15 May 2009

Daria's Derring-Do

Not too long ago, I was drinking tea in a cafe on the Upper West Side and Daria Werbowy walked in and sat a few tables over from me. Inside I was a bit giddy; it's fun to see the models I write about, and Daria is one of my favorites.

I see models somewhat frequently and my reaction is usually not, "Wow, she's so gorgeous!" but rather, "Wow, she is so extreme looking." Extremely tall, extremely thin, extremely angular, and extreme eyes (my sisters and I call them hammerhead eyes, because often models eyes appear to be practically on the sides of their heads).

Daria is no exception physically, but her demeanor seemed soft. While I acknowledge that my brief and impersonal brush with Daria didn't give me luminous insight into her personality, she struck me as gentle.

Which is why I love these pictures from French Vogue so much. Here she models swimsuits atypically, and in my opinion, much more compellingly than in the run-of-the-mill swimsuit spreads we're all accustomed to this time of year.
I would like this photoshoot to inspire a movie directed by Quentin Tarantino.

13 May 2009

Jam in Tam?

Michelle hosting a poetry jam
Possibly wearing Vivienne Tam

If anyone knows
The designer of those
Colorful threads she is wearing

I beg you to tell me
and end my inquiry
To save the rest of us guessing


Ikat, or Ikkat, is a style of weaving that uses a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye on either the warp or weft before the threads are woven to create a pattern or design. A Double Ikat is when both the warp and the weft are tie-dyed before weaving.

Ikat means "to tie" or "to bind" in the Malay language.

Ikat has various international incarnations, from Indonesia to Spain to Native American tribal patterns.

A few seasons ago it found its way to the runway...

Yesterday it found its way to the cover of WWD:
There are Ikat handbags from Coach and Target... ...and Fall 09 woolens (thanks to Pendleton for Opening Ceremony).

So what do you think? Is this trend worth ikatching up on? (Sorry, sorry...).

photo source

12 May 2009

Mummified Muses

I visited The Met this weekend to see The Model as Muse. I was able to sneak a few pictures before getting tsk-tsked by a docent.

Unfortunately, the show was desultory and uninformative. The rooms were extremely dim, making it impossible to view the intricacies of the craftsmanship. The mannequins were, obviously, cold and lifeless, and when paired with the dull lighting, the room gave off the aura of a tomb.
The exhibit winds down a narrow hallway with about three switchbacks, and it ends in a large room with a moderately impressive collection of early Nineties dresses (Anna Sui, Perry Ellis). Making my way down the dark hallways, staring at the frigid mannequins decked out in their finest, I felt like I was tunneling through a burial vault, surrounded by mummies who had taken all their lovely garments with them to the grave in hopes of recovering them in the afterlife. I was half expecting to see a little mummified pet along the way, too.
The walk is formatted like a timeline. It begins with the turn of the century, then almost immediately jumps to Dior's New Look, then it skips to Mod London (loved the YSL beaded silk organdy - part Mod, part Flapper), and then charges full speed ahead into the Era of the Supermodel.

The timeline is as rudimentary as Spark Notes for 20th Century Fashion 101, only it is evidently missing several pages.

I wasn't aware of ambient music in the first part of the exhibit, but once I reached the era of Cindy, Christy, et al., I was suddenly bombarded with Wham's "Freedom" and the ostentatious designs of Gianni Versace. I quickly edged into the next room where jubilant Wham gave way immediately to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and the age of Kate Moss and anti-glamour.

The lack of segues was discombobulating and I was anxious to get away and on to something less bizarrely exhibited (like 5000 year-old Cypriot and Persian jewelry).

The Model as Muse, I believe, entirely missed its own point. It reinforced the stereotype of models being lifeless and personality-free clothes hangers, instead of vaunting the ability of rare models who surpass this lowly moniker by performing alchemy and bringing otherwise inanimate clothing to life. These models do exist and just might be worthy of their own show at The Met, but certainly not this one.

08 May 2009

Purple Python

This week I noticed that the bag I've been carrying around for months now looks decidedly funereal. The sun is shining, people have stowed their eskimo coats, women are wearing breezy skirts, and I'm still lugging a black, wintery tote.

Time to revamp for summer.

I'm taking night classes, so I still need a bag big enough to haul text books, a laptop, and all the other things I'm compelled to drag around the city.

I figure purple python with gold hardware is about as exotic and exciting as a tote gets, and right now life is calling for something exotic and exciting. No more wintery black.

I might look like Elle Woods carrying this into my economics class, but Elle Woods is my generation's feminist hero, isn't she?

Bag by Coach.

The Model as Muse

As a lover of fashion and denizen of New York City, I am very excited about the latest exhibit at The Met. The Model as Muse opened this week with much hoopla and, of course, the rote drama.

Anna Wintour wouldn't acknowledge Azzedine Alaïa's genius by including him in the show, and Alaïa got his feathers ruffled and called her a dictator, and now everyone's all in a tizzy.

I'll go to see the show, despite being a loyal admirer of Alaïa's, and I will simply say this: Azzedine Alaïa is an icon and institution whether or not Anna Wintour cares to acknowledge him. In addition, the most powerful woman in fashion has his back: Michelle Obama.

In fifty years, when they release coffee table books of Lady O's headline-making fashions, there will be picture after picture of the First Lady looking smashing in Alaïa, and Anna Wintour will be rolling in her grave.

With the First Lady as muse, who needs a model?

Shoes of the Summer

The Luella wedge by Cynthia Vincent.

My first official purchase of summer attire. I am so happy to put my boots at the back of the closet, paint my toes a vibrant color and rock some almost-5" heels.

Anyone else finding great summer shoes that call for vibrant nailpolish?

Wooden wedge, leather. Four straps from toe to vamp, two straps around ankle. Small buckle closures. Zipper opening from toe to ankle. Closed back. Leather insole and sole. 4.75" heel.

Find them here.