October 28, 2012

Surreal Florals: Annie Collinge's Collage Sketches

The work of London-born, Brooklyn-based photographer Annie Collinge has a tinge of dystopian fantasy. Her photographs find beauty in darkness and melancholy - or perhaps the other way around. The images are somewhat of a riff on the idea of paradise: from the haunting images of The Underwater Mermaid Theatre to the stills of doll heads in Unwanted Objects. 

As photography is a window, Collinge's Collage Sketches are the antique mirror, foggy and cracked in the corner of the attic. Her use of florals is breathtaking; few artists can successfully sever florals from their dainty stereotype.
For fall/winter in the fashion landscape, I am drawn to the idea of a moodier floral. Whereas flowers are tied to springtime and sunshine, these blooms do not emerge until after dark.

Annie Collenge
Sweatshirt from Etsy (available here), Dolce & Gabbana floral skirt (available here), Nicholas Kirkwood pumps (available here), Bottega Veneta box clutch (available here), Aldo ring (available here).

Visit collinge.com
Collage sketch credit to Annie Collinge

October 21, 2012

Grace Coddington's Fashion Wonderland

This weekend I attended Teen Vogue's Fashion University program with a few hundred other fashion enthusiasts. Much of the discussion was naturally hinting towards the future with an audience of teenagers to young 20-somethings who have yet to break into their aspired fields. Simultaneously, there was an air of dreaming as we spent a day and a half attending lectures with fashion's greatest from the storied and emerging scenes.
The opening keynote featured Vogue creative director Grace Coddington speaking about the evolution of her career, some of her most memorable shoots both as a model and behind the scenes, and answering a myriad of audience questions.
What I found most inspiring was her elaborations on the renowned Alice in Wonderland shoot in 2003 for Vogue. It is perhaps one of the most famous fashion editorials from our modern era, in addition to being one of Grace's favorite shoots from her career.

One reason why Grace is so successful is because of her ability to weave an imaginative narrative that guides each of her fashion stories (a name that now seems quite fitting). She admittedly loves fairy tales and whilst her take on Alice on Wonderland is loyal, the high-fashion spin brings the almost haunting mysticism into an entirely new dimension.

I find color choice in Grace's editorial to be quite intriguing. Alice's garments (she is played by then-rising model Natalia Vodianova) exclusively incorporate shades of blue. While this calls to mind much of the imagery of Alice in sky blue, blue itself represents something of a paradox.
Blue was a late arrival to art in ancient cultures because of the comparative complexity of the pigment, thus it was rare and considered prestigious and luxurious. Many royals throughout history donned blue garments; in 13th-century France, blue became the royal color with the reign of King Louis IX. It seems a fitting hue for couture.
Yet blue is many things at once: it commonly represents melancholy in our society, whereas it can symbolize happiness as with blue skies. Blue can be the color of mourning, but Egyptians consider blue a shield to protect the dead from evil.

Here, blue is a pattern of every characteristic. It is fantasy and reality, flavored by the tinge of nobility. Blue is Alice's innocence, and it is her protector in an unknown Wonderland. Each image takes on a different persona with a new blue frock, and this is in part what makes the editorial seem so real.

All photographs belong to Vogue

As an aftermath of this weekend's event, I have been thinking a lot about the future and about fantasy. There are many differences between the two, yet there are points at which they meet.

Every fantasy has a narrative - more than one, I should say. There is no right path to the future we may hope for, but we can find a fairy tale and bring it to life in our own way.

October 13, 2012

Three Ways: Biker Boots

Boots have been on my mind.
As someone with a petite frame, it is difficult to find the perfect pair of biker boots: a design that is tough and sturdy, but still tailored to the foot so as to not overwhelm a smaller size. These Madewell biker boots appear to strike the perfect balance.

This shopping struggle incited the thought of how I would style said shoes, considering the desire to add color to each ensemble.
In compiling a collection of outfits to satiate my thoughts and perhaps inspire others', I was able to validate the versatility of this style of boots. Contrast, it turns out, really is everything.

Rag & Bone sweater dress (available here), Erdem scarf (available here), Dannijo bracelets (available here), Elsa Peretti for Tiffany ring (available here), Madewell biker boots (available here).

J Crew sweater (available here), Madewell skirt (available here), Chan Luu scarf (available here), Madewell ID bracelet (available here), Madewell sparkle cuff (available here), Madewell biker boots (available here).

Vanessa Bruno Athe jacket (available here), MSGM floral print blouse (available here), AllSaints jeans (available here), Alexander McQueen skull ring, Madewell biker boots (available here).

Where are you shopping for boots this fall season?

October 09, 2012

Dream Day

I have been drowning in everyday obligations. I am stuck in a cycle of schoolwork and cuffed jeans and Converse. I think I have worn the same vintage cashmere sweater five days in a row.
Needless to say, a vacation would be nice. The sky is increasingly pessimistic, which does not encourage the best in anyone.

Fashion has naturally provided the thesis to my yearning. Italian label Leitmotiv endearingly dubbed their Spring/Summer 2013 collection "Dream Day."
My broken English translation aside (quotations here are rephrased to fit our grammatical rules), Leitmotiv's provided autobiography is beautifully written. It perfectly captures the essence of the clothing, designed by duo Fabio Sasso and Juan Caro.
Leitmotiv is likened to a music box, "leaning on a bare gray dresser in a dusty room" that, when opened, "leaves a melody that is somehow colored with all shades that do not include sadness and melancholy."
I am sold.

Dream Day is "the desire to journey without a destination."
Here, we discover loose garments stemming from a rainbow of colors. Prints incorporate whispered inspirations of Baroque and Gothic styles. Graphic depictions of billboard lettering and resort pools simultaneously call to mind a barren Los Angeles and 60s-era Miami. Modern stripes in bright hues finish hems of simply shaped dresses.
The end result is a combination of past and modern moods, and it incites a sort of nostalgia for a summer we never had.

All images via Letimotiv
Photographs by Matteo Felici

October 07, 2012

Youth Without Youth

reverie & mystique
Fall 2012's sophisticated fashion is a call to arms for the modern-day woman. Even continuing into Spring, we see sharp tailoring in crisp fabrics. Prints lean towards avant-garde rather than playful or childish.

In the midst of this I ask, where do I fit in?

I recently read a thought-provoking blog post by Jennine Jacob on The Coveted on what it means to dress your age. Whereas some consider this to be a debate about fashion and sexuality, I encounter a different conflict as a teenager absorbed with fashion. Rather, I feel as if I come with two separate fashion personalities. How can I successfully interweave them?

I had to describe my style using three words for an upcoming feature on Material Wrld and found myself at a loss. 
I instinctively consider my style to be sophisticated and colorful but also simple, with minimal accessorizing. At the same time, I envision myself in my casual/put-together formula for schooldays and weekends. I have a penchant for brightly printed vintage and new blouses, but these tops never see the light of day around my age group.
Is style what you like or what you wear? To me, these are two very different cliques.

My hope is to mesh my fashion personalities: the teenage with the adult. Fashion outings will see more from my youthful self; school days will see more of the sophisticated fashion that makes me swoon.

I suppose that, ultimately, dressing my age means wearing whatever I like and not limiting myself with a two-digit number.

What do you think about "dressing for your age?"

Photograph by Petra Collins