Monday, August 23, 2010

star power

If you’re anything like me, you love and follow celebrities in a kind of satirical but secretly devoted way. Like, I know it’s shameful to know so much about who’s who, wearing who and doing who, when I could be spending my spare time learning things which are useful, but in my spare time I don’t really want to learn anything; I just want to be entertained.

As a bit of a tangent, I came home the other day to someone watching a documentary about how carpet is made. Now I’m all for carpet, don’t get me wrong, I’m all over that shit; but do I care how the yarn is processed? Do I care that someone goes through each carpet looking for defects and marking it with yellow string? No. But now that I know that little fact, a little piece of celebrity knowledge slipped out my brain. I spend all day reading about engineering and technology. I guess not everyone has jobs where they learn new stuff every day, but I do, and I don’t want to come home to hear about the life of yarn. I want to give my brain a rest. I certainly don’t want to be judged for it.

Back on track. If you are like me and like to read gossip columns and know that Perez Hilton is not a girl, how much of an effect does it have on your life?

As much as we know and love stars, would you buy something just because it was endorsed by a famous face? Not even that, all they have to do is put their name to something; person becomes brand.

When it comes to fashion, particularly in New Zealand – because we don’t have any worthy stars – celebrity branding might get you in the door so to speak, but if the product doesn’t actually suit you, surely you’re not going to buy it. How can you trust a far away person in a far away land to create just the right clothing for you?

I talk about trust because there are two types of celebrity brands. There’s the Lindsay Lohan “I’ll-put-my-name-on-it-you-do-the-work” type deal, where both sides are mutually whoring off eachother to bring in an extra few bucks. Then you have people like Victoria Beckham, who actually has talent, is incredibly chic and savvy and knows her way around the fashion world. I think people often forget that before she was slamming her body down and winding it all around as a Spice Girl, Victoria was a successful model. Her clothes look amazing and perfectly tailored and she wears them herself – a great endorsement to any designer so lucky to make it into her wardrobe.

I’d wear almost anything VB made or wore. With someone like Lindsay, I’d be worried that she’d pre-worn most of the samples and inadvertently peed her pants in it after consecutive hard-partying nights out.

And what about all the inbetweeners? Is anyone rushing out to buy celebrity-endorsed perfume? Anyone ever bought L.A.M.B shoes? (I would if I had more need for non-sport-related sneakers, because Gwen Stefani rules.) Have you ever given a certain make-up a second glance because the latest it girl is fronting their campaign – or do you just head for the tried and true?

I think it’s one thing to know what or who a “Snooki” is, but if she starts making clothes or perfume, you’d be hard pressed to find one person who wants to claim that as their fashion inspiration.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rock-it Ma'am

In some fantasy world, where anything can happen, I am a rock star.....the sassy lead singer, hanging out with the boys. So I can't sing very well or play more than three chords on my measly 3/4 size guitar... but I can still dream. Don't tell me you never thought the same thing!

Ever since the first time all those moons ago when I saw Gwen strutting her stuff with No Doubt, I wanted to be one of those rocker chicks. And the biggest reason I can think of other than just wanting to be because rockers get to have all the fashion fun.
In any other walk of life, such styles would look ridiculous and most likely slutty... but when rock stars are posing with the band or running round a stage, it just If I see a dude with a mohawk on the street, that just looks yuk. But as soon as its Mr 30 Seconds Leto or the oh so adorable Noah Puckerman (hello Gleeks!), well I'm all over that shit. Hell even that weirdo Maynard James Keenan (frontman Tool) can rock a 'hawk.

I just finished watching all four seasons of Skins, and even though Effy Stonem dresses like a right tart, she manages to make me 100% envious. Sure, she's got that whole mysteriously sexy thing going on.... but I am entirely jealous that a girl wearing fishnets, boots, loose tops and LOTS of black can look so damn sophisticated!! If I rocked out on the street wearing such items.....well I probably wouldn't get where I'm going in one piece..

