Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fashion magazines: next on the endangered list?

For the past few months I have practically stopped buying fashion magazines (save for a flurry of mad magazine spending a week ago) and have taken little interest in my subscriptions to Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Elle.
At first I thought it was because I was getting bored with fashion but I realized that that wasn't true because I was (and am) obsessively reading fashion blogs and keeping up-to-date on the latest shows, news and trends online.

I've been thinking a lot about why I don't seem to care about fashion magazines anymore. But the answer is obvious: the internet, stupid!

I wrote about the monotony of (American) fashion mags a while ago; specifically how Vogue was getting boring and stale. After writing that post a few months ago I still find it true that the magazine is uninspiring and dull. I was hoping that in this doom and gloom environment, Vogue would be putting out something more creative and exciting. Now all I do is flip through the pages and yawn.

International magazines fair a bit better; their photographs inspire me and frankly it's the editorials that make me buy them, not the articles. Yet still; I haven't been obsessively collecting every international issue of Vogue, Elle and Harper's every month the way I used to.

It seems that they have run out of ideas; every month it's the same. The pages look the same, the colours are the same, the models' poses are the same; the pages are the same format. I swear sometimes that Elle and Harper's Bazaar are the exact same magazine.
And I'm sick of the non-fashionable celebrities on the cover.

To borrow the diagram from blogger Style Amor, you can see how these two mags look so much alike, EVERY MONTH.

And Vogue covers. Don't get me started on those. They might as well be using the same celebrity on every cover because they put them in the same dresses and poses wearing the same facial expression.

However I do realize all the work and creativity it takes to make these magazines and I really respect the editors, photographers and everyone else involved in making the magazines happen. There are many talented people who are putting them together.
But I feel that they have fallen a bit behind the times and I think that it's not just the people who are to blame. I feel that magazines themselves are behind the times.

Why wait for a monthly magazine to tell me what the next trends are when I can go to any one of the amazing style blogs out there like fashion toast, karla's closet, Garance Doré or The Sartorialist? They can predict and style the trends better than Condé Nast. They are the ones who are inspirational, who come up with never-before-seen ideas. I get my inspiration now from these bloggers because they can do whatever they want and don't have the restrictions or the carefully planned editorial that fashion magazines do.
Instead of waiting for a magazine to show me the best of the F/W 09 collections, I can see them as soon as the shows are over when the photos and videos are uploaded on the blogs and style sites. I can see the bags, shoes, jewelry and clothes right after they've hit the runway so I can decide right then whether I want to buy them.

Fashion magazines need to keep up with the blogs and other style sites or else they will lose touch with their readers who are increasingly turning to the internet to get their fashion advice.

So, dear readers: Who do you look to for sartorial advice and news? Magazines or style blogs and sites?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Buy a piece of Zoe

If you've been a follower of this blog than you know that I am a huge fan of Rachel Zoe and her show The Rachel Zoe Project which I am happy to say is renewed for a second season.
If you watched the show you would remember that Zoe said she thinking about starting her own line of clothes and accessories. This was more than a year ago and I never heard a whisper about this actually coming to fruition. Until now!
People magazine has confirmed with Zoe that she is working on her own affordable fashion line which includes clothes, jewelry, bags and fragrances. Details about the line is still secret but I really hope that it reflects her style: glamorous and fun. Her motto is all about dressing up everyday even if you're just going to work or to a casual lunch; it's all about having a red carpet moment.
I really hope she does shoes because her taste in footwear is amazing; always super high heels (at least 5 inches) that really stand out.
For clothes I hope she does a mix of fun Cali wear like flirty dresses but also tailored suits that you can wear to work or to a party.

But my question to you is: Would you buy from the Rachel Zoe fashion line?

There are a lot of people who don't like her style specifically the bug sunnies, the leggings, the platforms and the flowy shirts; but Rachel understands that women have all kinds of body shapes and she doesn't dress her clients in just one style.

So I'm excited to see what she comes up with.

In other Zoe news, she is selling off a ton of her own jewelry on ebay and on the Decades Two website; so if you saw a cuff or huge ring you loved on the show it might be up for grabs. Check out the auction here. This could be your only chance to own a piece of Zoe!

Here are some of my favourite pieces up for auction:

Beaded cuff

Glass blue cuff

Chandelier necklace

Fringe choker necklace
Pearl cuff

Resin cuff
Snake cuff

Thursday, March 26, 2009

In an artsy mood

Even though I haven't moved out yet, and haven't even picked out an apartment, I am planning the art that's going up on the walls.

I've become obsessed with comic books the last couple of months; graphic novels like Fables, Y: The Last Man, V for Vendetta, Batman and Watchmen have captured my imagination.

But Fables, specifically their covers, have really caught my attention. Artist James Jean draws fantastically beautiful art for the cover of Fables. You may recognize his name because he drew the haunting nymph/fairies from the Prada S/S 08 collection.
His drawings evoke feelings of pleasure, fantasy and danger.

