Last weekend I attended a local fashion show, which might as well be held in a high school gym: with few exceptions all the models were teens. Bored and provocative ones. Youth culture glorified for an hour and a half while all I could think was here we go again. I mean really, is Lolita as far as we are ever going to aim for in women’s fashion? Must we be subjected to one slouched anorexic 15 year old after another in lieu of confident and poised women? Don’t get me wrong, youthful designs inspire me, a reminder that life can begin again and rejuvenate endlessly, but there is a vacancy that I object to, a detached apathy, as if our greatest achievements are better shrugged off. Kate Moss has that practiced look, as does her younger version Cara Delevingne as evidenced in their latest ad campaign. Smudged eyes, messy hair, with a “Oh? You’re here to look at us?” look. No matter that they are sporting ONE $2,000. Burberry trench for the TWO of them, we feel only disdain under their gaze, as if we are the intruders in their private game and not, as they are, only models used to sell some thing.
I decided to pack what I love. Those are the first words my dear friend spoke when she arrived back in Vermont after spending the winter months in the Sunshine State. She greeted me wearing white studded jeans, stylish wedge sandals, and an open cardigan that took the breeze with charm. I don’t care what Vermonters wear, she said, I’ve brought clothes that make me feel happy. Then she gave me the once over. You don’t look like Vermont! 100% true in the stereotypical sense. There’s not a Carhartt or LL Bean label in MY wardrobe. Welcome to the new Vermont, I said, where there doesn’t seem to be any fashion rules. I step to one side of ready wear but stay on the edge of costume, teetering on the fringe I feel exactly right, exactly me.
But my friend’s assumptions got me thinking. Where a person shops dictates how they look. If you shop in a box store, you tend to look like everyone else in that box, right? Luckily for me, Vermont is a place where local is plentiful, and this is as true in fashion as it is in our abundant farm to table market. Plenty of East Coast designers are showcased in our boutiques, but even if they aren’t local, they are small companies keeping their pulse on trends and using natural materials with consideration for the natural world. Shopping with this consciousness a woman can feel good creating the look she wants.
On this July day, I decided to visit three favorite, woman-owned boutiques, and see what’s on their shelves for summer. Continue reading
New York Fashion Week might be winding down, but we are still digesting images of the gorgeous textures of Nanette Lepore’s collection, Anna Sui’s brilliantly blended era’s of the 40s and the 70s, the feathers of Marchesa’s embroidered gowns, Jason Wu’s reinvented suits and Michael Kors’ Fall line which reflects a new maturity with his posh patterns and relaxed styling. Plenty of designer clothes to dream over! Let’s not forget Rodarte’s “strongest collection of their career, capped off by five stunning finale gowns incorporating classic artwork from the “Star Wars” films. The sweeping silk charmeuse looks, made with the blessing of Disney and the films’ creator George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson, avowed fans of the brand who have been spotted before at Rodarte shows, featured the most beloved characters of the epic story, Luke Skywalker, Yoda, C-3PO and R2-D2. Also translated onto silk, the Death Star and a beautiful landscape of the twin suns of Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine” (Moore). Can I just say, I love!
Notice how everyone is populating their news feeds with Year in Review Best Moments? All those Instagram and Statigram slideshows caused me to reflect on my own photo shoots over this past year. Looking back, I can only admit, I certainly had fun! Seriously, dress-up is the best, right? So, as my final salute to the fading year, I offer you highlights from my seasonally inspired fashion in this year end post.
Autumn is upon us, with flooding sunshine and falling leaves and dropping temperatures. This is a favorite time of year because of the blast of color and treats of harvest, after all, who doesn’t love all shades orange or every apple recipe? As I moved summer lightweights to the back of my closet and woolen garments to the front, I made another adjustment, the shift from sandals to boots! Perhaps more than ever boots are everywhere, from the runway to the street, lace-up to zip-up, ankle height to over-the-knee, suede to shiny and in every hue. For this shoot, I dug up a favorite pair from last year and donned new favorites, but each one is a walkable boot–my main criteria. After all, we need to keep moving with all this brilliance around us! Joined by my kitty we danced about in the foliage for a brilliant afternoon.
In The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly, the fabulous antagonist, rants about style and trends and color in relation to what ‘we’ simple shoppers experience while scanning department store displays. She is not exactly trying to teach her new assistant about the hierarchy of fashion, but in a backhanded way reveals how trends trickle down from the walkway to our sale racks. I never shop without hearing her tirade in my mind!
“This stuff’? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.”
Besides the brilliance of Meryl Streep’s delivery and the careful crafting of Aline Brosh McKenna’s screenplay we are left stunned by the machine of the fashion industry, and from runways to sale bins, you realize how superb but limiting trends are on our shopping. We are dictated to–except–and here is where I am most excited–except if you shop outside of the box.