Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I love Rachel. I wish she were my wife.

I am a little obsessed with fluorescent bar light installations. I especially like this one, even though the cables are all exposed (it's like they're naked! a modicum of decency, please. Or neatness. My inner neat freak EXPOSED!)
But the sentiment is one we all need to be reminded of from time to time, don't you think? Especially when you have a chapter written in your head and have to choose one thread to be the first you draw out but can't quite make up your mind so instead you spend an hour trawling Style Rookie archives to find The One Where Tavi Ties A Basket To Her Hip. (My sentences have become Friends episode names (hi Stell).)
Or is that just me?

For those playing at home, it's here. Now I have to write something about tactics and bricolage and intersperse all my prose with quotes like "this totally bonkerz blue basket." 
I love my life.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

a hard-bound drug.

I do like this.

Commenting or 'don't be shy'

 This could be us!

Those of you who've been with me for a while will know this about me: I have an opinion on almost everything. If I am asked to hold forth on an issue, even if I haven't ever considered it before, I will think of something to say. Whether I am brilliant at thinking on my feet or simply like the sound of my own voice, YOU DECIDE. 
The point is that I like commenting on what's going on around me. Which would make you think that I like commenting on blogs. But I don't- I loathe it. It makes me feel sycophantic, so even if I loved a post I will rarely mention this to its blogger. Unless I feel urgently about it, I just let my mind turn the resulting thoughts over and either write it up here or in my notes for the ol' Ph. 
So I've never thought it strange that I don't get many comments on Fashademic (cause everyone is exactly like me, right?) until last night when my friend/PR guru/life coach Ash floated the suggestion that maybe it's because people are intimidated by the blog's academic angle.
Not that I am an academic (yet?) but that this blog certainly makes a claim to be thoughtful about fashion, and readers might be reticent to put their thoughts forward in case... I slam them? Or disagree? Or it sounds unclever? I was saddened and a little horrified to think that this could be the case.
But the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. A lot of you write to me on Twitter or email me with responses to what I've written but rarely comment directly on this forum (with the exception of a few of you, whose names in my mind are accompanied by an angelic chorus of gratitude for taking me to task when I am wrong/have unintentionally made a gaffe/you liked what I did.) 
So was Ash right? Are you reticent about committing publicly here? Some people have said they don't want to 'interfere' with my research (cause they know me outside of the blog) but you're already part of the research if you're reading this! Your response is as important and interesting as that of someone I don't know because you're a reader, too.

Fashademic is one big experiment for me. I have no idea what people will enjoy (the Charlotte Rampling post has so far generated over 500 searches. Welcome, rampant Rampling fans) or what to write half the time. I bash out (literally- have you heard me type? Yes, 'heard', I'm that girl) whatever comes to my mind, sometimes with typos or long-windedness and you, in the goodness of your hearts, come back for more. I'm certainly not the type to look at anyone else's thoughts at the end of a sneering nose, and I'm genuinely curious to hear what you think. I can't promise that your responses won't end up in my thesis (if they're in the public domain they're fair game, I'm afraid) but you're welcome to submit them anonymously. I mean, you don't have to- but you should feel free if you want to say something because I'm only here out of a spirit of curiosity and eagerness to engage with what you say (and what I say, of course.)
Annnnnd- break!

A heartbreaking realisation.

"I'm making a zine lampooning hipsters," I told her.
She laughed. "But you're a hipster!"
"I am not!" I replied, aghast. "I care about what I do! I have heart. And I don't want to be 'cooler' than anyone else."

But then I realised I'm making a zine and I have a blog and I blogged about making the zine. All this while we were approaching a bar that you have to text a password to enter. 
Am I just a hipster in denial?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Miu Miu Musings III: The Pace of Fashion

For those who haven't seen it yet, here's an interesting video on the speed of fashion.

I found Imran Amed's inital reflection on the lag between the communication of fashion imagery and commentary on the catwalk, and the time when the collections actually drop really interesting. 
Similarly interesting was Shala Monroque's proposition that consumers now get tired of a collection before it is even available because the fashion media (of all text types) has been so saturated with its image that consumers don't want to wear it anymore. I wonder if this was the case with the Miu Miu dress that was on four August 2009 covers and featured in countless editorials:

or the blockbuster Prada collection of Spring/Summer 11/12 which had clocked 48 covers at last count:
See the rest at Fashionista

What we want to wear and how we want to wear it seems more fractured than ever. If what we are supposed to want is to be stylish (to have style of our own as well as to recognise the most important items as they appear) is it any surprise that consumers have developed fleeting, peripatetic tastes? We're always looking for the Next Thing.
The speed at which we can consume images and information seems to have led to a false expectation that we can have as soon as we want.
I don't know what the fashion industry can do to counter this short of every major house adopting an exhausting Zara-style drop schedule but it seems like the shift in consumer demand has resulted in a proliferation of ways of purchasing and places in which to do it. And when the internet never stops, and the barrage of fashion imagery and product releases are spread over countless platforms, it doesn't seem that our expectations will be changing any time soon.

