Thursday, February 24, 2011

Decoding : Fashion, the Tenth Art ?

The execution of Lady Grey by Delaroche (detail)
 Two days ago, I've had a strange encounter at London Fashion Week during the Giles' show, at the Royal Court of Justice. No, it wasn't Pixie Geldof, but a certain Lady Grey. Is she a close relative to Lady Gaga ? Not at all, Jane Grey was a 16th century English noblewoman who was queen during nine days before her execution for high treason. This woman is mainly famous for a painting of the said execution, by French painter Paul Delaroche. As you suspect, I don't have medium's skills, so, when I talk of encounter, I describe my surprise to see the face of Miss Grey on several outfits of designer Giles Deacon. For me, it was especially relevant to find the detail of a famous painting used as the main pattern of a fashion collection, and I was quite amazed that no one thought about it before.
Giles Fall 2011 ( )
 Fashion, after all, is just an art like another. Critics accuse Haute Couture of being "Art for Art", that is to say something unwearable, pricey and totally useless. Designers such as Gareth Pugh are forced to defend themselves against that accusation, and to prove that their creations are made for stores and not for galleries . But I don't fit into that scheme. I particularly agree with Vanessa Paradis when she declares that she goes to fashion shows as she would go to real shows, i.e. theatre, dance or another performance. I don't mind if a dress is wearable or not, affordable or not, if it is gorgeous and aesthetic, I consider that it equals a painting or a sculpture. I was maybe influenced by the Parnassian poets during my teenage years, but I proclaim the right to "l'Art pour l'Art" !
Alexander McQueen "Savage beauty" exhibition ( photo Sølve Sundsbø )
 It seems that I am not alone in this process. Museums are opening their doors to designers, launching exhibitions for them as they would do it for masters of paintings, sculpture and photography. This Spring, the Metropolitan Museum of New York will host an exhibition devoted to Alexander McQueen at its Costume Institute. In London, the Victoria & Albert Museum will take a special interest in designer Yohji Yamamoto in March, and in Paris, the Museum of Quai Branly shows the close relationship between East and Christian Lacroix. Long past, fashion photography has been considered as artistic. It is not surprising then that the clothes themselves would enter in the spheres of Fine Arts. To when the creation of Fashion gelleries ? It is nearly here : some brands have already launched short-lived concept stores, mixing clothes with contemporary exhibitions ...
Sergio Rossi "Idol" bodice
 The dialogue between art and fashion started with the artists themselves. Painter Dalì influenced designer Elsa Schiaparelli, but he was a designer himself : he created jewels, and many other artists did the same ( Cesar, Picasso and Arman to name few ). The March issue of Vogue Paris incidentally pays a tribute to the famous artist and finds its inspiration in surrealism.
Not surprising then that jewellers and designers would venture in the world of sculpture : I have already told you about Jordan Askill, but the Fashion Week also reavealed Erickson Beaman, and brand Sergio Rossi launched a surprising line of accessories, close to classic Greek sculpture.
Elle Fanning in a video for Rodarte
Then, Contemporary Art starts to blend in with Fashion : when art performer Olympia Scarry wants to create an art statement at Art Basel, she chooses to appear in a burqua at Playboy's party. But not an ordinary burqua : this one was a piece of black lace and silk custom-tailored by Riccardo Tisci himself ... The designer, at the head of the Givenchy House of Couture, has already expressed his will to send fashion back into the world of luxury and, inevitably, of Art.
Indeed, each Art can easily flirt with Fashion : you can see my article on Architecture and the Lourenços, many singers are moving Music closer to Couture, Comics are often seen in t-shirts, and Dance is in the spotlight since the success of Black Swan ( with costumes by Rodarte ). The 7th art is not forgotten : talking of Rodarte, we have spotted actress Elle Fanning in their last video, a genre which grows faster in the Industry, with Tom Ford distinguishing himself in the cinema. From here, we can imagine more meetings with poetry, literature, gastronomy, television and more ... Imagination has no limit, and so is Art. So, let's create !

Monday, February 21, 2011

A girl, a style : Emma Who ?

"Gimme that trophy, you old cow!" Emma W. (copyright unknown)
 Someone had got a great moment of solitude last week. No, it wasn't Lady Gaga doing her Tweety Bird at the Grammys, but someone called Emma Watson during the Elle Style Awards. Vivienne Westwood, the famous veteran designer, who was supposed to give her the Best Dressed Award, declared in front of the whole audience that she didn't have a clue of who this kid was ... Quite ironic, isn't it ? How could you deserve that kind of award if one of the most powerful designers of the world doesn't even know you ? I see you coming, don't blame it on Alzheimer. Because, really : who the hell is Emma Watson ?

