Bad Taste? Yum!

"There's value in bad taste, too. This is Comme des Garçons bad taste."*
If this is bad taste, it's the kind we all want to indulge in every so often, the kind that puts a silly grin on my face (Stephie at Fashion Nation suggested cosplay references, and I think she's spot-on)- there's a certain really happy, shambolic quality to the whole collection, and the styling reminds me a lot of little kids playing dress-up- random plaits, velvet/fur hats with fishnet (??) veils, and frilly garters and seams do make for kookiness, but despite the abundance of lip and heart motifs and tulle prettiness, nothing about it is overly coy or twee. In fact, if anything, those things are more like clothes to roleplay being sweet and girlish in, than clothes to actually be sweet and girlish in (sorry, I make no sense, though IMO they're two different things)- but really, there's nothing awful about Comme des Garçons bad taste at all..
Now all this cosplay talk is making me think of Fruits Basket's Ayame, daft steamroller of wackiness and cosplay shop owner. I think I'll go re-watch episode 20, I want a laugh (methinks Aya's funnier when you hear him talk..though manga Ayame is brilliant too, and you get to see more of him there).
*Rei Kawakubo, as told to Sarah Mower of Style.com
Images from Style.com and fruitsbasket.com


Socking It.

Maybe it's just a little too much black-against-brightness for my taste this time around at Dries (also a little too ethnicky-looking in parts for me to be able to like all of it even if it's what he does best- I still love the prints, though), but the shapes are, for the most part, not to be sneezed at- and I can't really find anything to complain about as far as the socks-and-heels combination is concerned - it's not exactly a new idea, but the honest truth is that shin-high socks tend to be easier for me to wear than knee socks (weather-wise and aesthetically). I'm rather hoping it doesn't go back to being outlawed by the fashion police (no, screw what those say. In any case, socks with heels would never not be outlawed by people like that).
Image source: Elle.com


Who Says Black Is Boring?

It's a funny thing, black. I've always found it strange, its simultaneous 'safeness' (discussed within the context of Oscarwear* and everyday clothing) and the connotations of unconventionality that attach themselves to people who choose to wear it in ways that are even slightly out of the ordinary**. Neither of those really bothers me, but a good dose of black is a welcome thing, not least because I really like the colour.
Which might be why Yohji Yamamoto is balm to my soul. He's one of the few designers I'm a fangirl of, but I honestly do think, even shoving that aside, that his latest collection is lovely. No, wrong word- 'lovely' is far too insipid here - but it's one of my favourites from the Fashion Week merry-go-round, and the passage of time probably won't change my opinion. There's something about it that, without being 'sexy' in the way we normally understand the term, is incredibly so, with a dash of insouciance thrown into the mix too (those rolled-up sleeves and trouser legs? Perfect). The long skirts and leather jackets are things right after my own heart- I rather like the combination of toughness and swish to it all. And I really, really love the fact that his model of femininity for this collection seems to be someone other than the archetypal sex kitten or the prissy tartan-wearer ladies of Milan Fashion Week...
In case it's hard to tell, I'm thrilled that Paris Fashion Week is here. London was great this time round, but I still can't wait to see what Comme des
Garçons etc have come up with. And Balenciaga looks good- it'll actually be pretty interesting to compare the Pre-Fall looks with the actual AW08 ones..
*All the mention I really want to make of that event here is that Marion Cotillard looked lovely. Like a pearly-tailed dark-haired version of The Little Mermaid. And her acceptance speech was adorable. But I still think her BAFTA dress was much cooler. And speaking of The Little Mermaid, if Marion got the fish scales, Tilda Swinton got the hair. And a dress which anyone else would look ridiculous in..and she's still bloody stunning. And how come everyone gets their dresses from the same five places? No wonder they all look like they're wearing the same thing..
** I usually envision Goths and the odd punk when thinking about this, but their own attire has become a standard of sorts through frequent use.

