Friday, January 28, 2011

Nitty Gritty Dirt Brand

I've always wondered about Nudie jeans, the popular raw (untreated) denim brand.  I know styles range from $150-$600 and have been gaining popularity with fashion-savvy dudes for the past few years (see also: Canadian brand Naked & Famous). The emo hipsters in my painting class would constantly preach their no-wash virtues like you would praise a growing child.

and the Nudie website serves up lots more new-agey BS::
     "Use your dry jeans as much as possible before the first wash. Six months is a good start. A pair of jeans
     is like a second skin where the indigo and denim are living materials. Jeans is all about passion and deep
     relationship – the more you wear and treat your jeans, the more beautiful they get. Your everyday life
     gives the denim its unique character, formed by you into a second skin – personal and naked."

They're not jeans, they're a journey!

Well, a University of Alberta student has taken the Nudie "six month start" and turned it into an experiment in human ecology.  Josh Le, 20, has been wearing the same pair of Nudies for the past 15 months. He wore them nearly every day, including one month of 24-hour wear to "really let the sweat shape the creases".

--What about stains, you ask?  Wipe them with a paper towel and carry on.

--What about the smell, pray tell? Le would hang the jeans up overnight to aerate.  After a family trip to California he was forced to triple-bag them and stash them in the freezer.

--What about bacteria, you say?  Le and his surpervising professor swabbed the jeans at the end of the 15-month wear and then compared the skin flora to that of freshly washed jeans - no difference.

Josh Le walks the halls of The UofA, Nudie clad.

So, can you wear the same pair of jeans for 15 months straight without washing them and remain free from harmful bacteria?  Looks like you can.  Should you?  Well, all the raw denim geeks will think you are righteous and soulful; everyone else will think you're homeless.

Top 10 Fashion Statements of 2010

I'm over New Year's as a holiday.  My days of house shakers and kissing strangers at midnight are over.
What I do get excited for are those Best Of lists that come out in January.  It's the easiest way to play catch-up on all those internet memes (Sad Keanu, where are you now?), indie rock albums, and news stories you should've found long ago.

Time Magazine does the Top 10 of Everything and it is just that, from soundbites to true crime.
The Top 10 Fashion Statements, according to Time contributors:

10. Heidi Klum wears a polka dot sheath by PR-finalist Mondo Guerra.  He lost, and Keidi showed her objection a month later by donning his design.  If I had Heidi Klum's body, I'd use it to prove all my points too.

9.  Charo, who is my 2nd favourite silicone-enhanced septuagenarian.  Dolly forever.

8.  Taylor Momsen.  A lesson to pageant moms everywhere; this is what child actors and models grow up to look like.
before, during...


7.  Rita Wilson at the Emmys.  She took a tonne of flak for the Prada frock, a white sheath covered by a kind of crystalline tabard.  I do think the matchy-matchy shoes are way too much, but otherwise I think she looked great.

And it is a statement.  Maybe she's stating she's open to starring in some badass sci-fi remake, like Barbarella: Being Middle Aged in the Space Age.  But see behind her: Tom obviously thinks she's beautiful, so fashion mistake or not, I think Rita gets the last laugh.

6.  Britney Spears in something slutty.  Snore.  See also: worst dressed lists 2009, 2008, 2007....infinity.

5. Rihanna and the pointy green jumpsuit (above).  I get it.  She's talented, but Rihanna annoys me because she dresses so purposefully ugly in that "I'm so pretty I can even pull off X" way.  In this case, X stands for "a blindingly emerald onesie with Joan Crawford shoulders and camel-toe crotch paired with full-on Bieber hair".  Besides, I prefer my low-cut green dresses to be of the J.Lo naval grazing variety.

4. Prince.  No news there.

3. Venus Williams and the somewhat see-thru tennis dress at the the French Open (like Basic Instinct, but with fuzzy yellow balls).

2. M.I.A's graffiti burka (below)
might as well have just thrown a little sketch of Mohammad on there while you're at it
 1. Lady Gaga in the infamous meat dress.  I am in the Love Her camp, and I DO buy this as performance art, but those in the Hate Her camp have a point: it's a dress made of meat and she looks ridiculous.  I would hope it's some perspicacious statement about feminism and the modern woman, but her responses to the media ranged from disappointing to incoherent.  I think this kind of fashion statement should have a short shelf life, just like the T-bones it's made from, cuz both start to stink if you just let them stay out.

Mostly, the list was all about shock and awe-naw-she-didn't!
Crazy for the sake of crazy is not a statement, Time.
I think there were tonnes of fashion statements notably absent from the list:

1a)  It was definitely the Year of the TV Stylists! 
Genius and costumer Jane Bryant makes us all swoon for Mad Men.  Stop Staring dresses fly off the racks and we all get revved up for the Swinging Sixties to hit next season. 

1b) Kyra Sedgewick is finally getting the recognition she deserves for 6 seasons of The Closer.  I've long admired her acting, AND the work of costume designer Greg LaVoi.  Set against an all-male cast, he dresses the star in vintage 40's blazers (tailored within an inch of her life), printed skirts, bright trenches, and that big black bag.  Check out Brenda's fashions on the TNT site.

