Cool story! So, the Windy City is currently experiencing our annual 2 week-long autumn before the temperature plunges into Bitter Fucking Cold for the next 7 months. To prepare for the upcoming Ice Age (aside: I am still kicking myself for not seeing the band at some weird warehouse show in Pilsen last year), some rad tights have entered my life. As a rule I only post outfits that I'm actually wearing but I felt like playing dress-up with my new leg jams. I want to call them Terrific Tights because Mitt Romney always says Terrific amongst his Dad Jokes, and despite being a GOPutron, he deserves credit for re-introducing Terrific into our lexicon again! Totally into the idea of casually usually obsolete words in everyday modern conversation. Though despite my utter devotion to From Hell I think I'll stay away from"pego", thank you very much. It's just not very sexy :(

vintage dress from sisters of the black moon, meadham kirchhoff tights, cdg platforms from ebay
Lavender sparkle tights are far more useful than they would initially seem! They look swell with the muted tones I typically wear and work especially well with black n' bits of blue. This Ever After dress actually has insane bell sleeves in addition to puff shoulders. 
Meadham Kirchhoff always has a way of creating pieces that are so distinctive to their aesthetic but fit in seamlessly with an average layperson's individual style. It's not at all difficult to style their things into a look that is wholly individual.

vintage 70s dress, kron by kronkron tights gift from emerging thoughts, margiela shoes from ebay, venessa arizaga necklace
This outfit is inspired by Stereolab and wanting to feel like a part of their modular space world. Stereolab is one of the few bands that, through their honed graphic design and prolific sounds, have managed to create their own aesthetic, filled with things like clear plastic furniture and JPG's flight attendant costumes in The Fifth ElementEmerging Thoughts was truly kind enough to gift me these Kron by KronKron tights. I've wanted them for like 2 years despite so-called fashion rules that dictate that short-legged ladies like myself shouldn't wear things that truncate at my knees. Fuck that noise. 
These tights are truly the highest quality. I feel like I am in no imminent danger of them getting destroyed (unlike my House of Holland tights -___-) and they are made to last. Unless of course, you happen to find yourself skiing with cheese graters or something. 

also! I made a Facebook page for my blog, feel free to "like" it to "stay connected" or something. I do plan on using it for making Terrence & Phillip-style fart jokes, because I have the sense of humor of an 8 year-old child.


creatures of the zephyr in the sky

At Fashion Week I stopped by the Creatures of the Wind showroom to see Chris & Shane's new collection. After chatting about their upcoming editorial features and Lula Cafe's brunch, Chris walked me through the racks of clothing so exquisite that it completely upends the notion of fashion being frivolous. How could human creations that are so beautiful and so expressive be of no significant value, simply because they clothe the female body? It's a ridiculous idea that is rooted in misogyny. Interestingly, Chris explained their inspiration as being based off this notion of monstrous beauty - both literally as in a female Godzilla film, and figuratively, by bloating out 60s couture shapes. This was accomplished in a manner wholly distinct from Raf Simons' Jil Sander couture trilogy. Where Simons was keen to distend the shapes and forgo the details, Creatures of the Wind pushed the shapes and the details to their logical extreme. Soft pleats ran the length of the body and the coat's T-rex arms highlighted the tent shape even further. Its refreshing to know that today, there are still designers willing to push the envelope in high fashion.

The details are so arresting in person. Each Swarovski crystal is expertly placed by a master embroiderer who also works for Givenchy Haute Couture. Shane said that they like working with couture materials because they want to create something grand, but while still supporting small rural businesses that create couture. For a moment, upon viewing this in person, I got lost among the deliberate school of black and blue crystals that seem to follow their own path of movement.

The flower print features holographic threads that positively glitter in the sunlight. I tried to capture as best as I could with my camera, but failed to do it justice. The way this print shimmers is simply spectacular.

Precise jacket lapels, more experiments in romanticized shapes, yet almost seeming like the inverses of one another.

Creatures of the Wind sources their fabrics from the most assorted places; this blouse is constructed from 70s deadstock fabric.

One of their favorite pieces in the collection, this blouse used knitted plastic along with vivid tangerine threads that resemble polka dots, but aren't polka dots really, and are instead small lines in varying sizes, each one sewn in by hand.

Once again, they collaborated with Tabitha Simmons to produce the shoes. Chris says they like working with her because they are given unprecedented creative freedom when designing the footwear. Ankle straps and more crystals and patent leather feel so friendly and inviting, and despite how perfectly they match this collection, each shoe stands on its own as a happy addition to any wardrobe. I'm especially fond of ghostwhite crystal patent heels... 

