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Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Perfect Day: Alexander McQueen and Peanut Butter

Very few things in life are worth a 7am alarm call  and a line around the block....

but words cannot suffice for what my eyes took in today

or rather, what my eyes tried to take in. The visuals of "Savage Beauty", a masterfully curated exhibit on the works of Alexander McQueen at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, are too much for one sitting

(While films from runway presentations flicker above, mannequins flaunt McQueen's extravagant  apparel and cubbies house his jewelry collaborations with Shaun Leane and hats with Philip Treacy)

It's hardly a case of needing an edit or restraint, it's just that no one can take in all the details. Its accepted in the industry that McQueen was a brilliant tailor, yes, but his attention to detail is beyond simple button holes and hems. He crafted pieces based on well thought out romantic imagery and personal and historical influences

(McQueen's tartan was woven throughout the Autumn/Winter 2006-2007 collection "Widows of Culloden")

Further, he was a man of torn loyalties: art versus commerce, Victorian austerity versus appreciation of the womanly form, his bloody Scottish heritage versus the cosmopolitan London lifestyle he fell into step with

“[This] collection is . . . romantic but melancholic and austere at the same time. It was gentle but you could still feel the bite of cold, the nip of the ice on the end of your nose. . ."
-Alexander McQueen on "Widows of Culloden"

Choosing to relieve my sense of sight, I focused on McQueen's words. So many times he referenced his Scottish heritage and the country's violent history. Perhaps that's why doom and ugliness were such reoccurring themes in his work

(Prosthetic carved wood legs and leather armor from "No. 13", Spring/Summer 1999)

McQueen's women faced a cruel world and were properly prepared in chain mail, leather cuirass, shoulder pieces, helmets, gauntlets.... even invoking divine interception 

("The Overlook", aluminum coiled corset, Autumn/Winter 1999–2000)                                

  (Religious iconography and gilded duck feather underskirt at Autumn/winter 2010–11)

But if there was a thesis to the trajectory of Alexander McQueen's art, I'd say this quote is the clue:

"The title of the show ["It's a Jungle Out There"] was a play on animal and man. They are both gross and very much the same" 

This was the # 1 concept I took away from the show: Man, despite the artifice, the airs, the core conceit of hiding under cloth and coat, has skimmed off the primordial soup like every other part of nature. We are with bone and claw and fur just like our cousins still on all fours. I was blown away by the multitude of allusions to nature and man's place in the kingdom of survival of the fittest

(Shaun Leane for Alexander McQueen spine corset from Spring/Summer 1998)

(Black duck feather dress from "The Horn of Plenty" Autumn/Winter 2009-2010 collection)

(Leather and lace? Nope horsehair. "It's Only a Game" Spring/Summer 2005)

(Taxidermy crocodile heads and brown leather bodysuit. one of many animal transformations in the Autumn/Winter 1997-1998 collection "It's a Jungle Out There")

"I have always loved the mechanics of nature and to a greater or lesser extent my work is always informed by that"

(Pony skin and impala horns. The metamorphosis is complete. Autumn/Winter 1997-1998 collection "It's a Jungle Out There")

"Savage Beauty" ends with the Spring/Summer 2010 collection "Plato's Atlantis" (his penultimate womenswear collection) where he takes us full circle

“[This collection predicted a future in which] the ice cap would melt . . . the waters would rise and . . . life on earth would have to evolve in order to live beneath the sea once more or perish. Humanity [would] go back to the place from whence it came.”

Resplendent work, yes, but man did I need this chocolate and peanut butter cupcake afterwards!

For more information on "Savage Beauty"

Stop by Two Little Red Hens afterwards for much needed sweet relief

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Off to the MET

To celebrate my 6 year anniversary as a New Yorker (can I call myself that now?), I've run off to queue up early to see "Savage Beauty" the exhibit on Alexander McQueen.

Ciao darlings for today, but fear not, a full review to come!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One ELLE of a Gal

"Fell in love with the girl, fell in love once and almost completely"

In a Yohji Yamamoto cage dress with polka dot Stella McCartney blouse and Sergio Rossi leather and suede boots, Emma Stone's ELLE magazine July 2011 subscriber cover is like a vision from "Barbarella" or Roman Coppola's "CQ" 

Take note, W, this is how you showcase an ingenue!