1c) Runners up:
Eric Daman of Gossip Girl wows us with a well edited selection of designer fare.
Mandi Line of Pretty Little Liars does an adolescent version of Pat Fields' SATC.  Each girl has her own 'look', but all 4 are into budget-friendly clothes and accessories from the like of Target and Dillards.

2)  Chanteuse Alison Goldfrapp never disappoints with her trademark day-glo catsuits and wild mop of curls, both part of her on-stage persona.  Lady Gaga take note: she is NOT wearing 18 inch platform heels that require her to be carried in a litter from place to place. 

3) Naomi Campbell's Fashion Relief Benefit, held just a few days after McQueen's death.  The host walked with Kate Moss and Annabelle Neilson in the late designer's last collection.  It was a sweet and personal tribute, from a decidedly surface industry.

4) Between rehabs, Lindsay Lohan finds the time to design a collection for once-reputable Ungaro.  Chaos ensues, and the House promptly cans her.  Lesson learned.

PS: Lindsay maintains a legging collection called 6162.  Hate to admit it, but I have a pair or two.  I suppose if you want wedding dress you go Wang; if you want leggings you go Lohan.

5) Livia Firth wears eco-conscious designers for every public appearance while accompanying hubby Colin, as he promoted the Tom Ford directed A Single Man.  Her effort comes to be known as "The Green Carpet".

6) Boobs, they're HUGE right now.  All over runways and ad campaigns, breasts were big in 2010.  Elle MacPherson and Laetitia Casta (below) walked in Louis Vuitton's sweetheart-necklines.  CK-favourite Lara Stone was voted Model of the Year.

7) The Emmas and their hair - Watson cuts hers and tempts fate to give her the Felicity-syndrome of immediate unmarketability.  Lets hope she stays commercially viable without her Hermione Granger mane.  Then Stone has to dye her hair blond for the Spiderman remake/prequel/reimagining/sequel/CGIfest.  It hits the internet immediately and the nerds are divided.

8) Silly Bandz - the mega-trend started by gradeschoolers gets co-opted by fashionistas everywhere, who choose to pair the bright bangles with their couture:

9) The GTL Look - I hate to admit it, but the Jersey Shore is now part of our collective consciousness.  It is a look.  A terrible, over-tanned, juiced-up, Ed-Hardified look but a look nonetheless.  Can't say I've ever seen an episode, but it was EVERYWHERE as a Halloween costume and it comes to mind every time I see a girl wearing her hair in a weird little bouffant alien-bump.  Alas, 2010, perhaps its best you're over.

some things can't be unseen

Any more suggestions: leave 'em in the comments below.

Does this pregnancy make me look fat?

This makes me sad...

Selling at Shopbop for ~$30, the Power Mama Maternity Shaper.

While I am a SPANX convert, THIS is where I draw the line.  I thought the silver lining of a 9-month nightmare pregnancy (besides getting a healthy baby outta the deal) is that you can walk around bloated, flatulent, and sporting thick beige underwear pulled up to your armpits without public scorn.  It's like being elderly - what was once an unspeakable corporeal necessity suddenly becomes adorable, endearing, and welcome in public.

Well, no more, ladies.  You're now expected to look svelte and panty-line-free even when up the duff.
Talk about rough.

I call for more hot-mamas-to-be to let it all hang out!  Witness:

Busy Phillips, sporting a teenage scowl in Freaks n Geeks
and (bravely) an 8-month bump in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

M.I.A. might be making a fashion misstep at the Grammys,
but her body confidence more than makes up for it.

I'm sure pregnant gals still want to look their best, be healthy, and dress fashionably (just like the rest of us).  So let's all meet them halfway, and create a world in which pregnant ladies are considered beautiful, tiny tummy rolls and all.

It's (Not Just) In The Bag - Rebecca Minkoff

Rebecca Minkoff Spring 2011
Rebecca Minkoff, the woman who names her bags things like "The Morning After" (satchel), "Fling" (bedecked clutch), and "Paper or Plastic" (folding wallet) now makes appropriately hip and cheeky clothes.

Isabel Marant and Rachel Comey are the reigning queens of French girl chic, ... but I love the creative 9-5 style that Minkoff is going for.  She's definitely in their territory, and at a far fairer price point. 

the eponymous designer
Her first ready-to-wear collection came out in 2009; limited, but edgy and cool, with enough mini-dresses to ensnare a few Hollywood starlets.

'Claudia' dress $310
Paris Hilton in the 'Claudia'

Her bags have been long favoured for their marriage of rock-chic toughness and practical detail.  They're bedecked with rivets and zippers, belying the hyperorganized interior - for girls who date tattooed musicians without checking accounts, yet still want to keep their iPads and lipsticks compartmentalized.

Her clothing is becoming just as synergistic:
Skinny pants for late-night concerts, ruffled silk blouses, demure dresses, and a new shoe line that's predominantly Parisian-girl ankle booties.  Her collection is like a capsule version of that study in contrasts mix.  It's part buttoned-up and wearable, part raw and rebellious.   And it all looks even cooler with rumpled bedhead, which I consider to be a huge plus.

'Victor' zipper sweatshirt $250

'Ilaria' dress $310

'Python' skinny jeans $195

'Sophie' top $200

'Bardot' top $250

'Lindbergh' jacket $495

Silk 'necklace' dress $430

'Serge' suede zipper pants $625

'Tatiana' top $250