get it.

If you live in a nunnery
or under a rock,
you might just think
this is a really pretty choker
(which it is):

Leah Piepgras's Sterling Silver "Pearl Necklace"

And if you saw me walking
down the street in a pair of these,
you'd only giggle if you had
Patrick Jane-like powers of observation
and a bit of a gutter mind:

Israeli fashion graduate, Kobi Levi, puts the fetish in 'shoe fetish' with his Blow Shoe.

So, whether the viewer is delighted or enraged, they are at least engaged. For those of us that believe fashion is of great importance as a means of personal expression, then either way it's a win. A cheeky public nod to a private part of life is something every girl should try. We can't let those Samantha-friends have all the fun.

For a 1998 AIDS charity benefit, James Fluevog designed the Body Parts shoe, which included a pro-life message on the sole and a phallic heel. He has reproduced the Body Parts shoe repeatedly, the most recent incarnation being the slick foldover ankle boot at below.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

If Geeks Had Girlfriends...

...they could buy these amazing 'Tron' heels.

Canuck designer Jerome Rousseau (yep, like the philosopher) was tapped to create the limited edition platform heel, which will sell for a measly $795 at LA pop-up shops to coincide with the movie's November release.

As with the rumored Snooki memoir deal, or Snook-a-Book, someone should've thought this one through:

I love a good Venn.

Worth A Thousand - Zach Galifianakis in Vanity Fair

John Fluevog

John Fluevog, the Vancouver-based cobbler, is celebrating his 40th Anniversary this year. The business was launched as a partnership under the name Fox and Fluevog. Today, the flagship stores in Gastown (above) and on Granville St. are more than commercial outlets; they are 'Flueseums', flocked to by fans of the distinctive brand's punk/psychobilly aesthetic and neo-Gothic detailing.

As of yet, I have only been an instore gawker. I noticed that most shoes leaving the store were going home with half of a happy couple, as if the other had been saving up for a special birthday or anniversary gift that was just redeemed. They are certainly a 'get' for people interested in unique footwear. Nowadays John's designs aren't all clunky Munsters; the more versatile boots and pumps are office appropriate and sleek, but with that unconventional Fluevog flair and humour.

Fashion flashback: In 1991's Truth or Dare Madonna opens a box to reveal hot pink Fluevogs, which she then proudly prances in for the camera.

Mr. Mandlebrot

Benoit Mandlebrot, the father of fractal geometry, died today at age 85. His legacy will be remembered and honoured, though mostly by wastoid freshmen whose dorm rooms are plastered with those magic eye posters and Mandlebrot's psychotropic wonders.

Instead, feast your eyes on the fractal fashions of Marios Schwab. His designs explode and exaggerate the topography of the human body, using strong geometry and structured prints.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I know I'm late to this party, but I just discovered the FEED program. Ellen Gustafson, one of the co-creators of the foundation, gave an excellent Ted Talk about global food security issues. Her thesis is this: 1 billion people overweight + 1 billion people undernourished = 1 global issue (food production and distribution). The FEED Foundation puts this Occam's Razor logic into action. To date, 539,188 'FEED bags' have been sold, providing 54,781,980 meals to children all over the world. New bags are launched for specific program targets, like Haitian relief or literacy. The most recent addition to the lineup is the Trick or Treat Feed Bag, sold exclusively through HSN with all proceeds benefitting UNICEF initiatives.
Three more good deeds masquerading as good duds:

ONE) Featured in November's Lucky, Lovetta Conto's Akawelle necklaces:

They are made from bullet casings found in and around the Liberian capital, Monrovia. The unisex design features two charms, one melted down and another untouched.

TWO) Wear You Music produces simple bracelets from used guitar strings, donating 100% of the profits to each artist's pet charity. Blues boy Jonny Lang's runs around $100 (cause: St. Jude's). Each order can be individually sized and embellished with diamond charms or other precious stones.
It's the perfect way to idol worship without having to elbow your way through a mosh pit and hope that Tommy Lee hucks his sticks in your general direction.

THREE) TOMS, founded in 2006 by entrepreneur and traveller Blake Mycoskie, is combatting soil-transmitted disease and injury in third world nations by providing footwear. The company motto "One for One" assures purchasers that for every pair of TOMS sold, a new pair of shoes will go to a child in need. The classic burlap flats are $65, and the rare wrap boots are $95. Think of them as Keds or Crocs, but with conscience.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Recently arrived at Shopbop, Eugenia Kim's (famed NY milliner) chunky fox scarf ($232)...