(copyright unknown)
 I know, I know ...  I should empathize with her, because that kid really seems to have an issue with fame. For example, she seems to have a secret talent for public humiliation, with a collection of wardrobe malfunction close to great art. But, I can't help it, for me she has the profile of the perfect punch-bag.
First, I can't consider her as an actress because for me, what she did in Harry Potter was certainly not acting : at best, these movies are school shows with special effects. Secondly, I don't understand why everyone is rhapsodizing about her pseudo sense of style. I beg you pardon ? Emma Watson, stylish ??? Let's be a bit serious for once. Most of the time, she looks like a little girl who has borrowed her mummy's clothes and make-up. When she slips on a Burberry jacket, it is a gulag version of Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver !
Marie Claire December 2010
And her pixie crop ( see my article "Pixie crop someone ?" ) is a total disaster. She wanted to be the new Jean Seberg or the new Edie Sedgwick but she looks more like a post-cancer Izzie Stevens or Martine, an heroine of French vintage illustrated books for children. If you cut your hair to look more mature, avoid to put a childish flower on it ... I swear you, I'm trying really hard to like Emma Watson, but I just can't. She reminds me those pictures of kittens : cute, of course, but totally hokey.
Emma Watson is a young girl who had the luck to become famous really soon, and as she is an idol for the young public, many brands are using her image for their marketing campaigns. But that doesn't mean that she has got a natural sense of fashion. She's wearing what she's told to, and most of the times, it is more than silly. Stop trying to put edgy dresses on her, she's subscribed to Peter Pan collars and polished shoes. Miss Watson must grow up a little more if she wants to become a real fashionista.
But as for now, Emma darling, go back playing with your Little Pony and leave Grandma Westwood in peace !

copyright Simon Procter for Harper's Bazaar

Saturday, February 19, 2011

IFB's Links a la Mode

Fashion Week's Inspirations

Edited by Marie Denee of The Curvy Fashionista
During the midst of New York Fashion Week, fashion took another direction. Beyond the beauty of an artist’s creation, fashion bloggers take their inspirations to raise questions, reflect, challenge the status quo, create and fashion pieces of their own, and analyze the trends in digital and social media- nevertheless, fashion inspired. With this inspiration comes an eclectic look into this week’s Links a la mode.

Links à la Mode: February 17th, 2011

  • Alterations Needed: Getting a dress altered - before, after, and the thought process in between.
  • Beyond Fabric: Embracing a more stylish ride
  • Brunette Blogging: Blog Seasons - How different seasons have an impact on your blog
  • College Girl: Liberty London Girl spares her time to answer some in depth questions about her blogging experiences and gives amateur bloggers some exceptional advice in the process...
  • Dressing With Courage: Valentine's Day lingerie: Take back the sexy
  • Fashion Writes: Let's Get Digital. Digital. Women are small in numbers in the always-enhancing and ever-evolving tech side of the fashion industry, but we as fashion bloggers are going to begin skewing the curves.
  • Independent Fashion Bloggers: A blogger's moment with Anna Wintour at Milk Studios
  • Katrya-Kyla: "Print vs Video: The Industry's New Plan of Attack"
  • Khola's Kloset: Looking Back: The models and images that made fashion special
  • Lariza da Blog: my struggle with the vanity of fashion blogging:
  • Metallic Kiwi: Top black models emerging within the industry.
  • Most Serene Rabbit: Is there really such thing as ethical leather? Why is there a double standard when it comes to ethics In the fur and leather industries?
  • Previously Owned: BEHIND THE GLITZ- Q&A with designer Carolina Rodriguez about her food/fashion/music inspiration
  • Same Sensibility: Rihanna just ruined your Valentine's
  • Scrap and Run: Why I remix
  • Seamstress Stories: High heels yay, headscarf nay? Double standards in the symbolic value assigned to female clothing.
  • Style by Santina: My "Happy" Weight: When the Body and Brain Disagree
  • The Button Owl: Why your creative space identifies the real you just as much as your outer image.
  • The Coveted:Running into Anna Dello Russo at NYFW
  • The Curvy Fashionista: “DIY Diva” inspiration with Be Vain or DIY Trying
  • The Demoiselles: Crystal Renn on body image and pressure from the media.
PS : Hey Guys, the name of the blog is "The column of Samantha Tyler" !!! :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Trend : Restraining Order

