Hello, Big Kitty.

Hintmag says Tom Sachs placed these outside what, going by its name, I can only assume is a corporate building of some kind (Lever House?). But imagine coming to work to find these outside....(this might come a few weeks late but the idea of a giant-sized version of the kitty that used to be my pattern of choice for pencil boxes in elementary school, is nothing short of surreal).
Pictures from the Hintmag blog.



I've never been a huge fan of the word- 'preppy'- to me it always meant 'crashing bore in chinos/loafers/a button-down shirt/all three', and I liked it even less when I was called that*. But preppy as per school-age Calcutta girls and preppy as per Merry Daily by Tokyo Bopper, my favourite style site of the last several months, are drastically different things, not least because the latter injects a giant dose of coolness into the very idea of what 'preppy' means. And I've had a whopping style crush on Yama (the girl in the pics above) the entire time- only the last time I posted about the site, I hadn't really figured out that the people in the pictures signed off with their names at the end of each post- along with a couple of lines about what they're wearing, which is incredibly handy to get the idea behind the outfit. But if there's anyone who could ever convince me that 'preppy' wasn't some boring template that people who don't know how to dress themselves use for days/years when they're not in school uniform, she's it- I've been watching the site for months now, and can't help but love the way she mixes blazers, ties, hats, patterns, layers, skirt and pant lengths and volume, most often with hiking boots and always paying attention to little, cool details like bow ties, socks or the colour of shoelaces (that second outfit reminds me, my own post about voluminous trousers is long overdue). And the graphic backgrounds on the photographs are adorable, it's not often that I like commercially-run blogs (ones by corporations, stores etc), but I really do think Tokyo Bopper's amazing- it's more like a personal style record of the employees and occasional customer of the store. And I'd really love to visit the actual shop someday...hopefully while Yama, Osyama, Karie and Shima still work there.

though I admit to wearing an abundance of stripes, skirts and low-top Converse, with neat jackets/blazers to sharpen up the scruff (as seen in two posts on this very page). And I don't really have anything against chinos, loafers or button-down shirts!


One Round Of Bitching, This Way Please.

I'm not exactly sure what is up with the current rash of actresses attempting to sing, singers attempting to act, and all and sundry launching clothing/perfume/jewellery lines (ok, that one's been happening for a while now), but I really wonder what on earth convinced Scarlett Johansson she can sing (I've only seen her karaoke bar turn in Lost In Translation, and that worked because she wasn't supposed to sound like an actual singer). As far as I can tell, the video above resembles a Lost In Translation tribute (Scarlett in hotel room? Check. Scarlett staring out of train windows? Check. Video seemingly set in Japan (going by the crew around her, and anyway it's the first thing that comes to mind)? Check. Older man*? Check. Now I know nothing about Tom Waits, the artist she's covering, but unless you're a huge fan of either him or her, I recommend not watching (this despite the fact that I embedded the video on top- it's four minutes of your life that are never coming back), the girl can't sing for toffee. And WTF is she doing on the cover of Nylon this month, anyway? From Poesy to this...blah.
* in this case Salman Rushdie- author of two of my favourite books- at 3.10. It still doesn't cover for the fact that the video is a waste of time though.


A Ramble, And A Question.

It's not exactly a secret that fashion, along with the industry that's grown up around it, is capable of being ridiculous at times. But I've never thought of that in terms as harsh as one of my commenters, who declared that there was something unnatural and unhealthy about the fashion industry as a whole, and that he didn't get why such an industry existed. My response on the issue of fashion having certain redeeming qualities despite what seems like insanity to people on the outside (I'm quoting myself- how egomaniac can I be? but I really can't figure out how to paraphrase even one comment, forget comments across the last three posts right now) was as follows:
I suppose what I meant when I said that fashion is capable of great things despite its skinny-obsession is simply this: the way you dress (which is a choice, whether it's consciously or unconsciously made)is a rather strong visual signal that, one way or another, you use to tell the seeing world and yourself something about how you wish to be seen. I don't know if this answers your question, but the fact that I can exercise a modicum of control over the way I see myself (even if the rest of the world is at odds with that) is something that I think is fantastic, and the same goes with all the other girls across the world who do the same- sometimes risking open ridicule for it. Sometimes, simply dressing the way you feel you should is an act of courage, and to me that's the greatest thing, even if you don't agree. And fashion is definitely part of that. It's not just what shows on the runways or is available in shops- it's anything that helps a person communicate or express something about themselves, and it's a lot wider than most people think.
In response to which I've been told (it's only right to quote, in this case):

