Isabel Marant: Forwarding Fall Fashion

Isabel Marant is one of my always favorites: ohh-la-la French incarnate, uber-wearable, ultra-chic.

See what I mean? It's oh so French, oh so cool.

Her Fall 2010 line-up is no exception and highlights to finely-tuned elegance and STYLE some of the best of this fall’s “trends.”1 So here, without further ado, five of the hottest (read: most prevalent) trends for Fall as interpreted by Mlle. Marant.

Faux Fur

PETA must be so pleased that with all the furry on the catwalk, so much of it, though definitely not all of it,2 this time around is fake. The look though is extremely luxurious, sumptuous, and fantastic in the way of literal fantasy. You’ll find stripes not seen on beasts, colors only found in flora,3 and poufs of long-haired pretty.

Skinny jeans and a big ol' crazy fur coat: You need nothing more to be hip as a hellcat. The great thing about this trend is that it's oh-so-easy to find it in a thrift store.

Printed and/or Embellished Pants

Look, jeans and simple black slacks are never going to go out of fashion, but one of the coolest things going on right now on the runways is the reexamination of the pant. The whole harem thing might not appeal to most (as it’s essentially widening the thigh) but this one, I think, can be done to great aplomb.

It’s cool, it’s easy, it brings interest.

Here we've got the great Freja Beha Erichsen rocking the sleek slack in stupendous print. Also, bringing along the bad-ass and highlighting the next trend...

Leather

Another classic redone, leather was everywhere on the runway and if you’re going to get one new piece–or re-imagine any old favorite–this season, I’d suggest it be a bad-ass leather coat. Or splurge on those leather pants you’ve always not-so-secretly wanted.

Sasha Pivovarova (I love her name--so many V's) rocking the wild print and strong shoulder with THE BEST PAIR OF LEATHER PANTS I've ever seen. Covet.

Fall 2010 saw more than just a plethora of leather pants and coats (consistent favorite of rock stars and bikers and their wannabes), but Stella McCartney, Celine, Chloe, and Dior (to name a few) also sent down leather tops, dresses, and skirts.

This is another thrift-able trend. Truly though, I think these Marant pairs are the coolest ever. My birthday is in December, ahem.

Texturize

I’ve spoken of it before, and I will again, but the mix-and-match movement in prints is one of the coolest things happening in fashion and it’s showing up everywhere. In a similar way, we can see how monochromatic makes good with a conscious effort toward mix-it-up materials. Wool, silk, leather, brocade, cotton, linen, knits, sequins, lame: You can keep it sleek and still hold interest by playing around with texture and tone. Mix mattes and shine, sleek and soft, harsh and sheer.

It's all moody greys, but what could be easily dull and tired instead pops thanks to sparkle paired with brushed wool and easy cottons.

Shine On with Metallics and Sequins

Again, this is a trend we’re seeing everywhere right now. Again, this is something of which I have spoken highly in the past. Granted, like so many things in the Industry, metallics are come-again favorite. That doesn’t make the latest incarnations any less chic IMHO.

Yes. Please.

It’s important to KEEP IT SIMPLE, though. Unless you’re going ball gown, keep your gold or glitter down to one key piece, and mix up the rest.

1. I say “trends” with finger-quotes because, let’s face it, these are all modes that arise again and again and again and again. More than trends these are classics. As always, the trick is to play them in a new tune, with a new twist, to make them your own.
2. Seriously. Fur turned up but EVERYWHERE.
3. See Armani, Versace.

Mon Dieu Dior

The inimitable Karlie Kloss in the opening look, all luxe plush purple, all royal huff in puff.

So last week I talked about the other haute couture shows for Fall 2010, and now I get to talk about Dior, the best (in my rarely humble opinion) of the coming season’s line up: John Galliano blows everyone else out of the water with the creativity, execution, breadth and fullness, detail and luxury, and grandeur of this collection. 1

Model Kassia Struss struts in a voluminous, textured, tactile look. I love the pale pastels against the winter white and the holly berry pop of a great red shoe.

