Archive for the 'Fashion' Category

09
Feb
10

Jon: Menswear Fall 2010// Best of Milan and Paris// Part One: Dolce and Gabbana

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Dolce and Gabanna haven’t produced a terribly inspired collection of men’s clothing for as long as I can remember. Much like marijuana and raw tomatoes though, I like to give them a shot at least once a year to see if I’ve changed my mind about how gross they make me feel.

Eventually, something had to give. I don’t know if it’s my personal taste or fashion or the design team at Dolce and Gabbana that has changed, but god-damn-it, I’ve become a convert! (Sorry tomatoes and pot, you’re still awful.)

I am in love with (and wish I could afford) the pants throughout the collection. Lucky for me I work at a used clothing store and have access to mid 90’s Banana Republic! Cha-Ching!

“1995 neo gamine /streets-of-new-york”?

Hell yes.

Below are my four most beloved looks (the first is my favorite btw) as well as a two part video of the show.

 

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15
Dec
09

Jon: Pre Fall 2010 Women’s Wear (so far)…

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It’s hard to believe it, but it is in fact already that time of year: the pre Fall shows (my favorite btw) have already begun. Fashion seems to be referencing late 90’s minimalism. It’s all very Calvuin Klein and Comme des  Garcons circa 1996, and I’m loving it. Nicolas Ghesquiere over at Balenciaga (the most important modern designer in my opinion) has yet to unroll the Fall 2010 welcome mat, so I am hesitant to make any official declaration for my “best of” pick. So far though, these are the looks that I am predicting we will be seeing a lot more of in 10 months time….

12
Nov
09

Jon: Shoe-gasm at Opening Ceremony…

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Before our big gay cruise last month Paul and I spent  a day in L.A., basically just driving around and visiting stores. We didn’t buy much (besides a bunch of records at Amoeba) but we did get to indulge in mind numbing fantasy shopping at some of our favorite clothing stores. Before we left Portland, I made a list of the stores at which said fantasy shopping would occur (*SIDENOTE*: I’m the type of person who obsessively makes lists and itineraries whenever I travel. I like my fun planned out in advance. Paul on the other hand prefers to just piss into the wind on vacation. This is a constant point of contention when we travel, but since Paul is the one who does the driving, he tends to win that particular argument by default. *END SIDENOTE*), and of course boutique Opening Ceremony held the number one spot.

I’ve wanted to visit since they opened their first location in NYC in 2002. Incidentally, that was  about the same time that Paul and I moved away from the East coast. It took 5 years for Opening Ceremony to follow us to the West Coast, and then another two years for me to actually have an excuse to visit L.A. (which I hate and, in case you didn’t know, is the worst place. ever.)

When we got to the address, we were immediately confused by the building. It is HUGE, and has like 14 doors, none of which are labeled, and only two of which actually open. At one point we ended up standing in the area where they keep the dumpsters and a coffee can for employee cigarettes, furiously shaking a metal gate that led into an alleyway that maybe went to what might have been the entrance or at least the emergency fire escape?

Much like a good fantasy novel, the hero must complete a quest to claim their prize. They must travel great distances into ravaged enemy territory (*ahem, cough, L.A.*), facing successive challenges and making hard choices.   We might not have been saving middle-earth, but our prize couldn’t have been more precious:

Awesome shoes. 

Here are three of my favorites. If any Gaycondo readers are secret millionaires and feel like buying me a $350 present, the Opening Ceremony website would be a good place to start.

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16
Oct
09

Jon: Why Portland Fashion Week Is Bad For Portland…

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 Sigh.

There is no more valuable way to signify the fashion value of a city than through a relevent fashion week. This form of event  showcases the importance of region’s design aesthetic, but more importantly it says to buyers, fashion editors, store owners, garment manufactures, and designers: We are a viable market,and we are ready for you.

Portland has always possessed a strong arts community, but only in the past decade has really begun to develope a fashion culture. With modern world fashion taking many of it’s cues from the d.i.y. art/music scene of the early 90’s as well as ideas related to sustainability, it would seem that Portland (which has always had a strong base in both) would be one of America’s burgeoning fashion capitals. And in many ways, it is.

Based on what was chosen to be presented to the world stage during Portland Fashion Week however, you would never know it.