It's a cute commentary on the ever present fur debate, but nothing new. Industrious crafters have already posted handcrafted 'vegan' fox stoles, for much less, on Etsy.

Seller Celepiu's:
Raspberry Foks $75
Chocolate Foks $95

Those who can knit & purl may want to recreate it themselves (go freeform, or check out pattern options at Ravelry.)

Eugenia Kim fox scarf $232-

Ravelry pattern $3-

Yarn and notions $45-

Two afternoons worth of The Mentalist and a headstart on carpel tunnel $0=

Total savings $184

Monday, October 11, 2010

Worth A Thousand - Shoe design by Kobi Levi

Dare to Repair!

I volunteer as an 'image consultant' at a local Dress-for-Success-type agency that outfits women with appropriate interview and business attire. I suppose someone has to work a ladle down at The Soup Kitchen, but as far as socially conscious time investments go, mine is the FUNNEST! A couple times a week I get to dress up needful, grateful lifesize dolls and then thrust them into the downtown core with a veritable spree of shopping bags. It's a blast (ours originated with the local Junior League; see if there's an organiztion in your area).

Because I contribute during regular business hours the blend of fellow volunteers is strangely dichotomous. It seems the volunteers are either 'ladies who lunch' comfortable or somehow marginalized/unemployed/in transition. I am neither (read: comfortably unemployed). There is a fine line of circumstance that separates the two, and I am surely the volunteer who is toeing it. I wear brand names and have some tastes so expensive they sound like Tracy Jordan lines/Kanye West tweets. Yet, I buy almost everything steeply discounted online or through charity or vintage shops. I love that victorious feeling schlepping through Value Village, like I've somehow pulled one over, beaten the system, damned the man. At the volunteer agency I get a kick out of being the indistinguishable gray to the haves and have-nots (BTW all of whom get along famously, arguing only over things as trivial as "is this embellished cardigan cute or gaudy?")

There was a rather stirring conversation last week in the back-of-house while sorting through the mountain range of donations that is somehow constantly creeping towards the fire exit. These discussions are usually sparked by a single article of clothing being pulled from a garbage bag and held up, Lion King style, for the hushed onlookers to worship. My Scandinavian friend (recently immigrated and volunteering until her work papers are in) hoisted a spectacular wrap dress only to find a couple moth holes on the skirted portion; then the "do we toss it or is it WORTH saving" debate circled the room as the dress was passed and examined by each person. It looked orderly, like a Kindergarten classroom in which only the person holding the Share Bear gets to speak. I listened, unsurprised, to each woman's vote fall onto her side of the aforementioned line of privilege. Worth is subjective. I am guilty of devaluing items because they are, or even have an air of, disposability. Simply because I can throw something away doesn't mean I should.

I can't remember whether the dress was rescued or refused, but it has been front of mind since. I've been padding around my bedroom, eyeballing the unworn and forgotten garments that line the drawer bottoms and remote corners. There is a white hoodie ripe for a washing machine dye-job, jeans to be cut off, and even a wrap dress that would be far more useful as a top. So for the next few weeks my Bernina is going to take over the dining table, and hopefully I'll end up with a few 'new' things to wear volunteering.

Great DIY sites like BUST magazine and Threadbanger have friendly hosts that impart complex crafting know how in digestible little pieces. You can find anything from millinery techniques to silk screening. Free.

Some excellent resources for those interested in EcoChic. Beware: scary info about the environmentally deleterious effects of the cotton industry and alarming amounts of post-consumer textile waste... may change your lifestyle.

More books for upcycling inspiration:
The Generation T books (there are 2)

The modern day version of the Make Do and Mend propaganda of the 40's and 50's is Platform21's (an Amsterdam-based collective) Repair Manifesto. If you can get your hands on the vintage pamphlets too there's some grandmotherly wisdom about increasing textile longevity (ie: the extinct art of 'darning').

Another volunteer just told me to check out Wabi Sabi (Wiki That Shit), a Japanese theory and spiritual concept that focuses on the transient properties of material objects, honouring the imperfections and evolution that results from natural processes.
Beauty is impermanence.
I like it.