I'm a really big advocate for print magazines. For me, fewer things are more enjoyable than curling up with a fresh new magazine over a mug of hot chocolate. Magazines have a way of captivating the senses in a way that blogs that never will, and this isn't a bad thing! There's always room for intelligent, insightful discussions about fashion and stunning editorials. Here's some of my favorites!
LURVE. No talk, just photos. Gorgeous full-page editorials and next-level styling that relies on statement pieces, not layers of prints or colors. The ultimate eyecandy magazine.
The Gentlewoman. A magazine that celebrates the working woman from a practical and approachable point of view. I love reading the interviews of inspiring diverse women from all walks of life; fashion, film, music, art, politics, literature, journalism. The editorials are styled to reflect how women dress in the real world, no lofty glamour here! Possibly the closest thing to a feminist fashion magazine (without writing specifically about feminism).
Lula. This magazine is a delight for the senses. I'm not really sure what else I can say about it that hasn't been said before, so I'll just direct you to Nicolette's excellent write-up. She really captures its essence rather eloquently. My favorite issue is #7, pictured above. It celebrates the spooky girl who wears black and finds beauty in the darker side of things. Obviously this appeals to my interests.
BLEND. Definitely my favorite magazine right now. I eagerly await each new issue and block out an entire evening to read and reread it from cover to cover. It's an oversized Dutch publication that blends (heyo!) fashion with art and music and brilliant writing. BLEND talks about fashion from a wide-eyed, optimistic perspective and celebrates the best of it. Completely not pretentious in the slightest but it still manages to feel like your impossibly cool friend who is always gushing with exciting things to share with you. The editorials are some of the most creative in print today - always cutting-edge with the contemporary appeal of visual art. I always feel like a "hip" "in-crowd" person when I finish reading an issue of BLEND, and that (temporary) ego boost is worth the cost of print alone.
All of these magazines (except LURVE) are available at Quimby's Books in Wicker Park. Please consider supporting an independant local bookstore.
It's worth mentioning that while these magazines greatly inspire me, there's nothing in print today that is written from an explicitly feminist point of view. Fashion and feminism have a long history of at best, ignoring one another, but they can (and SHOULD) coexist peacefully. Luckily Isabel is well aware of this gaping hole and wants to make a difference, but she needs your help! You can watch her video and vote for her every day here to help her get started with the first feminist fashion magazine.
What are some your favorite magazines? Do share!
(horace sweater, austra tee, jeremy scott leggings, jil sander shoes)
Been wearing this outfit for the better part of a week now. It's perfect for the transitional weather we're experiencing. I was inspired by the Chameleons UK. I got this Horace sweater on eBay because it reminded me a lot of the Rodarte knits from a few seasons ago that I never quite got over. I can even flip the hem over my neck and wear it as a cape/cardigan thing. It's surprisingly warm but it gets caught on just about everything. My steps have to be deliberate and precise when I am wearing it.
This outfit would be vastly improved with some jewelry, but sadly I've never been much of a jewelry person. Perhaps Langoliers would change my mind...their knit chain necklaces would certainly compliment this sweater perfectly.
What passes for my backyard.
So, a few weeks ago I was invited to a presentation of Mandy Coon's Fall 2011 collection at the W Hotel, and interview Mandy herself. I jumped at the chance to do "legitimate fashion things" for my blog, as opposed to posting silly photos of my sillier outfits! Plus, I heard there would be a free open cocktail bar, so, you know, there's that.
As Mandy understandably was in high demand, my interview with her took place as we were scurrying down stairs and down an elevator and a million people were flitting about and well, basically, it was the awkwardest interview ever. You know how in TV shows and movies, journalists swarm a celeb or politician or in the case of Law & Order, an evil perp or hapless victim outside of the courtroom? Yeah, it was kind of like that except far less glamorous. Luckily she's super nice and laid-back so it didn't feel any more clumsy than it needed to be. Also I recorded the interview on my phone but it broke the next day when I stupidly dropped it on the ground. So unfortunately I cannot transcribe the interview. You're crushed, I know.
In Chicago, fashion events are much more of a social gathering. The clothes kind of take a backseat to schmoozing and drinking free alcohol and conforming to Chicago's version of fabulousness. I'm not really into that kind of thing because I am there to see clothing, but granted, I had a good time. My only complaint was the models were presented in a dark stairwell and I couldn't get any good photos with my f/2.8 lens, let alone a good look, at the very thing I was there to see.
I mostly talked to Mandy about her excellent, if comparatively understated Fall 2011 collection. There was definitely a more mature feel to it but with more "business lady with a secret life" kind of vibe. And I do firmly believe that maturity is not a bad thing! By disparaging conservative style shifts as a product of age, we turn aging into this monster that should be feared, and through fear of course comes mockery. Youthfulness should not be the standard or the ideal. Instead, perhaps we should view all stages of life for what they are, and as a whole, as part of the human experience that connects us all together.