There is so much of this city in their clothes; I can't explain it, perhaps it is an intangible thing, a mood?, an idea, a physical capture of Chicago's sensibilities, through boxy tops and gently curving hems. Something about their clothing feels like home to me. And as someone who's had many impermanent homes throughout my life, that's a comforting feeling.


more clothes i wore at fashion week

I love my lil quiet life in Chicago; staying home and playing with my pup, going out to see my friends a couple nights a week, cooking dinner at home with my partner. But during Fashion Week, my INNER PARTY MONSTER rears its booze-filled head! For Fashion's Night Out, I met up with my bestie Dana who works at OC Ace, as well as some other special ladies (hi Arabelle and Ria and GOO GIRLS) before heading to the Soho Grand for a market from some of the loveliest designers in NYC.

Amanda and Mattie, always on their style game.

OC Ace was selling some donated goods from designers for $10, I scored a silk-lined jacket that looks like a carpet, which elicited a thumbs-up from Humberto Leon himself. I DIED.

Worship at the wall of Proezna.

I wore OC x Rodarte blouse, OC skirt, Dries shoes, Mandy Coon bag, and Pamala Love necklace; this is a really easy outfit that packs a visual punch, but really took me 4 seconds to throw together. I find that if all of my clothes have the same brooding mood and are generally within the same muted color scheme, I can whip an outfit while expending little energy. Lydia took these photos.

Not over this skirt...

...or this necklace...

...or my beloved Rodarte spiderweb sweater, which is literally the one piece in my wardrobe that kind of personifies my entire style.

THENNNN...babygurl Dana +1'd me to Opening Ceremony's 10 Year Anniversary party, which I remember some of! It is no hyperbole to say that it was absolutely THE most insane party I have ever been to (can you tell I don't get out much?), with so much free alcohol and so much good music and ~FAMOUS PEOPLE~ and confetti and photobooths and lord knows what else. It was a production. At some point, Preetma, Dana and I thrashed wildly to a mini-version of Smiths Night at Sway, brought to life at Webster Hall for OC, and around "Bigmouth Strikes Again" my memory starts to get a little hazy! Luckily there are photos of the return to my hotel room after the party, or that night would be lost forever...

The only photo of my outfit! Risto dress which I ruined that night (WORTH IT), Nasir Mazhar headpiece, and gold streamers that clung to me like a boa. This giant streamer ended up coming home with me and is now part of my room. It would have been hilarious to be the TSA agent who scanned my checked luggage with this thing inside.

OC party was a really good excuse to wear a ridiculous headpiece.


onwards to the wall

FUUUUUUCK so I got back from #New #York #Fashion #Week yesterday and had zero time to update my blog while I was there, mostly because I packed my schedule with shows and PARTIES and eating pretzels from possibly infectious food carts and also because my hotel had no wi-fi because it did not get the memo that it is now 2012! I'm not really in a position to complain about my hotel's lack of wi-fi because I found an emergency room there after my original "hotel" I booked turned out to be a hostel room that I was sharing with 5 OTHER DUDES, AND POSSIBLY BEDBUGS. Twas more than a little horrifying but soon enough I found myself at room 420 (SERIOUSLY) at the Hotel Pennslyvania, to become my Base Camp for NYFW. And by Base Camp I mean of course, that my giant suitcase exploded across my room with clothes and beauty products! I'm a tornado.

NOT A LIGNE by Jenny Lai was her debut collection, and it was a really strong start! The tulle-paneled pants are actually quite wearable, despite the presentation's styling, and are especially effective with the floral blouse on the far right. While some of the pieces felt a little amateur (the pink tulle dress...), this is a line that has big ideas and isn't afraid to go after them.
The slashed hemlines were an interesting touch, especially when that negative space was filled with another piece of tulle.

 However, my favorite part of this presentation was the killer sock n' shoe combo. The tie-dyed socks, I MEAN.

Katie Gallagher's Spring 2013 collection can only be described as a quantum leap forward. Easily her most refined collection to date. Whereas in the past her looks felt like the summation of their parts and each individual piece only existed to serve the completed look, this collection featured standalone pieces that would could work simply based on their own merit. Really though, this collection was about the meticulous details, each texture and fabric fold being so obviously labored over. The touches of metal added just a bit of grounding to the gravity-defying garments, keeping it from going too far into the ethereal realm. Of course I believe one can never be too ethereal, but the art of subtlety is a important one.

The back of this jacket was breathtaking, reminded me so much of Hussein Chalayan's delicate yet deliberate folds.