Look at these:

While many comic book covers are very straight-forward and cartoonish; Jean's covers are intelligent and thought-provoking; you have to look closely to see all the details and the full story.

These are some of my favourite which I plan on putting up in my future apartment:

This is probably my favourite cover. I love the soft colours combined with Cinderella's sex appeal and her fatalness. It's just a sexy drawing.

My second favourite cover is called "Suffer Not." The drawing shoes Hansel (of Hansel and Gretel fame) drowning two so-called witches. The image is so powerful to me because it is frightning. It makes me uncomfortable to look at because it is at once a beautiful drawing but it depicts murder. I love that.

A noose, a flying monkey and a soldier's helmet. What's going on in this drawing? If you've read the story you would know, but on its own, it's a mystery. I like the sense of lonliness and isolation I get when I look at it.

I just really like the wolf in this picture. It's a bit Asian in the drawing with the long, curvy brushstrokes and the green eyes.

Kick ass women in revealing dresses trying to kill each other? What's not to love?

I am a huge fan of Scheherazade's One Thousand and One Nights, so this genie drawing really excites me because it evokes all of those ancient stories of Aladin and his magic lamp.

Since I'm a huge Watchmen fan, I was so excited when I learned that Jean painted a portrait of Sally Jupiter that was used in the movie (it can be seen in the Comedian's room.)

I was even more excited when I learned that I could buy a print replica of it. And so I did. Along with a beautiful alien-like Christmas print.

Here they are:

It's done in the 50's pin-up girl style. You can buy it here.

I'm attracted to this drawing because there are many elements which I love about it. First of all, it's about Christmas which is my favourite time of the year, and secondly, it has weird alien-like beings in it. That combimation makes it awesome. You can buy it here.

Anyways I'm really excited to frame them and hang them up. Once I get that apartment of course.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My favourite movie costumes

I've been watching a lot of movies lately; mostly period pieces such as Atonement, Brideshead Revisited (and for the record, it is excellent) and Pride and Prejudice. I realized that a lot of their allure has to do with the costumes and that I am a huge fan of clothing from the 20s and 30s.
If I hadn't chosen journalism as my profession, I think I would have liked to be a costume designer for movies (If I had the talent of course.)

My mother bought me the book Dressing a Galaxy last Christmas. It provides the history of all of the costumes used in the Star Wars trilogy (the new one) which I find fascinating. It made me appreciate how much work goes into picking costumes for actors; and not just the leads, but for the potentially dozens or hundreds of extras. It made me realize that the costume could make or break the experience for a viewer. If the costume fits; the viewer will believe the actor playing a character and will be transported to that world. But if the costume doesn't work; then the whole movie fails.

I picked out a few movies which I enjoy and happen to have my favourite costumes.
In no particular order:

1. Marie Antoinette
I think that the main reason I love this movie is solely based on the costumes. They are so extravagant and regal that I could just stare at them for hours. They really transport me back in time to 18th century France.

2. The Duchess

I posted about this movie a while ago before I saw the movie because I was excited about the costumes. Watching the movie made me love the costumes even more when they came to life. It's probably no coincidence that the time period is exactly the same as Marie Atoinette so many of Keira Knightley's dresses are in the same style as France's queen; however there are several clothes, such as the one pictured, which are more masculine. The tailoring and the details are exquisite.

3. Pride and Prejudice
Right now this is my favourite movie. The beautiful piano music, the lush scenery, the obvious love between the cast and of course, the costumes, make it a joy to watch.
Keira's Elizabeth Bennett wears simple yet elegant dresses. They are very floaty and look comfortable to wear. Very pretty. And I love Mr. Darcy's high collared and stiff coats.

4. Vertigo
I love Hitchcock films but I think Vertigo is in my top three. I love this suit. I love how it flatters Kim Novak's hourglass figure, I love the neckline and the front pockets. It's formal but sexy.

5. The Devil Wears Prada
This is an obvious one. There is so much eye candy in this movie. Costume designer Patricia Field could have gone really crazy a la Carrie Bradshaw here and thank God she didn't. This is my favourite outfit in the movie. Those high leather boots and that schoolboy blazer make me die.

6. The Great Race
I just bought this on DVD because I haven't seen it for 10 years and I remember how much it used to make me laugh. But now I can appreciate the clothes! Natalie Wood makes many costume changes; from equestrian to outrageous ball gowns; it's a real treat to watch.
Tony Curtis' 'The Great Leslie' also has great sartorial moments with white suits.

7. The Godfather

Ok I'm just going to come out and say it: Michael Corleone looks damn hot in this suit.

8. Gattaca
The characters in this movie aren't supposed to be fashionistas; they're all trying to fit in and look the same and so the costumer put them in black suits for the men, and high-collared, black jackets and pants for the women. These clothes only enhanced the emotions of the movie and the characters; very stiff, formal and clone-like on the outside, but really they are putting on a mask. Love this movie.

