Friday, July 29, 2011

Fashion Flashback: Doc Martens

Iconic English punk rock band The Clash in their Dr. Martens in the '70s

I recently splurged and purchased a pair of Dr. Marten 1460 For Life 8-eye boots in the oxblood color, which is rich and gorgeous -- but most importantly, the boots are incredibly comfortable.  I have to confess, I can totally pinpoint the first time I really fell in love with the combat boot style -- I was 10 or 11 at the time and a huge fan of the MTV cartoon Daria.  And as you probably know, Daria wore boots with everything.  And did so awesomely (as awesomely as a cartoon character can).

The first Dr. Marten boots released in the UK in the '60s were actually the 8-eye oxblood boot.  The boot was initially embraced by the working class and skinheads, it eventually caught on as a cultural phenomenon, becoming a part of everything from the punk rock scene to the more mainstream.

From an article in the Los Angeles Times:
  ...this iconic footwear (it even appears in the Oxford English Dictionary) has roots more than a century old. In 1901, Benjamin Griggs and Septimus Jones set up a boot business in England, and 10 years later, Benjamin brought in his son Reginald to form R. Griggs & Co. Flash forward to 1945 Germany. Dr. Klaus Maertens has invented an air-cushioned sole. On leave during World War II, Maertens injures his ankle skiing. His army-issued boots are torture, so he designs a pair with finer leather and air-cushioned soles. The footwear doesn't earn Maertens a reichsmark — until he teams up with Dr. Herbert Funck in 1947. Using abandoned rubber from Luftwaffe airfields, they create the perfect sole.
Said Elle style director Kate Lanphear of the mainstream popularity of the boot in the '90s:
...You know it was like, all the cool girls started wearing it, it was no longer like a guy thing...the guys from Friends were wearing them, kids on 90210 were wearing them...
 Top: Punk rockers; Bridget Fonda and Matt Dillon in Singles; Claire Danes; Pete Townshend; Liv Tyler
Bottom: Whitney Port, Sienna Miller, Dakota Fanning, Agyness Deyn, Jessica Alba, Daisy Lowe

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Style Inspiration: Denim Skirts

I recently purchased a high-waisted A-line skirt from Topshop, on sale for $14 and I'm dying to get it in the mail.  It's pale blue denim and so very '70s.

Kirsten Dunst always manages to capture laid-back SoCal chic perfectly.  Zooey Deschanel gives the look more of a '20s vibe pairing her denim skirt with a nautical top by the L.A.-based brand Dear Creatures and Claudia Schiffer wears Stella McCartney denim with a bohemian flair.  Rebecca Taylor's Spring 2011 collection included a denim skirt.

I consider a cute denim skirt a perfect wardrobe staple for both summer and fall (if paired with stockings or tights).  I favor more conservative denim skirts.  Much classier and more retro.

Top: Street style from the Sartorialist; Kirsten Dunst; Claudia Schiffer in Stella McCartney; Zooey Deschanel in Dear Creatures
Bottom: Stella McCartney runway; Kirsten Dunst; Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer; Rebecca Taylor Spring 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Style Inspiration: Leigh Lezark

Leigh Lezark in a white silk dress from Peter Pilotto's spring 2011 collection

DJ, model and fashion icon Leigh Lezark was spotted at the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup Polo Final in West Sussex, England, looking stunning in a beautiful Peter Pilotto white silk dress and Nicholas Kirkwood silver python heels.  I've always been a fan of Lezark's style -- it's edgy and unpredictable.  I admire her interesting fashion choices, as well as her ability to rarely be seen smiling in a photograph (hence the nickname Princess Coldstare).  She's often seen in black, but occasionally makes more fun choices, like the colorful caftan inspired by Belvedere grapefruit vodka by Matthew Williamson, for whom she served as a muse, or the leopard-print Giambattista Valli dress with a bright red coat.  I think the jet black hair and red lip lend to the vampy air of mystery she exudes (can you believe she's actually a blonde?).  Below are some of my favorite looks.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fashion Flashback: Reyn Spooner for Opening Ceremony

Kirsten Dunst, Tod Wisenbaker of Whispertown 2000, Jenny Lewis and Johanthan Rice

Reyn Spooner holds the distinction of designing traditional Hawaiian-influenced clothing since 1956.  Depending on how it's worn, I think sometimes the print can borderline on cheesy (ahem, Magnum P.I.), but the brand's Opening Ceremony line gives it a whole new hipster edge.  Or maybe I think so because the threads are modeled by Kirsten Dunst and Jenny Lewis while Lewis was on tour in France.  Admittedly, some of them are rather adorable.