Images: Style.com



That was about the only real reaction I had to this article. Not that I'm against modesty on principle, but I could have sworn this was exactly the spiel being turned out circa 2004, only that time it was a 'return to old-world femininity' and 'ladylike' clothing being touted in the pages of Vogue UK, with lots of pictures of tweed and knee-length skirt suits to accompany it (among other things), and cracks about muffin-tops. And 2004, if one were to be frank, wasn't really all that long ago, even if one year, forget four, is an aeon in the fashion timespan. I've never been a huge fan of showing lots of skin- most people just don't do it well. And covering up, in a manner that suits me, is something I'd wholeheartedly embrace. However, using a term as loaded as 'modesty' to characterise a new trend, is more than a little troubling IMO, for reasons that I shouldn't really get into on here because it'll just be a lead-in to a rant. It's strange, I don't really mind 'demure' (practically a synonym), but I remember disliking the idea of wishy-washy pastel/floral Spring fashions last year. And I can't help feeling that I hate the idea of this so-called 'modest' clothing even more. Even if I don't dislike the clothes themselves, the clothes I wear do tend to influence the way I see myself at a particular point in time, to slip me into a role, as it were- though it's rather chicken-and-egg, I pick clothes according to my mood mostly. And being pushed into the box of being a sweet, unassertive, shrinking wallflower - though that is what I often am- is not something I want to see held up as an ideal, by anyone. Of course, there are different ways of looking at it, and openly non-sexy clothing (very different from 'modest' IMO) is something I love- but this 'modesty' business is still making me a little twitchy...


Oh, Go To Blazers!

I rather like winter. No, scratch that- I love winter, not least because the opportunity to spiff up a bit via a neat blazer or two is something that is seriously welcome. And mine are handy things indeed- my old school blazer looks more Gogo Yubari than Balenciaga AW07 (even if I had the crest on the breast pocket removed, I go near pleated skirts with great reluctance, and I'm not seventeen years old or sadistic), but I've yet to find anything that's as good at topping off whatever I'm wearing and looking a bit put-together at the same time*. And it kind of sucks that in less than a week it'll be warm enough for me to have to put all my warm(ish) clothes into storage...
But I mustn't grumble. The very stylish people photographed on Tokyo Bopper** are giving me an excellent daily fix of sharp-shouldered neatness, and I love it for feeding my hiking-boot obsession of several years, right along with the blazer love***. It's not often that I fall completely in love with what appears to be the blog of a shop (and what wouldn't I give to visit the store in question, just to go goldfish-eyed at the staff and customers), but it's a giant shot of cheer in my otherwise bleak sartorial future. And hey, being vicariously stylish (if such a thing is possible) can't be too bad..

*not least when I'm interning.
** images from www.tokyobopper.com. I can't believe it took me over six months to say this, but I LOVE that site.
*** and this is where I curse myself for leaving my own fuck-off shoes, which I've had from the age of sixteen, in my cupboard at college. What was I thinking?


Artsy Fartsy? I Hope Not.

So NY and London Fashion Weeks have been and gone, and now Milan's started (I rather liked Burberry. Whatever else one might say about the poshification of the brand, Christopher Bailey does have a knack for making his clothes look like you'd be very well wrapped up and safe from the cold in them). But I'm a bit of a slow processor of information, so any observations on what's going on with the AW08 runways will probably be postponed for a while yet.
In the meantime, I've been geeking out a bit on the work of Ayami Kojima and Yoshitaka Amano- especially the latter, Sandman/Vampire Hunter D/Final Fantasy fans are probably already familiar with his name, but dimwit that I am, it didn't occur to me that they could all have been the work of the same person (at least the first two, since I have no experience with Final Fantasy) till sometime last year. And I won't go into why I love it (The Dream Hunters and the sheer lushness of it is reason enough, and the pictures say it much clearer than me), so I'll settle for just sharing. But the video games do have beautiful artwork...

Cover of Fairies, by Yoshitaka Amano.

The Behemoth Dai Makai: The World of Spirits

Cover of Vampire Hunter D
Image sources: yoshitakaamano.tribe.net , hillcity-comics.net, elevanland.com, and amanosworld.com.


Of Recent Acquisitions..

As the saying goes, it's an ill wind that blows no good. And I don't really mind not fitting into any of the jeans at my local Levi's store (not least because high-waisted jeans are hell to squeeze into and low-waisted ones are practically indecent), given that I managed to get the above pair of sneakers out of the shop instead.
In all truth, colour-fades are things I like. However, I don't trust myself well enough with dye to attempt anything at home just yet (can't be sure it'll turn out as well as it did on Susie, Jennine and Selina), so the shoes are a chicken's way of working a trend I really like into the things I actually wear. Levi's makes fug clothes (giant slogans/logos all over the girls' t-shirts, and heaven help us, diamante on the jeans), but this particular pair of sneakers is actually rather cute- they're a brighter blue than they look in the pictures, and as an added bonus, they make my BigFeet look smaller than usual. And if I were absolutely honest, half the kick of owning these comes from finding that I can fit into (UK) size 6 shoes- which is a big kick indeed if you have spent any part of your teens cursing being a 6 and a 1/2 and wishing that your feet would stop growing.
But, yes. Back to the shoes. My thoughts right now don't go too far beyond "Two-tone sneakers! Me likey!" and gloating that I got the only pair in the shop. And if Levi's or anyone ever make those sneakers in a different colour combination, I'll certainly be interested. The last two-tone item I owned was the Parker fountain pen I wrote my final exams with in school- lovely thing too, crimson in the middle fading to black at the cap and end- so a few more would be welcome.
Normal posting, with better grammar, will resume tomorrow.