Hermes SS2011
***First of all, my apologies for the lack of articles the previous week : I wrote for magazines instead, with a lot of meetings and work. But now, back to my personal business.***

 The other day, I stumbled accross Rihanna's new video and my first thought have been "Ouch!". Not because I caught a flick of her whip, but because I was thinking about that theory which says that ridicule doesn't kill. For a girl who's got a lot of bad publicity because of a former abusive boyfriend, I don't think it is very pertinent to release a song and video which scream "OH PLEASE HURT ME!" ... Well, I guess this is just my point of view, and that she mainly wanted to criticize the ambiguous relationship between an artist and medias, this without being familiar with the concept of subtlety ... But I also caught all the references to David LaChapelle and spotted a Fleet Ilya's belt when she walks her 50s milkman-dog. Wait a minute. Is it me or the brand seems to have got a strong connivance with the all-of-a-sudden dominatrix singer, and also with the whole Industry ? Does this latter need a whiplash after crisis ?
Hermes SS2011
 For many decades now, women have been liberated, thanks to the magazines and designers. Decades of freedom to work, to have sex when you want, to wear what you want and to live how you want. How exhausting ! But Industry is so caring it has developped products which would ease our angsts of free bitches ... I guess we are all unaware of the comfort a 50s housewife's outfit could bring ! Ha, being devoted mothers and wives -with that emblematic idiotic smile-, again ! But for the die-hard out there, who can't help thinking by themselves, I guess bondage would be the radical cure. And, good for you ! You don't have to humiliate yourself again in a sex shop because you can't find your size of corset, because bondage is quietly becoming mainstream. Example ? No, no, the Spring Summer collection of Hermes is not equestrian-themed. The guys didn't fool Carine Roitfield, the queen of porno chic, and I guess you don't need a degree to add leather + straps + whips and find what it truly means ...
 But I guess it is just a little bit more subtle than Rihanna learning Shibari ( the japanese art of restraining ). Another winner in the categories of "You saw it coming, don't you ?" and "I found myself very smart when I've decided of that name" is brand Bordelle which directly refers to the french word for brothel ( with a mistake s'il vous plaît ). Its products ? Lingerie. But the kind of lingerie you fear to discover inside the cute little gift-wrap Darling gave you on Valentine's. The one which remind you that 1) you've failed your diet AGAIN 2) you've forgot to buy talc AGAIN 3) your mother was right AGAIN. I guess you totally know what I mean.
Plein Sud
As it is actually Valentine's Day today, let me give you some hints of what you could receive this night : a dress which wants to be sexy but screams "YOU'RE MY LITTLE UNDERPANTS WASHER !" instead ( All Saints ), a dress (yes, I swear you, they call it a dress !) which will be very creative this summer with the appropriate tanning and which would totally consolitade your mother-in-law in the idea that you are totally insane ( Plein Sud ), and accessories which will turn Wonder Woman and Leigh Bowery totally green with envy ( Gabriella Marina Gonzalez ). But if he gifts you with a Phylea ball-gag (yes he stole and secretly read your Numero magazine ) don't do your Rihanna : that will be definitely the signal to FLEE. 
Oh, did I just spoiled your Valentine's surprise ??? I'm such a naughty girl ... 
All Saints £135,00

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fashion : Maxime Simoens, an Iron Fist in a Velvet Glove

Design of Maxime Simoens S/S 2010 collection
 A new decade implies new faces in the fashion Industry, the great designers have to make room for a new generation, young people who have a brand new look on fashion, heirs of a tradition but also turned toward our future. French designer Maxime Simoens is one of these new names who were picked this year to join the very private circle of French Couture. The 27 years old man from Lille, in the north of France, seems to be the one to follow.
Gossip Girls ( copyright unknown )
 He has worked for the best and learnt the lessons : from Elie Saab, he learnt the uncluttered lines; from Jean-Paul Gaultier, the gothic kitsch. But, as every young designer, his goal is to play solo. Last year, he decided to run his own house and was soon spotted on the fashion radars and became one of the designers working on famous TV show Gossip Girl. You have seen his dresses on Blair, but unfortunately she didn't emphasize them.
S/S 2011 collection
 Simoens' style is a bit gothic, and that doesn't match with the character played by Leighton Meester at all. Indeed, the young designer has got an obession for crosses, and his clothes have a rare dark elegance. The lines are almost military, with strict shoulders, an habit which was also caught by an other French talent, Alexandre Vauthier ( see my article on him ). On his 3 first collections, the main word has been luxury : satin, fur, leather, gold prints, everything is really meticulous, even cold, but beneath this wise appearance, there is a passionate soul.
A/W 2010 collection
Many journalists have linked him with Yves Saint Laurent, for his physical appearance, but also because some dresses reminded the designer, especially his Mondrian dresses of 1965 and 2002. We can also spot some influences of Alexander McQueen. The work is of great quality, and very sober, ideal for modern women. Thus, everyone is now fighting over the young talent. French mail order retailer 3 Suisses has decided to give him a good publicity by offering exclusive to its clients classy outfits for a very reasonable price.
A/W 2010 collection
 In his first collection, Maxime Simoens imitated the cover of Michael Jackson's disc 'Dangerous' : I guess this is a message for competitors ... With his sharp looks, mixing templars knights and seducive witches, Simoens has got some effective weapons to fight in the tought world of fashion. We wish him to be victorious.
Exclusive clothes created for 3 Suisses
Shop at