Hawaiian prints tend to remind me of From Here to Eternity, the classic Frank Zimmerman film about soldiers stationed in Hawaii leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Called the "Aloha" shirt, it originated in the early 1930s, brought to the island by Chinese merchant Ellery Chun.  The popularity of the Aloha shirt boomed in the United States after World War II, as everyone from Elvis to John Wayne were seen wearing them.

You can see the full Reyn Spooner for Opening Ceremony collection here.

Photo Source: Refinery 29, Glamour Splash, Arkiva Tropika

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fashion Flashback: Color Blocking

Flight attendants in color block uniforms, cir. 1960

The color blocking trend is back, and is so very mod.  I love this look -- it's fun, vibrant and undeniably retro.  When I think of color blocking, I tend to think of flight attendants from the '60s, who rocked everything from short skirts to hotpants (something you most certainly wouldn't see today!).  They even sometimes looked to be channeling Jane Jetson.

Designers like Andre Courreges, Oleg Cassini and Emilio Pucci paved the way for bright and fun colorblock dresses in the swingin' 60s.  It wasn't an unusual thing for a designer to be commissioned to design uniforms for flight attendants.  Cassini and Pucci can be credited with putting flight attendants in the color block minidresses and go-go boots.  It's too bad air travel isn't as whimsical and colorful today.

Photo Sources: Belle Du Jour, Goldmine Trash, How to Be a Retronaut, The Swinging Sixties

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fashion Flashback: Seeing Red

 Red Hot: Emma Stone on the Today show

Girl crush of the moment Emma Stone looked stunning on the "Today" show this morning wearing a gorgeous red dress that I have yet to identify.  In a bizarre turn of events, Al Roker and Ryan Gosling end up trying to do the final lift move from Dirty Dancing, which you can watch here, if you are so inclined to see such a thing.  And that's Ryan lifting Al, not the other way around.  So weird.

Moving on -- Christian Dior designed some pretty fantastic red dresses in the 1950s, and there have also been some pretty iconic red dresses from back in the day, from Audrey Hepburn's iconic Givenchy in Funny Face to Cyd Charisse's sexy red number from Singin' in the Rain.  I can't tell you how many times I've worn something red and had Chris De Burgh's "Lady in Red" sang to me (though curiously enough, no one seems to know any of the lyrics beyond "Laaaaady in red....").

Here's some red-hot inspiration from the past.  In the words of legendary fashion designer Bill Blass: "When in doubt, wear red."

Clockwise from left: A Christian Dior model in Paris, spring 1957; Marilyn Monroe; Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy; Gene Tierney, Cyd Charisse in Singin' in the Rain, Jane Powell in Royal Wedding; a Christian Dior model in 1957

Monday, July 18, 2011

Style Inspiration: Margherita Missoni

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Margherita and her mother Angela; Angela and her mother Rosita in 1968

Today's fashion inspiration is Margherita Missoni, who wears the bohemian-luxe look like no other.  As heiress to the Missoni fashion house, the 28 year-old is the epitome of the effortless chic that her family's brand embodies.  She is the eldest grandchild of founders Rosita and Ottavio Missoni, and her mother Angela is the current Creative Director.

From a May 2011 article in Harper's Bazaar:
Convention has never been at the heart of the Missoni ethos. Rosita and her husband, Tai, spun out psychedelic zigzag knitwear in the 1960s that shocked the updos right off the perbene Milanese.
Good news for those who cannot normally afford Missoni (ahem, yours truly) -- come September, their collaboration with Target will hit stores, with everything from clothes to dinnerware to bedsheets.  In the meantime, check out this day in the life video that offers insight into Margherita's creative contribution to the company.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Style Inspiration: Yellow

Mellow Yellow: Two pieces from Jenni Kayne's 2012 resort collection

L.A.-based designer Jenni Kayne's new resort collection is all about vibrant yellow.  I normally think twice about wearing such a bold color, but her pieces are so effortlessly chic and the yellow is so cheerful that I'm reconsidering.  The color was popular in the 1950s, from swimwear to A-line dresses and was seen on everyone from Ann-Margret and Ava Gardner to fashion models in print ads of the time.