Me Loves.

Happy Valentine's Day to all my readers...in case it isn't clear, I love all of you, not least for putting up with my drivel! I'm full to bursting point with ham sandwiches and Viennese coffee, and I feel a bit like a python (though an actual python would have swallowed the whole pig, none of this lily-livered ham business), possibly the kind that goes to sleep and gets turned into a handbag or parts thereof thanks to being caught off guard.
PS: This doesn't mean that I hate the day and its greeting cards and godawful red hearts everywhere any less. And I swear bloody Bryan Adams should be outlawed in this city, soon.
image from adamsillustration.com- look at more of Steve Adams's work here.


Better Two Months Late Than Never

Given that India is one of the world's newer emerging markets, and a potential major one for luxury brands (if the BRIC acronym and associated expectations are anything to go by), it isn't exactly surprising that one hears about one fashion brand after another entering the country, and we even got our own edition of Vogue last year (which I'm not such a fan of, but then I'm not exactly a Vogue kind of person, so all's fair) . Every other month seems to bring one major Italian/French/American label after another, and the truth is, none of it really excites me because on some level, I can't help feeling that it's all more about the brand (place that in caps) than good design (if Sienna Miller's label is to be considered a 'cult' brand- even if it's the rather idiotic India Today saying that- I shudder for the state of fashion-consciousness in this country). I mean, of course it's about the brand, but mostly they just leave me cold.

However, this little snippet of news, which I saw in my local paper nearly two months ago and didn't post back then because I stupidly lost the paper, definitely did have me intrigued. Aimee McWilliams is not a known name in India: her work isn't instantly recognisable unless one has been scouring pictures of London Fashion Week over the last few years, and that basically eliminates the possibility of tacky logomania in this case. And it's partly because she's less of a known quantity that news of this collection she's got planned has me a bit excited. Her collaborators too don't seem to be famous: the only link Google threw up was the story above. And they're based in my hometown. Even if the label in question intends to market its line to women over the age of 30, I do want to see what she comes up with- according to the interview, it should get shown at India Fashion Week in September of this year, and I can't wait. Plus, it's actually going to be interesting to see how it all turns out- she did get a few things spot on in the article, not least among those being the grouse about the construction (not very good) of clothes by Indian fashion designers at large. And I can't help but agree with what she has to say about Sabyasachi Mukherjee..(though I don't think I'm being biased in making the observation that Calcutta-based designers seem to cater to a very different type of woman than the Delhi and Bombay lot...Anamika Khanna and Kiran Uttam Ghosh might not be as revolutionary, but they're worth a look too). And hey, if Aimee puts anything like the jacket in the above picture on the runway in September, I will very definitely be a fan.
Image from Brittique