Okay coming back to what you said again... The way you dress is a rather strong visual signal that you use to tell the seeing world and yourself something about how you wish to be seen. If I am not mistaken this is a pro "attention seeking" statement. Not that there is anything wrong with seeking attention but i do not think of it as a sign of courage but rather weakness. A really courageous person wouldnt give a shit what the seeing world sees.
'Tis all fair enough, really, but I really don't think that was what I said. As for the original question, Coco Chanel puts it much better in the quote I've now come to associate with the Style Bubble header. But it's still a question worth asking, and I'd appreciate it if you guys weighed in on the following :

what is it about fashion that you think makes it great, or makes it special for you, despite all the strikes against it? (I know it's badly phrased, but I really want to know).


Fringe Lunacy

I have a bad habit of finding people in newspaper articles really funny, especially when the articles are about the less-serious human-interest side of things. But I'm not sure what reaction to have to this six-month-old New York Times piece on the fashion blogosphere's favourite hairstyle (well, going by the number who've put up pictures of themselves) fringes, or bangs as they're called in the US- it's half 'LOL' and half 'WTF?!" (much as I detest using text-message acronyms, these two are a perfect fit here).

Sample 1 (please note, these are taken entirely out of context and I wouldn't put it past the reporter to have intentionally made this and the rest of the article sound absurd) what a woman without a fringe thinks of a woman with a fringe:
“To me, they scream: ‘I’m cooler than you, I have a lot of sex, and if you leave your husband with me I’ll devour him,’ ” said Meredith Hays, a literary agent in Manhattan with an unbanged brow. But Ms. Hays said she quickly becomes more rational: “It’s maybe more a cry for help, like ‘I’m getting older and so I’ll give myself a youngish haircut to compensate.’ ”

I say
: Seriously. I know hair's important and rationality kicks in after those thoughts, but making judgments like that...isn't it something you're supposed to have got over by the age of thirty-six? It's on par with assuming blondes are dumb. If I met someone with that attitude, sheer perversity would make me want to piss them off even more (in addition to what the hair did). And yeah, anyone who doesn't spend that much time obsessing over what their hair looks like, is probably cooler than you.

Sample 2: on the maintenance of fringes.
Mr. Berg suggests that his clients use a little bit of baby powder or a Bumble and bumble spray-on hair powder at the roots. To avoid frizz, use spray-on wax, he tells his clients, but “always applied onto the fingers first.” For general maintenance, he suggests using a light hairspray applied to a flat rubber-cushion boar-bristle brush (he favors Mason Pearson’s).
I say: Get over it already. No wonder people act neurotic over fringes, if they think they take this much maintenance- swallowing any old rubbish anyone working in the hair industry tells you will probably do that. Take it from a frizzy-haired person living in a subtropical country- you don't need more than shampoo, conditioner and a small comb/brush (I don't carry those around with me), and a pair of sharp scissors when they get overgrown.