Read more about this Musings salon discussion at BoF
I keep having dreams about style blogging and, more weirdly, about style bloggers. Last night I dreamt that I was introduced to the Man Repeller and we instantly hit it off as only two fashnerds in harem pants and turbans can (so what if hers is Prada and mine is a knotted silk sash? UNIMPORTANT.) So we were laughing and running through Barneys throwing things at each other to try on and, as it was a dreamscape not a real-life situation, the floorstaff and other customers were beaming benevolently at us instead of shooting us filthy glares and strong-arming us out the glass doors.
It was seamless. 
It was bizarre. 

And much better than the prospect of dreaming about what I have actually been doing this past week which has been filling out an ethics application. Nothing stumped me quite as much in all those (25+) pages as the question "provide a brief summary of the project in lay language (approximately 100 words.)" 

'My project is about... style blogs?"

Yes, I can wax lyrical about the minutiae of blog readership but ask me to be brief and I go blank. Luckily I had days to tweak that three sentence answer to perfection (and that's why I'm a fashademic!)
And now, it's done! I really, really hope it goes through asaps so I can start interviewing people... (And all of a sudden, I'm super earnest. Behind this bravado is a twisted knot of ambition, hopes and socially awkward nerdiness. I try and hide it from you but you see right through me, don't you?)

So, what else? (yes, this is like an email. Let's call it a narratorial choice and move on) Today is the last day of filming for Lindy & I so hopefully we will have something to show you in a couple of weeks. I have also found that there's a professional academic also working on style blogs which was really exciting, found an article that she wrote which was even more exciting, then found that the article was written entirely in the most beautiful French. Cue a frantic call and a generous friend of a friend and now it's being translated! Am keen to hone up my French so in future it can be me hunched over the Francais-English dictionary while smoking a Gauloises...but minus the Gauloises... because I don't smoke. 

I also had an idea for a bag I'm going to make and bore you to death with in-progress pictures of and started a zine in which I will vent all my hipster 'ughhhhhhhh's. It's called 'See the World through Wayfarer Glasses' unless I think of something better which won't be hard because that title is fairly lame. I am terrible at thinking of titles for projects- when I said that I was going to call this 'Rosie's Fashion Blog' I was only half joking. Luckily there are people like YSIC in the world who are able to take two words and merge them into one giving birth to clevernesses such as 'fashademic.'
But now I'm just avoiding the PRSS funding form that's due in two days so I will disappear and leave you with this to enjoy

It made my cry with laughter and it's only the trailer.

Monday, May 23, 2011

look, see. . .

This is a teaser for the short documentary we're filming right now. Couldn't wait to share a visual!
ps. Do those pants not make you want to die a little inside every time you see them?
To me they are the perfect garment.
sleep well x

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Francoise Hardy.

If I used the phrase 'style icon' her name would be near the top of my list. But I don't, so let's just call her a mega-babe, walleye that midnight blue skivvy dress and move on.

Monday, May 16, 2011

or, why I like Fake Moodboard so much at the moment.

All the pretty fashions on pretty Tumblrs of lost girls with long tangled hair, wearing antlers or kneeling on unmade beds or smoking louchely and generally looking lost, blank and pouty are irritating me no end lately. 
Give me some grit. 
I want to see sculpted shoulderblades carving through unravelling chiffon. I want to see the sweat as well as the shine, the hangover that comes after the whiskey in the antique glass tumbler is gone. Some decay and some darkness amongst the impossibly glossy, healthful Bambi-girls. 
I want to tell these picturesque and retumblred girls that they don't always have to prance through fields or be cute or be winsome. That hair can be downright filthy and tangled, not just tousled. That they can be a bit ugly, a bit warped, that they can have bits that jut out. Pimples. Bags under their eyes. A hard glare instead of a soft stare. 
Then again, I should probably just spend less time wandering through the internet.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

And after the light of day

Travelled to Cockatoo Island early in the morning, first thing, to capture the light and ourselves in it before the day got too long. Took clothes, lots of clothes, and a camera. Filmed an assignment, secret for now, but it took hours of changing in corners behind concrete blocks and hoping no-one at the top of the island was copping an eyeful. Hours of holding a pose in the sunlight and walking slowly and swishing my coat whilst standing on a pylon and just spending glorious time with Ol' Vision-Eyes Lindy. Wonderful and unusual and fun. And it convinced me I don't have the stamina to ever, ever be a model- after five hours my brain was positively screaming for a book. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dresses as coats over dresses.