9. Casino
Al Pacino's Sam Rothstein stole the show. Correction: his clothes stole the show. He got to wear very flamboyant suits; lots of bright colours like pink and yellow; stripes and checkers. It was really fun just watching all the cool suits he got to wear.

10. Titanic
Say what you will about the film but Rose got to wear freaking awesome clothes, even if she could barely breathe in them. This one is my favourite. I love the buttons and the diagonal cut of the skirt. It's a little nautical but completely regal. Love the hat.

11. Brideshead Revisited (The TV series and the movie)

Before I saw this movie I blogged about my excitement over the costumes. I just finished watching Brideshead Revisited the movie and I loved it. It's hard to watch it without comparing it to the much-beloved mini-series, but it definitely suceeded. And the costumes are gorgeous. The movie went all out with exotic clothing for Julia Flyte (see the Oriental dress) and put religious Lady Marchmain in furs. Sebastian in both the TV series and the movie is always wearing a well-cut suit with a dash of something saucy- whether it be a spotted scarf, a colourful tie or a flower in his breast pocket. Charles Ryder wears beautiful suits; very English and very proper.

Cheers to beautiful movies!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Can I wear these to work?

I bought these shoes from Aldo a few weeks ago because I've been obsessing over those Balmain studded leather ones from last season.
They're perfect because they go with everything; skinny jeans and a casual tee and any kind of dress. Day or night you can rock these heels.
But my question to myself is: Can I wear these to work? When I showed them to my sister she immediately proclaimed that they were "hooker heels." Her words, not mine. Which led me to second-guess my idea of wearing them to work.
When I dress for work I don't have an exact formula in my mind or a standard uniform; I pretty much wear what I feel like in that moment and I'm usually too tired to try hard. I don't care if I don't match or if my heels are too tall or if I wear a large sweater. I like to mix it up a bit with cool jewelry, tartan heels, schoolboy blazers and I like experimenting with length and volume. So if I'm wearing tight pants then I'll pair it with a loose tee. I also don't like to stand out a lot and I think these shoes might stand out. Just a bit. But will my co-workers think that I'm wearing "hooker heels"? Damnit, now my sister has me quite petrified that I will be labeled the office ho. My nickname will be "Hooker Chloe" or "Hot Heeled Chloe" or something equally embarrassing.

Which leads me to think about what is appropriate to wear to the office. There are a lot of women and some men in my office who dress well but none of them take chances with their clothes or accessories. But maybe I shouldn't judge; it's not like we're working at a fashion magazine. Still, is it taboo to wear something flashy to work? Are women too scared to wear their hooker heels in the office for fear of being labeled a trollop? Maybe it is inappropriate?
But I'm not talking about dressing like you're about to go clubbing. I'm talking about wearing something unexpected like my shoes, or a jacket with big shoulders or neon pink harem pants. Just for fun. Just to challenge yourself and defy the expected way of dressing for work.

I haven't worked up the nerve to wear something unexpected and maybe it's not appropriate for an office that is non-fashion related. But maybe one day I will get the courage to wear my fabulous shoes to work and not be scared of what people will think.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's been a while

I decided to take a break from writing on this blog because a lot of things were going on in my life that were keeping me very busy and preventing me from being inspired to write about fashion.

But it's been a while and I think I'm ready to start again and I'm regaining my excitement about fashion which means I will be posting again (hopefully) regularly.

To tell the truth I think I became a bit disillusioned about fashion and what it meant to me. I wasn't as excited about it and I felt I had nothing new to comment about. That and I've become obsessed with comics lately and I can't stop reading them and reading about them so fashion has been put on the back burner.

But in recent news, my Valentino interview was published in the Winter issue of Naked Eye magazine so grab a copy and check it out.

I've been pouring over the photos of the F/W 09 collections and I have to say that I am so over the 80s revival. 80s fashion was bad enough for a whole decade so why is it coming back? We don't need any Dynasty clones walking around.

Thankfully Paris did it (mostly) right with minimal 80s throwbacks. Loved McQueen, Givenchy, Lagerfeld and Margiela.

I spent way too much money on magazines yesterday and now have the whole weekend to drool at the photos of Lara Stone in Paris Vogue and Emily Blunt in British Harper's Bazaar. I love the clothes from the S/S 09 collections. I want to frame every photo in Paris Vogue; they are so beautiful. Peter Lindbergh's portraits of Lara are haunting. Makes me want to buy two copies so I can rip out the photos of one and put them up on my walls, and keep another pristine issue.

I've been trying to cut back on spending since I'm saving up for an apartment but it's hard. Whenever I walk past a store I see something that I must get like a giant black cocktail ring or a pair of snakeskin heels. I have to keep saying to myself that I don't need that black jacket with the diagonal zipper and I don't really need another schoolboy blazer. But it's hard.

I'm going to leave you with the Lindbergh photos of Lara. They inspired me to start blogging about fashion again.