 (a place to bury strangers KILL tee gift from mattie, pamela love necklace, house of matching colours belt, h and m skirt, meadham kirchhoff shoes. photos by lydia hudgens)

So here's one of my outfits, which ended up being way, way too hot for the unseasonably warm weather. Sequined pencil skirts and sweat is, uh, not the comfiest thing in the world. I was cranky from dealing with COOL FASHION PEOPLE and had a dream that I was punching them all in the face, so I decided to channel my suppressed inner rage into my outfit. KILL tee and dagger necklace felt like the perfect way to do that. I didn't really plan out my outfits this year, just kind of scooped up whatever wasn't wrinkled from my hotel room tornado.
I found these Meadham Kirchhoff jams on ebay a while ago and they're a challenge to style, but seemed to work perfectly with my rage. Being a sample size is advantageous. And clomping around NYC in them all day left my feet feeling happier than if I were wearing vicious heels.


when i was very young

Last night Morgan and I went a Madonna dance party and I dressed up as my favorite Madge incarnation - her pre-40s/late 90s "spiritual" Ray of Light "guru" look (minus the unfortunate Hindu references).
(pamela love necklaces, american apparel sheer mesh top)

In the late 90s, our culture was fascinated by Eastern religions - it was almost as if we'd discovered it for the first time - and fashion and art and music was dominated with references to things like Hinduism and Japanese geishas. Custo Barcelona's long-sleeves were emblazoned with images of Hindu deities. DIY henna kits could be found at grocery stores. Suddenly every celebrity was touting the benefits of yoga and the Kabbalah. During this, um, less-enlightened decade (not that ignorance is any excuse!), these things absolutely crossed the line into cultural reappropriation.

Ray of Light was released when I was 12 years old. At the time the album's ethereal and atmospheric qualities captivated me because it was so unlike anything I'd ever heard. In many ways, Ray of Light was a catalyst to my interest in romanticism and the occult. Though as a preteen I was swept up in the cultural explosion of Asian spirituality, not realizing that our zeitgeist's fascination with these things was an expression of white/WASP supremacy.

In "Nothing Really Matters", Madonna longingly sings "Now that I grown/Everything's changed". Those lyrics would come to be prophetic, because as I have grown and learned more about feminism, I have a hard time loving Ray of Light the same way I once did. Let's have a look.
Madonna wearing Olivier Theyskens the hauntingly beautiful video for "Frozen", a starkly romantic fantasy reminiscent of Steven Meisel's iconic Versace campaign from 1998. As you can see, this witchy gothic imagery is something that still inspires me today...
  ...but now, having been exposed to intersectionality, Madonna's use of traditional wedding mendhi puts a damper on this video's awesomeness. A classic case of the hegemony's tendancy to cherry-pick traditions they find to be ~unusual~ or ~mystical~.
"Nothing Really Matters" is a futuristic geisha-"inspired" cringefest.

The titular track,"Ray of Light" seems inoffensive enough, aside from its vaguely esoteric lyrics, but -wait, what's what?! -
-oh, just the red bracelet which is a token of the Kabbalah!

It's helpful to think of intersectional feminism as a pair of glasses. Without the glasses, you're like an ostrich with your head in the sane; life is fine, no worries, everything is chill, whatevs! With the glasses, suddenly details come into focus that you never would have been able to see otherwise. And after studying these details, you can't see the world properly without these glasses - you can never go back to a mindset that says "Madonna wearing a Hindi symbol of chastity while pretending to bone Lenny Kravtitz on stage is totally cool!"

How can I reconcile how hugely influential Ray of Light was for me, with my understanding that white privilege perpetuates a supremacy by exploiting other cultures? Can this be reconciled? Should it be? As feminists, it is important that we recognize that the art that we love will be problematic. Art is a reflection of the world we live in, and we live in a society that is completely problematic! Is that a reason to eschew all art and fashion and music and literature and pretty much everything that defines our tastes? Absolutely not! No one expects you to do this. Do we have a responsibility to call out instances of marginalization? That's a personal decision, and depends on things like your resources and comfort level. Feminism shouldn't be comfortable, it should challenge our deeply-rooted manifestations of sexism and white supremacy! But realistically you can't be a Perfect Feminist 100% of the time. Liking something that is problematic doesn't mean that you are personally partaking in the marginalization of others (Untitled Mag really expresses this a lot better than I can and I really recommend you read this post).

So Madonna, I know it was the 90s and maaaaaybe we didn't know any better but today we do. Ray of Light will always be hugely influential to me, but now I examine it with my glasses on and I'm more critical of what I see. I won't stop loving this album. But loving it means that pointing out its flaws comes from a desire for it to be better.