DON'T: Computer Animated Beloved Cartoons are not Models (or Street Walkers)

Maybe I'm a bitter old man crushed to see a cartoon of my youth soiled by CGI or a once golden fashion magazine resort to stunt casting but this leaked image of Smurfette in Lanvin, Marc Jacobs and other Fall 2011 accessories makes me sad

It looks about as real, I guess, as any other fashion magazine model post-Photoshop, but, as Michael Kors would say, I question the taste level. These looks are more Julia Roberts' outfits before Richard Gere takes her off the streets and I'm sorry Smurfette was not three apples tall for any blowjob advantage!

Another step into the unemployment line, Glenda (although I enjoy the subtle wink to your Hogatha nickname)

Nerds and Kitties "United"!

I love you Pete and the Pirates. That "Mr Understanding" song from a minute back was a regular jam and a smile still draws upon my face when it shuffles up on the old I-pod.

Now you've gone and made more cute tunes with even cuter videos featuring cute nerds and cats

I'm checking out rings and practicing vows and we've never even met. Purrr.... (pun and no pun intended!)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Reoccurring Lust: Ben Sherman's Hunting Lodge Carryall

For weeks now as I've passed by the Ben Sherman on Spring Street on my way to work with this little buffalo check beauty singing its siren call to me. 

I stop and I stare at it, imagining the various looks it would compliment and how it's the ideal transitional piece into Fall and will look super sharp, come Winter with my tweeds and car coats... but then, I stop, rationalize and move on. I mean, come on, I need a new bag like I need a third arm. 

Meaning, I think it would be superfluous, but once I had it I'd wonder how I did without for so long! 

The price tag (yes it's gotten under my skin enough to review the price) however, has been a big part of the hindrance: $129! Pshaw.

But now, it's SALE time and questionable wool looking hunting lodge style bags placed in Spring/Summer collections are now half off, baby!

Sold out all over the Internet (oh, I guess it did make better business sense than I suspected) the bag still lurks under Spring Street's racks of pedestrian patterned dress shirts.

But will I succumb?

True Blood Comes in with a Jam

Ok I've read online grumblings about last nite's fourth season premiere, but I loved it. The stage is set for some interesting conflicts (Sookie versus the gremlin fairies, everyone versus some nasty old witch) and twists (Bill must'a won that battle with Sophie Anne cuz now he's king and Jessica is going through the terrible two's with new found freedom resulting in some acting outs).

I'm already hooked and biting at the bit for the next episode. Until then a nice bonus: a N'awlins style Zombies cover by country crooner gal Neko Case and Mr Southern Gothic Nick Cave.

Ooh this season gonna be the ish!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Window Dressing on the Side: New York is PROUD

(Old Navy is loud and proud in Soho)

New York, I'm proud of you!

On Friday June 24th, New York became the sixth state in the U.S. to pass full Gay Marriage. This ain't no fake marriage "union" New York is offering, this is full rights recognized. Based on this important legislation and other liberties allowed me here, I am glad to call New York my new home and I shudder at a glaring slight by my beloved home state of Maryland that the bill was not passed back in March. 

Nonetheless, it's PRIDE in New York today and the party will be intense. The streets have been alive with the crackle of celebration since Friday nite when the passing was announced. 

Here I offer you up some of the great windows I've seen this week (even before the gay marriage bill passed). I hope you can appreciate the joy in these windows and ads and how, for just a moment, it wasn't about selling t-shirts

(Kate Spade has the pinkest, most "dazzling" window)

(The HRC is out of D.C. and I remember many times as a teen seeing the Georgetown outpost of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams sponsoring events. They are indeed, long time partners in support!)

And lastly, while not a "window" this ad by Manhattan Mini Storage, a company that always uses clever, timely and politically charged copy to promote, feels right on the nose. Happy PRIDE!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thanks for the Ad: True Blood is Coming, Y'all!

These posters and Times Square billboards are all over the city right now and my blood is already boiling in anticipation

Bring on the witches! Bring on the love quadrilaterals! Hell, even bring on the alien light fairies!

Is it Sunday yet???

Armani's Nasty Exchange

(Sure, he's all smiles now)

What's in the champagne these days, cuz fashion folk can't stop taking swipes at each other. Giorgio Armani threw some barbs at his fellow Italian designers during the menswear Spring 2012 shows this week, stating that 

"houses such as Prada and Dolce & Gabbana make men look ridiculous and blamed the press for not being more critical about clownish styles that men don’t wear"

Hmmm... let's compare

(Dolce and Gabbana)

Yes, the leather mesh shorts were a bit too much of a good Tom of Finland thing, but I dug the effect in full car coat design. 