When I was a mid-teen and first discovered vintage, my mum's wardrobe was a source of endless delight. Once she and Dad went on an overseas holiday and I had a good, old stickybeak at what she had in there. And when I say 'stickybeak' I really mean rummage and try on and carefully put back so she'd be none the wiser (hi Mum.)
I found o so many beautiful items. Like a cowl-necked, black, silk velvet floorlgenth gown from the Forties that belonged to my great-grandmother. And a pale-green crepe teadress, bought at the Portobello Road markets when mum lived in London and was working as an usher at a theatre. But my favourite dress was by Australian label Merivale, one that was really popular in the Seventies. It was terracotta red and cream with abstract stripes and flowers; it had the smallest puff sleeves, with a thick cuff at the elbow, and it flowed easily to the floor. It breathed 'elegant hippy' and as it turns out, mum bought it to wear to a school social when she was in year ten. 
I tried it on and- horror of horrors, sorrow of sorrows- it only fit from the waist down. When my parents moved to Melbourne, I became the breathless guardian of most of these treasures including the Merivale dress and would try it on from time to time in the desperate hope that somehow my proportions had realigned so that it would encase me completely in its light cotton loveliness. Never happened. Until one day, after another fruitless trying on I glanced in the mirror and realised... it looks just as good as a coat!
And this, my friends, was the beginning of a new infatuation: dresses worn open as loose, light, lovely coats over other loose, light, lovely dresses.
Worn here with a Lover dress, shoes from Zomp and a vintage belt. The dry ends are all my own. Jealz?
Actually, the Lover dress deserves some screen time of it's own.

 This is us, dancing.
This unbuttoned dress-as-coat revelation found another incarnation after last Saturday. I found a gorgeous Therese Rawsthorne washed-silk tuxedo dress at Surry Hills markets and, wouldn't you know, it fit perfectly from the waist down but-but-but it was too good to leave behind (and there was another girl hovering around hoping I'd put it down which always raises my competitive hackles. Yes, am aware this might make me a horrible person.) 
So home with me it came and I'm so glad it did because...
 It's a total dream.
Oh, you know, just reading some Shakespeare.

And there you have it! How to find a way to wear clothes even when they don't really fit you or 'where there's a will there's a wear.'
Or something.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

RAFW S/S 2011-2010. Super-long final round-up

If post-modernity has taught us anything, it has taught us that it is impossible for a work to claim objectivity. It will always represent someone's point of view, even indirectly, because as creators, we work from out of ourselves. So you're going to have to humour me today as I run you through my recap of RAFW from a purely subjective perspective with all judgement values informed by my own tastes. And you're going to like it.

Disclaimer: The shows I attended this year were Bec&Bridge and Kate Sylvester. I was invited to others that I couldn't attend because I had to work and I also had to fit some study in somewhere. So most of the following are not shows I attended but thanks to the internet (blessings upon it) I can talk with authority as if I were front row and that's all that matters. (I'm really dictating at you today, huh. I think it's because I'm ensconced in the austere, Gulag-esque PG-ARC which brings out the Soviet-era Russian deep inside me. Comrade.)

And without further ado-!

Alice McCall.
There are girls who wax lyrical about Alice McCall the way I wax lyrical about Lover. I am not one of these girls. It's not that I don't like her designs- I often do- but I have always felt frustrated by them because they seem to be cut for girls with little to no curves. That's okay, girls with little to no curves need clothes too, but every time I bought an Alice McCall item I had to almost convince myself that I could style it to make it look flattering (instead of gapey or tight or flicking out in weird places) yet I could never quite look myself in the eye as I did so. So the item would come home with me, only to languish in my wardrobe... then be resold.
So okay.
Bringing my emotional baggage to the table, I look at these clothes and I want to give Alice McCall another whirl. Because whilst they're true to her girly aesthetic (lots of handworked lace, short and "flirty" hemlines (is that an unfeminist thing to say?), and cut-out shapes in the mid-section) they are a little more adventurous, a little more womanly. As if her pretty-gypsy-girl muse got a job in the city and traded up her crochet yoke for a sheer blouse. Here are my two favourite looks from the collection. You will note the gorgeous print on the matching pants and top ensemb, and also the lovely contrast of the sheer under the camel blazer.  
 Just look!
This drapery is nice too. I'm all for a little drape which brings us to...

