Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Truth Tuesday

It's that time of the week again! Truth Tuesday has become something I look forward to - it's liberating.

My truth for the week? 

I ignore bad news sometimes. 
Seriously. I have no idea how the economy is going, I don't want to know about the third arm I might grow if I dye my hair, I steered clear of the madness surrounding the Norway terror, and Amy Winehouse's death would have devastated me if I'd spent any time researching it. 

It's not very healthy but I store bad news that I do hear about somewhere deep, to use when I have more time. For instance, there are pictures of Amy all over the TV and Internet, but I look away for fear it's going to ruin my day. I grieve, somewhere inside for her and for the victims of the attack and there's a place in my heart for everyone who's lost their job during this recession. But I need to be allowed to say "This isn't my problem."

The big hair color question

As humans, we are vain. And technology during the past years has enabled our vanity in ways never before dreamt of. For instance, hair dye is no longer a chore only people with greying hair go through, it has become a regular beauty staple of young women (and not only women) as young as 13-14 and it's not unheard of for children to have their natural hair color tampered with at least with temporary dye. Billions of dollars are brought in by something we all seem to have to do.

Whether it's completely changing one's haircolor or simply adjusting the particular hue into one that is thought more fashionable or attractive, each year the trends include hair, and not only hair styles, but, more importantly, hair color.

And for 2011? What are we to do with our hair this year?

Let's take a cue from our immediate go-to inspirations for fashion. Models.

Abbey Lee went platinum blonde.

Lily Cole went dark brown.

Eniko Mihalik went red.

Ph. Miguel Reveriego for Bergdorf Goodman

Natasha Poly Went dark brown.

Essentially, these four top models interchanged their haircolors, with one thing in common. They went all the way. Completely different. Impossible to miss. Bold. It can be argued that this cannot be attributed to 2011, as some of them did it last year. But it's the talk of all the Internet, so it remains a thing of actuality. Women are looking for inspiration right now - and guess what? - these pictures float around (without any sources to be seen!) right now.

So do we have our answer? Is this what we have to do? Just change? How drastically? I know I will probably only slightly adapt my tone.

How about you? What are your plans for your hair this season?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Have a nice weekend!

Well, friends, I'm going to the mountain today, seeing my childhood vacation spot for the last time before I go to University. It's going to be a great weekend, will be trying to store in my heart as much as possible of all the places and things that meant such a huge part of my life growing up: family, noisy mountain rivers, rocks, trees and berries.

TopShop purple halter dress, $76
Santoni leather shoes, $592
Dsquared metallic clutch, $338
House of Harlow 1960 gold tassel earrings, $75

If you're staying pavement-side this weekend, I suggest a flowy dress to beat the heat, and having fun by using contrasts. 

Have a good one!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Universe will provide.

I mentioned in my Truth Tuesday post about my struggles in facing the future. A panic attack last night and I was ready to call it off and run to nearby Cluj City to apply for college 100 kilometres from home. It would be so much simpler, I told myself. Sure, not as good in the long run, but easy. 

Thankfully though, I checked myself in time. I went back to all the beliefs I have stored within myself in the past couple of years. I will admit, I watched The Secret again last night. I know it's controversial and people claim it doesn't work. Like it's something that can work/not work, like a trick. It's not like a diet or get-rich-fast book. It's principles that if applied to a personal level harm no one. I don't and never did watch it with a pen and paper.

These ideas do good. They did me good. They make up my philosophic/religious mindset. God/The Universe is not an all-smiting force and doesn't know of the word insufficient and, to actually quote The Secret, what you think about, you bring about.

Obsessing about money issues, language barriers and bureaucratic red tape will not make them go away, and worrying when I'm not even there yet, when nothing relevant can be done, is down right futile. So I fell asleep watching this crazy little movie and woke up serenely confident that there's enough for me too out there.

The Universe will provide.

Just like it provided us with sour cherries and lovely flowers. Look!

Also, shopping has therapeutic effect. But more about that later, and with photographic evidence.

Finally got my act together and made a bloglovin accoun.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Truth Tuesday

Nina from ninaonthemoon.com is a beautiful blogger with beautiful writing and a beautiful heart. She had a fabulous idea in starting a tradition, maybe someday a movement, consisting of everyone doing their part by posting something true on Tuesdays. Specifically, it's something personal and intimate that you get the courage to share with the world, whether it's a dream, goal, memory or something else. 

