Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pretty in Prints

I love big, splashy, happy prints. In fact, the last dress I bought was done in a huge pink and orange floral print on a bright yellow background that could easily double as hazard flag in a marine emergency, or as an accent pillow in a domestic one. There's a lot to make me happy in the Spring 2010 collections, U.S. and European. In the near future the Fug Girls will probably be accusing a lot of celebrities of dressing like couches, but why should couches have all the fun?

Rochas Spring 2010

Kenzo Spring 2010

Giles Spring 2010

Dries van Noten Spring 2010

Etro Spring 2010

Tracy Reese Spring 2010

DKNY Spring 2010

Dennis Basso Spring 2010

The variety of prints is great, too: Dries van Noten and Kenzo did ethnic looks, designers as diverse as Anna Sui and Rochas, did florals, and there were abstracts all over the place. Even the print haters should find something to love.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Clothes on Film on Project Runway

One of film's great dresses on Gloria Grahame in "The Big Sleep"

Episode 6, Season 6 of Project Runway: the contestants were told to make costumes for films in five different genres, film noir, sci fi, adventure, period, and Western. Or maybe it was to make garments inspired by the costumes for the different film genres. Whatever their challenge, one thing was clear. The contestants don't watch enough movies. Apparently the designers who drew "Western" have never seen a Ralph Lauren collection, either.

Clair Trevor and Dick Powell in "Murder, My Sweet"

Three designers chose film noir as their genre, and heaven only knows what they thought film noir is. Films of that genre (although some critics claim that film noir is a style influenced by German Expressionism, not a genre) are usually about middle or lower class people doing sleazy things, and while gowns make an appearance, usually on the femme fatale or good-bad girl working in a nightclub, the iconic film noir look is simple, a dress or a blouse and skirt. That's the approach costume designer Renie Conley took when, at age 80, she designed the wardrobe for Body Heat, the 1981 movie in the film noir style.

Jane Greer and Robert Mitchum in "Out of the Past"

One designer, Althea, kind of got it, although her design looked like the outfit a film noir character would wear after she got thrown out of a speeding car. Irina's design looked like a nightgown, which could have worked if she left off that mysterious white tent. Louise's design was just confused, which surprised me because she usually wears vintage-inspired clothes, which I assume she makes herself. The dress she wore for the judging was great, not that I can find a picture of it online.

Veronica Lake in "This Gun for Hire"

However this Episode did give me an excuse to post pictures of some of my favorite film noir actresses looking good in high contrast. Audrey Totter, shown wearing a fur coat, practically made a career out of being the bad girl who would do anything for a mink.

Lisabeth Scott in "Desert Fury"

Audrey Totter and Ray Milland in "Alias Nick Beal"

I totally didn't get two of the judges' top three picks, Epperson's and Christopher's. Epperson's genre was Western, and his design might work for, say, a punk biker Western. Shootout at Thunderdome, perhaps? Many viewers thought Epperson should have won this episode, but the raggedy-uneven whatever didn't do it for me.

Christopher did a period look. For a vampire wedding; his description. Thank goodness he qualified the character and the look, because then this outfit might fit in, say, a Van Helsing type of period movie. Otherwise it's from a period on another planet. A lot of viewers really liked his garment. I bet they liked Van Helsing, too.

My favorite design was Logan's. He chose action-adventure, and I can actually see Angelina Jolie stuffed into this outfit for Tomb Raider 3. Poor Logan is getting a lot of grief on the interwebs because he's straight and because he designs clothes that look like, well, clothes. Hang in there, Logan! I'm a fan.

NB: I wrote a post about Karen Walker's Prisoner-inspired collection; now IFC is rebroadcasting the entire Prisoner series. This time, I get to see it in COLOR!!! Damn, I'm old.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Emmys, Schmemmys

So I turned on E!'s barely watchable Emmy Red Carpet coverage (since E!'s decided to clean up its pre-show coverage by getting rid of every vaguely interesting host, the shows get worse with every award), and I looked at Yahoo's and's red carpet slideshows, and I came to this conclusion:

People dressed in satin ballgowns, major bling or black tie in the middle of a hot, sunny, Los Angeles afternoon look RIDICULOUS. Ah has spoken.

I am sick to death of ill-fitting strapless gowns, one shoulder gowns, wrinkled satin gowns, flesh-colored gowns, adult prom dresses and faux wedding gowns.

Here are a few dresses I liked, including, in spite of myself, a couple of one-shouldered items.

Mila Kunis in Monique L'Hullier

Jennifer Carpenter in Zuhair Murad

Kristin Chenoweth in Zuhair Murad

Holly Hunter in Georges Hobeika

Chloe Sevigny in Isaac Mizrahi

There are some definite themes here: light, shiny, and Zuhair Murad, who was unknown to me. Must check out his shows, because, like Rainman and ravens, I like shiiiiny. My favorite dress, though, was the Monique L'Hullier worn by Mila Kunis: it's kinda Goth, kinda pink (Goth dried-blood pink),kinda different, and not, thank the fashion gods, satin. Good work, Mila!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

As Promised -- Pretty in Pink!