First off, let’s talk about the mood, because florals and brights are ubiquitous here, and that’s just not something you see in Fall very often. If ever. However, beyond the gorgeous open-toed heels, these clothes are strangely season-appropriate. That is, the fabrics are lush and thick and heavy.

Can I have this? I love yellow, and this is beautiful. The assymetry is perfectly balanced and organically amorphous, like some fabulous fall orchid, like a phoenix.

But the colors! The bright blossoms! It’s cannily magical and movingly beautiful, like seeing flowers in the snow. Remember when I talked about wearing head to toe gray just to stand out against the crazy color wheel bloom that is Berkeley in spring? This is like that, in reverse, and a million times better.

I love how evocative these clothes are: of springtime renewal and blossoms, and of cozy cold-weather warmth. I love this dress, that pink is creamy perfection.

The styling is incredible, as well, and works with the overall look and mood of the whole show. The make-up is dramatic feminine.

So, so pretty. I want to see someone get married in this.

The easter basket cellophane veils are à propos odd but, again, totally work. Do I recommend a DIY? Well, no, I think wrapping one’s head in plastic is generally a bad idea. But styling in a runway show is maybe the only (on person) element where theatricality is allowed to trump wearability completely. According to me.

This whole show is that Big Reminder you need when the weather is hard and cold, whether literally or figuratively: Spring and beauty will bloom out of the barren darkness. Shabam!

And can we talk for a second about the gloves? Y’all know how much I am loving the jewel-toned, leather, opera-length gloves. This is just one more fabulous, fantastic iteration. Please, sir, can I have another?

Everyone understands your hips aren't actually that big, but they WILL think your waist is that tiny. Haha! I love the mad, dreseed-by-a-five-year-old colors here. Also? I take back what I said before, I want to see someone get married in THIS dress.

1. “Who gives a fuck about an oxford comma?” I do.

This is an iris, yes?

DIY FTW

In the on-going rivalry between homemade and storebought, homemade wins out nearly every time in my book. Macaroni and cheese? Dude, obviously. I mean, have you had my mac and cheese? It’s fantastic and Kraft is shit. Cookies? Check check homemade. Halloween costumes? Okay. I always wanted the ones from the store but my mom, as usual, was right. They were cheap and always broke before you made it the second block and my brother and I always looked amazing when we went the DIY route.

And I like making/building things with my own two hands. It’s satisfying. And Made By You guarantees One of a Kind. Which is undeniably cool and great and so on.

Here, I’ve put together some easy, no-sew DIY-dress-yourself projects, all culled from unattainably high-end sources.

So look, the Outnet.com prices this Burberry trench at $928 ON SALE. Work the ombre yourself with either dye or bleach, depending on your starting point. Easy peasy. The dress is from Designers Remix and is also on sale but this one goes for EUR 153, which is some higher number in American dollars. I say, if you ever find a lovely silk dress at Goodwill, abandoned there and forlorn because of some unfortunate stain, take it home and splatter wine and/or ink on it. Totally. And instead of spending $600-$1200 on a pair of killer heals, just bling out a cheap(er) pair. You will find both chain and feathers at any craft store anywhere. And don’t overthink it. Hot glue gun. Fun and done. And that clutch? That’s just the awesome.

I am completey annoyed by Marc Jacobs. With few exceptions, what he does for his eponymous lines elicits one of two responses from me: “eh” and “ick.” And this sweater is fine, but for serious, who’s going to pay over $450 for this? You know what else you can get at Micheal’s? Rad, iron-on appliqués for, like, I don’t know, $10 or something. And the breton tee? We’ve already established it’s a ubiquitous basic. Moving on…

Jeans plus paint equals paint-splashed jeans. Duh.

Rope belts! (Really bBelts from anything that can be tied around your waist) Tie dye! More feathers! Wooden beads! Children’s toys!

So what DIY fashion projects have you guys pulled off?

Oh, and Outsapop.com is the best source for DIY fashion ideas ever. FYI.

It’s a Mixed Up, Mismatched, Hodge Podge, Humble Jumble, Helter Skelter, Wide, Wide, Wild World

Collages may be my favorite art form.