My first truth tuesday?

I am terrified of what the future holds.

There, I said it. I've been thinking it all year long, pondering between stages of denial and self-assurance, to reckless trust and putting all my hopes and prayers into the Universe's almight. That hasn't changed. 

The fact remains, I start University in a foreign country in a month or so, and there are so many aspects of it that make me have a range of reactions, from biting my lip to being petrified and becoming white as a wall. Financially, psychologically, socially, my life will be different by 180 degrees. And it terrifies me. It makes me happy and anxious, but it also scares me to no end. 

That's my truth right now, you have no idea how hard it was for me to say it, but I am ever so glad I did.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Love(ly)

Aside from disturbingly hot, sweaty weather, summer has brought on plenty of joys, as well.

Among them, lovey-dovey, delicious, healthy, completely organic and home-grown goodies like the ones I snapped just today.

My pride and joy, my basil plant that thrives in the summer.

We got the basil plant in a paper bag along with one that contained some mint (sadly, very slow growing mint) this spring. It quickly grew into this cutie-pie plant off which I daily break a couple of leaves, which get cut into the most exciting salads/dishes of the summer. I leave for Uni in a month or so, and I'm seriously contemplating taking it along, as it will take so long to wait for a new one to grow.

Miniature yellow&regular tomatoes, so tiny it's pointless trying to cut them. 
These are mainly my mom's accomplishment. They are just starting to redden all over the garden, and they are delicious. They're sweeter than regular-sized tomatoes and the fact that you chew them whole is an entirely different sensation - that moment when they break and your mouth is innundated with juice - yum!

Next to a banana, for comparison. 

*This was more a lifestyle post than a fashion one, evidently, and as promised (to myself) when I started the blog. Photos by me, of course.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fashion Has Pet Peeves

Over the years, there has come to be a separation between things that become almost universally popular and the 'real' fashion, the fashion that lives in Paris and New York, that is free yet oddly exact about its limitations (or lack thereof). 

Specifically, I'm talking about certain objects that become must-haves, fads that gain millions and millions of loyal (for a while there) followers. And high fashion hates them. The examples are endless and range from trucker hats to shutter shades, but what I'm here to discuss to day is something of greater, more universal interest. Yes, shoes. 

There are, to my immediate memory, four types of shoes that would make Anna Wintour's nose wrinkle in disgust, and no self-respecting high-end store would condone them on their racks. 

1. Crocs. 

This is almost undebatable. The relation between how ugly and how popular these shoes are baffles me. How can something so unapologetically bad looking be sold for years, and worn by children, men and women alike?! 

I was in Belgium a couple of years ago and while on a tour of one of its lovely towns, my sister pointed out an all-Crocs store, which also had the audacity to bear the word fashion on its window. I choked on my drink and demanded we cross the street. 

They're the oddity of the apparel world and I'm afraid it will never be explained.(Comfort can't be a justification. Sneakers are comfortable too.)

2. Flip flops/ tongs. 
photo comes from Mallory

First off, I have to admit I do wear these. On short store trips and grocery shopping and when it's so hot out, people get lazy about shoes and clothes and stuff. And the swimming pool. And sometimes picnics. 

Fine. I wear flip flops. There, I said it. I'm trying to keep an honest blog here people. 

But they really are hated. I've heard so much bad-fashion-reference of them in movies and stuff, it's not funny. 

3. Birkenstocks. 

Photo from here.
This is actually improper. Rather than berated by the real fashion people, Birkenstocks have been the butt of jokes as 'hippie' shoes, and made fun of for not being exactly glamorous. Personally, I find them totally cute and if nothing else, the hipster phenom is bringing them back. They are organic-looking, easy to match, varied in style and just fine for spring-summer.

AND they're good for you. 

4. UGGs. 

They could not have a more appropriate name. Because, really. They are an embarrassment to humanity. We've been making shoes for some thousands of years, and in this day and age we make such precarious, improvised-looking excuses for boots? Their popularity is proof that if marketed well, anything can sell and be thought cool/beautiful/stylish.