Photo Credits: Villainously Vintage, Viva Vintage, eBay, Flickr

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fashion Flashback: The Denim Shirt

Summertime blues: Pairing my favorite denim shirt with a striped v-neck tee

The denim shirt has made a major comeback--I feel like I see it everywhere these days.  The look is very '70s inspired and brings to mind rock 'n rollers of the time like Eric Clapton, John Lennon and Bob Dylan.  It's classic, comfortable, and versatile -- it can add an unexpected rugged edge to a feminine outfit (think of pairing it with a floral print dress or a shimmery skirt).

 Then: Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Debbie Harry, Marvin Gaye, John Lennon
Now: Alexa Chung, David Beckham, Rachel Bilson, Ryan Gosling, Sienna Miller, Caleb Followill

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Through the Lens: The Work of Alex Prager

 "Susie and Friends," from Prager's The Big Valley, 2008 collection

To see the work of Alex Prager is like being transported back in time, to another world -- one that feels retro, but is also somehow familiar.  Said Prager: "I want the pictures to be a fusion of the past with the present. That's how I see the world."

The Los Angeles-based photographer names William Eggleston as one of her primary influences and her hometown as a muse, and it's evident in her work.  If you haven't read any of Eggleston's books, then you've probably still unknowingly seen his photographs -- they've appeared on numerous album covers, from Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American to Spoon's Transference

Prager in an interview with Marie Claire:
"As a kid, I told everyone I was going to be a star, but I didn't know what I wanted to do.  At 19, I saw a William Eggleston exhibit at the Getty Museum; that was when I realized photography could be an art form.  I went out and bought my first professional camera that week."
Her photos are also influenced by Alfred Hitchcock (think North by Northwest and The Birds) with the weirdness of David Lynch.  It encapsulates a mixture of mystery, darkness and lurid beauty.

Above, William Eggleston's photos.  Below, Alex Prager's work.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fashion Flashback: Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry

Nicole Richie and tribal-inspired, boho-chic pieces from her House of Harlow 1960 line

I was surprised by how much I like Nicole Richie's House of Harlow 1960 jewelry line.  It's hard to believe this is the same girl that donned tiny denim skirts, Uggs and trucker hats in that reality show she did with Paris Hilton.  To see her now, it's like she's a completely different person.  Her fashion aesthetic has definitely changed.

House of Harlow 1960 consists of a line of tribal-inspired pieces with bright colors and triangular and sunburst patterns.  It reminds me a bit of the '60s fashion icon Talitha Getty and her boho-chic style.  Getty and her husband, John Paul Getty Jr., the son of the American oil tycoon, lived a life of excess and luxury, a type of rich-hippie lifestyle filled with exotic travel, parties with the Rolling Stones and drugs (she died of a heroin overdose in 1971 at the age of 30 -- the same year as Edie Sedgwick and Jim Morrison).  From a 2001 W magazine piece about Getty:
Kenneth Jay Lane supplied Talitha with dramatic costume jewelry early in his career and also remembers her as one of the "special people" of that Youthquake era. "First of all, she was beautiful," he says, "with that wonderful combination of Indonesian and Dutch heritage. She was marvelous looking and full of charm--and all that money didn't hurt."  Said Diane Von Furstenberg: "When I first saw pictures of her, I thought, How glamorous. Then I met her and discovered a very bright creature who wanted to dance under the stars--and danced too fast."

Images of Talitha Getty courtesy of the Fashion Spot

Friday, July 8, 2011

Style Inspiration: Whites

White Light/White Heat: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's Transformers 3 wardrobe

I must admit, I really enjoyed Transformers 3, which is saying a lot since I was reluctant to see it based on my dislike for the first two.  Besides very nice 3D effects and a very random cast (e.g. John Malkovich?  Ken Jeong?  McDreamy?), I felt that another part of the reason I liked it was because I was seriously in love with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's almost entirely white wardrobe.  Yes, I am that much of a girl.