Mea Culpa

I know I've been somewhat MIA (not the singer!) over the last week, but it's been really hard to get posts up when you get distracted by random videos and then open up multiple tabs that cause Firefox to crash. And I really haven't been paying too much attention to New York Fashion Week* because most of it just bored me (the exceptions included Rachel Comey and Rodarte...no gushing about the latter here just yet, other bloggers did it earlier and better). But my head has been mostly in non-fashion places, aside from the odd look-in at Facehunter:I'm not really in the habit of pulling pictures off there to yammer like a fangirl about how cool the people look even if I feel like doing just that all the time, but this girl really does blow me away. On one hand there's the adorable hair and glasses that would've probably got her snapped anyway, and then there is what I can only describe as...artwork. Across her sternum. Which looks almost as if it could have been drawn by Rob Ryan. And to top it all, she has the practically stained-glasslike outline of a butterfly in the exact same place that I want my second tattoo. If I were wearing a hat or other form of head covering right now (preferably the very cute one in the picture below), I'd be sweeping it right off in a salute to her. In a funny way, she reminds me a little of the Vogue Italia print/body-paint editorial...which I really loved the sight of.
As for this image, it serves to remind me just how much I like the idea of putting random things on my head. I know spring is all about colour, but I just love the way this girl manages to work her predominantly neutral colour palate into something that's actually not drab or boring at all. The trick might just lie in the pistachio tights (and the headpiece, of course, along with that nifty little double-button closure at the neck of her coat)..anything that triggers food associations is a good thing in my book! Neutral + yummy=perfect.
Also, I found a butt bow in the course of my ramblings over the Internet (here's one knowing wink to everyone who figures out just where this one came from- I'm sorry it's tough if you have nothing but the picture to go on, but there might be random gushings over the source of the image- the animated series/manga that is, not the website- on this blog at some point in the future). I think Wendy might like this one...if she isn't thoroughly sick of me and my found butt bows by now, that is :)..
PS: Dreamecho asked me, a couple of posts ago, if I was a TFS member. Well, I'm not, and I'm starting to feel the pinch of not being able to search those forums (I've been visiting them anyway for the last two years)..so if any of you nice people have an invite to spare, can you send it my way, please?
Copenhagen Fashion Week though, is another matter.
Images from Facehunter .


Because I'm Sick And Tired Of Spammers.

Given that the Google lot are too clueless to tell actual spam (and by spam I don't mean Arctic food supplies for explorers in the early twentieth century) from genuine, innocent bloggers, I figured Mr Kenny Surtani might just need a helping boot to the backside from everyone whose blog he's been spamvertising on. I've already blitzed two comments by him/it off two of my posts and reported his/its blogs as spam, because while I support free speech and the title of my blog might have the word 'nonsense' in it, my friendly sentiments don't stretch all that far. Maybe if enough of us do it, they'll actually cancel the chump/spambot's Google account? I certainly hope so. And delete his/its 'comments' while you're at it- trust me, it'll help you feel a lot less annoyed.


Hall of Shame: SUNSILK

This will probably make no sense to anyone who isn't in India or who hasn't seen the ad, but I do have a strong urge to haul whoever created the latest round of Sunsilk shampoo adverts in to the Tower for a beheading. I'm not sure how else to punish the ****** **** (fill in uncomplimentary words) who thought the following line- I'm paraphrasing- was ok to use in an advertisement:

Did you know that 60% of girls bunk work when their hair's a mess?
Followed by shots of a girl fake-coughing on the phone with her boss, who tells her rather peremptorily to get well soon, and a celeb hairstylist chappie telling these presumed shirkers to "stop making excuses", and to "get a good haircut, and keep it styled".
I'm sorry there don't seem to be any video links to the advert in question, but frankly, the ad is beyond insulting. I don't give a damn if it was supposed to be lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek or whatever, I'm just lost for words to describe exactly how disgusted I am that something like this actually gets to go on air across the country. And I don't think that I'm overreacting, considering that I let a gazillion more examples of blatant objectification and stereotyping of women in advertisements slip like, all the time. But trivialising us and basically saying girls are unreliable workers if their hair's a little wonky? Whoever came up with it deserves a very severe telling-off (and more shame on them if they're female)- and I'm boycotting Sunsilk. I didn't use their products anyway, and it's not like one girl not buying their products makes any difference to Unilever, but it's the principle of the thing. Besides, hats and headscarves are a much cooler way to cover for bad hair days than anything Mr Javed Habib or his minions can do, so they can suck on that, I say.


Hair Today, Birdies Tomorrow.

I'm pretty sure the above picture is a whopper of a departure from the traditional understanding of the term 'bird's nest'....
picture from elle.com


Oh Minnie, You're So Fine*

It's not very often that a teen mag actually has a cover that makes me want to snatch it off whatever newsstand it was on (this despite the fact that it was published nearly five months ago and is in a language I don't comprehend- but it's still ElleGirl! Sigh..), but I really cannot help but lose my heart to that giant bow and Cecilia Mendez's sheer winsomeness. She's really quite adorable, a bit like a young Audrey Hepburn doing silly...and there aren't too many girls who'd actually pull off a Minnie Mouse tribute or bows on their heads without looking absolutely berserk - though I can name two. Three, if you include Katie Grand.
* title of post adapted/pinched from the song by Toni Basil/Lolly (of course, the latter version is the one I know better- it was featured in Bring It On).
Image source: The Fashion Spot.

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Fondest of upbeat music and brightly coloured sweets.