Alistair Trung!
Now, I already wanted to like Trung's collection because I know he does drapey- oh, he does it well- and I spent about an hour in his store trying on tens of items last year, all of which were beautifully constructed and can be worn about fifty (hundred) ways each. Which takes dressing- already a fun, challenging activity- and amps it right up. 
And then he had to go and show a collection like this-
 If I could reach through the computer screen and tear this crushed, loose loveliness off the model's body you know I would. I actually would.

 It's like she went to the footy and wrapped her team's flag around her in a post-goal euphoria. But instead of being two colours that should never be seen together (Hawthorn yellow and brown, take a bow) her flag is white with a dash of grey, her flag also becomes a fetching hood/cape- her flag, in short, is bitchin'.

 Sorry what? You want construction, as if the garment is being worn inside out? You want visible tape to ground the sheer and to provide line to the tailored shape of this jacket? You want to imagine your spine as a zipper? He ticked all of the above.

You can't see much detail here but I'm all for the knots. 
And if you weren't checking Oh Jamie's posts on a daily basis during RAFW, what were you doing? He has an eye for detail and shape that reminds me of Tommy Ton but his images have an edge, a sharp aesthetic that's all his own.

You know who else has an aesthetic all her own?  
Magdalena Velevska.
Although I recognised shadows of Givenchy's Spring 2010 Haute Couture collection, Versace's Spring 2011 and the shoes of YSL Spring 2009, these influences were reworked with a lightness of step, with an ease that rendered this collection fresh, precise and (dare I utter the words?) utterly wearable.
Oh, those shoes. 
In the words of Wayne Campbell: "they will be mine. Oh yes- they will be mine."

And on that note here follows the rest of my RAFW wishlist:
 This Dion Lee sumptuosity makes me a little heartsick it's so perfect.

It's like Gary Bigeni dreamt up heaven, coloured it in and sent it down the runway. Mesmerising. 

I could easily find a new home for these two Michael Lo Sordo looks in my cluttered wardrobe. Once, in his feedback on one of my undergrad essays, a lecturer warned me not to 'over-egg the cake' the meaning of which I then had to ask him to explain. 
But I will brave his displeasure and say that the only apt description for this collection is rich and evocative, and that description is 'diaphanous etherality.' Which actually sounds like a name Anne of Green Gables would invent for a pond. I can't imagine Anne in MLS but I can imagine her in this...

Puffed sleeves!
  How Gail Sorronda took puffball and bows and white and avoided making a wedding dress is beyond me. But it's a vision in white and a vision I want wrapped around my limbs asaps.

The work on this outfit is actually ridiculous, is what it is. There is a cluster of Australian designers who are doing really exciting things with shape and Gail Sorronda is found firmly amongst their number. 
 See also: Dion Lee, Alistair Trung, Josh Goot.

And there you have it! My almost-complete, not-really-comprehensive "edit" of RAFW.
The overarching themes I saw coming through were Bianca Jagger in the Seventies, white, colour blocking, mid-thigh length shorts (WHY? Please stop), white, sheer, floorlength, colour blocking, and white. 
A lot of what was shown was very wearable in that kind of Australiam summer-y 'throw it on after a day at the beach' kind of way. Which, for my international readers, means something simultaneously light enough to skim the newly sensitive sunburn and sheer/short enough to show off the tan you've already got. 
The stand-outs for me were Romance Was Born (as if you didn't know!), Michael Lo Sordo (because his clothes were beautiful, unusual, and I'd never encountered him before) and Kate Sylvester, mainly because I wanted to storm the dressage ring and tear the collection right off the models as they walked past. 
It would be cool to see more innovation across the board and a tighter edit of what hits the runway- sometimes I found myself looking at nondescript singlets paired with skinny trousers and thinking 'why?'- but it's also heartening that our industry is so robust, so peopled with designers who, even if they're not always breaking the mould, reinterpret international trends in a way that is fresh and makes sense to an audience with their own particular, Australian aesthetic.

images from oh jamie and fashionising