Sample 3: on the grass being greener from the other side of a curtain of hair.
Scratch anyone with perfectly styled bangs, and you’ll likely find a woman who occasionally lifts up the curtain of hair and gazes back at someone with a less cluttered bathroom sink, a more relaxed morning routine and a nighttime outfit that doesn’t involve a headband to stave off eyebrow-acne.
I say: Refer to my views on sample 2. I've had a fringe for the last seven years now (with the exception of a one-year period, aged nineteen, when I grew them out and only a few wisps remained in front), and never suffered from forehead/eyebrow/any kind of acne. Which is more likely to be caused by having ten tonnes of styling product in your hair, than by the fringe itself .

picture of Jane Birkin on the cover of Vogue, from ebay.


A Girl Can Dream..

It's not exactly a huge secret that I'm a Tim Walker fangirl*, one who's gutted by the idea of missing his exhibition at the Design Museum and would give nearly anything to be able to get her paws on the book, but reading this article is nothing short of a huge thrill for me, not least because I rarely get to see news features about my favourite photographers, especially ones featuring snatches of one of my favourite photoshoots of all time (another is the one with Lily Cole in India for the July 2005 issue of Vogue- probably the only forts-and-ruins fashion shoot till date that hasn't annoyed me, and very definitely the only one that led me to buy two copies of the magazine in case I lost one, and the photographs with it..). And given that the June issue of Vogue UK has a feature on him, I might just be able to console myself by picking it up- getting past the insipid cover won't be a problem for once. Considering that he's the only photographer to send me into a rhyming fit - even if they were really dodgy rhymes based on that picture of Bill Nighy sitting on top of a huge egg- I reckon it's easily explained..also, it's hard not to dwell on the subject of what a film directed by him would look like, helped along considerably by Style Bubble- if a fashion-themed subject ever happened, it'd be'fantasy fashion' in the truest sense of the term .
*a word that worked itself into my vocabulary via nearly a decade of association with Spike-from-Buffy/Sirius Black worshippers on assorted Internet forums. It's much more expressive than just plain 'fan'...
PS: The dashboard informs me that this is my 200th post! It's probably nothing to bloggers who are more prolific (not to mention regular) than I will ever be, but it's still something of a milestone- I mean, I've got here without writing entire posts in Ye Olde Englishe or Yodaspeak (though I came rather close to the latter once, it's still too much to inflict on hapless readers). I think I'll go have a drink or something...
picture from The Telegraph.


"If It Was Easy, Then Why Bother?"

I've been fairly out of the blogosphere for the better part of a week, but I reckon more or less everyone who reads this is well aware that three models- two of whom were sisters- have died of eating disorders in the last two years. I also doubt that there's anyone in the fashion blogosphere who hasn't heard that Ali Michael- one of last year's most talked-about young models- was actually battling an eating disorder the entire time, and recently went on TV to talk about how she got told that her legs were too fat for the runway after a five-pound weight gain (after dropping from 130 to 102 pounds on a 5'9" frame. Add 5 to 102...). Ali's rock-bottom weight at her height- a weight at which her hair was falling out and she hadn't had a period for a year, but was walking all the big-name shows and shooting editorials all over the place- might not be an impossible thing for naturally skinny girls, but industry standards that lead to teenagers living on oatmeal, lettuce and grapes (not to mention dictating that a 110-pound 5'9" girl's legs are too fat for public display) are - in the humble opinion of someone who hasn't ever worked in fashion- ridiculous.
I also have issues with Amy Astley, the Teen Vogue chief ed who appeared with Ali on the Today Show, passing the buck by insisting that it was the designers who insisted on the models being skinnier and skinnier (and I suspect it's the designers who personally dictate the choice of the superthin, mainly white young models in your magazine's photoshoots, eh? - including Ali in a March 2007 editorial which is where the second picture accompanying this post came from).
But the saddest, most horrifying weigh-in on this came from a blog I've read and respected for a long time. I understand that as a casting director, he feels duty-bound to defend the decisions he and his colleagues make, but abdicating every last scrap of responsibility by blaming the girls for wanting to be models in the first place and their families for supporting them (and by inference, suggesting that puking up your meals, having ovarian shutdowns, and being too fat to walk at approx. 110 pounds and that height - I'm sorry, I can't get over it- are par for the course)...I'm not entirely sure I have the words to say what I feel about it.
I mean, I get it- models need to be skinny to look good in the clothes. Fine. And it's not uncommon for teenage girls, most of whom have reached full (and considerable) height by age 15 but not started developing yet, to be that thin on their own. But running an eighteen-year-old's health into the ground and then suggesting that her speaking up about it is sour grapes at not being cast in all but one of the AW08-09 shows, is nothing short of warped and reprehensible. If Ali Michael, slightly healthier than she was when she was one of Style.com's Models To Watch, had indeed been cast in as many shows as she was last season- this time without having her hair fall out in clumps, maybe the whole situation wouldn't look so absurd, and there wouldn't be a bloody problem because whoever cast those shows wouldn't have thought that a model who was actually keeping her meals down was unfit to do her job. And if anyone comes out of this entire mess looking bad, it certainly isn't Ali, and I sincerely hope her career isn't considered over because she broke some silly omerta-type code of conduct. Given that she is by no means the first model to talk about it (Natalia Vodianova spoke up about her own weight issues last year at - I think- a CFDA event of some sort), it's clear something needs to change, and soon. I've stuck Ali's interview on the Today Show below, it needs a watch (even if Ann Curry is annoying, taking her arm all the time).
Image 1 from COACD
Image 2 from www.teenvogue.com