The thematic elements of Portland street fashion, boutiques, and more notable designers seem to have been popping up on runways around the world the past two seasons. The four that in my opinion have been the most relevent as of late include:

  • Deconstructed Romantic
  • Bike Punk
  • Nerdy/Dandy
  • Lumber Jack / Pendleton

 Though some of these ideas were hinted at or even directly referenced (such as in the bike themed Ready to Roll group show), they were never presented in a way that was  either authentic or directionally forward.

Instead, 90% of the looks that were sent down the runway were tired, poorly styled, and cheap looking. It’s all very I got it on sale at JC Penny in 2006. Even the slightly more ambitious attempts (for example the black dress with the bow to the right) come across as very….Target-ish. Like most of the clothes in Target’s “Go International” line, they might look cute on a hanger, but on a body they are an unflattering mess. No one looks good in voluminous, pin-tucked black satin. No one.

Presenting this selection of designs as a representation of Portland’s presence to the global fashion community does an injustice to the city. It says to anyone outside of the region looking in at it: “We don’t care about fashion“. This is, of course, bad for designers. But is also bad for businesses and workers trying to make a living off fashion in this struggling economy.

The saddest thing about this situation is that Portland does have talented, forward looking designers. It’s a roll call that we should all be familiar with: Adam Arnold, Holly Stalder, Liza Reitz, Church and State, Anna Cohen. And these aren’t just my own personal favorites. These truly are the most important designers working in Portland today. Many of them did host secondary events during PFW, but since none (with the exception of Cohen) were officially involved, non-Portland residents looking at PFW coverage would not be exposed to their designs.

Admittedly, I don’t know all the details of exactly how designers are chosen to be a part of the event. I know that they have to apply and that, if selected, they have to pay a fee to show. Whatever the exact process is though, it reeks of misguided inclusiveness and perhaps even nepotism. Almost none of the designers chosen deserved to be chosen for this or any fashion event. The bar needs ton be set higher. If relevent designers are not applying and/or can’t afford the fee, they should be invited to show for free. It would be unfair to some, but so what? In the end, it would mean more ticket sales, more national press, and a raised presence for the fashion community. It would also encourage other talented designers to apply in the following seasons.

The reason that most of the good designers in Portland don’t become involved is because they know that Portland Fashion Week is a total joke. They don’t want to shell out money to be part of something so irrelevant. But like it or not, as long as Portland Fashion Week exists it will be what most outsiders view as the defacto representation of Portland.

And  that’s a very, very, bad thing.

 

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Oh, and last but not least, I thought I’d leave you below with my vote for the absolute worst look of the entire week. Out of kindness for designers who might be searching for press about themselves, I decided not to include any names for most of the pictures attached to this article (hey, I’m not out to hurt feelings here). However, Nelli Millard and Dru Broekemeier (of NelliDru Design) need to be called out on putting such a monstrosity into the world.

Ugliest dress ever!

 

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05
Oct
09

Jon: Fantasy Shopping at Browns….

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Some looks from my favorite British Retailer….

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23
Sep
09

26 Interviews: (B)ecky Daly….

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Becky Daly is a New York based fashion stylist and writer who has worked for such magazines as W, Elle, Jane, Instyle, Page Six, Lucky, Harper’s Bazaar, and Interview. Her job largely involves working as a market editor, doing cross media magazine promotion for television. You know those fashion interest pieces on shows like E News, The Today Show, and Good Morning America? Daly is frequently the one who puts the whole thing together. In addition to her magazine and TV work, she also writes occasional style pieces for The New York Post and bettyconfidential.com.

 

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Jon Miller: When did you get the calling to work in the magazine industry?

Becky Daly: I remember going to the salon with my mom and picking up Seventeen while she was having her hair done. I think I was about nine years old – it had never occurred to me to read a magazine before, but I opened it out of boredom, and it was like, “Whoa. Here is every fun thing in the world right here on these pages.” I think from that moment on I knew that magazines were in my future, and as I got older, it was the fashion aspect specifically that seemed to come into focus.

JM: Once you entered the field, did you have the fashion instinct right away?

BD: I’m not sure I’d call it a “fashion” instinct so much as an aesthetic one, but yes, I think that is something that comes naturally to people who have it. It can be honed and perfected and in that sense developed, but I think it has to be there intrinsically to begin with.

 JM: Working in what is arguably the most important fashion center in America, you must find yourself surrounded my fashion mavericks and forward thinkers daily. Who do you find personally inspiring?