Pattern clash isn't exactly a new thing in menswear, but I still believe in it, as I do 60's influences. Here Prada combines the two with love-in style daisy pants and gold caddie style bags. Reinterpreting recent trends into the next? That's what Prada's always been about. 

(Giorgio Armani)

Armani, I know you have a look and I commend your commitment and one could argue said commitment avoids the manic, A.D.D. sense of fashion the past 10+ years, but, these styles look like they're from 10+ years ago. And that's the fashion kiss of death. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Black is Beauty-ful

With yesterday's announcement that Ethiopian model Liya Kebede is to be the latest face of L'Oreal, another lady of color joins the vast ranks of beauty ambassadors.

L'Oreal for one has Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Freida Pinto in its diverse roster already

(There's nothing "Slum"my about Ms. Pinto's beauty)

Revlon, of course, famously has ageless Halle Berry on board

(Most people would name Halle Berry as the face of Revlon)

Penelope Cruz and Dominican model, Arlenis Sosa are both proud Lacome spokesmodels

(Sosa is anything but so-so)

Estee Lauder showcases diverse beauty is "Ideal" in its new ads with Peaurto Rican model Joan Smalls and Liu Wen from China. 

(Nope, not a Benetton ad; rather an "Idealist" view of beauty)

So my point? When will fashion labels catch up with what beauty labels already know: the more range you show in your ads, the more people you connect with. Fashion is no longer just for pretty white people and with economies emerging in China, India, the Middle East and such, fashion labels have scrambled to open new boutiques there. Why not follow the beauty giants' lead and open themselves up to new markets visually too? 

After all, the only real color that matters in the world of business is green. 

Meow, Alaia!

When I see how she [Anna Wintour] is dressed, I don’t believe in her tastes one second. I can say it loudly! ... Other people think like me, but don’t say it because they are afraid that Vogue won’t photograph them.

Anyway,who will remember Anna Wintour in the history of fashion? No one. Take Diana Vreeland, she is remembered because she was so chic. What she did with the magazine was great, with Avedon and all the great photographers. Vogue remains while its fashion editors come and go.

-Azzedine Alaia telling it like it is, baby! From an interview in Virgine Magazine

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bougie White Women Love Kieselstein-Cord

Until I worked clothing retail on the Upper East Side I had a skewed vision of fashion. As a stylist and fashion editor (and in my personal life) I thought clothing and accessories were supposed to be a representation of ones personal style and a chance to celebrate each day with what Little Edie would call the appropriate costume.

Egg on my face! Turns out "fashion" for a certain set is all a race for the right label, exclusivity and elitism. It's high school all over again, baby.

Case in point: these sterling silver novelty belt buckles from Kieselstein-Cord in preposterous shapes. I had never heard of them but they are the pricey ne plus ultra for the UES married well crowd and a hushed about fashion "in".  

But then who wouldn't want to strap themselves into their silk/linen blend pants with a panda chomping bamboo

Or cinch those white jeans with this classy poodle pissin' buckle

Or give "Wally the Walrus" a whirl for that wasp waist

Now funny little animals winking up in a cheeky manner is something I can really get behind, but bougie white women collect these like children at the lunchroom with they Pokemon

"I just got a new elephant belt buckle and ooh, look you have a cute little silver square. How quaint."
And, honey, when the own website won't quote you a price, you know they ain't goin' cheap.

(If so inclined, all available at

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Doin' It: When Saints Go Machine

With elements of Portishead like atmospherics, Depeche Mode keyboards and Bronski Beat vocalisation, Danish band When Saints Go Machine are indeed a holy concoction of men and moogs

Feeling this right now as a Summer jam for dancing in my room picking out the day's costume, although my job may not be happy with the dramatic results.

RESORT to This: A Trench is Your Best Friend

(Zac Posen with Coco Rocha workin' it out)

Menswear shows have begun but before we move on let's just talk about one last trend from the Resort 2012 collections. You're gonna need a trench

(The fortune cookie hem shown at Yves Saint Laurent is a kick of Oriental influence)

But really, when do you NOT need a trench. It's one of a finely tuned wardrobe's keystones. However, with tiered versions shown at Zac Posen and other quirky details or unexpected fabrics, the Resort trenches felt like new takes on the classic

(To the left Altuzarra's boxy multi-lapel anorak style trench)

(My favorite of the season: Celine's translucent slicker in gradient grey. Adore!)

About Me

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I'm a fashion writer who writes for Bluefly, EDGE Media, VIRAL Fashion, etc. I use "It Can't All Be Dior" as a safe release for my love of coats, cats and cake. Phew!