The only proper situation for these is, I think, after skiing. Wearing them in the summer is a masochistic, sheep-in-the-herd kind of thing to do, and I wish those people all the luck in the world dealing with the fungi that breed in the sweat-infested uggles. 

Disclaimer: This is not an attack towards anyone who finds stuff from this article cool. I was analysing fashion-related idiosyncracies through my own eyes and this is my blog to post what I please. LOL.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The only way to talk about Christian Dior now...

... is by holding my tongue quite a bit. You see, this is something I have to do in order to avoid a complete meltdown consisting of blaming the various parties in the Galliano scandal (the link leads to an article I wrote in February), which invariably ends in sad, unanswered "Why?"-type questions.

There's no telling why. There's no understanding how more than a decade of exquisite art can be thrown down the toilet. There's only consequences, and one of those consequences is a rather cringe-inducing Fall 2011 Couture collection.

Bill Gaytten, I think, tried his best to help continue a legacy of a legendary brand by putting on a show as excentric as his predecessor. Unfortunately, while some looks channel former Dior-vibe, others are treading the sad ground between clown-like and grotesque. Exaggeration in fashion is tricky, and mumu-like garments from this undeservedly called couture collection are the perfect example. Shock value is still value, but not in couture.

Playfulness is one things, but that's a cupcake. At Christian Dior Haute Couture.

It wasn't all tragic. Looks like the one above reminded us, through cut and general line if nothing else, of the olden days.

Now Gaytten worked alongside Galliano for a long time. This is apparent in some elements of continuity between the last Couture collection, penned by John, and this current one. Things like different-level ruffles and supraposition of different colored fabrics for visual effect is common to the two collections, but the difference in quality is also clearly visible. I'm trying at all costs to steer clear of bias, but Gaytten's garments look unfinished and considerably, for lack of a better word, cheaper than Galliano's and that's just the sad truth.

And then, not 1, not 2, but 5 mumu-like garments glided down the runway, making beautiful young models look like 40-something, overly made-up, chain-smoking matrons. I'm trying, dude. That white one in the left lower corner on Yulia Kharlaponova makes for a nice visual effect. I bed it'd look good as a wall hanging? Bed spread? Table cloth??? 

The collections's saving grace (it did have one, thank god) was a section around the middle of the show, where peach-coloured outfits looked pretty and real, not something hastily put together. They're not perfect, they're not really couture, but they're nice looking at the least. 

In conclusion, this was a decent try for someone filling such big shoes in so little time. Not everyone's going to be a Sarah Burton to Alexander McQueen. This is one of those situations where we can't do anything to change it, it's not going to magically get better, we just have to wait for time to make it blurry, because Galliano's not coming back, that night in February is not coming back, and all good things come to an end. Some designers move houses, some designers retire, some designers die, and some designers are John Galliano.

Ph. Yanis Vlamos/GoRunway.com via Style.com.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Couture is here! And Giambatista Valli rocks!

As luck would have it, I'm re-starting this blog business smack in the middle of Haute Couture week, and the Fall collections are very exciting!

First up, Giambatista Valli's coming-of-age/confirmation collection, his first Couture, which was more than a respectable debut, and more like proof of his worth.

The beginning was innocent and ethereal, with pretty looks, which seemed designed for little girls. Little bits of white fabric decorated A-line dresses and coats, making it look like little butterflies had found shelter on them. Shades of white, coral, red and black made up a collection that seemed to recount the story of an evolution, of a bringing up.

The butterfly theme seemed to be continued by dresses that draped around the body like a coccoon, in beautiful white silk.

It then turned out it wasn't about butterflies necessarily, but more about things with wings, heh. White puffy feathers continued the first, youthfully innocent section of the show.

The evolution of the woman in the designer's viewpoint continued with a menswear-inspired look, suggestive to me of a tomboy, when Mirte Maas strutted the catwalk in a white shirt, tucked into a grey tweed pencil skirt. However the big deal about this look is, of course, the length of the shirt, a reference to the blouse de cabine, the traditional garment of the atelier worker (perhaps a symbol to Valli's proud graduation to couture?).