One of my favorite little details about Mandy Coon's collections are how she names pieces after songs. And not just any songs, but songs that speak to my heart like "The Lovecats" or "Get The Balance Right". You won't find ~The Lissa Dress~ or ~The Ashley Blouse~ with her collections. I asked her how she decided which song titles are worthy of her pieces, and she simply explained that it has a lot to do with how the mood of the song fits with the mood of the piece as an individual, and often times it happens to be what's on her playlist while she works. So basically, Mandy Coon has good taste in music and that made me appreciate her zillion times more.
It's a giant lamp. I mean.
Nancy Whang from LCD Soundsystem.
"Venus in Furs" coat and "If I Had a Heart" dress.
MANDY COON LIKES FEVER RAY.
MANDY COON LIKES FEVER RAY.
Mandy Coon in a dress of her own design.
As you can see, it was nearly impossible to get photos in that dark stairwell. A shame really, because it doesn't do justice to the rich textures and gently graduating colors of the clothes.
Mandy Coon DJed and played "She Bops" and my heart did melt.
Every time I felt that familiar pang of social anxiety, I gazed at the ceiling and it soothed my nerves.
i suck at polyvore, STFU. veronique branquinho archive dress from farfetch/rodarte x opening ceremony envelope blouse and long slashed skirt/rodarte x nicholas kirkwood candlewax heels, in my closet/meadham kirchhoff blouse/deborah lippmann "today was a fairy tale"/risto moon dress from les nouvelles/rodarte x opening ceremony floral blouse/mandy coon leather top, on its way to me/rodarte x repetto lace-ups, in my closet/mary katrantzou dress from colette/risto mint moon dress from les nouvelles
Those of you that have read my blog since the beginning have noticed that my style has changed somewhat. The blog was at first a love affair of the drapey black variety, but it doesn't feel like me anymore. I was never the type of person that could maintain a look for any given amount of time; it's always ebbed and flowed with my age or my interests or financial situation or many things really.
In shifting my style, I'm starting to take more inspiration from my heart and less from fashion itself. And in my heart is shoegaze, pink noise and walls of sound and crashing guitar waves and whispery croons. Yes, I realize how silly that sounds.
Ugh, I feel incredibly...pathetic? to care so much about such a niche genre of music. I mean, shoegaze is a tiny sausagefest (see what I did there?) that is usually laughed at by other mainstream and underground scenes alike, for being full of unfashionable people who listen to mopey music and plug their guitars through too many effects pedals. And to some extent...that's true. But shoegaze as a scene, as a lifestyle, is the only thing I've ever been able to fully identify with.
So in amalgamating my love of fashion with music, I'll do so by referencing the basic principles of what shoegaze is. Dreamy rock music with swirly textures, a little bit of grit, and a lot of noise. I want my style to transcend references to fashion itself and go somewhere else entirely, the way my brain does when I listen to Loveless. Less severe lines, more whimsey and dreaminess. Blissful prints and colors. And lots of band t-shirts to celebrate the scene.
(rodarte x opening ceremony cardigan, aa blouse and skirt, spanx socks, alexander wang boots, thrift store bag, spike necklace from a fetish shop)
It is a rather curious feeling to dress angsty, but not feel angsty. There was a time in my life, sure, when the world as it exists just filled me with an inordinate amount of hate that I couldn't wait to direct at the nearest pillow or angry teen poem. But getting older has mellowed out my rage into something akin to cosmic background radiation. Forever minutely pervasive, just barely detactable beyond my everyday consciousness. Nowadays I'm interested in solutions vs. problems and allies vs. enemies. After all, the world is an impossible place in which to be a woman. Is it really necessary to make it harder for yourself? And by extension, the other women with whom we share a society that does not regard us as equals? Looking back on my younger days, I'm ashamed of my shit-talking and self-loathing and painful vulnerabilities and undeniable hypocrisy. But growing up wouldn't be as special if I didn't learn something along the way. The world is a horrifically unjust place, and there will always be something to be angry about. Anger in of itself doesn't solve problems. Real-world solutions and motivation an interpersonal connections and yes, idealism!, are the the only things that will help.
I am finding it increasingly impossible to believe that the Mulleavy sisters are not psychopathic fans of the Cocteau Twins. There's just no way they don't listen to this band! Every time they release a new collection, I can so blatantly see the references to the Cocteau Twins' entire back catalogue. Liz Fraser sang in her own mystical language, she sang of emotions and nonsensical objects (pearly dewdrops? cherry-colored funk? love's easy tears? click through to listen!) that exist only in her own alternate esoteric plane, but her emphatic croons make them feel so real. Rodarte designs in a similarly impressionistic manner. The new Rodarte for Opening Ceremony collection is champagne colors, florals, delicate rococo tendrils of fabric. These are clothes that feel like a pleasant, if not vaguely faraway dream. They use silhouettes that seem to reference pretty basic patterns but through use of things like slits and sharp shoulders and dreamy tones, it feels like something not of this physical world. (edit: now with more images!)
The standout looks for me, of course, were these Jane Eyre-inspired all-black ensembles that feel like the murkiest depths of Head Over Heels. Severe shapes meet whimsy and texture, and far-removed spookiness that feels comforting for the soul. Already plotting to get my hands on the goat hair coat and that sheer panel long-sleeve dress. My fall and winter should feel like a blissful Cocteau Twins daydream.