BD: My favorite sources of inspiration are designer Alexander Wang, Elle’s style director Kate Lanphear, and blogger Scott Schuman (aka the Sartorialist). Actually, it’s almost embarrassing how much that list belies my personal style. I really respect how these three people, through their various mediums and in their own very different ways, keep fashion progressive while never forgetting how real women want and need to dress themselves for everyday life.

07_erinwasson_lglJM: It seems to me that Alexander Wang is one of the few designers to take on the American Apparel behemoth’s strong arm on youthful/sexy jersey basics and actually win. Most of the fashion focused women in my life are losing it over his tanks and tees. In fact, based on their newest designs it seems AA is copying Wang’s aesthetic. What do you think is his formula for success?

BD: I think Alexander Wang’s formula for success is a little thing called [model] Erin Wasson. Most truly inspiring designers have a truly inspiring muse, and he’s no different. Erin Wasson’s personal style is so downtown sexy and chic, but with that “I just picked this up off the floor” not-trying-at-all vibe. Alexander Wang managers to emulate that so perfectly in his designs. The clothes he makes are the clothes women want to wear because they give everyone that aura of being so chic you make even a t-shirt look good.

 JM: The way clothes are being designed and marketed seems to have ideologically shifted very quickly in the past few years. What are the big changes you have noticed?

BD: Right now, the two biggest shifts I’m seeing in fashion appear to be completely divergent, but in truth, stem from the same source. The current economy is forcing the industry to rethink design, and that seems to mean either taking it down a notch to provide designs that everyone can feel comfortable in, or stepping it up in terms of investigating new materials, functions, and production techniques.

JM: Many of the changes you are talking about seem to have recently been focussed largely on the development of “green” and “sustainable” diffusion collections. Do you think this is more of a marketing fad, or an actual moral shift in the production standards of these companies?

BD: While there are some “green” lines that began with the idea of sustainability – Loomstate and Rogan come to mind – I think in most cases with diffusion lines and in-store collections it’s a little bit of a mix. Even if many companies are only invested in sustainability for their own profit though, don’t we all reap the benefit anyway? The ends are good, even if the means may not be truly pure.

JM: The fall collections have all hit the stores by now, and I know I have already started stockpiling for when the cool weather hits. What big trends for this fall have you most excited?

BD: Fall is my absolute favorite season and always has been. I love the sense of change, the crispness in the air, the colors, and the fact that I can wear something other than those 10 damn sundresses I’m so sick of at this point. This season in particular, I’m so happy to see designers embracing the jeweled colors of autumn – the runways were all basically done in a palette of burnt oranges and reds, deep blues, peacock greens, and gold. I’ve also already bought about three pairs of flat, over-the-knee boots. They’re super sexy, but the fact that they’re flat keeps them from going Pretty Woman.

 JM: What designer’s Fall 2009 runway shows did you find particularly fantastic?

BD: Have I already mentioned my love for Alexander Wang? Can I count him again? If so, then Alexander Wang, Diane von Furstenberg (my god – the sweaters!), and Balmain.

JM: Both Balmain and Alexander Wang have put a lot of focus on shoulders in there garments this season either by exposing them, ornamenting them, or padding them. Even just a few years ago some of these concepts would have seemed unthinkable. Any predictions on the next big “unthinkable” we should be expecting?

BD: It’s true – structured shoulders are SO in right now. I’m hesitant to make any predictions on what the next crazy trend will be – I’ll leave that to the designers. A word of advice though: do hang on to any designer or even just well-made garments you may own. Trends may come and go, but as we’re seeing currently with the resurrection of the ’80s shoulder pads, fashion history has a way of repeating itself. Next fall you may just be kicking yourself for selling your Go-go boots to Beacon’s.

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26 Interviews  by Jon Miller

365 days

26 interesting people.

1 alphabet

08
Sep
09

Jon: Fashion Confession…

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…I shop at J. Crew.

                           A lot.

Their whole “american-dandy-in-paris” thing is so in line with current runway trends that in my delusional and self enabling mind it seems crazy not to spend all my money there. These styles are so similar to many of the more toned down (read: wearable) pieces from the Fall collections of Acne, Marni, and Junya Watanabe that in a side by side you’d by hard pressed to tell the difference.

Here are a few of my most coveted looks from the current catalog:

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