There's something classic and sophisticated about all-white.  A woman who I found wore white very well was Marilyn Monroe, who was probably best-known for the pleated white dress she wore in The Seven Year Itch (which recently sold in auction for a mind-boggling $4.6 million).  Summertime is as good a time as any to add a little white to your wardrobe.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fashion Flashback: Capelets

(L) Hendricks' Johanna Johnson capelet, (R) Hendricks wearing it at a premiere

I was reading the latest issue of Lucky Magazine with Christina Hendricks on the cover, and there was a collage of a few of her favorite items, which included a capelet -- something you'd expect to see more so on Mad Men than the red carpet.  Said Hendricks: "It frames your face perfectly, and I love that it looks a bit like an old vintage costume."

I'm not totally in love with the look above (I had to crop out the hideously unflattering pants she was wearing, but honestly like the look from the waist up), but I think capelets could be cute if worn the right way, and there are a variety of styles, from the flashy (e.g. Kate Moss, Katie Holmes and Kate Hudson -- coincidentally, all of the Kates) to the more subdued (Leighton Meester as Blair Waldorf and Rachel Bilson).

The history of the capelet dates back to the late 1800s and later capelets from the 1900s were influenced by the Edwardian fashions.  Are capelets something you'd be likely to wear in the fall, or do you think they are destined to be dowdy?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Music: Rave On Buddy Holly

The tribute album consists of 19 tracks from a wide variety of artists.

"Rave On Buddy Holly," a tribute album to the legendary artist, was recently released and includes covers by such artists as the Black Keys, Modest Mouse, Lou Reed, Paul McCartney, Patti Smith and more.  I haven't had a chance to listen to the whole album and have read mixed reviews about it, but I have to say I am loving the Black Keys' cover of "Dearest."  The sullen girl herself, Fiona Apple, rather unexpectedly covers "Everyday" with Jon Brion and She & Him's "Oh Boy!" is abound with unabashed cutesy fervor (as to be expected).  I'll be You-Tubing the rest of the tunes for sure today.

Though Holly had a short life and career, his impact on rock 'n roll endures.  Said McCartney of Holly: "At least the first 40 songs we [The Beatles] wrote were Buddy Holly-influenced."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Music: Zooey Deschanel + Linda Ronstadt

Similar in Nature: Zooey in Filter Magazine and Linda on the cover of a Stone Poneys album

There are some celebrities out there that are so very reminiscent of stars of the past that it's a bit uncanny.  Today's (first) edition of lookalikes features two favorites of mine, Zooey Deschanel and Linda Ronstadt.  Both are doe-eyed brunettes with serious musical talent.  Fun fact: Zooey was once quoted as saying "Blue Bayou" was one of her favorite go-to karaoke tunes.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Music: Grace Potter

Rock 'n roll siren Grace Potter getting into the Independence Day spirit.

Grace Potter of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals has the same soulful vocal chops as Janis Joplin and Grace Slick and the style and stage presence of Debbie Harry or Stevie Nicks -- this girl is the real deal. She has a talent and star quality reminiscent of rock 'n roll queens from back in the day, which is so exciting and refreshing to me.

Listen to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals' cover of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit"

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sweet Shades: Warby Parker Collection

Warby Parker 'Mabel' sunglasses in greystone, $95

The great thing about Warby Parker (besides obviously fantastic eyewear) is that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair will be donated to a person in need.  The company is launching a prescription sunwear line in August, but you can actually pre-order now and get your sunnies shipped out on July 15th.  I love the retro style of their glasses, and their descriptor for the Mabel (seen above) only confirms that it was influenced by the past, but with a modern twist.
Inspired by the geometric designs of the 1950s and 1960s, the Mabel‘s hexagonal shape captures the attention of onlookers while comfortably fitting most women. We paired a classic shape with modern and exciting color treatments to create this unique look.
You can browse the menswear collection here and women's here.

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