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Trend : Ten Killer Details for 2011

Richard Nicoll at 3 Suisses
 Needing ideas to spice up your summer wardrobe without ruining yourself ? I've spotted 10 easy fashion details that would help you being trendy and penny-wise at the same time. This summer, there are three important influences that you need to master : Arabian nights ( with the indigo blue ), Gothic ( make-up and accessories ) and Punk ( "do-it-yourself" ).

The Smock
The stripes are back, but avoid bright colors, only great on the catwalks. Instead, choose the smock, that classic sailor's T, which uses the trendy colour of the season and which is modernized with leggings, leather shorts or leather jacket. Of course, it is the main piece of Tommy Hilfiger's collection, but you can easily buy unexpensive versions.
Isabel Marant (
 The Hairnet
Once the prerogative of 80s ravers ( in Day-Glo ) and of gothics ( in black ), the hairnet settles down in white. You can play with its transparency, to emphasize a top or to reveal your body. You can wear it with summer skirts and shorts, a la Isabel Marant, or keep its rock attitude with a perfecto ( by Guess Jeans ). In army green, it will extend the military trend.
1060 Clothes
 The Suspenders
This is a detail that really caught my eye. It is punky, original and very simple to do. Use them to structure a loose t-shirt, for a boyish yet chic attitude.
Paul Smith (
 The Armband
Spice up the boyish shirt with a very elegant detail : tie a silk scarf ( or a necktie ) to one of your arms, just a bit above the roll up sleeve. Of course, the shirt is white ( or clear blue ) and the scarf indigo.
Gucci (
 The Tassel
We have seen it everywhere on the catwalks during the fashion week : at Miu Miu on a dress, at Diane Von Furstenberg on a bag, at Vuitton as earrings and of course, at Gucci on belts ( gorgeous belts ! ). You can easily find cords with nice colours everywhere ( yes, curtain cords ) or do your own.
Kate Lanphear (photographer unknown, please contact me if it is your work)
 The Cuffs
I've told you : heavy metal accessories are very trendy this season. We've seen them a lot on the collections. My favourites were those of Giorgio Armani, John Richmond and Etro. The editor of Elle, Kate Lanphear had already adopted them for her fierce look. It is definitely the jewels to wear this summer. You can buy them everywhere, but I recommend the tasty pieces of Felder Felder.
Giorgio Armani
 The Tagelmust
This winter it was the turban, but in summer, we are staying in the desert and we steal the headgear of the Tuareg. In indigo, of course, matched with a blue eye-liner, black or blue jackets and silver jewels.
Authentique Panama (Vogue Paris, photographer Mario Sorrenti, Pucci dress )
 The Wide-Brimmed Hat
Already seen on the celebs ( Rachel Bilson, Liv Tyler, Nicole Richie, to name few ), the wide-brimmed hat is the seminal details of the seasons. Seen in straw at Marc Jacobs, I prefer the black version worn by Lou Doillon for La Redoute or the one of American Apparel. To wear with a very long dress, preferably skin-tight to look slimmer or loose for a boho style.
Rick Owens (
 The Gothic Eye
The bold make-up is making its come-back, perhaps influenced by the poster of movie Black Swan. Spotted on the catwalk, the oversized smoky eyes of Rick Owens and the Manson-esque blue of Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Louis Vuitton (
The Dark Red Lips
If you prefer to wear lipstick, you have to know that nude and peach shades are over. Now, the lips must be dark as seen on the models during the shows of Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent. But don't overload your face with smoky eyes, it is one or the other.

Voilà, you now have all the ingredients to parad this summer with style.