Pink is everywhere on the New York runways this season, and there's a version of pink for everyone.

Tori Burch -- Pink for the Ladies That Lunch

Mulberry -- Pink for the Daughers That Brunch

L'Wren Scott -- Bombshell Pink

Lela Rose -- Working Girl Pink

DKNY -- Cocktail Pink

Devi Kroell -- Pink for the Fashionista

Naeem Kahn -- Uptown Girl Pink

Marc by Marc Jacobs -- Downtown Girl Pink

Zack Posen -- Star Trek Nerd Pink

L'Wren Scott -- Red Carpet Pink

Douglas Hannant -- Goddess Pink

What a nightmare for the Goth girl, eh?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Michael Kors is Neat.

Michael Kors' collections are often (maybe always) vintage inspired, which of course I think is great. He claimed he was thinking about architecture when he designed his Spring 2010 collection, but I see retro-futuristic (okay, architectural) André Courrèges , which makes me a very happy Clothesaholic indeed.

1960s Vintage André Courrèges

Kors showed neat, structured, coats and dresses, simple shapes, lots of white, space-age zippering, cut-outs and top stiching. There were no gowns at all, instead, Kors did separates and short dresses for cocktail and evening. His collection really stood out in a season where teh pretty trend produced lots of soft, ruffled, fluttery clothes, but the clothes were still on trend because they were done in beautiful soft colors.

All Michael Kors Spring 2010

And while we're on the subject of Mr. Kors, I didn't realize how much he contributed to Project Runway until this season, when he's mostly absent. The show needs his taste and acid wit to stay on track, because right now it's an exercise in bland. Producers, hear me!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Forget the Ugly

Not to long ago I was bemoaning the look of the Twenty-Zeros, which I summed up in a single word: ugly. And then WHAT does the American Fashion Industry do? It beats me over the head with the pretty stick during New York Fashion Week. My only complaint now (and you knew there had to be a complaint, didn't you?) is that I've downloaded a whole mess of pretty and I don't really know how to divide it up to write about it, although a post titled "Pretty in Pink" is inevitable. I guess I could continue on in that vein: Pretty in Prints, Pretty in Blue, what have you. And I probably will, now that I think of it, because I thought of it and I'm lazy. Anyhoo, here's a sample of the water in the pretty pond:

Barbara Tfank Spring 2010 - Pretty in Pink

Oscar de la Renta Spring 2010 - Pretty in Blue

Reem Acra Spring 2010 - Pretty in Prints

Lela Rose - Pretty in the White House

Isaac Mizrahi - Pretty on the Red Carpet

Look at that -- waistlines in the right places (more or less), decent hemlines, pretty pretty colors, easy to wear shapes, sleeves. Sleeves! Be still my heart!

The various Vogue commentaries say that the explosion of pretty is a result of the economy: designers want to make things that will sell, i.e., clothing that will appeal to adult women with discretionary income and jobs. Well, these clothes make me want to shop, which I haven't really wanted to do in about a year. So good on the designers, they've reeled in at least one fish.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"The crotch on those pants is insane!"

I knew Michael Kor's description of some Project Runway creation was accurate, but I didn't know it was prophetic. According to any number of New York designers, insane crotches are the mode du jour.

Helmut Lang, Spring 2010
(Damn this is scary!)

Max Azria, Spring 2010

Catherine Maladrino, Spring 2010

Marc Jacobs, Spring 2010

Davidelfin, Spring 2010

Who knew that vraka and shalvar would take the runway by storm? More important, who the hell thought this was a good idea??? Shoplifters? An enterprising thief could carry out an entire wardrobe in the pouch produced by these pants. And these pants, once the style trickles down to the common folk, would probably appeal to people (and the occasional cartoon character) who currently favor sweat pants. This pouch could accommodate an even larger pooch. Oh, the humanity!!!

BTW, that person in the green suit is a dude, right? I'm all for equal opportunity fugly clothes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This is the first year, in all the years I've been reviewing the collections at, American Vogue's website, that I've bothered to read the runway reviews. This is what Vogue's review says about Diane von Furstenberg's Spring collection: "This season's nomad searcher is 'looking into antiquity for effortless beauty,' with Egypt and the desert on her horizon, along with a side visit to the Pre-Raphaelites." But it seems to me that there's another obvious reference that Vogue, and perhaps DVF herself, overlooked, and that's Botticelli's Primavera. Let's compare and contrast, shall we?

Flowing drapery, check; floral print, check; flowers in the hair, check, golden glow, check. All we're missing is a few cherubs and a green god standing in for a wind machine to get a whole Renaissance Faire. But whatever the inspiration DVF's collection is full of teh pretty (more about this Season's sudden explosion of pretty later) and I like it, even though I'd look like a jackass if I tried to wear it. Alas, my flowers-in-the-hair days are long over.

I think our girl Rachel Zoe would like this collection a lot. It suits her bohemian aesthetic (anyone else notice how often the contestants on Project Runway used the word "aesthetic" last week? sheesh!). I can totally see her in the third look from the top, the one with the cap sleeves. She can look like the goddess Flora and keep her clavicles covered at the same time.

Anyway, enjoy teh pretty.