From there, the looks grew consistently more mature, first through the introduction of crystal-infused, shiny dresses and flapper-inspired combinations of tweed, feathers and crystals, and later by leopard print, darker feathers and rich, blood red flowing fabric symbollic of a magisterial creature, of the bird 'all grown up', or, to be less literal, of the woman that  has 'arrived'.

The collection ended on a pretty sensual note, with dresses suitable for a woman that exudes confidence. The big finish was provided by Frida Gustavsson in a dress consisting of layers upon layers of black and white, soft, flowy fabric that was only fitting for the show. 

Photos by Yannis Vlamos/GoRunway.com via Style.com.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Beauty knows not of age, and it's not a cliche.

How many annoying speeches about how beauty is blind to size and age have you heard?

How many have you believed?


I'm 19. Aging is not exactly the first thing on my mind when I think about my 'beauty ritual' (it's not really about beauty and it's definitely not a ritual) but age and what it all means is such a primary focus in the fashion&beauty community that it seems necessary it be addressed. For the longest time, rather than encouraging women to age gracefully and decently, 'the industry' has been pushing them towards unrealistic goals, teaching them that expression lines, rather than marks of a life well lived, are something that need to be chemically and disturbingly erased with Botox and surgery, that silvery-gray hair, rather than distinguish a face that rejoices in its standpoint in life, needs to be dyed into the season's trendiest color.

But times are changing. I don't know if there's a general turning around towards a more natural way of life, but it does look like the acceptance of what years bring with them is part of a larger catharsis. I'm an optimist, and I believe humanity is waking up and smelling the roses, granted, slowly, but it is. The fashion industry is doing its part and accepting that one size doesn't fit all, and that a great face is a great face regardless of whether its owner is 16 or 60. 

The exponents of this change are, doubtlessly, Kristen McMenamy and Cindy Joseph.

Kristen was a hotly sought-afer top-model in the 80s and 90s, but she has been making a comeback, in no small part due to the most fascinating charm of her long, silver hair, thick lips and porcelain skin.

Now 46 years old, Kristen has decades on today's top models, but aside from the striking quality of her appearance, there is something from within her that shines through, and makes her appealing for Vogue Italia, Vogue Paris, Louis Vuitton campaigns, closing a Chanel Haute Couture show and others.

Ph. David Sims for Vogue Paris

Cindy Joseph, on the other hand, at age 60, boasts a sunny, radiant beauty that is just now making the rounds on the Internet and not only. Healthy living adept, Cindy has never dyed her hair, nor has she used botox. She has the figure of a teenager, but to me, it's all about her face, which seems to say ''I love life." 

Ph.: unknown. 

So that's it. Beauty is an attitude and it's a wonderful thing, if we know how to look at it. I don't think hair dye is a bad thing. I just think different things work for different people, and for these two wonderful gals, their silver hair is my favorite part.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

In defense of fashion

Well, not really. 
The title could just as well have been 'Why yet another fashion blog?' or the ever present rhetorical question that haunts my head, 'Why do you think this time will be better?'. 

It's clear to me that it's not fashion blogs this world needs, that much less the Internet. I know, I know - it seems nowadays that anyone with a point-and-shoot camera, or, even less, an iPhone, or even just a laptop, is blogging about fashion. 

I think for a lot of people, it's the dream. We've all heard of Garance DoreThe SartorialistCup of JoFashion Toast or Sea of Shoes. These are Internet, Fashion and Blogging shiny names, and their rave success, with followers that could fill stadiums (respectively, not put together!) make many yearn for the same success. 

It's understandable, right? For one (seemingly) easy and fun job, you get money, free stuff(!!!) and fame. Yay! Let's all be bloggers. 

If only it were that easy. 

Fashion is a complicated and mysterious business/art/industry. It works within very fine, undefined and unclear lines, and blogging just adds to it. For every blogger that makes it into that front row there are hundreds, nay, thousands, that will never even make it to the same city. They probably won't make it to their 100th post. 

Evidently, that last bit is part of the reason why they don't become big glamorous fashion icons. But it's not just that. Fashion blogging is a game of luck, time allowance, resources, talent and perseverence. Having blogged on and off for two years, I know that's the one thing most ardently needed. 

Say it with me now: perseverence. Which, incidentally, is what I'm asking the Universe for this time around.

Who wants to go to Paris, anyway? You have to walk cobbled streets in heels there.