Flower Power, Of A Different Kind

I strongly suspect that the next magazine article pushing florals as the great trend of SS08 will send me on a towering rampage tearing it up, because I'm just a wee bit tired of them. Flowers, IMHO, look better in nature than they do on clothes, and Steven Meyers's floral radiographs have me nothing short of mesmerised- there are enough pretty pictures of flowers out there, but looking at them this way renders them strange and stark- unusual qualities for flowers to have- not to mention beautiful (which is much more normal, though not quite this way). Going here for a look at more of his work is strongly recommended, it's stunning...
All images from http://www.xray-art.com/


An Illustration In Fashion Fraudulence

1) What BFH can only wear when April showers (wrong name for them really, now it's May) bring about a seven-degree reduction in nighttime temperatures:
The skirt is actually ankle-length, it looks awful that way so I looped the hem up to the waist and paperbagged it as tight as it would go. The belt doesn't seem to show up in pictures, though.
2) What BFH actually wears during daylight hours (note to self: be less scissor-happy with t-shirts or risk looking like a too-scruffy, wilted 80s reject).
Sorry the pictures are so blurry, it's me and my shaky camera hand again..


The Apple Mustn't Fall Far From The Tree..

I reckon the artist I'm about to go shamelessly fangirling on now needs no introduction, but Emily Martin of Inside A Black Apple really does make some of the loveliest, cutest paintings, drawings and cakes (sadly, she doesn't sell cupcakes in her Etsy shop) I've ever seen. I first found her blog a little over a year and a half ago, and couldn't resist making up little stories about the girls she painted- it helped that they had names and titles as quirky and pretty as they themselves were (Violaine and Bubblegum Betty were two of my favourites, along with everything involving hedgehogs- if the things in her paintings ever turned three-dimensional, my first instinct would be to cuddle them). She also makes pins, dolls, t-shirts and postcards (and I loved the recent addition of book plates to the shop, even though they're all sold out by now), but her prints are the sweetest of eye candy for me...
The Quiet Room. (one of my personal favourites, I've always loved the combination of the girl's demure pose, the room's stillness, and the kitten looking- to me, anyway- like it really wants to go and play instead of sitting for a painting)
A Good Egg Is Hard To Find. I think I like this one because she has my glasses- or, considering the fact that they're lost, my former glasses which I still don't want to replace with contact lenses- hairstyle, and permagrumpy expression. And she's green- my favourite colour!
Laundry Day. Hedgehogs with socks trigger urges to hug them, despite prickles.