Same goes for 16 year old Taylor Momsen (also featured in Fashion on the Box as Jenny Humphrey). I find it a little disturbing that her band The Pretty Reckless consists of herself and three much older looking chaps.... but like Effy she gets away with all kinds of nasties I would not normally tolerate.
Obviously I'm in the wrong business if I want to pull off the rocker look, so in the meantime I guess the Haze and I are trying our best to sneak touches of it in here and there at the office. We can have a lot of fun with our stockings and jewellery I suppose, and today I bought a Effy-ish dress which I will proudly show off in the next few days. Boots are also a good way of slipping in a bit of superstardom, even if they do cost an arm and a leg. For a bit more fun I guess we'll have to wait for parties and towning.. But if I ever want to go the whole nine yards? Better keep working on that 3/4 guitar....

(or marry Jared Leto)

Monday, August 16, 2010

the sparkle that shines

The Straitjacket Fits didn’t feel the (theoretical) sparkle that shines in our eyes, but that was 1990, these days it’s a bit more obvious. Amidst the economic black death of the past two years a pattern has emerged. A pattern laden with sparkles that shine.

Is it that when we can least afford to add shiny adornment to our figures in the form of diamonds and bling, the fashion world decided to add it to our clothes in the form of sequins? In the past, Depressions were fraught with simple cuts and rationed materials, leading to a conservative, if not drab, look.

This time around, designers used less-costly materials and adorned them with ruffles, pleats and sequins to make up for the opulence lost as they moved away from expensive silks and chiffons.

Sequined materials and adornments didn’t make it into my wardrobe for some time. I was very wary of blinging my outfits themselves, rather than adding shiny value to them through jewellery and make up. However, at this late stage in the sparkly game I’ve embraced a few of the less garish pieces.

A major focus of sequined clothing (if it hasn’t used sequin material for the whole item) has been on shoulders and the neck line. It really is like wearing your jewellery on the fabric itself. And I wouldn’t recommend adding to it either. Your sparklies should are the feature, not part of a bigger picture. And additions should be worn with caution. Let’s not get all Liza Minnelli on it.

As for the all-over sequined look, I’m not quite there yet, nor do I think I will ever be. Maybe for New York party girls with exclusive clubs to go to and expensive friends to drink with – but for Courtenay Place or Cuba Street on a Wellington weekend? I have my doubts. I’m concerned that the look can get a bit “peacock-y”, as in, girls wearing flashy things in order to attract potential mates – like moths to the flame.

What I find intriguing about the sparklies is that it’s been on the racks for more than three months. Unlike most fashion fads, embellished tops and dresses have been “in” for over two years now. So, is it a drawn out response to recession or is sequined clothing just one of those things that will never get old?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

cut it out

I’ve been avoiding shops for a while; after having a birthday and a few other events recently the spending kitty has been somewhat depleted. However a quick visit to just two stores on Friday served notice of what is obviously a highly celebrity-fuelled trend – cut out dresses.
I say celebrity fuelled because it’s the middle of winter in NZ, most of us are trying to keep any pesky gaps in clothing covered up, rather than purposely exposing flesh. You might say spring is on the way and winter stock is getting scarcer, but spring is notoriously cold around here and I don’t see this year being any different.

SO the cut-out dress. Not a look I’d personally go for. With cut outs in all the wrong places (read: where winter fat has been deposited) it could be muffin top, side and back. Muffin anything is never a good look, so I can’t see anyone but the physically impeccable embracing this style.

Of course there are those that always ignore what fashion tries to withhold from them. Boob-tube muffin anyone? Lycra over rolls? Yes you’ve seen it and felt squeamish. Commented to someone near that That girl should not be wearing That dress. Don’t pretend you’re above judgement!

Well this season is obviously going to provide a few of us with some light chuckles, as those who just shouldn’t just can’t help themselves. The pubs are going to be filled with a bit of cheeky skin. The streets alight with winter paleness. Don’t feel bad if you feel the need to placed an icey drink-cooled hand on it just to teach them a lesson in appropriate winter garb. I’ll support your move.

For those who are game, Supre and Lippy have a few offerings. And I’m sure others will follow suit. A simple [read: not so flesh-revealing] way to follow the trend if you must is a cute heart-shaped keyhole or cut-out back, or something with lace inserts rather than plain-old holes. Just please don’t let me see your bra strap in the gap. Some things are supposed to remain underwraps.