 

Berkeley-based, Etsy seller Elkemay makes original collages and prints. This one is called Fierce Spring and it costs $20.

 

Collage is certainly the only visual art in which I participate.1 (Well, that and maybe Getting Dressed. After all, I do try to throw a little artistry into that daily grind.)

And that is definitely one strong appeal for the art form: its accessibility in regard to participation (if not appreciation). It is, by definition, cutting and pasting. And unlike with painting, sculpture, et al., collage is an easy(ish) visual art for anyone creative. You don’t really need a good hand if you have a good eye.2

 

Oakland-based Etsy artist Hansart makes handmade, one-of-a-kind collage-style cards and prints from found materials. This one is from a set of three titled Fashion Guide to Finnish Aviation, and all three collage pieces will run you $75.

 

Really though, ease is not the point. I am constantly and consistently compelled by art and fashion that incorporates collage because there is something  so exemplary of the Zeitgeist about collage. It’s so indicative of Our Times. (It’s also, I think, a really strong metaphor for identity, but that’s a whole other conversation.)

 

This is not to say that collage as an art form is something new. An exhibit showing now at the Met in New York, which I am so pissed to miss, is titled Playing With Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage. Aparently this is how bored housewives used to bide their time and feed their creative spirits. Pretty damn cool.

 

After all, mes amis, this is the Information Age. We are context laden, lousy with allusions and inspirations. And Collages as a species (and with the capital C) seem to be manifestations of this awareness. The images and text used in a single piece can come from anywhere and are almost necessarily anachronistic. They absolutely, by necessity come from multiple sources.

As a concept collages are very Of the Now, is what I mean.

Other Players in the Zeitgeist that are similarly reference-heavy include:

  • Vampire Weekend (who I want to be annoyed by but instead, lately, I can’t stop listening to them).
  • The whole idea of Steam Punk anything.
  • “That’s so meta.”

So what does this have to do with fashion?

 

For the April 2010 issue of W Magazine, Bruce Weber photographed fashion icon Iris Apfel with models Dree Hemingway (granddaughter of Earnest), Guinevere Van Seenus, and Kirsten Owen. Styled by Camilla Nickerson.

 

Well, several things I think. One, fashion in general, and Getting Dressed specifically, can be thought of in similar terms as collage art: the layering of disparate elements, the assumed diversity of source materials, the varied references, all different one from the other, or evocatively similar.

 

Here the stunning Alex Wek mixes and matches for the Financial Times luxury mag, How to Spend It. It is ridiculous that such a thing exists but great photos.

 

Think about this: In only the last ten years, major and minor lines have explicitly referenced looks from the last 200 years. To say nothing of more subtle or oblique references. To say nothing of influences that come from art or film (or whathaveyou).

 

Sasha Pivovarova lounges for photog Craig McDean for the February issue of Interview.

 

And right now, specifically, the move to mix and match prints is pervasive. I mean, check out all this nonsense on the Glamourai blog.

 

We can thank designer Dries Van Noten, in large part, for this Mix It Up trend. Here Frida Gustavsson models a look for Spring/Summer 2010. Dries is stupendous. I love pretty much every single thing he does.

 

What this all means–the mishmash of prints and patterns and pieces, the amalgamation of cues and clues to any number of historical periods, physical locations, political movements, and/or specific peoples–is that our wardrobes are similarly chock-full of content, context, and connotations.

 

The editorial, titled Global Gathering, was styled by Damian Foxe and photographed by Andrew Yee.

 

It also means that, despite the fact that it sometimes seems there isn’t a creative idea left in the universe (the movie based off the musical based off the TV show named after the song, the endless stream of remakes), we have nothing but abundance to inspire us and no boundaries to hedge in how we play them off of each other. Regardless of the mediums in which we work.

And now, for a little added inspiration, see every painting at the MOMA in 2 minutes.

  1. Par exemple, I turned the big, North-facing wall of my small Bordeaux apartment into a collage/mural. It had to be ripped (and I do mean ripped) down before I moved out of that apartment (and kicked the “ex” from my expat life).
  2. I go to this Visionary Collage party every new year (early January) where everyone brings old magazines (and so on) and scissors and creates a piece about what they want for the coming 12 months. It’s awesome.