She also has a fashion blog over at Some Girls Wander, which I recommend having a look at...
PS: Many apologies to Emily, this is one post I've sat on for far too long (I first thought of it and asked permission to use the images in February!).
images from The Black Apple's Etsy shop.


The Life Aquatic

is what I wish for right now, it's actually muggy enough to make me want to grow gills, hop into a pool of something cold and liquid, and not emerge till October. Or maybe it's not the heat so much as the following editorial out of Numéro Tokyo Issue 15..
Greek nymphs and gauzy curtains are what I think of when I look at this..
I think this might be just about the most perfect dress to swoon in.
This looks to me like a white nautilus going through outer space, more than water.
I wasn't sure just what I thought of this dress on the runway, but it turns out its rainbow bird-of-paradise glory seems to be best viewed underwater. It's either some really good retouching or the amazing saturated colour that makes it that way..
For some reason (probably the way the purple and white circles look in the centre), this shot strikes me as positively orchidaceous.
Full editorial at Foto Decadent.
Photographer: Alix Malka
Model: Marcelina Sowa


A Brief Note On Costume Watching

It might not have been entirely unexpected, given the pure cheesiness of the theme, but it's one thing to not go all-out with the spandex and capes ('Superheroes'? Hmmm), and another to look like you've forgotten about it altogether. But I really must confess to a sneaky love of what Michelle Trachtenberg's got on- that skirt really is as shiny as a seal pelt dipped in gold, and the one-shoulder neckline was a lovely change from regulation strapless. Nice touch of Amazon/goddess going on there..and whoever her stylist is, they deserve a pat on the back.
image credits: (left) www.handbag.com
(right): www. fabsugar.com


I Play A Polka

I'm really tremendously pleased with this one (it's a recent acquisition)...there might come a time when I'm sick of its girlieness but that time isn't now.
Sorry about the weird position. I had to make sure the entire dress was in the mirror while holding the back closed (it's a button-up, bloody tough to do up if I'm on my own. But the giant, swishy skirt makes up for it).
Given that it's a little too strappy to wear out during the day if I don't want lecherous idiots goggling at me, I guess some layering is called for (I'll probably still get stared at anyway, but fingers up to them).
I love a dress with pockets...in fact, I love pockets in general. And I'm sorry about how blurry the pictures are, my hand can't stop itself from shaking.
PS: I'm really crap at posing, so excuse the weirdness, please?

Better Late Than Never...I Hope.

After getting my hands on a copy of the Indian edition of Grazia nearly two weeks ago, logic dictates that I should have scanned and posted the following while the month of April was still running. And I'm truly sorry for the graininess of the following (no scans, but my camera is dysfunctional and really can't do any better- or maybe it's just me). But yeah, for any people who want a vague idea of what Grazia India looks like, here goes:
The cover. They've photoshopped most of the life out of Bipasha Basu, but it's not even a tenth as bad as what happened on Vogue's first cover.
I'm not sure what I think, really- the abundance of bold headlines and yellow highlights and boxes makes me feel like I've been given a bit of a bludgeoning (albeit, given the fact that the tone of the magazine is friendlier and less snooty than, say, Vogue, a well-intentioned one). I do like the articles, and the lack of excessive pompous 'what- Indian-women-want' etc. platitudes is refreshing (*coughSallySingerforVoguecough*). Although the incomplete Shop section (why on earth do things from Givenchy, Prada, Petit Bateau, Isabel Marant and Y-3, among others, have to be featured in fashion spreads if they're completely unavailable in India?) is not. In some way that I just can't put my finger on, it reminds me a bit weirdly of a teen magazine, and right now I'm just hoping no one from the magazine sees this and sues my ass for sticking so much of their content up online- something I didn't even consider the last time I did something like this (though you really can't read anything off the pages, and the images are terrible quality).

About Me

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Fondest of upbeat music and brightly coloured sweets.