 

See, how awesome is Karlie in this drool-worthy Dries look?

 

Hansart wrote an amazing little story to go along with “Fashion Guide to Finnish Aviation.” You should totally check it out.

You also need to read the New York Times review of the Playing with Pictures exhibit and check out the accompanying slide show.

For more information on the inimitable Iris Apfel, check out this article from the Peabody Essex Museum or this one from The Boston Globe.

Finally, I urge you too to take a look at the awesomeness that is Dries Van Noten.

All runway images taken from Style.com. All editorial images taken from FashionGoneRogue.com.

La Marinière

Known en anglais as the Breton sweater (after the French province of Brittany), la marinière is as French as baguette.

"Bah, ouais, allez-y…Moi aussi, j'aime le pull chameau avec la mariniere. Merci…Et bien sur c'est cashmere." Image via jakandjil.com/blog.

Or fois gras, maybe.

Fashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

As ohh-la-la as triple-crème brie. Or BB elle-meme.

It’s as Gallic as chain-smoking and existentialism.

It's said that this distinct, defined, and uniform design--these navy and white stripes--was chosen for its visibility amidst the choppy, murky sea, allowing for overboard young men to be spotted and hopefully plucked from their untimely, watery deaths. Image via TheSartorialist.blogspot.com.

Originally created for the French navy, the uniform was first co-opted by French sailors and mariners and seafarers and fisherman and other nautical men, becoming the iconic marinière, visual metonym for sailor and sea, marin being French for sailor.

The utiliarian uniform was adopted and adapted by Coco Chanel (above) in the early 20th century. Oft-repeated iterations by Gaultier and Galliano keep this look in the lexicon. As does the fact that every woman in France owns several versions. (P.S. Ain't Cooc's chien fantastic? Photo via Paperblog.fr)

The Breton striped shirt came into being following the 27th March, 1858 Act of France which introduced the navy and white striped knitted shirt as the uniform for all French navy seaman. This, I think, is really cool.

Given the smudged and sticky histories of stuff, it tickles me to no end that this one specific thing, this sartorial trope, has the benefit of a birthday, a quantifiable record beyond the quality of its endurance and distinction.

This adorable photo also tickles me to no end.

And of course Breton stripes are things that continue to pop up and prance down the runways.

For Spring 2010, Basso & Brooke offered up several allusive looks. This one is my favorite.

Peter Som sent this number down the runway for Spring, which basically proves incontrovertibly that stripes are the best of the prints to engage in mixology.

The simple, uniform pattern looks amazing paired with florals, leopard print, polka dots, toile, and so on. Here I’ve created a suggested look. Most of us have a floral skirt, great wedges, and some funky jewelry. Go wild.

My second recommendation for this French look pairing requires you to steal those camoflage cargo pants from your boyfriend. They make him look like a tool anyway, you know this. With the iconic striped blouse, these douchey pants make good. Mix dainty and dangerous accessories, for a rad masculine/feminine energy. To say nothing of the Army/Navy marriage. Yes, I am so clever.

For my final suggestion, I’m going for *POP*. In this case, RED is the **. Here I’m proposing a red sari as wrap skirt, but any red bottoms would work just as well, because the those stripes are going to stand out against the red. Though I would suggest choosing a non-knit fabric to contrast more acutely with the Breton sweater or T-shirt. For this particular look, because of the sari and the additional awesomeness of turquoise and red, I’m also throwing in Indian-Indian and American Indian accessories, throwing out mixed cultural references to the mix.

Note: Jak & Jil is a wonderful fashion photography blog run by the lovely seeming Tommy Ton. Likewise The Sartorialist is a wonderful fashion photography blog run by the smart and thoughtful Scott Schuman. All runway images taken from Style.com.

I'll leave you with one final fashion image: Moschino sent this look down the runway for Fall 2010. Long leather gloves! Sunglasses! Cowboy hat! Love.